At Home with Lisa: Slow Cooker in the Summer

This summer has been so hot the last thing I want to do is heat up the house using the cook top on my stove for hours.

The end of summer has put me in the mood for some chili. When I was looking though Avista’s Energy Guide, it recommended using small appliances to cook in the summer instead of the stove and range. A quick Google search told me that a slow cooker uses less than a kilowatt an hour while the stove top and oven use about 3 kilowatts an hour.

My chili recipe is easy, and you can change up the ingredients and it will still turn out delicious.

First, I brown my ground beef with some salt, pepper and a pinch of barbecue rub, if I have it. Yes, I use the stove top for this, but I brown the meat at the lowest temperature possible, and it doesn’t take long. I drain off the fat and add it to my slow cooker.

I rinse and drain the kidney beans and add them to the pot, followed by the fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce.

This time, I had some roasted hatch chilis that I dices and tossed in just for fun, but you can skip that step if you don’t have them.

I turned my slow cooker to low and waited for a few hours—taste it before serving to make sure it’s done.

Top each serving with whatever your favorite is, cheese, sour cream, green onions or corn chips.

Be sure to cover and wrap any leftovers before putting them into the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture which makes your fridge work harder.

What small kitchen appliance will you replace your stove with today?

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

Read Avista's Energy Guide for more energy-saving tips.

Energy Guide


  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Energy Saving
  3. Summer