Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Slow Cooker Love Affair

This past weekend, my slow cooker and I spent some quality time together. Meaning I used it and it cooked my dinner. But oh what dinners it made. I should say here and now that I'm proud of myself for just pulling it out of the cabinet. J and I go through phases where we're really good about cooking and other phases where the key word is takeout. A home cooked meal though is better than fast food any day, and even better when I don't have to do much to make it.

Saturday was Slow Cooker Corn Chowder. We were up early that day anyway since J had a work meeting, so I was able to set this cooking really early in the morning.

Instead of the bouillion I used a can of chicken broth and instead of ham I used smoked sausage. It gave it a good flavor but had a rubbery texture after sitting all day, so next time I might fry it up before putting it in. I skipped the celery and added good dose of garlic powder for some extra seasoning. We scored a day old bakery loaf of french bread at Dillons for 69 cents which we used in place of crackers. Let me tell ya...this was amazing! J doesn't even like corn all that much and he was impressed. Even though I cut the recipe down quite a bit, we still got two meals out of this, and the total cost, including the french bread, was about six bucks.

On Sunday, I made chili for what I think was the first time ever. I didn't even used to like chili, but these days it's one of my favorite things. The basic recipe I used can be found here, but like normal, I made quite a few changes. I was originally going to use ground turkey like this calls for, but the best place in town to get it is Aldi, and I didn't quite make it there, so we used beef instead. We had every intention of using the can of tomato soup the recipe called for but we accidentally picked up a can of chicken noodle instead of tomato and didn't realize it until we got home. Instead of going back, we improvised and used about a half can of leftover salsa and a half can of ketchup. I also didn't have an onion because I accidentally through what I had away, so I used a bunch of seasonings: onion powder, garlic powder, and southwest seasoning cooked during the meat browning, and then salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and allspice in the crockpot. I also added a can of green chilies and omitted the ground cumin.

No pictures, unfortunately, but this chili was so good. We had it with crackers, sour cream, and cheese and again, it made another meal (though I let J have it for a lunch and dinner). Next time, I'm going to make a double batch and either freeze some or just have leftovers for a couple days because honestly? I loved it! I'm even considering entering this recipe into work's annual chili cook off this year. And in the tradition of chili, it was really cheap. If you count everything, including the toppings and crackers, the whole thing was about 8 bucks, and it would have been cheaper if we'd shopped at Aldi for ingredients.

I could definitely get used to these crock pot recipes for the weekend. It makes being lazy all that easier.


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