Easy Slow-Cooker Chili

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: The addition of bacon to this thick and hearty slow-cooker chili gives it a slight smokiness. This version is fairly mild, but if you like your chili on the hot side, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne along with the chili powder. From Meredith Deeds.

• 4 slices bacon, chopped

• 2 lb. lean ground beef

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

• 1 (16-oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles

• 2 tbsp. chili powder

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. pepper

• Toppings, optional: chopped red onion, shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro

Directions

Spray a 4-quart or 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a 12-inch skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the slow cooker. Add the beef, onion and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to the slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, beans, chiles, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with toppings, if desired.

Nutrition information per each of 10 serving:

Calories 240 Fat 11 g Sodium 500 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars 5 g

Protein 21 g Cholesterol 60 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 3 medium-fat protein.