Slow Cooker to the Rescue!

So this time change has had me feeling a little behind and tired all week.  When you add that to an already busy week at work, my motivation for cooking dinner is almost non-existent.  I would much rather pick up something to eat on the way home, than go straight to the kitchen and continue working.  There are people out there that probably find cooking a meal from scratch relaxing.  I am not one of those people.  I enjoy cooking most of the time, but for some reason, cooking any meal that requires more than 15-30 min active cooking time makes me feel exhausted before I even begin.  That is why most of the meals I cook are pretty simple and why I LOVE my slow cooker!

When I know I have a busy day coming up, I try to plan on making a meal in my slow cooker.  If I make sure to add an extra 10 min or so to my morning routine, I am able to throw some ingredients in my slow cooker and let it cook for me all day.  As an added bonus, mine has a timer I can set so it will switch to warming once it has finished cooking.  It is so relaxing to come home to the smell of an almost complete dinner and know I only have to do a few simple things to get the meal ready to eat.

One of my very favorite meals to make in the slow cooker is chili.  The longer it cooks, the better it tastes, so it is ideal for a slow cooker.

Here is my favorite recipe from the cookbook Simply in Season.

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef, venison, or turkey (brown in a large frypan)

1 onion (chop and saute 3-5 min)

1c green bell pepper (chop and saute 3-5 min)

1c celery (chop and saute 3-5 min)

4c cooked kidney beans or pinto beans

4c tomatoes (chopped) or tomato juice

1-2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp sugar, honey, or molassses

1 tsp salt or seasoned salt

1c corn

1c mushrooms

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 hot chili pepper

Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker (except the mushrooms) and cook on high for 15 min and then on low for 8-10 hours.  Add the mushrooms, if desired, during the last hour.  Serve as a soup or over rice or pasta.

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My favorite way to eat this chili is with cornbread.  (I usually pick up some already prepared cornbread from Whole Foods because it is amazing!)  And most of the time, I serve the leftover chili on baked potatoes the next day!

Do any of you use a slow cooker?  What is your favorite recipe?

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