Turn Up the Heat: Make Chili!

Maybe you loved last week's snow. Maybe you hated it and long for summer sunshine.

Either way, the groundhog says that winter is not quite over. So what better way to make the most of it, than with these new-to-you chili recipes?

Saucy or meaty, mild or red-hot, here are three slow-cooker chili recipes that can take the dreary out of your day, and welcome you home to a whiff of wonderful!

Try one … or try them all and call the neighbors over for a chili party that will turn up the heat on your street, and leave you feeling warm all over.

Butternut Squash Chili

by Janice Crawford

1 pound dry black beans
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
3 garlic cloves
1 cup chopped celery
3 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
2 chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cups chopped kale
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (or use fresh)
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 teaspoon salt

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain.
Sauté butter, garlic, onions and celery until soft.
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low 8 hours.

Best Darn Chili Ever
by Chris Harper

1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound filet mignon, cubed (or substitute sirloin)
1 pound kielbasa, cubed
1 large yellow onion, cut into large diced pieces
1 or 2 large green bell peppers, cut into pieces
6 jalapeno peppers, sliced

1 can of each of the following beans: dark red, light red, pinto, black, white northern, chili (add more if you’d like)
28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
28-ounce can whole tomatoes, cut into halves, drained
chili powder, to taste
onion powder, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
16-ounce can beer

Add all ingredients to slow cooker and cook on high 4 to 6 hours or low 8 to 10 hours.

Sara's Hot Buffalo Chicken Wing Chili
by Sarah Coyrea

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken breast
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic
1 small chili pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
28-ounce can tomatoes (or fresh)
19-ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
blue cheese dressing

Place a large pot over medium heat and heat oil. Add chicken and brown. Add next 7 ingredients. Cook for a few minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Add stock to pan and scrape the bottom, then add to slow cooker. Add hot sauce, tomatoes and beans to slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 4 hours. When almost done, add blue cheese dressing to taste. Serve with tortillas, carrots, celery and crumbly blue cheese.

Recipes from among entries at the 2012 Western Wake Farmers’ Market Chili Cook-Off.

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