Slow Cooker Beef & 3 Bean Chili

Looking for a recipe for the superbowl tomorrow or perhaps a pot luck some other time? Then try this Slow Cooker Beef & 3 Bean Chili – sure to please a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I love this recipe for a regular family meal, not to mention the leftovers freeze well for later. But next time you’re entertaining, by letting the slow cooker do the work, you’re free to take care of other odds and ends with your dinner party.

In fact, I even made this chili when we had people over for New Year’s Eve! Click here to check out the party and to see the yummy desserts I made that night.

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The recipe has a straightforward ingredient list. Feel free to substitute your favorite beans.

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To prepare, it’s as easy as browning some beef…

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…and then mixing everything together in your slow cooker.

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Roughly 8 hours later, you have a delicious bowl of piping hot chili.

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Yum!

Slow Cooker Beef & 3 Bean Chili

This slow cooker chili is a crowd pleasing recipe that is as easy as it is tasty. I especially like to use this recipe for entertaining because I do all the hard work on the main event early in the day and have my hands free to make corn muffins, dessert, or just take care of last minute details before my dinner guests arrive. This chili would also make a great recipe for any day of the week in your standard dinner rotation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 15-ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15-ounce can of stewed tomatoes
  • 2  15-ounce can of no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Direction:

  1. Pre-heat a pan over medium heat and brown beef. Skim/drain oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on Low heat for 8 hours. Note: You could probably do 4 hours on high, but I haven’t tested this out.
  3. Serve with corn bread and your preferred toppings (we like shredded cheese). Enjoy!

Looking for a lighter version? Try this Slow Cooker White Turkey or Chicken Chili (click for recipe).

Thank you slow cooker!

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Serve chili with these easy and delicious corn muffins (click for recipe).

Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, and Kale Soup

Mondays seem to be my longest day of the week! I left my house just before 8:30am and didn’t get home till just before 10pm! I did take a quick 20 minute trip back after work to change clothes for Zumba, but phew! I’m zonked! I thought it would be best to share this fabulous soup because I really enjoyed the flavors and am already looking forward to making it again.

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This Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, and Kale soup is easy, fast, filling, and tasty! Plus the fun spices are a great change up from the boring usual soup rotation.

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Red lentils are the star ingredient. I chose them because they cook faster than other lentil varieties and I wanted lunch FAST one day.

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I also added some kale to the soup for extra nutrition and texture. I love greens in soups, but I find kale is especially good in soups because its texture is a bit more firm then, say, spinach.

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Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato, and Kale soup

This easy but deliciously flavorful soup whips up quickly. I love how the lentils keep you full, while the vegetables fill out the rest of the soup. I also enjoy how the flavor is so different then some other soup classics. Make this the next time you want a new, healthy soup fast. It freezes well, too, so you can enjoy it again later. Serve with some hearty, whole grain toast to complete the meal.

*Vegetarian/Vegan-able*

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 box chicken broth/stock (32 ounces) or use vegetarian/vegan broth alternative
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (you could probably leave off as the soup is pretty brothy)
  • 4 leaves kale, washed well, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • salt, pepper to season

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat a medium-large pot to medium heat. Add extra virgin olive oil. Add onion, celery, and carrots, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook till tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 60 seconds or until fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes, lentils, broth/stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Add kale, cumin, turmeric, mustard, salt. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 25 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

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Don’t you just love the bright color of the soup!?

Guglhupf + Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

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I have a new soup recipe to share with you guys, but first…

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Hubby and I are now home, but I have some more photos from my weekend away to share.

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Including this pretty plant at hubby’s mom’s house.

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We lucked out with more bright blue skies today.

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The weather was perfect for brunch with bloggie friends – Sarah, Josh, and Anne!

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We headed out to one of my fave places in Durham – Guglhupf.

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I love the funky-chic interior there – especially those glowing orbs of light.

Guglhupf has a casual brunch on the weekends with self-seating and ordering at the counter, which I really liked. More places should do this.

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I got a cappuccino to drink.

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I love how so many places in Durham do such pretty coffee art. I don’t know of anywhere back home that does this.

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I thought I was just going to miss this chick due to traveling schedules, but we juuust had enough time to meet up. :)

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Hubby even had a guy friend to chit chat with. Boy power!

Us girls had a totally different conversation going on at our end of the table, and it was so great to catch up with Sarah and Anne.

