Monday, September 10, 2012

Chili Weather

There are a hundred reasons or more to love fall weather: the caramel apple spice lattes from Starbucks, zipping up tall boots and buying new sweaters for the season just to name a few. It also means breaking out the crock pot and finding a new chili recipe to try out!

This weekend we tackled Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili from the September 2012 issue of Real Simple. If we had not been gone on our honeymoon for over a week, I would have enjoyed some fresh zucchini from my parents' garden, instead of letting my sister take the whole lot when we saw them for the wedding. Of course, if we did not go on the honeymoon I would not have bought this Real Simple at the airport and it would all be moot!

With all of the wedding planning, we had not been taking the time to come up with creative meals - our shopping lists had been pretty pathetic the last couple months. Digging through the magazine piles on Sunday produced the following options for the next week and a half: aforementioned chili (freeze half), corn chowder, quinoa with sweet potatoes, kale and pesto and crispy quinoa and bean patties. Real Simple featured recipes that you could make in big batches and multi-task with - music to my ears - hence all of the quinoa talk*.

Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili
Real Simple
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (we actually just used 1 lb of turkey)
1 28 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes (couldn't find something called this so purchased 2 15 oz cans of zesty chili diced tomatoes)
2 15.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste (I use the whole can to help thicken it up)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Sour cream, diced avocado and chopped cilantro for serving

Mix everything together and place in a 4-6 quart crock pot on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
I wasn't sure about adding the sour cream, avocado or cilantro but was so glad I did - it freshened up the taste and added something extra to each bite.
We threw half the chili in the freezer to save for another cool fall evening. In the meantime, I'm busting out my tote filled with halloween and autumn decor...are you getting ready for fall?

*I know it is pronounced "keen-wah", but I still like to say "ka-noah."

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