Sometimes hubby and I have busy weeks, full of after hours work responsibilities and/or social plans. Many times our schedules oppose each others’ and there are weeks that we don’t eat dinner together at all. Those weeks can easily mean back-to-back takeout or fast food for dinner, but due to the costs of those options (both monetary and health), I’ve been trying to plan meals that are flexible and can better accommodate our busy schedules.
For example, I make dishes using the slow cooker so that we can eat a warm cooked meal as soon as we walk through the door (even if it’s 9pm or after), or otherwise, so that whoever is home first can eat while keeping the rest warm and ready for the other. Not to mention, there is barely any clean-up after a slow cooker meal, and most foods that are slow-cooker friendly are super hearty, filling, and delicious. It takes a little bit of planning and some extra time in the morning, but otherwise using the slow cooker during busy weeks is a total no-brainer.
This specific busy evening, hubby had an event for work that I was planning to stop by briefly on my way home. That meant that 1) I would be home later than normal and hubby would be home even later than me, and 2) hubby and I arrive home (and hungry!) at different times…1+2= definitely a slow cooker night! To make it easy on myself, I got all the ingredients for a bean chili out the night before. In the morning, I threw it all in the slow cooker before leaving for work, and then picked up a loaf of crusty bread on my way home to make the meal complete. When I got home, the chili was thick and beautiful, and the flavors had made our home smell delicious. It tasted as good as it looked and smelled, and left both hubby and I feeling full and satisfied after a long, busy day.
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup quinoa
1 cup veggie stock
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne
Salt and pepper
Fresh bread or corn bread to serve (optional)
Spinach to garnish (optional)
Add all the ingredients, except for the veggie stock, to the slow cooker. Add the veggie stock slowly, until it mostly covers the contents, with some beans and tomatoes left still showing through. It’s important to not add too much liquid when using a slow cooker because it doesn’t evaporate while cooking. But in this case, the quinoa will absorb a lot of the stock, leaving the chili nice and thick. Set the slow cooker to low for 4 hours. Serve and enjoy!
(You can also cook this recipe using the old fashioned pot-on-stove method – just add all the ingredients and simmer on low for about an hour.)