“No-cook” Crockpot Chili

I’m always looking for ways to make my life easier. If there are time saving steps for anything I do, I would love to find them. I love using my crockpot. It is my favorite way to make dinner for my family these days.

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I love chili. Everyone in my family eats it well, and it’s one of those one-bowl meals, which also means less clean up. Can’t go wrong with that, right?  All the crockpot recipes I found required cooking the beef first. That didn’t sound like something I wanted to do. What’s the point of making it in the crockpot if I have to cook it and use another pan first?

Then, I had an idea. What if I put the meat in the crockpot without cooking it first? How would that turn out? There was only one way to find out. I tried it!

I posted on Facebook, asking if anyone had tried doing this before. No one had.

I’m either really dumb or brilliant! My husband and kids will either have chili or Chick-fil-A tonight. (My husband joked, “or diarrhea.”)

Here are my ingredients. Everything was in a can, which some may or may not like. I try to use fresh when possible, but I’m okay with canned tomatoes and beans, too.

ingredients

I threw everything in the crockpot, starting with the meat. I figured it would help it cook faster if it was at the bottom. Then I just dumped the tomatoes, sauce, beans, and seasoning. I didn’t stir. I set it on HIGH.

An hour later, I peeked at my chili. I took a spoon to see what the meat looked like. To my surprise, it was brown! I’m not sure if it was completely done for sure, but it looked like it was close if not already. So, I gave everything a quick stir, breaking up pieces of beef as I stirred. I didn’t see pink in the meat at all. Score!

At this point, I was only one hour in, and I still had six hours before it was time for dinner. I started thinking this was going to be just fine. And it was. 🙂

I forgot to take a pic of the chili right before we ate it. This is what was left of it.

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Ian likes chili with cilantro and green onion. (I know, weird.) Here’s his bowl.

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The chili was kid and  husband approved. Ian only suggested that I use more of the seasoning next time. And our tummies are just fine today, which means the chili was completely done.

Here’s my recipe.

RECIPE:

2 lbs course ground beef for chili

2 cans diced tomatoes (I found some chili style at HEB)

1 small can tomato sauce

1 can kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

4 T quick chili mix (found this at HEB, too)

EASY INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Throw everything in a crockpot, starting with the meat at the bottom.

2. Cook on HIGH for four hours. STIR and break up meat after ONE hour.

3. Switch to LOW the last couple of hours if you’d like. (My chili was so bubbly I thought it was going to explode to I turned it down to low.)

4. That’s it!

***If you are home, give it a stir every once in a while to make sure it’s cooking evenly.

 

You’re welcome! Now you know you can make chili without cooking the meat first! One less pan to wash!

 

 

25. What to do with those old bananas.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? Soooooooo, when life gives you bananas, make banana bread!

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My family always has bananas on hand. They go with everything. The kids eat them with their breakfast, I can throw one in their lunch, and they are an easy and quick snack. Every once in a while, however, a few of our bananas end up overripe. That is, we don’t eat them fast enough and they are softer than we like. For a long time I would just throw them out. Then, one day, a friend of mine suggested freezing them.

“You can use them for banana bread,” she said. “Good idea!” I thought.

I figured I would give it a try. After all, there was plenty of room in the freezer and I could decide what I wanted to do with them later. I could throw them away now or throw them away later.

A few months ago, I had more than twenty bananas in my freezer. One day I decided to finally try them in my bread recipe. To my surprise, the bread was delicious! I was so glad to finally have a use for all those old bananas. (For anyone who wonders if they taste different than non-frozen ripe bananas, I wondered too. So I tried making a loaf with bananas that had not been frozen and there was no difference.)

This is the recipe for banana bread:

 

BANANA BREAD:

3 or 4 ripe bananas

⅓ cup melted butter

1 cup sugar (can reduce to ¾ cup)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

 

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture over a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for one hour.

*** I make mini loaves for neighbors at Christmastime. Bake these for 30 min.

(recipe from simplyrecipes.com)

 

So, from now on, don’t throw those overripe bananas away! Freeze them and bake some banana bread instead. Happy baking!

 

This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life

20. Sausage, potato, and kale soup.

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First of all, I take absolutely NO CREDIT for this. I made this soup last night and posted a pic of it, and many of you asked me to share it. Here is the recipe. It was really yummy! Ian loved it! My kids ate it okay, the boys decided it was better if they took the kale out. I figure since it was cooked in the soup the nutrients made it in, right?

 

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/10/sausage-potato-and-kale-soup/

Enjoy!

 

This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.