Slow Cooker Sunday: Vegetarian Minestrone

While spring may be a few days away the weather is still cold enough for some hearty soup. And while this soup may not have any meat in it, it’s still filling thanks to the array of vegetables. I was a bit intimidated by the amount of ingredients – I tend to avoid recipes that have too many ingredients – but, they are all pretty simple and some I actually had on hand.

I added most of my ingredients to my slow cooker and then set it to cook on low for 8 hours. I began checking on it after 5.5 hours as I didn’t want my vegetables to over-cook and break down, especially the zucchini. Ultimately my soup was ready in 6 hours, my vegetables were tender and still intact.

I then cooked the elbow macaroni in pot of boiling salted water and added it to the soup along with chopped baby spinach. I cooked it on low for an additional 15 minutes and it was done.

The Minestrone was flavorful and as I said earlier hearty and, the leftovers tasted even better the next day and even better the day after that.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Minestrone

Ingredients:

6 cups vegetable broth

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 cup frozen green beans

1 small zucchini, cut into quarter moons

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoons thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup elbow macaroni

4 cups chopped fresh spinach

Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Combine all ingredients from the broth through the black pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until vegetable are tender.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the elbow macaroni for about 8 minutes, until cooked through but still firm, drain.

Add the macaroni and spinach to slow cooker and cook for another 15 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.

Recipe from allrecipes

Slow Cooker Sunday: Smoky Beef Chili

So, I have made chili before but, this was the first time I’ve made chili using beef chuck as opposed to ground beef and I must say it was a much heartier chili and definitely one I’ll make again.

This is my favorite type of slow cooker meal… Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, give it a good stir and set it to cook…

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And a few hours later my meal was ready! You can’t beat that.

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When I packed some for lunch I topped it with shredded cheddar cheese so when I heated it up it was all melted and gooey… YUM!

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Slow Cooker Smoky Beef Chili

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

3 15.5oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 28oz. can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup tomato puree

3 teaspoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

For topping: grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and cilantro

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and give everything a good stir to combine all of them.

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, until the beef and vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and serve topped with your favorite topping.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chili

There are so many types of chili’s… Southwestern, White Bean, Three Bean, Vegetarian, Turkey, Chicken…. etc, etc, etc. Either way you make it the end result is pretty much the same… It’s delicious! For today’s Slow Cooker Sunday series I’m bringing you a classic chili, well, classic in my book. You know, ground beef, red kidney beans, some onions, cumin, garlic and so forth.

To begin, I sautéed 2 chopped onions and 1 chopped pepper in oil until they were softened.

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Once they were softened I added in chopped garlic, chili powder and cumin.

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And finally I added in ground beef along with salt. I broke the meat up with a wooden spoon and cooked it until it was no longer pink.

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Next, I added the meat into the slow cooker along with diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans. After stirring everything to combine it I covered it and cooked it on low for 8 hours.

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And after those 8 hours once the chili thickened and all the flavors blended together I stirred in some chopped green chilies.

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To serve it, I topped it with shredded cheddar cheese and a piece of cornbread that I made with a quick and easy mix from Jiffy.

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What’s best about this chili is the leftovers… It tasted even better the following day!

Easy Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium yellow onions, medium dice

1 red bell pepper, medium dice

6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup chili powder*

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 pounds lean ground beef**

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes***

1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce***

2 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chilies

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt and cook until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Stirring to coat the vegetables and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and the measured salt, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.

Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce and beans, stir well to combine. Cover and cook about 8 hours on low or 6 hours on high.

Stir in the chopped green chilies. Season with addition salt if needed and serve with your favorite toppings.

*Yes, it sounds like a lot but don’t worry the meat absorbs it and it will not be overpowering

** I used 80% lean  / 20% fat

*** For the diced tomatoes I used two 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes and for the tomato sauce I used two 8-ounce cans of no-salt added tomato sauce.

****Please note I use a 5 1/2 quart slow-cooker.

Recipe from Chowhound