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George's Cheap and Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe

January 2nd, 2008 at 12:49 pm

By request from mom-sense:

After making this the first time, I realized that it was so easy that I never bought canned chili ever again. Who knows what kind of crazy is in those cans.

George's Cheap and Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe

Servings: 2-3?
Prep time: 30 mins + cooking time

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs of ground meat (beef, turkey, italian sausage, or a combination)
1 cup chopped onions (frozen is easy)
2 14 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes (I like petite diced or even crushed, personally)
1 ~12 oz can of chili beans or pinto beans
3 heaping tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper

Optional seasonings:
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp herbs d'provence
crushed garlic
cayenne pepper (for heat)
secret ingredients

Toppings:
shredded cheese
sour cream
chopped onions (both sweet and green)
cornbread
saltines

Directions:
1. Empty all canned goods into the crock pot, along with spices, and flip it on.
2. Cook the onions (and optional garlic) in olive oil in a saucepan until just brown. Add in the meat, and cook until just about cooked through. I like to cook the meat/onions with some chili powder and salt and pepper, but it's not that necessary seeing that the meat will absorb flavoring from the sauce.
3. Drain the meat and stir into the crock pot mixture.

Cooking time: high for 2-3 hours or low for 5-6 hours.

Notes:
I like to have the sauce cooking for a few hours before I cook the onions/meat and stir it in, then cook for another hour or two after. I've found that if you're using somewhat cheap meat and you let it cook in there for 5-6 hours, the meat becomes somewhat gristly and powdery. But either way works.

Also, chili is not an exact science! Feel free to play around with measurements and such. When writing this recipe down, I had to make approximations, because usually I just pour in spices until it looks "right". I just like to maintain this ratio (personal preference):

4:3:2:2

4 cans of tomato sauce to every 3 lbs of meat to 2 cans of beans and 2 cans of tomatoes.

I refer to the 3:2 meat to bean ratio as the "MBR" to my friends. So they'll request chili with a high MBR (meatier) or lower MBR (more beans).

Then, of course, every good chili cook has a secret ingredient. I can tell you what mine is, but then I'd have to kill you. =)

And homemade chili always tastes better the next day. It thickens up some, and all the flavors meld together. I always make a lot and freeze it.

Estimated Costs:
Because it's a finance blog. =)

1.5 lbs of ground meat - $2
onions - $1
2 cans tomato sauce - $1.50
1 can tomatoes - $0.75
1 can beans - $0.75
chili powder - $1?

Total: ~$7.00
Per serving: ~$2.50

5 Responses to “George's Cheap and Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe”

  1. mom-sense Says:


    thanks! definitely looking forward to this one. i've got some italian sausage frozen (from a buy one get one) and will make this up tomorrow. will let you know! MS

  2. collegemomma Says:

    That looks like an awesome recipe. I think I'll see about trying it without the beans (unfortunately, I'm not that big on them). Do you freeze any of it? What do you use to package it up to prepare it for freezing? How long will it last in the freezer? Sorry...I'm so full of questions!

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I probably never make chili the same way twice. I like that you mentioned corn bread with it. Corn bread goes so well with chili.

  4. george Says:

    I make it without beans sometimes too. Though, if you do, you may want to cut down on the tomato sauce some, or add more meat, to make up for the lack of bean chunkiness. =)

    collegemomma - I usually just put them in ziplock freezer bags and get as much air out as I can. They usually last for quite a while, though I usually wind up eating it all before actually finding out how long it takes for it to be...not tasty. It's lasted well over a month for me, if I recall. But the texture of the meat does change a little after freezing...

  5. denisentexas Says:

    This is about how I make chili but I use Ranch Style Beans which I buy only when they're on sale for a great price and then I buy a lot of them! I also add a bay leaf which gives it a little ummphh! It's always a little different, though. Sometimes I make it with no meat, too, and that's tasty and frugal!

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