Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili (Crockpot)

I hope, my wonderful, tolerant readers, you do not feel used and abused.

It has, once again, been ages since my last post. So much has happened…. Work has somehow gotten busier and I began grad school. (Because I had soooo much free time to begin with…) The days when I began this blog, days when I had hours each day to spend playing in the kitchen and exploring new ingredients, are gone. Now, I am lucky if dinner involves more than steam vegetables and lentils and top them with salsa and, if I’m feeling particularly sassy, a little Daiya dairy-free cheese.

Today, however, was the day of the biggest football game in America, and I felt an overwhelming desire to prepare a football worthy feast. I made a small bowl of Guacamole, a delicious vegan crockpot chili, and a batch of gluten free corn muffins, and it was off to the races! …er…. football game.

I like my chili a bit on the soup-y side, so feel free to reduce the amount of vegetable broth to make yours thicker. Other than that, this recipe is a fairly straightforward crockpot dish that will leave your house smelling delicious!

Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

 photo 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tblsp Olive Oil
  • 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs Celery, chopped
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small-medium Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green Bell Peppers, cored and chopped
  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers, minced
  • Herbamare (or sea salt) and Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2.5 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 28 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tblsp Agave Nectar
  • 1 Tblsp Lime Juice, about 1/2 a small lime
  • Zest of 1/2 a lime

Directions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of your crock pot. Add garlic, onion, and spices and stir to combine.
  2. Add al remaining ingredients except the lime juice and zest and stir to combine.
  3. Place the lid on your crock pot and set to low.
  4. Cool on low for 6 hours.
  5. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, agave ratio, as needed.
  6. Garnish with lime juice and zest before serving.
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Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

I am keeping with my “Simple Recipes” theme this weekend.

Sorry to all of those kitchen warriors out there who’s one desire is to spend 2 hours sculpting the perfect meal. I will post a recipe for you later! Instead, here is a “fix it and forget it” meal that is delicious and decidedly wallet friendly!

Confession: Contrary to popular belief I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I like meat. I do! I just don’t eat a lot of it.

The reason I am not a huge carnivore is the cost. Meat is expensive, my dears! Beans, Lentils, and Tofu are exponentially cheaper and still an excellent source of protein and fiber. Since I am just as happy with a piece of Salmon as I am with a plate full of Honey” Baked Lentils, why not go with the less expensive option? Additionally, eating less meat makes for a smaller carbon footprint. With all the traveling I do, it’s only fair that I make every effort possible to live a more earth-friendly life in my off-time.

That being said, every once in a while, when a serious meat craving strikes, I will give in. I watch the sales at Whole Foods and buy cuts of meat that are on sale and then freeze them for later use. These particular cuts of meat aren’t always the most “user friendly”. Generally, they are bone-in, skin-on and require a little labor. That’s okay with me, but if you are squeamish (as I was at first) you will need to mentally prepare yourself!

To make today’s slow cooker recipe, I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are extremely inexpensive and versatile. From Arroz con Pollo to Oven-Fried Chicken, these little beauties can make it all!

Bonus Tip: Save and freeze the chicken bones and skin to make homemade Chicken Stock! $$$$ Saver!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Chicken Thighs, frozen
  • 1 jar Green Mountain Gringo Medium Salsa
  • 1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

What are your tips for saving money in the kitchen?