Veggie Packed Beef Chili


1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb cubed sirloin stew meat
1 15-oz can jalapeño and habanero diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can chili-seasoned tomatoes
1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick half-moons
1 (loose) cup matchstick carrots
2 cubanelle peppers, chopped
2 15-oz canned kidney beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne
freshly ground black pepper


If prepping the night before, layer the ingredients in a resealable plastic bag or non-reactive bowl: from bottom to top onion, garlic, beef, canned tomatoes, vegetables, beans then spices. Refrigerate overnight.

Pour all ingredients into a 4-quart slow cooker so the beef/onions are near the top. Cover. Cook for 8-10 hours on low. If you have time before the timer goes off, give it a stir and then recover until ready.  Stir and serve.

Yield: about 6-8 servings

My thoughts:
It’s been a surprisingly long time since I’ve posted a chili recipe! I recently found these cans of hot diced tomatoes with jalapeño and habanero at a local supermarket and was intrigued. Would they actually be hot? As it turns out, they really are! I have a high spice tolerance and was surprised at how spicy they were. So often products will say “hot” but really be, in my opinion, pretty “medium” or “mild” in actuality. Feel free to sub in tomatoes with green chiles or a second can of chili flavored tomatoes for a milder chili. 
I was making this chili on a day I was volunteering at a local high school helping the students with their essays for a small local scholarship. Little scholarships like that made a big difference to me when I was a college student so I was happy to help! I prepped everything the night before so in the morning I just had to start it cooking. Using flavored tomatoes like this is a great way to add a ton of flavor without having to measure out a bunch of different spices or chop a ton of various peppers.
I love beef chili but it can be kind of heavy. Instead of having a ton of beef in this chili I used beans and added some bulk and extra nutrition by adding a ton of vegetables. I think it’s always a good idea to reduce beef consumption both for health and environmental reasons and this is a good step in that direction-all of the flavor but using only one pound of beef. 

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