In an effort to be more cost-effective (and less broke) in 2018, I’ve resolved to cook more meals and eat out less. So today, I’m going back to my basics. My daughter Jazmen gifted me a mini crock pot, which is perfect for creating small-portioned meals with little waste. One of my first attempts, and still one of my favorites, is chili.
- 0.5 lb of lean ground beef
- Half a bag of McCormick’s Chilli Seasoning.
- 8 oz of diced tomatoes (about half of a 16 oz can, or a whole 8 oz can)
- 8 oz of beans (about half a 16 oz can)
Kidney, black, pinto, etc. I’m using dark kidney beans today
- 8 oz of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup of grated cheese
This is roughly based on several “basic” chili recipes, mostly McCormick’s back-of-the-packet. I portioned it down from serving 8 to serving just two. Anything more won’t fit into my tiny cooker. The “8 oz” is a rounded estimate, as many cans of tomatoes/sauce/beans are usu either 7.75 oz or 15 oz. I ball-parked it for simplicity, and the chili still comes out great. As for beans, kidney beans seem to be the default choice, but feel free to ask around to see what your friends use. I have in the past used a combo of kidney and black beans. As far as spices go, like chili pepper, cumin, garlic powder, etc, again ask around. I am being lazy and simply using McCormick’s seasoning packet. It works for me, as time and simplicity are as important as taste, for me.
- Brown the ground beef in skillet. Drain any excess fat.
I bought a pound, split in half, and vacu-sealed/froze the other half for later.
With lean beef, there usu isn’t a lot of fat to drain by the time the meat is browned to my taste.
- Place cooked beef, Slow Cookers Chili Seasoning Mix, tomatoes, beans and tomato sauce in slow cooker. Stir until well mixed. Cover.
There wasn’t much, if any fat in the skillet, so I just scraped meat into my tiny cooker. In hindsight, I could have probably started the cooker and mixed all the other ingredients while I was browning the beef. Next time.
- Let cook for at least four hours.
My cooker has only one setting, it turns on when you plug it in. Four hours seems to be the bare minimum cook time for this recipe. In the past, I have let it cook all day while I’m at work til I come home, which is about 10 hours. Still delicious, though the beans are softer. Flavor seems to be the same. Read your cooker’s instructions for appropriate settings/timing.
- Grab a bowl and serve!
Add your favorite toppings. I’m grating some locally-made cheddar cheese I bought at Denios. Some like chopped onions, green onions, garnish, etc.
That’s pretty much it. I’m either busy or lazy, so I keep things simple and flexible. I would rather eat than cook, so the less time I spend in the kitchen, the better. I prefer to eat out, but I’m trying to save money and eat healthier, so the recipes I share will reflect that. If you try this recipe, let me know!
$2.73 for half pound of beef, $0.50 for half the packet of seasoning, $0.40 for half can of diced tomatoes, $0.34 for half can of kidney beans, and $0.33 for the can of tomato sauce. FoodSource. See photos for brands used.
- McCormick’s Slow Cooker Chilli Recipe
Core of my recipe is from this page, as well as the back of the McCormick (non-slow-cooker) Chilli Seasoning packet.
McCormick’s Chili Seasoning Mix
Actual seasoning I used. The slow cooker version wasn’t available at my local grocery store.
- Slow Cooker Chili For 2
A more scratch recipe I am looking forward to trying, when I’m not so busy/lazy.