Chilly? Serve chili!

HERE IS ONE OF MY favorite recipes of all time. The beautiful thing about making chili is you can add whatever you want – just like making a casserole, you can very easily change the recipe up each time you make it. I’m pretty confident that I have found the perfect combination of flavors for my taste and that of my family. This is a great recipe to use up some veggies if you have them hanging around – all the chopping is a bit tedious but I guarantee that it will be totally worth it. You can also use different types of beans if you prefer, and you can change up the amount of seasonings to suit your taste. I personally love cumin so I go a bit heavy with that. Just be sure to record whatever adjustments you make so that you will know when you reach the perfect combination too. This is also a great recipe to “stretch” by serving over cooked macaroni – chili and macaroni makes for one of the all-time greatest meal combinations, at least in my humble opinion. It can also be made ahead of time – my favorite strategy is to combine everything in the afternoon the day before I want to serve it and stick it in the fridge overnight. Then all you have to do is turn the slow cooker on in the morning. It tastes even better when the flavors have a few hours to mix. So be creative and make it your own! ~Sam~

Slow-Cooker Chili
Ingredients:
– 1 ½ lbs ground beef, whatever fat to meat ratio you prefer; I use 90/10.
– 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
– 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 15 oz can red kidney beans (dark or light), undrained
– 1 15 oz can corn kernels, drained
– Dash hot sauce (or to taste)
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– Salt and ground black pepper to taste – I like to be generous
– 2 tbsp ground cumin
– 1 tbsp dried oregano
– 1 tbsp dried basil
– 1 tbsp paprika
– ½ tbsp chili powder (more if you prefer)
– 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
– 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
– 2 ribs celery, chopped
– 2 medium carrots, chopped
– ½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
– 1 medium onion, chopped (whatever variety you have on hand)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– ¾ cup beef broth

Directions:
1) Coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown, stirring frequently. Drain thoroughly. Pour into slow cooker bowl.
2) To the slow cooker bowl, add the tomatoes, cannellini beans, black beans, kidney beans, corn, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, basil, paprika, chili powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bell peppers, celery, carrots, parsley, onions, garlic, and beef broth.
3) Give everything a nice stir to combine evenly. If you are not cooking right away, pop the lid on the slow cooker bowl and stick it in the fridge for a few hours – I would let it chill at least 4 hours but not longer than overnight.
4) Cook on low for 8 hours. Remember, opening the lid of the slow cooker is like opening the oven door while you are baking – it lowers the cooking heat, so don’t do it! Believe me you will be tempted, but this chili is SO worth waiting for 🙂 I like to serve it with a dollop of sour cream and a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

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