Soups and stews warm me up, literally, so I avoid them during the summer. It’s actually kind of weird how toasty they make me feel inside. Most meals I eat during the summer are warm but don’t seem to raise my core temperature. I don’t know if this actually happens or not. Either way, it just gives me another reason to appreciate Fall. Of course, the moment I actually make my favorite chili, the temps skyrocket back up to 90+ degrees. Ugh.
I’m going to assume wherever you live that you are experiencing more fall-like weather than I currently am. And that a piping, hot bowl of chili sounds really, really good. After all, chili seems to be the quintessential Fall dish. I’ve made various chilis throughout my years and this has become my favorite. It also has a secret ingredient in it: cocoa powder. Now you may already being saying “nope” and understandably so. It struck me as odd too. But I gave it try and loved it. You cannot taste the cocoa, but it does give the tomato base a certain amount of depth it lacked before.
The basic recipe makes a simple and delicious chili. However, I’m trying to eat healthier, so I threw in a few extra veggies. I love it but feel free to eliminate or replace veggies to fit your preferences.
Beyond the overall ease of this recipe, I love its versatility too. It makes a delicious bowl of chili, especially when topped with cheddar cheese, diced onion and sour cream. But it can also be so much more. It’s a great topping for a baked potato or for Cincinnati spaghetti, which I make healthier with spaghetti squash versus noodles. Please be proud of me for this very mature, adult choice. Remember, I’m a huge baby when it comes to changing how I eat!
This chili also freezes very well, which is why I typically make a whole batch. I freeze individual servings and reheat them on nights where I have no time to make dinner. So let’s recap the merits of this chili:
- Conveniently made in the crockpot
- Full of veggies
- Can use leftovers in other yummy dishes
- Freezes well
This is what I would call a winner, winner chili dinner. 🙂 Be sure to come back next week when I share my favorite, easy cornbread recipe, which is another winner, winner recipe that my entire family loves.
- 2 lbs lean ground beef I like 85/15
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 large red pepper chopped
- 1 large green pepper chopped
- 1 jalepeno ribs and seeds removed, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 2 14.5 oz cans Rotel
- 3 8 oz cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 15 oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Optional Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese sour cream, chopped white onions, cilantro or avocado cubes
- Spray non-stick skillet with Pam. Over medium-high heat, add ground beef. Use fork to crumble beef, stir occasionally until beef is brown. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper and jalapeno and cook for another 5 minutes or veggies soften. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Pour hamburger mixture into a 6 quart slow cooker.
- Add Rotel, tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir mixture until fully combined, then cover with lid and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours.
- Stir in kidney beans and cook for another 30 minutes or until heated. Serve warm with your favorite toppings (I love it with cheese, white onions and sour cream).