When you look at your Crock Pot, what do you see bubbling inside? We see chili — the most basic, easy use for your slow cooker. It’s a protein-packed, savory, filling warm dish especially good for cold days. To start developing the flavors, sauté the vegetables, ground beef, and spices, then put the mixture into the Crock Pot along with tomatoes and kidney beans. Let it do its thing overnight or all day until it’s thickened and has a nice beefy flavor, and then stir in jalapeños for a kick of heat. Serve with Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins or Nacho Cheese Crackers, or as a substitute chili component of these Chili Cheese Dogs.
To use dried beans in place of canned, start with 1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked to yield 3 cups.
Make-ahead note: The flavors continue to develop as the chili sits, so go ahead and make it up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it in a container with a tight-*fitting lid. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.