Granny’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

I realize that I’ve made chili before and put up the photos of the event on Facebook – – but this is a different recipe that I got from www.recipezaar.com .  I made it for a holiday gathering  this past Christmas and enjoyed it so much that I decided to make it again.  The secret is the addition of baked beans:  the sweet combined with the saltiness of the other ingredients – – and the spiciness of the jalapeno, chili powder and can of green chilis – – – – well, it’s nothing short of heavenly.

The recipe:

I went ahead and did a rough chop of the onion, bell pepper, celery and zucchini.  Please remember that I “rough chop” because I don’t know how to do anything else – – but in this chili, it doesn’t really matter.  Thank God.

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Next I sauteed the vegetables in a skillet which always makes me feel like an Actual Cook instead of just a Crockpot Poser Cook.  Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit too bold this time, and I tried to do a pan toss instead of a stir, and some of the vegetables fell on the floor.  Next time,  I’ll practice first with something that I’m not going to need to eat later.

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Once the vegetables looked tender, I dumped them into the crock pot:

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And once the actual “cooking” part was done (yay!), then I began opening cans of beans and the rest of the dry ingredients and putting them all in the crockpot along with the sauteed vegetables

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At that point, I needed to add the tomato puree and black bean soup.  These are the only two “liquid” items in the recipe.  The mixture is very thick when you first mix it all together – – but as it cooks, it breaks down and forms a wonderful chili texture.

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Once mixed up, I turned the crockpot to “High” and went to go do other things for 4 hours.  On this particular afternoon, what I did was watch “The Money Pit” starring Shelly Long and Tom Hanks.  That movie’s got some great parts in it, but my absolute favorite is when he has a complete hysterical laughing fit after the bathtub falls through the floor and crashes onto the floor below them:

That scene gets me  Every.  Single.  Time. 

Anywho…once the movie was over, I checked in on the chili and this is what I found:

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Mmmmmmm.  It smelled and tasted SO good.  I will admit that I added a LOT more chili powder at this point, one more jalapeno, and some red pepper because I like my chili really spicey. 

I let it cook for another hour and a half or so…and then served it up in a bowl and topped it off with some reduced fat chedder cheese, lowfat sour cream, and cilantro to eat in front of some bad TV.   Bad TV and good chili on a Sunday night….what could be better?

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Love, love, LOVE this recipe.  It’s some of the best chili I’ve eaten – – vegetarian or otherwise.  Make it now!!!

Go on…..go!  Shoo!  Go get the ingredients!  😉

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African Inspired Winter Squash, Chickpea and Lentil Stew

Hello crock pot fans – – I have received enough positive feedback on my facebook photo chronicles that I decided it would be more concise to put all my crock pot adventures in a blog.  If you find this blog to be more boring than watching “Leave it to Beaver” in Spanish (“Buenos Dias, Senor Cleavor…”), then you only have yourselves to  blame.  You should have never encouraged me with laughter and praise.  They are like kryptonite for the Crappy Cook….my complete downfall.  A monster is, thus, created.

Yesterday, I embarked on an African adventure – – an adventure consisting of lentils, squash and chickpeas.  Yes, I know….it’s not as exciting as a safari full of lions, tigers and zebras (Oh my!), but in my little city condo, it was quiiiittte the exotic culinary jaunt.  More exotic than Kroger’s zesty garlic hummus that I select from the refrigerated bin located very near the Velveeta cheese.

Ingredients as follows:

** Note – – I used green lentils instead of red because when I picked up the ingredients at Whole Foods, I asked one of the workers there if they had red lentils and his response was as follows:  ” **blink, blink, blink, blink**  ‘Uhhhhhh…'”.  So I just went with green lentils so-as to avoid mental implosion on both his and my part.

Ok, so I chopped up the butternut squash which was….let me tell you….a bit of an ordeal.  I had no peeler (will be purchasing one soon…an investment!!!), so I kinda just hacked off the skin of the squash with my butcher knife, cut it in half, then stared at the seeds on the inside while biting my lip.  I couldn’t remember what to do with the seeds…so I sorta just brushed them off into the sink and pretended that the ones left weren’t really there.

I’m not Rachael Ray, people.  I’m the Crappy Cook.

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Next, I chopped up the carrots in my not-so-expert way which goes against what all good cooks in my life (mostly men who cook well…and, thus, tick me off in doing so.  Show-offs!) have told me is the right way to cut up vegetables.  The result is a passable effort:

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After chopping up the onions and grating the ginger, I put all the dry ingredients into the crockpot…:

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Then….THEN!!!!….came the spices.  I was very excited when I got to the spice part because it meant I got to put in the Saffron.  And this was exciting to me because the Saffron came in a TEST TUBE.  It looked like something that was stolen from a  top secret basement lair of the CDC by men wearing plastic suits, boots and gas masks right before they called Mulder and Scully to come and stare at it with wrinkled brows and looks of extreme consternation.  Behold the Saffron:

saffron

I chopped up the saffron and waited to break out into mysterious hives, setting off a domino effect that would quarantine the whole area within a 10 mile square radius of my condo, but nothing happened – – so I put it, and the rest of the spices, into the pot.  Next…the tomato paste:

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Then…the vegetable broth:

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Then I mixed it up…

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And now my FAVORITE part of the whole preparation:   turning on the crockpot…and heading off to do other stuff for 4-5 hours.  What does The Crappy Cook do when the food is simmering in the crock pot?  WHATEVER I WANT TO!!!

About 30 minutes prior to serving dinner, I poured in the lime juice, and while that simmered, I chopped up the cilantro, put the bread in the oven and cooked the brown rice.  In a short time, it was ready to go:

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This meal was FAB-U-LOUS.  I will absolutely make it again – – it’s been one of my favorite things I’ve made since I started the Crock pot Chronicles and would highly recommend it. 

Until next time, this is The Crappy Cook signing off….and wishing everyone happy lazy cooking!

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