Recipe Finder: Slow cooker chili

Karen Blood from Center Point, Iowa, was looking for a recipe for chili that she said was once printed on the wrapper of Aldi's brand canned tomatoes. She said the "healthy and nutritional" chili contained pinto beans, kidney beans, green pepper, celery and canned tomatoes and she would like to be able to make it again. She contacted the Aldi company about the recipe but they were unable to help her. I also searched the Aldi website, which contained many good recipes, but unfortunately there were none for chili as she described it.

Danielle Adler from Austin, Texas, saw Blood's request and sent in her favorite chili recipe that she thought sounded like it had everything Blood was looking for. She said she frequently makes this when she knows she is going to have friends over to watch football, and because it is made in a slow cooker she can make it in the morning and forget about it the rest of the day. Using a slow cooker to make chili makes perfect sense. The slow cooking method allows the spices to slowly permeate the chili and develop deep flavor. Her easy and basic recipe is extremely adaptable. Bump up the seasonings if you prefer a spicier version, vary the meat or eliminate it if you want to make it vegetarian. However, served as is, along with some shredded cheese, sour cream and scallions for toppings, you have the perfect dish for a game day gathering or any day you want to serve a hearty and satisfying meal to your family. The chili will keep beautifully on warm in the slow cooker and also freezes very well if you should happen to have any leftovers.

Requests

Melanie Baker from Baltimore would like to have the recipe for the delicious goat cheese cheesecake she so enjoyed at Grano restaurant in Hampden.

Janice deConge from Baltimore is looking for the recipe for a risotto dish that was the chef's specialty at the Fountainside restaurant and lounge in what was the Pikesville Hilton. She said it was delicious, creamy and not too sweet.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278 or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Slow Cooker Chili

Serves 8 to 10

2 pounds ground chuck

1 cup chopped onions

1 green or red pepper, chopped

2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapenos

1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 ounc) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

11/2 tablespoons chili powder (or more, to taste)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Using a slotted spoon transfer meat to slow cooker. Wipe out the skillet and sauté the onion, peppers and celery in 1 tablespoon olive oil just until tender. Add to slow cooker with meat. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir well to combine. Cover and cook for 6 to 7 hours on low setting.