Category Archives: Slow Cooker

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes. How could I possibly not make this recipe? Plus, it uses my poor dust-collecting slow cooker! (Don’t worry I scrubbed it before cooking.) The moment I saw those ingredients I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened—and last week it sure did.

This is not your average chili. In fact, I’d encourage you to think of it more as a bean and sweet potato stew. There are some unique ingredients that made me pause after I eventually stopped salivating over the title. Unsweetened cocoa? Ground cinnamon? What the heck were they doing in my dinner? I decided to take a risk and cook with these unusual chili ingredients and I’m so glad I did!

At first bite, you wouldn’t really know they’re in there (after all, it’s only 2 tsp of cocoa and ¼ tsp cinnamon in a meal that serves four) but they impart a particular earthiness to the chili that you won’t find in most. There’s also a distinct lack of spiciness (actually, funny story: I bought a jalapeno to add to the recipe and lost it. Who loses a jalapeno? When I went back to Whole Foods later in the week and told the checkout person about my missing jalapeno they ended up giving me one I had on the conveyor belt for free. Score!) In any case, the recipe errs more on the side of savory and perhaps just a little sweet. This meal is ideal for fulfilling a serious comfort food craving while still being healthy and easy to prepare.

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, mined
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
kosher salt and black pepper
1 28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato (about 8 oz) peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

Preparation
In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water (omit or use less if you like minimal liquid in your chili). Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours. Serve over brown rice and top with sliced scallions

From Real Simple 

Spicy Chicken Stew

For most, watching football means eating wings, hamburgers, pizza, or nachos. For me, watching football means a chance to test out a super filling new recipe on a bunch of guys. It also means a chance to dust off the slow cooker, which has been hibernating in my storage closet all summer long. (The poor underused thing.) When choosing a recipe for a game last Saturday, I knew it had to compete, on some level, with those greasier options. At the same time, it had to be somewhat healthy because it was going to be my dinner, too. This Spicy Chicken Stew, which I found on myrecipes.com, was the perfect solution. It had tons of flavor thanks to salsa, cumin, and chile powder. And I could bump up the health factor by increasing the veggie content and adding black beans (not pictured since I, er, borrowed the image from the aforementioned website.)

Around 11am on Saturday, just as I was due to begin putting the ingredients in the slow cooker, I freaked out. What if it was a total flop? The guys would be forced to eat this pathetic stew when they could be biting into a delicious slice of deep dish pizza (it is Chicago, after all). I took another glance at the recipe online and scrolled down to the comments. What I found: People were raving about this recipe. They wrote things like, “Yum, definitely the best slow cooker recipe yet!” And, “This dish is probably in the top 5 meals I have ever made. The chicken was so juicy, and it had the perfect amout of spice for me! Excellent meal!” And, “Tastes absolutely wonderful. Spices give it a great flavor. This recipe is now a winter staple!”

I was sold. Game on. Fortunately, it turned out to be a winning night for both me and the team.

Ingredients:

3 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (10 oz) package frozen sweet corn
3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 yellow onion, thickly sliced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 jar of salsa (I used hot)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast (1 lb.)
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 10.5 oz)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can black beans

Preparation

Place potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic in slow cooker. Stir in salsa, salt, cumin, chile powder and pepper. Distribute chicken evenly on top of vegetables and pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover slow cooker and cook stew on high for 4 hours. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred with two forks into bite-size chunks; return to slow cooker. Add black beans and continue cooking until they’re heated. Serve with corn bread muffins (which I did) or tortilla chips (which I also did).