This week I wanted to start back on my cooking kick as I have been lazy as hell over the last 6 months. This past Sunday I decided to shop and prep a few dinners to cook on Tuesday, Thursday and the Weekend.
I wanted something hearty, healthier, hot and wanted it to be ready to go by the time I got home. Chili was the thing.
I literally threw all the ingredients into the slow cooker Sunday night frozen, covered it tightly, ready to take out this morning (Tuesday) before work. Boy am I glad I prepped previously because I totally overslept this morning until 8:30, which usually I am up at 5:30, so it was a mad dash to get out the door. I got ready in a flash and then took the pot out of the fridge, hit the on button and walked out the door.
I should note, my freezer always has veggies, stocks, fruits and juices pre-prepped in Tupperware containers to use for whatever I feel like making in a flash. I always buy fresh produce, use half for whatever recipe I am planning and chop the other part to freeze for later. I always have peppers, ham and onions ready to go as I love Denver omelets. I always have a trio of either celery, carrots and onions OR celery, onions and bell peppers in a container…or I have them in separate containers. I also take various juices, sauces and stocks and pour them into ice cube trays and then Tupperware so that I can use them to boost my dishes. This is probably why I never have ice! It also comes in handy for my morning smoothies too!
It took me some years to come up with a system of the above but its really saved me so much in grocery bills. My monthly grocery bill for one is between $50 – 75 a month and I am able to cook amazing, hearty and healthy dishes with leftovers to freeze and take out a few weeks later. I have definitely learned the art of making a meal out of whats in my fridge and its kinda fun, like the foodie tv shows but with no cameras or audiences, just me but I am my own worst critic. Those that know me, know I am super picky and critical of dishes and what I could do to improve them to my liking. With all my pickiness though, people seem to enjoy my crazy Tara concoctions.
Oh yeah, I also always have certain dry beans or canned depending on what type of dish I am making. Some meals require dry beans and some canned. I am not a fan of canned anything due to the preservatives and added who knows what. I am careful to find low salt and less additive items. One thing is for sure, nothing beats the tastes of fresh not canned items!
I am a busy person with, 90 hobbies and not enough time in the day to get them all done so anything I cook, it is critical that it takes minimal time as I have about 3 hours when I get home to cook, eat, game, watch shows and get errands or whatever is on today’s tasklist done. Although, I will say prepping everything ahead of time saves so much time.
And so back to the recipe… we have this chili….
You should try it using the below as a base and substituting things that you prefer. If I wasn’t already planning to use my fresh cubed squash and zucchini and spinach for other recipes, you can bet I’d have thrown some of that in there.
Try it and let me know how it worked out…
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can canned diced or whole tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 ounce can of Chili beans)
- 2 tbsp. chili seasoning mix (I have a buffet of spice jars at the ready so I just used a mix of chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper kosher salt, red pepper flakes and paprika)
- 1/2 cup of chopped red onions (this is what I had in the fridge)
- 1/3 cup diced red peppers
- 1/3 cup diced green peppers
- 8/10 cubes of frozen carrot juice or 1 cup of broth
- Minced garlic – I used two tablespoons as I LOVE garlic but use whatever you like.
- Prep all veggies if needed and open all the cans.
- Place the frozen ground beef at the bottom of the slow cooker, next add the can of tomatoes and kidney and chili beans.
- Add in the red and green peppers, garlic ,onions and seasonings. Lastly, add the carrot juice cubes or broth.
- Place in the slow cooker for 6-10 hours.