Slow Cooker Beef and Lentil Chili

The Perfect Fall Crockpot Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef and Lentil Chili

Let’s face it: in , schedules get crazy. I’m getting a first of back-to- chaos this with my heading to preschool. For my husband, fall means Bears games. I don’t care much for the game, but I love game day food! Usually during the games, I’m up in kitchen whipping up some tasty food with a bloody Mary in hand.

Our number one go-to easy fall is chili.  Since we’ve cut our food budget a bit recently, I like to make our meat purchases stretch as far as possible.  There are various ways to do this: adding more veggies to bulk up the dish or (my favorite way) adding beans and lentils.  I made some banana bread with lentils and didn’t say anything and the family LOVED it. 

If you want to keep the meat out of this chili, it will taste great with extra peppers, mushrooms or squash.  We don’t eat much beef, so I also make this with ground turkey. 

I brown the meat, then throw everything in the slow cooker and it’s ready when we are.  Some days we eat early dinners, sometimes we eat later after our night yoga class.  (If you know me, I know picturing me doing yoga is laughable…I’m quite clumsy).

Here's what you'll need:

  • ¾ lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos (or ½ green pepper)
  • 1 (4 oz can) diced green chiles
  • ½ dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 can of reduced sodium pinto beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 can of reduced sodium kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes for chili
  • Spices: 1 packet of chili seasoning, 1tbl Cumin (sometimes I add an extra ½ packet of chili seasoning)
  • Toppings: cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt, green onions, oyster crackers, avocado…whatever floats your boat

Let’s cook:
Brown the beef, drain.  Return to pan. With a splash of oil, add onion, jalapeno, green chiles and lentils to cook for 3-5 minutes.

Place beef and veggie mixture into the slow cooker. Add beans and tomatoes and seasoning.

Low: 5-6 hours; High 2-3 hours. Top with your favorite fixin's and enjoy. 

Note: This can also be done in a large pot.  It can cook all day, you may just have to thin it out with stock if it gets too thick.

Major debate in our household: with or without macaroni.  My family always made chili mac, Ricky thinks we’re crazy.  I think it’s a regional thing!

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