Thursday, May 8, 2014

Crock-Pot Chili

My mom made chili pretty often when I was growing up. I remember having a slice of buttered white bread to mop up the "juice" while I strategically avoided kidney beans.

I did not enjoy chili.

Sometime after I moved away from home, Mom started serving chili with crispy tortilla chips instead of the white bread. She grated cheddar cheese on the top and applied a hearty dollop of sour cream. I shouldn't have been surprised. They also got an inground swimming pool and air conditioning as soon as I moved out.

I think they were ready for me to go.

Chili is much better with cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. Julia eats it (which is really saying something) and even requests chili. Plus it can cook in the crock pot, and it's satisfying in poor weather. This post was written when all the April showers hit Pittsburgh in the last three days of the month.

Crock Pot Chili Recipe

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped green sweet pepper
1 medium onion ***I leave this out because onions DO NOT agree with me.***
4 cloves of garlic ***Yup, I leave this out too.***
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 heaping teaspoons of Splenda
1 cup + 6 ounces of water (see below)
2 T chili powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper

Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

Brown the ground beef in a non-stick skillet with the chopped green pepper. You'd add in the onion and garlic as the ground beef browns. I'm happier without.

Browned ground beef and diced green pepper.

Transfer to crock pot. Add the rinsed and drained kidney beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste to the crock pot.

Rinsed kidney beans.
Rinse the kidney beans until they stop making foamy bubbles.

Hunt's diced tomatoes & tomato paste. Joan of Arc Kidney Beans.

Refill the tomato paste can with water (6 oz.) and add that to along with the Splenda, or sugar. Mix in up to an additional cup of water, chili powder and other seasonings. You can always add more water at the end if the chili seems too thick. Best not to overdo it.

French's Chili-O Original Seasoning Mix

Bring to a simmer with crock pot on high. Stir and reduce heat to low until ready to serve.

Top each serving with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. Enjoy with tortilla chips, preferably on a rainy day. Serves 8.

***This recipe was adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book***