I said it before...and I'll say it again: I love my crock pots! (I say "crock pots" plural, because I have seven of them, in varying sizes. I use them all, often multiple crock pots for one meal. The main entree might go in a large 6 1/2- or 7-quart crock pot, and then I may have several side dishes cooking in the smaller or medium-sized crock pots. If I've got a large crowd coming over, I might have both of my two 7-quart crock pots cooking the same main entree such as roast beef.)
Cooking in a crock pot is an easy and stree-free way to entertain. You start the food cooking in the morning (You can even do all your advance food prep the night before and put the filled crock pot in the fridge until cooking time), and have very little, if any, food prep to do before your guests arrive (which means you can be relaxing beforehand!). And if it's a chilly day outside, you have the added plus of taking in all those wonderful smells coming from the kitchen all day.
I took advantage of my crock pot this past weekend. As I mentioned in previous posts, we had a Super Bowl party this past Sunday. We also had overnight, out-of-town guests coming over Saturday evening. I already had a lot to do Saturday night, with getting ready for the Super Bowl party. There wasn't going to be a lot of "free" time Saturday evening for fixing a big dinner. So my crock pot came to the rescue....again! I used my large crock pot, and made crock pot chili...which was enough for about 12 people. On the side we served sour cream, shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, diced onions, and Fritoes. Our guests brought corn bread and tossed salad. It was a very yummy...and filling meal. I made up the chili the day before--on Friday--and kept it in the fridge until Saturday morning. It cooked all day Saturday, and about 6 pm when our guests arrived, dinner was ready!
The recipe I use for chili is one that I adapted and tweaked from the small recipe booklet that came with my West Bend crockery cooker. Here it is:
3 lbs. lean ground beef
2 ½ cups chopped yellow onions (3-4 large onions)
2 ½ cups chopped green bell pepper (3-4 large bell peppers)
3 tsp. crushed garlic
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, drained
4 (28-oz.) cans whole tomatoes (undrained), cut up
2 (15 oz.) cans dark red kidney beans, drained
2 (15 oz.) cans light red kidney beans, drained
4 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Brown ground beef with onion, green pepper and garlic in large skillet over medium heat. Drain excess grease. Transfer mixture to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients; stir to blend. Cook on low heat setting for 8 to 10 hours.