Friday, November 22, 2013

Tex-Mex Crockpot Chili

This recipe was inspired by a restaurant we saw on Diners, Drive Ins & Dives. I forget the restaurant, otherwise I’d look it up & post here.

I dunno about you, but typically when I make chili, I brown the meat first, and then add everything to it.  But on the show, the chef just added everything into a big pot—raw ground beef & all, and then cooked it low & slow all together.  Guy said that it really helped all the flavors to permeate into the ground meat.

And well, we had a chili cookoff coming up at work, so when better to test it out? And I will tell you—this recipe came in second. (To be fair, the one that took first place had steak & caramelized onions; even I loved it.)  And technically, it would have tied for first if a certain someone *cough*MyBoss*cough* hadn’t forgot to vote before we closed the polls.  But I’m not bitter, I just enjoy the fun of cooking & sharing my food with people.

Why a chili cookoff? Because every spring, our local Sertoma group organizes one of the largest Chili Cookoffs in the Midwest, and our internal cookoff is how we decide what chili our team will make at THAT cookoff.  Our Queen City Sertoma chapter primarily raises money for the Boys & Girls Club of America, so hey… cooking plus fundraising for kids?  I’m in.


Honestly, there were so many delicious chilis, I didn’t even vote for my own!



1 bell pepper, diced

1 lb lean ground beef

1/2 onion, diced

1 can black beans, drained

1 can pinto beans, drained (optional)

2 cans fire roasted tomatoes, diced

1 can sweet corn

1 tbsp minced garlic

3 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp black pepper

2-3 tsp cumin

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1 tsp ground chipotle chili

1.5 tsp salt



Um…pretty simple.  Dump everything in a 6 qt (or larger) Crockpot, stir, cover, & cook on High for about 3 hours.  Check periodically & stir more.  Then walk away and do other “important” things…like catch up on your DVR’d shows since you just got back from a week vacation. (No worries, I’ll post about that later.)


Once the meat is cooked (2-2.5 hrs in), start checking for taste & add more seasonings as needed. If it’s a little spicier than you prefer, you can add a little sugar to help balance it out….or just serve it with optional sour cream & cilantro. 

This is probably my new favorite chili recipe.  YUM!



NUTRIFACTS: (Makes 6 hearty servings…or about 30 tastings)

  Calories 317.9

  Total Fat 17.0 g

  Saturated Fat 6.5 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 7.1 g

  Cholesterol 56.7 mg

  Sodium 635.2 mg

  Potassium 663.3 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 23.7 g

  Dietary Fiber 6.7 g

  Sugars 2.7 g

  Protein 19.4 g

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chicken, Kale, & Quinoa Soup

So last week I got a notice from my local blood bank that they were in dire need of O- blood, which happens to be my type.  So I went in to donate—but got turned away because my iron levels were too low.  I was SO bummed, even though they told my I can come back in two weeks to try again.  But I don’t want to get turned away again, so I’ve been ramping up my iron-rich foods.

This soup was one of the inventions I threw together to try to help.  Like, literally, “what do I have in my fridge to throw in a pot?”  And I was SO happy with the way it turned out.

Quinoa is a very iron-rich foods; one cup of quinoa contains about 37% of your recommended allotment.  Kale is also a good source, with about 1mg per serving,but it’s also got a TON of Vitamin C, which helps your body to absorb iron.   And chicken doesn’t hurt—there’s about 2mg of iron in a 3.5 oz serving. 

Even though it was just a mish-mash of things thrown together, I will definitely be making this again….it was delicious and filling, and only 265 calories for a big (2.5 cup) serving!

My husband noted that it “smelled & looked healthy”, but “tastes much better than it smells”.  The seasonings and the bacon really add a ton of flavor to the veggies.



6 cups water

4 bouillon cubes

1 chicken breasts, boneless / skinless

1/2 tsp chicken seasoning (equal parts onion powder, garlic salt, & paprika)

Olive oil mister

1/2 onion, diced

1 zucchini, cubed

2 cups kale, chopped

3/4 cup quinoa

1 tbsp bacon crumbles

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1 tsp dried basil

salt & pepper to taste



Lightly spritz a pan with olive oil & heat over medium.  Add onions, season with S&P, and sauté until translucent.

Meanwhile, add the water & bouillon to a large pot & heat on High. Add the kale, zucchini, quinoa, bacon, garlic, & seasonings….bring to a rapid boil then cover & cook for 15-20 minutes.  Add the onions when they’re done.

In the same pan, sauté the chicken breasts & season on both sides with the chicken seasoning.  Once fully cooked, cube the chicken & add it to the pot as well.  Taste as you go, and add more seasoning to your particular preference.

The soup is done when the quinoa is fully cooked.  Makes 4-6 servings.


(PS—The Scoop is finally closed for the winter, so I hope to be posting a lot more over the next few months!  I lovelovelove holiday cooking!!!)



Calories 265.7

  Total Fat 5.7 g

  Saturated Fat 1.0 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g

  Cholesterol 59.5 mg

  Sodium 1,306.8 mg

  Potassium 497.3 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 26.3 g

  Dietary Fiber 4.1 g

  Sugars 4.5 g

  Protein 27.2 g

  Vitamin A 158.1 %

  Vitamin B-12 6.0 %

  Vitamin B-6 33.5 %

  Vitamin C 44.4 %

  Iron 20.2 %