People are excited about going back to school for so many reasons...
I like going back to school because it means it's crock pot season. (and, being a contract teacher, I get paid again. But that's a whole other story.)
What's my fascination with the crock pot? Growing up, my mum used her crock pot at least 3 times a week so I guess part of it is nostalgia - especially since, according to her, "Canada has two seasons. BBQ and Crock Pot". The other part is that, like everyone else in this world, I'm too busy to make a proper dinner every night. Housewife of the year...I am not. But using my crock pot makes people think I am, which is almost as good.
To me, crock pots are meant for cold weather foods like stew and roasts and my favourite - chili which is exactly what I came home and whipped up at lunch. Best part? It was done at 5 when my hubby had to go to work, and was still hot when I got home at 6.
Here's the recipe I created - I don't do kidney beans, though I'm sure they'd be fine to add. It's been a crowd pleaser around here for the last few years!
Brown 2 lbs of ground beef, drain and rinse to remove as much fat as possible
1 can of lentils, drained & rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can of mushrooms, drained & rinsed
1 can of peaches & cream (or sweet) corn, drained & rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes (they actually have chili spiced tomatoes, they're good too)
2 packages of chili or taco seasoning (Old ElPaso makes a reduced salt version)
A hand full of fresh cilantro, finely chopped (if you have it, if not, leave it out)
Throw it all into a crock pot / slow cooker on low all day, or on high if you start it after lunch.
I like my chili to stick to my ribs. I will make a thickener of corn starch and water mixed together (usually <1/2 will do it) to thicken the whole thing up. Pour it in a little at a time and stir. It will thicken pretty quick, so add it slowly so you don't get chili you can stand on.
Serve in a bowl garnished with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a few nacho chips. It's delish!
For ideas on how to use leftovers...check out "Yesterday's Chili..."