The slow cooker, or crock-pot, is one of the most convenient ways to cook food. And cooking chili in a crock-pot is no different. Seriously, how convenient is it to just throw all the ingredients in one cooking device and let it sit for several hours, or even overnight? Plus, it makes cleanup a breeze. Besides my rice cooker, my crock-pot is one of the easiest to use appliances I own, and pretty much makes perfect food every time I use it.

When I'm planning on having people over, I can use my crock-pot to make a stew, or throw in some meat to cook overnight, and it's preparation I can do hours in advance. Letting me enjoy my friend and not be tied to the kitchen. Many times I can just prepare what I'm going to make the night before and just let it cook overnight. That way the next day, I can prepare whatever other dishes I'm making and concentrate on getting the house or backyard ready for company.

Chili is one of those classic "All American" dishes that everybody seems to love. You can add many different kinds of meat, like chicken, sausage, ground beef or ground turkey. You can even make it vegetarian style for those health conscious folks. It's perfect for weekend barbecues and goes great with everything. And did someone mention hot dogs? Oh yeah, great on those too!

I've personally never been to a chili cook off, but I understand the competition can be pretty fierce. Recipes are closely guarded secrets usually handed down from the generations. My recipe is pretty simple, but that's just how I like things. Sometimes simpler is better!

Basic chili (cooked in crock-pot)

Ingredients:
3 one pound cans kidney beans, drained
2 one pound cans whole tomatoes, cut up
2 lbs. ground beef 
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin 
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Brown the ground beef in large skillet on medium high heat. Drain and cut the tomatoes into large bite sized pieces. Gather all the ingredients in and put in the Crock-pot in the order listed. Give it a good stir. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.

This makes a pretty large batch, so be prepared for left overs. This would be great on hot dogs or just eaten right out of the bowl. You could easily serve 6 to 8 adults with this.

Chili is one of those recipes that needs to be in everyone's cooking arsenal. If you're in need of a different chili recipe, we have many other delicious recipes to try out like the very popular white chili recipe.