Classic Slow Cooker Beef Chili

I love chili.  And I love slow cookers.  So, it's no surprise that slow cooker chili is right up my alley.

This recipe is super simple and as basic as it gets.  Well, except for the addition of the cocoa powder, which, in case you were wondering, adds a subtle richness and unique depth of flavor.  One of my favorite things about chili, in general, is that it's so customizable.  By substituting a different kind of beans, a different kind of tomatoes, or topping it with sour cream, cheese, green onions or, a family favorite of ours, Fritos corn chips, you can really make a bowl of chili your own.

This particular version is even popular with my two year old, which is a definite bonus.  But, that's not all!  It's just as good the next day and freezes well to boot.  If your looking  for a quick, easy, flavorful, family friendly meal then you've found it.  Bust out your slow cooker and take the stress out of "what's for dinner" tonight.  

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  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

* I make this recipe on the less spicy, less beany side to suit the tastes of my family.  For a spicier, beanier chili, sub the can of plain diced tomatoes with another can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and add a second can of beans.

  1. In a large frying pan cook the ground beef, onion and garlic until the ground beef is no longer pink.  Drain.
  2. Transfer meat mixture to your slow cooker. 
  3. Add all of the cans of tomatoes, breaking up the stewed tomatoes with your spoon.  
  4. Add beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, oregano and cocoa powder.  You can wait to add the beans for the last hour of cooking, but we like ours mushy, so we add them at the beginning.
  5. Cook for 4 hours on low.

  • Source:  This one's mine!

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