Up Your Meal Planning Game: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

My name is Erika Theisen, I am a super busy person (aren’t we all?), so I began meal prepping to help me maintain a healthy lifestyle.  If I have nothing prepared, am hungry and not at home, I am almost guaranteed not to choose the healthiest option to eat. Meal prep eliminates the possibility for me to choose an unhealthy meal or snack and eliminates the amount of times I go out to eat. I am able to maintain this lifestyle because I make sure the meals taste good and there is a wide variety to choose from.  My goal is to cook meals that don’t taste like I am on a diet or restricting myself and prepare food that someone who does not follow paleo would enjoy. Additionally, I don’t like making the same meal too often and I stick to simple recipes with fewer ingredients and ingredients that I know.

By sharing these recipes I hope people will enjoy the meals and realize eating this way is not hard, it is yummy, it does not need to be or feel restrictive… anyone can do it.



Stumbled on this recipe and realized that it’s time for all the squash, pumpkin, and sweet potato recipes to come out! My favorite time of the year. This pumpkin chili turned out delicious and was an awesome recipe to kick off the fall season. I did tweak the recipe some and added roasted sweet potatoes once the chili was finished, and I may be biased, but I thought that made the meal even better. I also have to admit that I was expecting the chili to have more of a pumpkin flavor, but the sweet potatoes might have taken away from that or I might just love pumpkin too much that I need a lot of it. Either way though, the chili still turned out tasting amazing and I highly suggest this recipe to anyone!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

1 Tbsp coconut oil or pure beef tallow (such as Fatworks Pure Tallow)
2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ pounds grass-fed ground beef or bison
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
½ 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 14-oz. can pumpkin puree
½ – 1 cup chicken broth or water (homemade or store-bought)
2 ½ tsp. dried oregano
1 ½ Tbsp. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ – ¾ tsp. sea salt
⅛ tsp black pepper


-Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil and saute the onions and peppers, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until onions start to soften.
-Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.
-Add the ground beef. Use a spatula or large spoon to break it up as it cooks. Cook until meat is nearly cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
-Transfer meat mixture to the slow cooker.
-Add remaining ingredients and stir.
-Set heat to LOW and cook for 6-7 hours. Serve with desired toppings.

My Homemade Sweet Potato Fries
(Basically just roasted sweet potatoes)

4-6 Sweet Potatoes (Depending on how much you want to make. 5 medium sized sweet potatoes usually gets me 6 oz of sweet potato fries for 6 meals. I think my idea of medium sized is bigger than most though.)
Olive oil spray
Sea salt (I actually use Garlic Sea Salt on everything I cook)
Optional: Cinnamon



-Preheat oven to 425 degrees
-Skin and cut the sweet potatoes into whatever shape you want. I either do fries, wedges or circles.
-Spray baking pan with olive oil. Lay down sweet potato fries flat (please do not just dump a pile on the pan).
-I fill my Misto with olive oil and lightly spray the fries, then add some sea salt (sometimes cinnamon too).
-Bake for 15-20 minutes. Take out of the oven and move them around or flip them over. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.
-Keep an eye on them, if they are thin bake for less time, and vice versa. Key is to move them around or flip them over half way through baking them. I usually make mine thicker, so I bake them for at least a total of 40 minutes.

Erika Theisen

Erika Theisen

Erika is a CrossFit Level 1 coach, 2016 CrossFit Regionals Team Competitor, and University of Maryland Women's Soccer Alum.She is an avid meal prepper, sourcing fantastic recipes for the purpose of creating meal prepping for a healthy lifestyle.Check out her blog LiveSqueezy for additional meal prepping ideas.
Erika Theisen
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