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5 Easy Tips for Making Your Kitchen More Energy-efficient {Slow Cooker Beef Chili Recipe}

I’m writing this post as a Project Envolve™ Ambassador. I have not been compensated for this post, but I did receive a promotional item to facilitate energy savings in my home.

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In all my years, I’ve never spent a winter at home.

I’ve always worked full-time, and we’ve always had a pretty steady electric bill. But now that I’m home all day with 2 kids, WOW. The electric bill is all over the place! (…and not in a good way.)

I’ve decided to head into January with a mission: reduce our electric usage by 10%. We’re trying to make changes in every room of the house, but I spend the bulk of my time in the kitchen, so I know that’s really the place to start being more aware.

…and it just so happens that my new goal lines right up with my 2nd mission as a Project Envolve™ Blogger! This month, our mission is to inspire kitchen efficiency during the winter months when baking and roasting can drive energy costs through the roof.

PPL Electic Utilities is the primary sponsor of Project Envolve, so they’ve sent over a few kitchen efficiency tips for me to share with you.

Kitchen Efficiency Tips 1


Kitchen Efficiency Tips 2


Feeling inspired? I love the onion ring idea!

The 5th tip I have is the one that I use the most: slow cooking! Using a countertop slow cooker uses only the fraction of the energy an oven would use, and you get the added benefit of being able to turn it on and walk away.

A great-smelling house doesn’t hurt, either! Who doesn’t love walking in the front door and remembering that you did yourself the favor of preparing dinner ahead of time? Total food win.

Here’s a slow cooker favorite that we’re making a lot this winter. It’s inspired by this kid-appropriate turkey chili recipe at SkinnyTaste.com, but we use grass-fed beef cubes instead. They get fall-apart tender in the slow cooker, and I like the texture a lot better than ground meats. Lots of colorful veggies add interest, and the spices are nice and mild, so it’s just right for kids. My son loves it, and I love that cooking it saves energy in our home!

Slow Cooker Beef Chili


Kid-Friendly Slow Cooker Beef Chili

  • 1 lb beef stew cubes
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced bell pepper (we use 1/2 of a yellow, orange and red pepper and save the rest for snacking.)
  • 28 oz can Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef cubes. (Sprinkle with salt and pepper while browning.) Add beef to crock pot.

In the same pan, heat the oil, then sauté the onion until translucent, adding the garlic at the very end for about a minute to brown. Add to slow cooker along with bell pepper, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt, mix until well blended. Pour beef broth into the crock pot and add the bay leaf.

Cook on low for approx. 4 hours. If chili gets too thick, add 1 cup of water halfway through cooking.

Garnish with diced avocado and shredded Cheddar, if desired. Enjoy! Serves 4–6.

How do you save energy in your home? Do your efforts change seasonally? Visit the other Project Envolve Ambassadors to see how they’re saving energy this winter, too. 




  1. That looks delicious! We’re big slow cooker fans over here too and use it about 3-5 times a week! Plus it makes the house smell wonderful!!
    Natalie @ A Turtle’s Life for Me recently posted..5 Minute Tortilla Soup and Chocolate Espresso Cake-in-a-MugMy Profile

  2. This looks like an amazing recipe! I love the bright colors, and the fact that it is slow cooked! It is crazy to think the stove uses more energy that a cooker that cooks for hours! I need to evaluate our bills too!
    Amy Desrosiers recently posted..Easy Valentine’s Day Sugar CookiesMy Profile

  3. I use to be a peeker. I learned the lesson after my cake fell one to many times.
    Debi recently posted..Request a Free Fragrance Sample of Hugo RedMy Profile

  4. Thank you for the energy saving tips, I found those fun and educational. Confession time, I am an oven peeper : )
    Karla Campos recently posted..Technology in Commercial Real EstateMy Profile

  5. I’m a big fan of slow cooker meals, and seem to make an increased amount of those in the cold months. I don’t know why that is – maybe because they make the house smell good and are hearty! I love that onion idea. That is so cool.

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I love slow cooker meals and knowing I’m using less energy is a definite benefit. This recipe sounds so good, especially on a cold day like today.

  7. This chilli looks wonderful! Thanks for the great tips! I love using my slow cooker!
    Jennifer B recently posted..Excerpt: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain ReadingMy Profile

  8. I need to follow some of these tips I had a huge electric bill this month…
    Trice recently posted..Do you still have your Christmas Tree up?My Profile

  9. we use our slow cooker a lot. and we used to cook on the wood stove frequently- lost that when we moved to a fireplace insert :(
    brett recently posted..Satisfy your sweet tooth at P.F. Chang’sMy Profile

  10. Oh, I love using my slow cooker all year round but especially in the winter. That looks delicious. It is freezing here and I want hot soup!

  11. You’re so right about the smell of a slow cooker being heavenly. Oh, how I love that, and I do really like that it saves energy too. In the summer, it’s nice because you don’t have to heat up your whole house with an oven when it’s already hot too.
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted..Cheesy Potato Soup with Bacon (Slow Cooker Recipe)My Profile

    • So true! You don’t really think of slow cookers as a summer thing, but they really are even better then! (You an even bake in them!)

  12. I almost died when we opened out last electric bill, it was more than double what we usually pay in the summer months! I guess that’s what you get when you’re up almost 24 hours a day with a newborn.

    The stew looks amazing, I love all the colors
    Alecia @ Chicken Scratch NY recently posted..Beeswax Candle & Mixed Nut CenterpieceMy Profile

    • Yup, that happened to us, too! Especially when I quit my job. Now that I’m home with the kids, we use a lot more energy!

  13. I use my slow cooker all year round.It’s actually more important in the summer, which I don’t want to heat the kitchen when it’s over 100 degrees outside! I’m always looking for new recipes and this one sound great!

  14. See, i cannot get my kids to eat beef (well my daughter) but that looks so fresh and delicious!!
    trisha recently posted..Create your own indoor Waterfall with food coloringMy Profile

  15. Your stew looks fantastic and I love the tips that you shared! I learned a long time ago to never peek in the oven!
    Cynthia L recently posted..In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party #50My Profile

  16. I love that onion ring tip!
    Lisa recently posted..Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show Giveaway!My Profile

  17. What a great list of tips, especially the one about peeking into the stove while cooking. Who knew?! I need to implement a few of these and see how they work for us.
    Rhonda Yvsg recently posted..Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card – Sverve Turns One SweepstakesMy Profile

  18. That chili looks delicious to me. If my kids wouldn’t eat it, that would just mean more for me!
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  19. I’m totally inspired! I didn’t know all these. Now I need to get a new slow cooker.

  20. Great tips for the kitchen and a good recipe! Winner.

  21. Thanks for the tips. I’m always peeking in the oven checking to see if its finished. Never heard of the onion ring one. I’ll have to give it a try.
    Amanda Love recently posted..Light Up With Twinkle Toes by Skechers #ReviewMy Profile

  22. great tips, your chili looks amazing! I love the large chucks of meat you have in it and topped with avocado! yummy!
    Mama to 5 BLessings recently posted..Felt Like We Were In A Sci-Fi Movie……………. Wordless Wednesday With LinkyMy Profile

  23. Great tips! Opening the oven door is so tempting but definitely something to avoid.
    Shannah @ Just Us Four recently posted..Roast Beef CrostiniMy Profile

  24. Thanks for the great tips. Will come in handy!
    Debbie Denny recently posted..Enter $50 Visa Giftcard Sponsored by All Store Displays!My Profile

  25. had no idea, thanks for the awesome tips!
    Kristyn recently posted..Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Powder Duo ReviewMy Profile

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