Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Healthy and Cheap: Crock Pot Chili!

It can be pretty hard to devise recipes that are high-protein, low-calorie, heart-healthy, and inexpensive. Believe me, I know. But I think this crock pot chili fits the bill.

I have a natural aversion to following recipes literally. Usually, when I read over one, there’s something that doesn’t sit right with me, and so I search other recipes to see what I can find. I cobble something together that sounds good, and usually, it works out just fine.

I’m particularly happy with a crock pot chili recipe that I’ve devised. I used a few different recipes to come up with it, and it’s very quick and easy. It also has the advantage of being a recipe that you can leave for a few extra hours if you can’t get home on time; it’s hard to overcook chili.

This batch makes enough to serve 4 or 5 people, and leftovers can be used to make delicious chili cheese fries. (Just slice up some potatoes, sprinkle with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, bake on a cookie sheet greased with olive oil, flip after 5-7 minutes and bake until both sides are browned. Top with chili and some grated cheese, bake for a few more minutes. Presto!)

Crock Pot Chili

You will need:

1lb ground beef. Less or more is fine, but if you have a small crock pot you’re limited on the amount you can mix in. Feel free to skimp on this; it’s the most expensive ingredient, and you don’t need it.

2 cans beans. Kidney beans, pinto beans, pretty much any kind of bean you’ve ever seen in a chili is fine. Dried beans might work if they are pre-cooked, but I haven’t tried this yet.

1 8oz can tomato sauce.

1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes.

1 green pepper, chopped.

1/2-3/4 large sweet-ish onion, chopped. I recommend against using strong onions in crock pot recipes, as they tend to impart an unpleasantly onion-y flavor into everything.

3 TB chili powder.

1 tsp salt.

1 tsp cayenne pepper. Omit this if you like your chili without any spice, but this is just the right amount for those of us who like it zesty but not spicy enough to burn the tongue.

1 tsp cumin.

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed.


Brown the meat in a saucepan; drain. Mix all ingredients in crock pot, then set it to low and let it cook for 8-10 hours.

Now enjoy this high-protein, high-fiber, filling and delicious dinner/lunch/snack.