Slow Cooker Chili

Happy Meatless Monday, ya’ll! I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to put into words my last yoga class and gong bath experience from this last weekend, so that will be coming in the next day or so. But until then, I made some yummy vegetarian chili for My Meatless Monday!

Is anyone else ready for spring?! Ugh, I wish it would just get here already! The weather around good ol’ Chicago land has been dismal–but nothing out of the ordinary: 40 degree days that turn into 7 degree nights that turn into 16 degree days and a “snow storm” of 2 inches that makes everyone freak out and forget that they live in CHICAGO on and on. Anyway. If you couldn’t guess, I truly dislike the winter, but there are a few things that keep me from going off the deep end:

  1. I can keep food in the car and it won’t go bad.
  2. Holidays.
  3. Hearty soups and chili.

Since the last couple weeks have been so harsh and frigid that I proclaim it “warm” when it reaches 30 degrees outside, I figured a nice, thick chili was in order. And for a double-dose of awesome, I decided to make a crock pot chili dinner that would be ready for me when I got home! 🙂

NOTE: Now, fair warning, my crock pot is a little dinky thing (2 quarts), so you will probably have to make some adjustments if you make it like I do.

Over the years, I have tried a bunch of different chili recipes, but I usually just end up doing whatever I feel like that day. One thing that stays constant is that I LOVE thick, chunky chili and lots of beans! So here is my very own favorite way to do vegetarian chili–for today, at least 😉

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As far as the base goes, some people like going the tomato sauce or paste and water route, but I like doing a mix of crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. I also throw in a can of black beans (I like to add another can of kidney beans when I make it on the stove top, but like I said, my 2 quart-er can’t handle too many fixins’), red pepper, corn, onion, and garlic. This time around, I added some zucchini for some extra veggie lovin’ and color. I bought the little baby zucchinis from Trader Joe’s because when you cut them, they make for great bite sized pieces… and because they’re just too cute! Unfortunately  I forgot to buy a jalapeno 😦 But oh well, I will survive! Oh, and of course some ground cumin and chili powder.

I woke up about a half hour early today so that I could get this baby going, and it was totally worth it. For the prep, all I had to do was:

  • Shave the corn off the cob with a pairing knife
  • Dice up about 3/4 of my red pepper
  • Mince 2 cloves of garlic
  • Cut 3 baby zucchinis into little dime-like pieces and then then cut them into half-moons–that’s the professional term for it, right? 😉
  • Dice half an onion

After that, it’s pretty much a cake walk. I just dumped all of those veggies into my crock pot, added 3/4 of the can of crushed tomatoes (about 21 of 28 ounces), the can of diced tomatoes, and the can of black beans (be sure to drain all the liquid out well). Then I gave it a couple big stirs, and voila!

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So pretty!! You know you’re on the right track when your food has lots and lots of color in it 🙂 But then I realized I forgot to add the spices! DOH!

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I love me some cumin, so I like to add one whole teaspoon, but sometimes that’s a bit much for people, so I’d suggest starting with a 1/4 teaspoon for this size batch and going from there to your taste. Then I added 1 tablespoon of chili powder–because I love that too 😉 Then I gave it several more good stirs, covered it, and set that baby on loooooow  and let it cook all the while I was at work.

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I lucked out today because The Boy had the day off so I asked him to give it a stir every couple hours just for safe measure. When I got home I was starving and the house smelled sooooo good! I ran over to my beloved chili and gave it a nice stir and a taste…

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PERFECTION! The spices were great, right where I like them and not too overpowering. All the veggies were cooked perfectly! I was a bit worried that it being in the crock pot for so long, the veggies would get mushy, but they were totally fine. The corn was tender and had a nice crunch and the zucchini was at that perfect balance between firm and soft. It was just perfect! Ahh! So happy with it!

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I immediately ladled it into a nice big bowl and added some olives and cheese and gave it a nice stir…

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And voila! This definitely hit the spot. Warming and filling without leaving me feeling like I had a big rock in my tummy. I will definitely be making this again in the slow cooker. On a non-Monday, I’ll try to add ground turkey or something maybe… the possibilities are endless!

I hope you try this, you will not be disappointed! Luckily, I still have about 3 servings left of this wonderful bowl of love, which will be nice because tomorrow we have yet another snow storm on its way through the Midwest 😦 Boo! Stay warm and have a great week!

Namaste.

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