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Chili con Carne

This chili con carne with ground beef is a serious crowd-pleaser, whether you're hosting a football-watching party or just feeding a hungry family. It has a nice, beefy, beany flavor and just enough spice. You'll be surprised that a chili that comes together in less than an hour has so much flavor. Three types of chile peppers (fresh poblanos, chili powder and chipotles in adobo) add depth and complexity. Poblanos also add some color to the chili--if you can't find them, you can sub bell peppers of any color, though they won't add heat. Using lean ground beef makes this chili healthier and also keeps it from being greasy. Be sure to brown the beef well for the best flavor: you want to stir to break up the chunks, but don't stir too much or the beef won't sear at all. Serve with cornbread a

Slow-Cooker Sichuan Chicken with Scallions & Baby Bok Choy

Sichuan peppercorns give this brothy slow-cooker chicken dish a distinctive lemony, mouth-numbing flavor. Unrelated to peppercorns, they're the dried berries of the prickly ash tree. Look for them in specialty markets and online. If you've never had them before, try one first and add more or less to taste. Serve with sesame baby bok choy (which takes just a few minutes to prep) and Chinese noodles for an easy, healthy dinner that'll get you out of your same-old-chicken-dish rut.

Slow-Cooker Squash, Millet & Lentil Dal with Herbed Yogurt

This slow-cooker dal recipe has a range of pleasing textures: red lentils and millet break down as they cook, and the toor dal, which are split pigeon peas, stay toothsome. Look for all three ingredients at Indian markets or natural-foods stores. The crock pot does most of the work for this healthy vegetarian recipe, and a quick herbed yogurt added just before serving brightens up the flavors. Bonus: Both the dal and the yogurt can be made ahead and the leftovers are wonderful.