As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, we are a big soup family. I would include stews and chilis in that category. When things get super busy around here, the easiest way to make a nutritious meal for us is in the form of soup. When Girlfriend was a baby and I was still in the “OMG, I have a baby and no time to even read my mail” stage (I was overwhelmed her first year), I found that I could easily get all the ingredients ready for soup during her nap. Then the soup could simmer for the rest of the day and be ready for us to eat when dAhub got home. When Girlfriend was in preschool, a got a crockpot (slow cooker). It was cheap ($18 on sale) and worked like a charm. Eight years later it is still going strong, even though the handle on the lid broke off several years ago and we now use a pair of pliers to get the lid on and off. That’s how we roll.
Can I just take a few minutes to tell you of my love for my crockpot? Seriously, it is a must-have for us. I have a simple and inexpensive Crockpot brand crockpot that is exactly what I need. Folks keep telling me to buy a more expensive one with bells and whistles, but I have to say that I don’t really need anything other than what it does. We rarely eat out and we don’t really buy processed food–heck, we couldn’t eat much of it anyway due to our various food allergies. And we are an incredibly busy family (I’m not really sure how that is, but there you go). So there are days when we leave the house in the morning and don’t get back until evening. And it is so nice to have a meal already done and ready to eat on those days. Also, I use my crockpot for all sorts of other things. I sometime make yogurt in it. I also use it to make overnight steel-cut oats for Girlfriend every so often. We usually roast a chicken on Sunday nights, so later in the week I use the bones and some veggies to make homemade chicken stock in the crockpot. I use it year round. FYI: the crockpot is fab during the summer because enables you to cook without turning on the stove, and therefore doesn’t heat up the kitchen. And no matter how often I use it, it keeps chugging along.
Today’s recipe is based on one I found a few years ago, one of the many that purported to be President Obama’s family chili recipe. I printed one of the versions and as usual, made my own tweaks. As I planned to do this post, I did a search to see if I could find a relatively accurate version of his family’s real chili recipe. It turns out my version has increased amounts of herbs and spices, and it has no vinegar. Girlfriend isn’t a fan of vinegar in anything–she even eats her salad with a dressing that consists of olive oil and a bit of salt.
This recipe has been in regular rotation for our family’s dinners. It is a well-rounded meal that is super-easy to make on busy days. It is high in fiber, veggies, and protein, and of course, it can be made in the crockpot. so it’s terrific for our more busy days. I literally throw everything in, turn it on low, and leave it there all day. I also have a rice maker, so I make a batch of brown rice in there at the same time the chili is cooking and voilà! We come home to a home-cooked dinner after a long day. If you want to get a bit fancy, you can serve it with gluten-free French baguettes!
We usually have leftovers, so we throw those into a thermos for Girlfriend’s lunch the next day. It’s a hot, comforting, and tasty lunchtime idea!