Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Easy Family Friendly Chili!

If you are like my family and friends, the sun has started to come out and we have been standing around the grill since we have seen 55 degrees outside. That means steaks, chicken wings, corn on the cob, you name it. It also means we have been making some really good cheese burgers. What that also means is lots of left over burgers and don't get me wrong a left over burger is pretty good, but in true hot mess style, we opted to try out something a little different and make our leftover burgers into chili. Some of you may even have some burgers left over from the long holiday weekend, so why not try out this simple recipe? It was a cold and rainy weekend for us, but we managed to get out and do some grilling. And we are converting our left overs into Cheeseburger Chili which is an easy and healthy meal option.

I know.. you are asking.. Healthy? Chili? Really? My answer is ABSOLUTELY! It is packed with tomatoes that are packed with all sort of vitamins and minerals, beans that are packed with fiber and protein, and when we add celery, onion, and garlic and some V-8 juice, this is pretty much a no-brainer for health. Don't forget the beer we add too. There is definitely some vitamins packed into that!

I also have a few friends who have recently admitted that they have never used their crock pot because they are scared of it! Okay, set the fear aside because a crock pot is one of the smartest and most brilliant inventions since the stove! I mean all you do is pile everything in and press go and the rest is taken care of. Not to mention they are safe to leave on while you are away and when you get back your house smells like you've been slaving in the kitchen all day instead of out playing in the yard. It is a no-brainer!

This recipe is perfect for a Slow Cooking Beginner because there isn't anything else required other than chopping and opening cans and dumping it all into the crock pot. You can even bring your kids in to help and have them break up the left over burgers to get them involved. If I had kids, I might have thought about that, but no little ones for me. So for those of you with them, get them in the kitchen to help. Who knows? Maybe they will be making dinner for you one day? Wouldn't that be a dream come true? Well, my parents are living that dream and they get to relax while I make THEM dinner! Not every night, but lots of them. Doesn't that sound great? Well, this happens now only because they both took the time to teach me the cooking basics. So why not make an investment in your dinner retirement plan and start teaching your kids tonight with this recipe?

Oh, and you are smarter than your crock pot. I promise! Don't let a little machine intimidate you. If you are reading this you have already figured out a much more complex machine.. the computer, so make friends with your crock pot and I have a feeling it might become one of your best friends.

Cheeseburger Chili

3 1/2 pounds barbecued cheeseburgers; chopped into bite sized bits
1/2 large sweet onion; minced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can sweet corn
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and chilies
2 cups low sodium V-8 juice
1 (12 ounce) bottle of good Pale Ale beer (you can take a sip if you like!)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano

Combine all ingredients above in a 6.5 ounce slow cooker. Cook all day on low heat for 6-8 hours. After about 3 hours the house starts to smell like heaven. By the time you are ready to gather around the table your family will be salivating. No joke. Just try it for yourself and see.

If you want to cook it faster, you can cook it on high for 4-6 hours. It just keeps getting better and better over time. You can also use left over meatballs or even cut up meat loaf. Use your imagination! Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese and saltines if you like!

Now get in your kitchen and try it out. This is the perfect meal to use those leftover burgers on a rainy day in June!

Mental Health Benefit: This is a great beginning recipe that is uncomplicated and healthy to serve to your family. Whatever it is that you are intimidated by whether it be a crock pot or a new friendship or project, roll up your sleeves and conquer that fear. You can do anything you put your mind to and you are the only one who can overcome it. So give yourself the gift of learning and growing. You deserve to take a risk on yourself. The best things come out of people who take a deep breath, tie their shoes tight, and start walking towards a dream. Just think of Martin Luther King... What will you do? I know it will be amazing!

Health and well-ness from our kitchen to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes at the grill and in the kitchen

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