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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Slow Cooking

Slow Cooker Beef Chili
Cooking spray
3/4 LB onions, diced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1 TSP salt
1/2 TSP fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 LBS ground lean beef
2 TSP cumin
1/4 Cup chili powder
2 TSP oregano
1/2 TBS smoked paprika
1/2 Red pepper, diced
1/2 Green pepper, diced
1/2 Yellow pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, minced
1-14 OZ can fire roasted crushed tomatoes with juices
3 OZ tomato paste
1 1/2 TBS red wine vinegar
2-15 OZ cans pinto and/or red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

I'm loving my new slow cooker; it's perfect for busy weeknights and weekends alike.  It's Memorial Day weekend, so I definitely don't want to spend this nice warm Saturday in the kitchen.  Throw all your ingredients in the pot in then morning, head off to the beach, and you have a great meal waiting for you! 

Planning a cookout?  This classic chili recipe makes more than enough to feed a crowd.  This serves 8 in a 3-1/2 quart slow cooker.  If you have a 7 quart or larger, you can easily double the recipe.  The long cooking time mellows the flavors a little bit, so if you like your chili spicy add a little extra jalapeno or chili powder.

Coat the interior of the ceramic pot with cooking spray.  Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 TBS of the oil.  Sauté onions and garlic until soft.  Season with 1/4 TSP of salt and 1/4 TSP of pepper.  Place in slow cooker.

In the same pan, re-heat another TBS of oil.  Cook the ground beef until brown; breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon.  Stir in remaining salt and pepper and spices.  Cook until spices are fragrant.  Transfer meat into slow cooker.

Add peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste and vinegar.  Quickly stir together.  Cover and set on low for 8-10 hours.  One hour before serving, stir in the beans.

Fun party idea:  Set up a "chili bar" with different toppings like cilantro, green onions, crushed tortillas, sour cream, and different cheeses so your guests can customize their bowls.  

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.