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Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne

Oh, slow cooker, you make a good chili. You're like a personal chef, working hard all day in the kitchen while I do other, more exciting things - like laundry, doing the school run, and checking Facebook (again). Okay, so while cooking is pretty much my favourite thing to do when I'm at home, I know not everyone feels that way. On days you don't feel like cooking in the evening or life is just too hectic, this yummy slow cooker chili con carne will hit the spot with little fuss. The best part is it makes at least 8 servings, so you can freeze half for another time.

All you have to do is brown the meat first, then stir together all the ingredients in the slow cooker and plug it in. Imagine going Christmas shopping all day and coming home to a house smelling of homemade chili! To dress it up, top your hot bowls of chili with sour cream, grated cheese or chopped green onion, then grab a spoon and dig in.

Slow Cooker Chili con Carne
Makes 8 servings

2 lb (900 g) ground beef, pork or turkey (or a mixture)
2 cups (500 mL) diced yellow onion
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced red bell pepper
1 cup (250 mL) chopped celery
1 can (796 mL/28 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (796 mL/28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (796 mL/28 oz) crushed tomatoes
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp (30 mL) mild chili powder
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt

Warm a large frying pan or pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and any excess liquid is evaporated. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker with at least 5-quart capacity.

Add the onion, red pepper, celery, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt to the slow cooker. Stir to mix it all together.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours, or on LOW for 8 hours.

TIP - If you want to spice it up, add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne, or substitute a hot chili powder for some of the mild chili powder. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, and chopped green onion or chives.

What's meals are you making in your slow cooker this month? Leave a comment and share your family favourites...