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Hubby got the Eggs Arnold – from the menu – “spinach, artichoke, and tomato topped with poached eggs & hollandaise served on brioche with seasonal fruit

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I tried the Farmer’s Omelette – “with house made country sausage, emmenthaler cheese & caramelized onions, served with seasonal fruit and sliced baguette

I don’t normally like sausage, but I seem to be on a bit of a kick with it lately. I blame the delicious sausage at The Flying Biscuit. lol. Anywho, the omelette was very tasty – especially with the gooey cheese and sweet onions. I wish I would have ordered a little extra veg or something, though. I don’t think I’ve been getting enough this weekend.

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Girl photo – Anne, moi, and Sarah. Hope to see these fab girls again soon!

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Hubby and I swung by the bakery on our way home to pick up goodies to take home, including a loaf of ciabatta to go with soup for dinner. We didn’t have any soup prepared, but I really wanted to bring some bread home and I just love soup with good, crusty bread. So, I figured I’d whip some up later.

I also picked up an almond croissant, which didn’t make it past the car ride home.

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I enjoyed the croissant with some Zen tea we picked up from Starbucks.

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The traffic was pretty busy, but I was thankful to not see any accidents. Maybe the slow-driving kept people safer?

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As we neared home, the sky opened up with the most gorgeous lighting.

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I took a ton of photos.

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And I even caught a couple planes landing.

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Bailey was pretty tuckered out and ready to be home.

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Once home, I got started in the kitchen. I started some soup and some new granola – maple cinnamon.

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I was really excited about the bread going with the soup. We ended up toasting the yummy ciabatta slices and adding a wee bit of real butter.

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As for the soup, I made up a tomato-lentil soup. I like making big batches of soup so I can freeze leftovers for quick meals later. I like how lentil soups are generally pretty filling, and I also prefer doing vegetarian soups because I think they freeze better (though Giada does have a bad-a$$ beef lentil soup).

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Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

Vegetarian/Vegan if you use the appropriate broth/soup

Most lentil soups seem to have directions requiring hours of cook-time. This affordable soup can be done in under 45 minutes (or less if you’re quick). The soup also doesn’t use fancy ingredients or even that many, making it an easy go-to soup for even busy weeknights.

Also, you can use the leftover broth/soup from this pot roast recipe to make this one…at least that’s what I did. ;) You may have more than 2 cups of broth/soup left, but you can just add it to the soup as long as you don’t mind if it’s a little more brothy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups beef broth (or vegan/vegetarian broth)
  • 2 cups french onion soup (broth version in carton, not can) (use vegan/vegetarian version if you prefer)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup french lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, washed, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat a medium/large pot over medium heat. Add EVOO. When oil is warm enough, add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook till onions turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 60 seconds.
  2. Add broth, soup, tomatoes, and lentils to the pot. Add basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25-40 minutes depending on how pressed for time you are or how tender you like your lentils. Taste the soup frequently past the 25 minute mark to check the texture. Add extra salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with nice, hearty bread and enjoy!

Tip: Freeze leftovers for easy meals when you’re pressed for time later

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After the soup, I was eyeing my homemade granola.

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I enjoyed a mini parfait over some vanilla Oikos (*).

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The granola is not bad, but it needs work. I’m going to tweak the recipe before sharing with you guys.

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Oh and lookie at what Sarah gave me – an adorable note pad.

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I love the note – “For CHIC recipe ideas!” Yes…this will be perfect for new recipe development…thank you Sarah!

***

By the way, I updated my Recipe page (click to view)! Be sure to take a looksie!

***

I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for my vacation to end. Luckily, I have more holiday vacation time ahead! How many days off work are you taking for December holidays? I think I’m going to have 7 hard-earned and carefully saved up days this year.

Morphing Soup + Broccoli Cheddar Individual Breakfast Casseroles

I know you guys are probably tired of seeing these, but I can’t help myself! I have half a loaf of bread I need to finish asap (and I don’t want to freeze it), and I’m having a blast trying different flavor combinations out for you guys!

Yes…I made more TCL Breakfast Cups aka Individual Breakfast Casseroles. Things in small versions are just more fun to eat, no?

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Today I went meat free with…

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Broccoli cheddar!

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Fresh out of the oven.

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Golden and dee-licious!

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Perfect with a nice, safe apple.

Broccoli-Cheddar Breakfast Cups (for 2)

*Recipe makes 4 breakfast cups for 2 people, but can easily be tripled (or multiplied further) to feed a crowd*

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bread, cut into cubes/chunks (I used hearty whole grain bread)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped (fresh or frozen should work)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (chopped small or shredded)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • dash garlic powder, pepper, turmeric (optional)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a muffin tin with non-stick spray (4 cups for the original recipe).
  2. Whisk egg, milk, and spices in a medium bowl.
  3. Add bread pieces, stir till bread is equally covered.
  4. Gently mix in broccoli and cheese and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Distribute equally into 4 muffin cups, pressing mixture gently into the cups.
  6. Bake for 24-28 minutes, until tops are golden brown and egg is cooked through.
  7. Let rest 5 minutes, or until safe to touch, before serving (careful, they’re hot!).
  8. Enjoy!

