Friday, February 18, 2011

The Perfect Friday Night Dinner: Vegetarian Chili in the Slower Cooker

Whew, it certainly has been busy in our household this week. I must say that I am utterly exhausted! Work has been really busy and I've been working away at a bunch of chores around the house each night. My exhaustion might also have something to do with the fact that I stayed up past my bedtime to catch the latest episode of Jersey Shore. I don't know what it is about these 8 people that keep me so enthralled, but I love watching their antics week after week. Derek used to make fun of me everytime he caught me watching it, but last night I caught him watching a rerun of it in bed and he was giggling away to himself throughout the entire episode ~ he also keeps stealing my favourite sunglasses so he can channel the Snooks <sigh> we are a sad pair and we have no excuse for ourselves, but please don't judge :-)

I am super excited to finish this workday and get home because my mom is coming for a visit and she arrives tonight! My family lives 12 hours away, so I don't get to see them often and I very rarely ever get to wow them with my "culinary talents." My mom is my best guest because she always likes everything I make even if I end up serving a disaster...last time she came I decided to try a butternut squash and rice casserole. We didn't end up eating until after 9 p.m. and the meal was dry and not very good at all. She never admitted it wasn't good (Derek was vocal enough for the 3 of us because he was starving by this point) and she ate it like it was my best meal ever - what a great mom!

This visit, I have a bunch of recipes that I am planning to whip up, most of them have been tested and tweaked, so I am not anticipating any flops. Tonight I decided to cook up a vegetarian chili in the crockpot. That way we will have a delicious dinner ready to eat regardless of what time she arrives. I have been working on this recipe for a while and I think I am close to perfecting it. You'll have to try it out and let me know what you think!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 c. sliced mushrooms (I used crimini)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 19 oz cans of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 19 oz can of white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 19 oz can of red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 14 oz can of vegetarian baked beans in tomato sauce
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
2 tsp salt (I used spicy Herbamare)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
4 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp crushed chili peppers
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes until they are starting to soften. Add the peppers, garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour the beans and tomatoes into the slow cooker and mix well.

Add the vegetables and mix well.

Add all of the spices, chili peppers and vinegar and mix well.

Cook on low in slow cooker for 6 - 8 hours.

Just before you're ready to eat, add the brown sugar and stir it in so that it dissolves into the chili. I did this once when I made the chili too hot and I loved the subtle change it made to the flavours. For me, the brown sugar mellows out the flavours and I love the end result!

And when you get home, you'll have a delicious home-cooked meal ready to eat!

Serve & enjoy!

Do you have any guilty pleasures like our Jersey Shore addiction??
What is your favourite slow cooker recipe??

Wishing all my Canadian peeps a fabulous start to your long Family Day weekend,


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