By Dianne Bunis

The leaves have noticeably changed, the weather is crisper and the weekend belongs to football. Talk about comfort food -- this chili will satisfy any fan, rookie or seasoned pro and is especially delicious served with toppings. The chili can be refrigerated, covered for up to three days or frozen for up to three months. Touchdown!

Slow-Cooker Chili

Veggie or chicken, serves 6

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium vidalia onion, diced, reserve 1/4 cup for topping

2 large carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 sweet red pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 29 oz. can diced organic tomatoes

1 15.5 oz. can organic black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15.5 oz. can organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup organic vegetable broth

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

Course salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (optional)

Toppings

Low-fat sour cream, onion, sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

In a 4-6 quart slow cooker, drizzle the bottom with extra-virgin olive oil then add in this order: onion, carrot, pepper, garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes with liquid, beans and broth.

Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or until carrots are tender and chili has thickened. Stop here for vegetarian version.


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Otherwise, sauté chicken breast, when cooked through, shred and add to chili, stir to combine. (If you're feeding vegetarians and chicken-lovers, serve chicken on the side).

Serve chili topped with sour cream, grated cheese and reserved onion.