***

And for lunch, I had another leftover hodge-podge.

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I decided to use up some of the failed-tofu (trying to make lemonade out of lemons, ya know?) and some spinach.

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I re-heated some of that 3-bean veggie soup I froze into individual servings earlier this week and then added in the tofu and spinach one the soup was hot to heat the tofu through and wilt the spinach.

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I must say, I was really pleased with my work.

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I even re-heated the sweet potatoes and they were pretty good the second time around.

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This lunch was MUCH better than yesterdays…hooray!

Do you morph soup? I like to throw in leftover ingredients, especially cooked veggies and grains. What are your favorite ways to morph your soup?

Cozy Chicken Noodle Soup

It was humid and rainy here, so I thought the weather called for cozy food.

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First up – OATMEAL! Plus nice, hot coffee, of course.

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Pre-cooking:

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Cook stove top till thickened.

Post-cooking:

  • handful of blueberries, stirred in at end
  • flaxseed on top
  • sliced almonds on top
  • cacao nibs on top (so glad to have these back in the rotation!)

Remember you can get cacao nibs (or anything else in my OpenSky shop) either 20% off or with free shipping with these codes (july20pct or julyfreeship) in my OpenSky shop. Click here for details.

Lunch was sort of random.

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Chips and salsa

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Giant salad:

  • baby spinach/lettuce mix
  • organic celery
  • organic red bell pepper
  • organic baby carrots
  • farmers market cucumber
  • sunflower seeds
  • TJ’s balsamic

I got stuck in meetings and didn’t get to the rest of my lunch till 4pm. Luckily (or not so luckily), I had a 5-6pm meeting. So, I used my snack tide me over till dinner.

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My snack was related to a recent package I got – Barney Butter!!!! Yes! Barney Butter sent me some individual packages of almond butter for me to enjoy! Woohoo! :)

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Yep…Barney Butter + Whole Grain Goodness = fabulous-o snack!

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I toasted the bread and spread the BB on top. Love the way the heat makes it nice and gooey.

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And for a little something sweet – organic cherries!

***

No workouts for me today. I worked out Sunday, twice on Monday and taught zumba on Tuesday. I think it’s time for a rest day. :)

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Like I mentioned before, I’m still working on cooking more recipes from my cook books, starting with the 3 Ina Garten cookbooks my mom got me recently.

Since declaring my desire to try some of Ina’s recipes, I’ve already made one recipe – Ina’s Strawberry Country Cake – a real winner!

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One of the recipes I selected was Ina Garten’s chicken noodle soup.

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I used parsley from my garden in my soup.

And to save time, I roasted extra chicken breasts when I made dinner last night and used the leftover chicken to make tonight’s soup!

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I adapted Ina’s recipe because I like sauteing my veggies and I wanted to add onion.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe from her book Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • dash garlic powder
  • dash dried rosemary
  • 2 quarts Chicken Stock
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1 cup medium-diced carrots (7-9 baby carrots)
  • 2 cups wide egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle chicken with EVOO and rub into skin. Top chicken lightly with dashes of salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary. Roast 35-40 minutes (you may need to cook longer if the chicken breasts are really big). Set aside to cool. Note: You can also cook the chicken the night before like I did this week – cook extra for dinner one night and more for the soup – use the leftover meat for the soup.
  2. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, remove meat from bones and skin and pull into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  3. Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook till onions translucent – about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Add egg noodles and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 9-10 minutes or until pasta cooked al dente.
  6. Add chicken and parsley and cook to warm through.
  7. Serve with crusty bread.

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Very easy and tasty!

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Hubby and I enjoyed our soup with Great Harvest Whole Grain Goodness toast and a dab of real butter (his had a lil extra butter).

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Hubby got his hair did today.

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And dessert – hubby picked up 3 mini cinnamon rolls from GH when he was getting bread. They aren’t nearly as good as one large cinnamon roll, which is what he was going to get me until the 2 ladies in front of him ordered the very last 2! Bah! I’m not mad – 3 cinnamon rolls in mini size are way better than none. And they’re pretty darn tasty on their own, too – just not as tender.

