This super-easy Crock-Pot chili recipe from Lisa Leake's new cookbook will become one of your family's favorites.

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Slow-Cooker Chili
Credit: Lindsey Rose Johnson

In 2010 I was given the wake-up call of my life when I watched an episode of Oprah featuring Michael Pollan, who was talking about where our food comes from, and realized that the Standard American Diet we were eating might actually be a big problem.

I knew some serious changes were in order, but I struggled with where to begin. I literally lost sleep over what to feed my kids if goldfish and fruit snacks were no longer options. But I felt compelled to figure it out and dove in headfirst. After loads of extensive research and experimentation, I finally started to relearn how to food shop and cook for my family.

Then one night I had an idea. What if our family of four took a pledge to go 100 straight days without eating any processed food at all? My hope was that our little experiment (which I documented and is still housed on my blog 100 Days of Real Food) would help draw attention to how dependent Americans have become on processed food, show that a typical suburban family could survive (and even thrive!) on real food, and convince as many other people as possible to join us.

And little did I know how life-changing it would be. Slowly but surely my little blog grew from 50 readers (mostly family and friends) to millions around the globe.

The more I talk with my readers, the clearer it is that people are looking for fast, easy ways to integrate real food into their lives. That’s why I wrote my new book 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous. I included 100 quick and easy recipes created with busy families in mind. This slow cooker chili recipe is one of my favorites.

With this chili recipe, my goal was to make things as quick and easy as possible. And trust me, it doesn’t get much easier or more delicious than this one. This is my go-to meal for new moms or friends in need. I like to bring it over in freezer-proof jars so they have the option to either reheat it as needed (for dinner or lunch) or stick it in the freezer for another day!

Easy Slow-Cooker Steak Chili

Makes 5 or 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds stew beef (grass-fed recommended), cut into 2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (double this if you like it hot!)

1/2 onion, diced

One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juice)

TOPPINGS: Grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, and/or fresh cilantro

1. Put the stew beef chunks in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Top with the onion, beans, and tomatoes.

2. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours, until the beef is completely tender. Shred the beef with a fork before serving, if desired. Serve warm with the desired toppings.

LISA’S TIP: When freezing soup in jars, be sure to leave room at the top for the liquid to expand.

100 Days of Real Food Fast & Fabulous

From 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous by Lisa Leake. Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Leake. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.