Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sundays Crockpot

Edit: So I started typing this whole thing out and thought I had lost all the pictures that I took of the process so I stopped halfway through this on Sunday night. It turns out I lost some of them but not all so I can proceed with my little recipe breakdown after all! Just trust me that this was done Sunday and not Tuesday!

Sundays are generally a lazy day around here. Even regular cleaning and house work seems to take a backseat when there is so much lounging and sipping tea to be done! Besides, there are 6 other days of the week to worry about all that!

For that reason, I've made it a habit to make crockpot meals on Sundays. This Sunday was a chili type of day and I've decided to catalog all my recipes and procedures here so I have a good go to that I can come back and reference. It also helps that I can see all the mistakes I made along the way and remind myself for later on!

Crockpot Chili

1-1/5lbs ground beef
1 onion
1/2 green pepper
1 can black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans
2-4 garlic cloves (I love garlic so I always double it up)
2 cans tomato puree
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Ok so here we go, first step is to gather all of your ingredients

You will notice that the onion is missing from the above 2 pictures and that is because I am not very good at planning and I used all the onion on the spaghetti I made Saturday! Rest assured I did run to the grocery store and pick them up!

So, after you've made sure you are not an airhead and have all of your ingredients together. You throw some EVOO in a pan and cook up your ground beef. I am in love with my crockpot because it actually will cook/saute the meat before the slow cook. Thus cutting down on the amount of pans I have to  clean! Yes! So if your crockpot does this, throw the ground beef in there and cook it until it's brown. What I do is choose the brown/saute setting and the highest heat, which is 400*F and throw it in after it's warmed up.  You don't really have to season it but I personally can't stand the smell of unseasoned meat cooking so I always add a dash of garlic powder and some salt and pepper. Can't hurt right?

Ok so once your ground beef is all nice and browned and delicious looking, drain all the fat and throw it in your crockpot or return it to the crockpot.

What you will do now is set your crockpot to slow cook! I put mine on low for 8 hours but ended up actually removing it about 7 hours in, when Shaun came home. This is totally fine, we've already cooked the meat so there's no chance of anything being undercooked. Besides, if your food isn't cooked in 7 hours, make sure you are plugging it in before you start!
 While your crockpot is heating up, chop up your veggies!

 See! I told you I got the onions! So chop up all your veggies, it doesn't have to be exact. I like smaller pieces of veggies in my chili but you can leave them in larger pieces if you wish! Alternately, if you have other veggies you wish to try, don't be afraid to throw them in as well! The original recipe I adapted this from has celery in it! Who knew? Pick what you love and throw it in there!
 Also make sure to offer your bunny some green pepper since he's been standing there supervising you the entire time to see if you drop anything.
 Only for him to nibble on it and realize he's not a fan of green peppers. Ah well, I'm sure you'll lick the bowl when this is all done anyways...

After you throw all your veggies in, add your pureed tomato. I like to drain and rinse the beans before I add them but the black beans I bought were seasoned and had a nice flavor so I might just dump the whole can in there next time. Add your beans and your seasonings and maybe an extra clove or two of minced garlic, it won't hurt anything, I promise!
 Stir it all up and close the lid! The next few hours you can do any of the following: wipe down the kitchen counters, dust all those places you've been meaning to dust, water the houseplants, or just sit down with the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living and a hot cup of tea and swoon over all the amazing recipes and projects you swear you're going to try, like, tomorrow!

After a couple hours your chili will look like this. In reality if you're pressed for time you can cook this on high in half the time but I love the fact that I can throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and essentially leave it all day while I catch up on blogs-ahem- I mean clean the house

Then, when you're ready just scoop and serve! I like to throw a decent amount of shredded cheddar on top and let it melt a little bit before eating. mmmm yeah that's the good stuff!

This is the perfect recipe for a winters day, it fills the house with the delicious smell of smokey, hearty chili and is the perfect wrap up for a cold, soggy day! Even though I made this on Sunday, there is still a ton leftover so I might help myself to some tonight or tomorrow for lunch!

Disclaimer: Chili is like pizza, different regions and different families all claim their own chili recipe is the best in the entire world. Each person has their own likes and dislikes and guess what? Luckily we live in America! So you can choose whatever type of crust you like on your pizza! You can also choose how hot or mild or what type of vegetables you like in your chili! If you like a little more spice, you can always throw in some diced up peppers or a bit more cayenne and stir it up. There's also the option of adding hot sauce to your own bowl so the rest of the family doesn't have to suffer through burning tongues! : ) You can also tell me what your favorite go to chili recipe is, I'm always ready to try something new!

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