At this point, the holidays are just a memory—but you still have to get dinner on the table for your family. Turn to every mom’s handy helper in the kitchen: the slow cooker!
Try these two recipes for a meal that requires minimal prep before you toss the ingredients in the slow cooker and go. Come home to a delicious meal that’s ready when you walk in the door, and give yourself a break from labor-intensive meals.
Red Beans and Rice
This quick take on a staple dish will surely become a favorite!
In a four-quart slow cooker, combine 1 pound dried red kidney beans, ½ pound thinly sliced Andouille smoked chicken sausage, 3 chopped celery ribs, 1 chopped green bell pepper, 1 chopped medium onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning and seven cups of water.
Cover and cook ingredients on high for seven hours, or until beans are tender.
Cook 3 cups of long-grain rice according to package instructions; serve with red beans, and garnish with sliced green onions.
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
This vegetarian chili requires a little more chopping to prep the ingredients, but the payoff is a savory dish with a hint of sweetness from butternut squash.
Warm 2 to 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute 3 chopped onions for three minutes or until tender. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Add 1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper, both seeded and chopped, and saute about three minutes. If you want to kick up the heat, also add 2 seeded and minced jalapeno peppers.
Once the vegetable mix is tender, transfer to a large slow cooker. Add 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained, and two cans of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 tablespoons of cumin, and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. Finally, add to the top 3 to 4 cups of peeled and cubed (1 ½-inch pieces) butternut squash (from 2 pounds of squash).
If you’re looking to save time on peeling and chopping squash, check your grocery store’s produce section for pre-chopped squash.
Cover mixture and cook on low for at least six hours. Garnish with cornbread or rice, avocado, salsa, lime, diced red onion, cilantro or sour cream.