Never is there a time that I wished I could wiggle my nose and make dinner appear than when I walk through the door after an arduous day at the office. Most nights, I have a maximum of one hour to prep and cook dinner, help and check homework and find missing ballet slippers, cleats or gloves or whatever sport is in season at that time.
While I cannot wiggle my nose, I do have a very suitable alternative known as the Crock Pot. Back when I was young and engaged and giddily zapping everything and anything for my Fortunoff registry, I happened to select a Crock Pot. I do not recall even knowing what to do with such an appliance, but it was fancy and I was naive. In fact, I had no idea that I did not receive the Crock Pot until several years later after the birth of my first child. My dear Aunt gifted me the very same Crock Pot and told me that now, more than ever, I would need to use this.
The Crock Pot sat neatly in its box untouched until about two weeks after I returned to work from my maternity hiatus. AND, it has become my go-to appliance ever since. Soups and stews are what I have come to master the most in the Crock Pot, but I am trying to expand my comfort zone.
Beginning this week and for every following Thursday, my friend and fellow mommy blogger, The Harried Mom, and I will be sharing with you a crock pot recipe that we have cooked for our family. We know first hand, how busy a mother's day can be whether working in the office or at home. With some simple and quick preparation, we will help you pull together one meal that we know your family will love. Now, before we go any further, we want to share with you that the crock pot The Harried Mom uses is the Cadillac of crock pots. This thing can brown meats, has incredible options and settings and can feed an army. My crock pot, is smaller and has two settings - high and low and is about as sophisticated as a Yugo. It feeds just a family of four with left overs for lunch.
I hope you enjoy this new feature and join us in sharing your favorite recipes in the Mr. Linky feature below. Because, there is always time for a home cooked meal.
Beef Chili That Even The Pickiest Children Will Eat Because They Think Its Sauce
While my children will eat veggies and fruits, we sometimes come to a standstill at meals. I am always looking for ways to incorporate veggies or make them in a way that the children will not notice. This recipe works in that the veggies are chopped small and go pretty much unnoticed.
1 onion chopped
1 red and 1 yellow pepper chopped
1 container of mushrooms chopped
1 cup of carrots chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups of chopped ripe tomatoes or 1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce (1 pound can) or your own sauce
2 cans of red kidney beans
1.5 pounds of ground beef
2 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of salt & pepper
Ok Ok...so this seems like a long list of ingredients, but I promise this is easy. A quick short cut....many supermarkets sell the veggies already chopped. There is an added cost but the convenience is priceless.
1. Brown the onion, peppers, mushrooms and carrots in a non stick pan. Add the meat and brown.
2. Meanwhile, add the tomatoes chopped, tomato sauce, kidney beans, salt, pepper and chili powder and bay leaf into the crock pot.
3. Add the brown meat and veggies into the crock pot stirring the meat into the sauce and set your crock pot to 8 hours (or low) and walk away. This "walk away" is hard for me to do. Leaving a crock pot plugged all day unattended feels unsafe, but I'll save that subject for a future post.
When you return home later in the afternoon, the chili can be served with pasta or served with sprinkled cheese. Either way, the meal is healthy and delicious! For those who like spice, add 5 drops of hot sauce to the crock pot and stir.