***

Remember I scored you guys some deals on my OpenSky shop (20% off Galaxy Granola anyone? What about cacao nibs?) – click for details

And check out my latest recipe – marinated kale! Nommm

Do you like to eat anything in particular when it rains? I always seem to think comfort food – oatmeal, soup, casseroles, cobblers…you?

Happy Bowls + Hubby Does Turkey Chili

So happy this morning! I got to use the handmade bowl I picked up at the art show this past weekend for the first time!

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I know it seems silly to pay extra for a handmade bowl, but I’m all about positive energy and surrounding yourself with things you love. Anywho, I could have worse habits or buy far more expensive things, so I think this is fair.

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Does any one else’s dog come running at the sound of the knife hitting the cutting board? Every morning, Bailey will be in some other room and as soon as he hears the first “clunk” of my knife hitting the board, he comes ruuuunning in! We hardly ever give him human food, but I will give him the end piece of the banana because I don’t like it.

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And we re-stocked our oats – Bob’s Red Mill this time around – extra thick rolled oats.

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But back to my fabulous bowl…I had so much fun using it this morning for my breakfast: stovetop banana oatmeal with chia seeds, flaxseed meal, coconut and sunflower seeds.

Great start to the day! I can’t believe I ever used to skip breakfast. Nowadays, I just can’t miss my breakfasts. It’s too important and gets me started on the right foot.

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For lunch, I started with a organic baby romaine salad with organic cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds. Drew’s Italian dressing on the top.

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For lunch I had some bean and beef soup with some fresh-baked Great Harvest honey whole wheat (hubby picked it up today).

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I got the soup from my mom. She sent me home with some this weekend – she always gives me frozen homemade soups, which I love!

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I got the parsley from my mom, too. She hooked me up with a pot of it and I’ve got it just outside the house. Nothing like fresh herbs to liven up food, eh?

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I had the bread straight up. No need to play around with fresh-baked bread. It’s so tender and luscious. Mmm. My only disappointment was that we didn’t get Flax Oat Bran. I haven’t had any in forever and I swore I saw FOB on the menu for today! Hmm.

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I broke into the O.N.E Amazon Acai juice for lunch.

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Nutrition & Info.

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The juice wasn’t what I expected. I guess because it was sold next to the coconut water, I thought it would be more like it – lighter in color and flavor. This stuff was pretty good – not too sweet. It had an odd scent to it, but it tasted nice.

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Thanks to hubby I had a lunch dessert – a GH mini cinnamon roll with some yerba mate tea.

***

Vega Whole Food Vibrancy Bar in Chocolate Decadence Review

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I decided to try out the Vega Whole Food Vibrancy Bar in Chocolate Decadence (*).

According to the web site, each Vibrancy bar contains:

   * 17.5g of sprouts, rich in enzymes and phytonutrients

   * 10g of raw protein for easy digestion

   * 4g of Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids

   * 5g of soluble and insoluble fibre (20% of RDI)

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Nutrition etc. I love the ingredient list. It’s a bit long (for M Pollan fans) but the contents are great.

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The bar texture reminded me a bit of a Larabar with more texture and pieces of cacao nibs tossed in and a slightly grassy flavor. The chocolate flavor reminded me of a cross between cacao nibs and super dark chocolate. I think newbie health food bars may not enjoy this bar as much as they may like Larabars, etc. but I really liked it. Plus, I thought the bar was a great pre-workout snack and gave me a nice boost of energy for class.

***

Speaking of class, tonight I had another fabulous hour of ZUMBA!!! :)

I got to lead another song all by myself for the class – Jai Ho! Jai Ho is the first song I ever mirrored in class and it’s definitely the one I know the best. I can’t wait to branch out and try some others, though! Time to practice, practice, practice!

***

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I came home to a yummy-smelling house thanks to some prep work by hubby. He made a turkey chili! Props to him for taking the healthy path with the turkey!

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I was going to get some cornbread on my way home (since I adore cornbread and chili together), but when I remembered we still had more fresh-baked bread, I figured I’d take advantage of the freshness factor and enjoy another slice straight up.

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I also had a cup of some of hubby’s home brew. His competition is this weekend and I can’t wait to see how he does!

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As for the chili – hubby did an excellent job! It tasted great! We topped ours with just a bit of shredded cheese. I had two small bowls and felt great. Besides the achiness from class, of course. Phew! It’s been awhile since I’ve done two days of classes back-to-back, but it’s a good kind of hurt. :lol:

I had a mini bowl of Galaxy Granola for dessert. Ahh…ok catching up on The Hill and The City and then I’m off to bed. Have a great week everyone!

What are your favorite chili toppings?

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