Get your kids to love their veggies with this Slow Cooker Healthy Taco Ranch Chili. Full of family-friendly flavors and easy to prepare, this dinner is sure to please everyone at your table!
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If you read my blog regularly, you probably already know how passionate I am about feeding my kids a variety of healthy foods. I want to raise them to appreciate good meals, to know where their food comes from, and to understand the importance of a well-rounded diet. Sure, we enjoy treats on a regular basis…but we also balance out our indulgences with lots and lots of fruits and vegetables!
And you know what? My persistence has paid off! I am raising three little boys who can identify most vegetables at a farmers market, who can recognize most local plants in a garden, and who will at least try (and usually like!) any vegetable that I put on their plate. In fact, they often eat their fruits or veggies before they even get to the rest of their meal.
That’s why I was so excited to partner with Birds Eye Vegetables and celebrity chef Melissa d’Arabian to spread the word about their Step Up To The Plate program and to share some tips to help get kids excited about veggies!
Together, Birds Eye and Melissa (host of FoodNetwork.com’s web series The Picky Eaters Project) are working to make a difference and help moms with our dinnertime dilemma. We all know that it can be hard to get a balanced meal on the table every day, but with Birds Eye’s frozen vegetables and Melissa’s expertise, we can get our children to eat more veggies…one bite at a time!
Step Up To The Plate is Birds Eye’s long-term commitment to reshape kids’ perceptions of veggies and to get children to love veggies for life. Birds Eye provides moms with more than 40 unique vegetable blends year-round at affordable prices, making our jobs in the kitchen just a little bit easier!
My kids love the Birds Eye products so much that when I drag them grocery shopping with me, one of their “rewards” is that they each get to pick out a microwaveable Steamfresh bag of their choice to have with one of our family dinners during the week. I’m not kidding – they really get excited for this! I just chuckle to myself…
And since I know that one of their favorites is the classic Mixed Vegetable Blend, I can easily add a big bag of the veggies to a Crock Pot full of chili, resulting in a well-balanced supper (with almost no effort on my part)!
If your kids don’t love the taste of plain steamed vegetables, this is a great way to get the good stuff into their little tummies. When my boys think that they might not like something in a dish, I just remind them that all of the ingredients are cooked and “swimming” in the same delicious sauce, so I know that it will all taste good. That usually convinces them to give the “scary” ingredient a try, and 9 times out of 10 they realize that it is good! And since Ranch and taco seasonings are two of the most-loved flavors amongst the children I know, this particular dinner is sure to please even your pickiest audience.
Don't think that your kids like chili? Have you tried "chili mac"? When my boys were babies, I introduced them to the seasonings and textures of chili by serving it over pasta. I used spaghetti, wagon wheels, penne, whatever I had on hand. Give it a try if you don't think that your little ones will enjoy a bowl of this deliciousness on its own!
And for more great tips to get your kids excited about their veggies, check out this video from Melissa d’Arabian. She shares a great, easy, one-pan recipe for Orange Chicken with Broccoli, which even the pickiest eaters are sure to gobble up!
Then head on into your kitchen and start simmering a batch of this comforting, nutritious dinner!
Slow Cooker Healthy Taco Ranch Chili
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 1.5 ounce packet taco seasoning
- 1 1 ounce packet Ranch dressing seasoning
- 2 15 ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 14.5 ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
- 1 19 ounce bag of Birds Eye Steamfresh Pure & Simple Mixed Vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, and green beans)
- Optional for serving: corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, or green onions
- In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain fat off of beef and transfer meat to a 5-6-quart slow cooker.
- Add taco seasoning, Ranch seasoning, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, and green chilies. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Just before serving, steam vegetables in microwave until just crisp-tender. Stir cooked vegetables into the slow cooker and serve.
- Top individual bowls of chili with corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and green onions, as desired.
Tip: If you don't want to have to spend time browning your ground beef in the morning before you start your slow cooker, you can cook the meat in advance and keep it in the freezer or refrigerator until you're ready to use it!
Have a picky eater in your house? Check out these previous posts:
10 Tips for Dealing with a Picky Eater
7 Tips to Packing Healthy Lunches for Picky Eaters
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.