Eating Well: Lazy Man’s Slow-Cooker Chili

It is actually colder than freezing cold here right now – water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, after all, and the high temperature for the last three days has been 13 degrees.  It’s the kind of weather that makes it difficult to go outside and exercise.  Heck, it’s the kind of weather that makes it difficult to want to get out of bed.  Bears have the right idea, is what I’m saying.  Find someplace warm, and sleep until spring.

Sadly, I can’t do that.  But I can make tasty, filling soups to take the edge off.  Here’s one.

The Lazy Man’s Slow-Cooker Chili

4 15.5 oz cans mild chili beans, 420 calories/can
1 15.5 oz can diced tomatoes, 105 cal
8 oz 90/10 ground beef, 456 calories
8 oz ground turkey, 528 calories
12 oz onion, chopped, 136 calories
5 oz bell peppers, chopped, 44 calories
4 oz pearl barley, uncooked, 400 calories
1 cup beef broth


  • Open all cans and empty them, with liquid, into the slow-cooker.
  • Add pearl barley and beef broth to slow cooker.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef and turkey together.
  • Add onions and peppers to skillet, cook with meat until softened.
  • Add onion, pepper, and meat mixture to slow cooker, stir well.
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Add garlic powder, chili powder, and red pepper to taste, cook on high for another half hour.


  • This is very much a lazy way to make chili.  You can also do it from scratch, by soaking four cups of dried beans (I like pinto for this) overnight, then draining them.  If you do this, add three additional cups of beef broth to the slow cooker.
  • What I found amusing about this recipe is that I went half turkey and half ground beef because I thought the turkey would be lower in calories.  Apparently, I was wrong.
  • When I made this, I came up with 115.5 ounces of chili, at a grand total of 3,349 calories.  That works out to 29 calories per ounce, and you don’t really need to adjust much for the liquid – this will be very thick (the barley sucks up a lot of liquid).  Ten to twelve ounces is a serving, as far as I’m concerned, so that’s 290 – 348 calories per serving, and you’ll get about 10 servings out of this.
  • The chili freezes well.  I’d suggest freezing it in a large freezer bag in the appropriate number of servings.  Reheat by soaking the bag in water until it softens, then dumping it into a pot and heating it at medium until warm enough to suit you.
  • This chili also makes an awesome topping for hot dogs, in my opinion.  You’ll be looking at 2-3 ounces per hot dog, in that case.



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