Even though the summer months will soon be upon us, I still make crock pot chili for my family every so often. The recipe is easy to make, and somewhat inexpensive. By purchasing ingredients on sale, and using what I have on hand in our pantry, I can feed our family with this meal for under $10.
Along with the chili, I might slice up a loaf of fresh bread(our local bakery often has Italian bread on sale for $1 a loaf) and some cheese. Other times, I’ll just serve the chili with a big pan of corn bread. If crackers are on sale, I’ll use them instead of fresh bread.
If I have the time, I’ll make a big pot of rice and serve the chili in bowls over rice. Leftovers from the meal can be re-heated and used as topping over baked potatoes, or even as filling in soft taco shells or pita bread. Chili can be re-heated the next morning and put in a thermos for a nice hot lunch for school or work.
In order to reduce the over all cost of the meal, I might use ground turkey or chicken, as these meats are cheaper in our area. You can also make the recipe using a combination of the meats. I’ve also found that I can “stretch” the meal by using other ingredients, like corn, onions, celery, and beans as filler.
Crock Pot Chili
2 pounds of ground beef (can also use ground chicken or ground turkey)
1/2 c. chopped celery(optional)
1/2 c. chopped onions(optional)
chili powder, season to taste
pepper, season to taste
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 can of corn(optional)
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low heat for at least 8 hours, or on high for 5 hours. Keep in mind that crock pot temperatures vary and adjust heat accordingly. Stir every so often throughout the day.
Ladle into bowls and top with grated cheese if desired. Can be served with rice, bread, cheese, or cornbread.
The longer you simmer the chili, the stronger the flavor becomes. You may wish to add a small amount of the flavorings early in the day, and then test the soup an hour or so before serving to adjust the flavoring. In our house, I make the chili very mild and then have chili powder available during the meal for seasoning because several family members prefer their chili very “hot”.