Slow and Spicy Pinto Beans

Top these Slow and Spicy Pinto Beans with a little shredded mozzarella and you have the perfect side dish for your fish tacos or chicken enchiladas. They also make a great vegetarian protein for your main course. Try them in veggie tacos or simply add them to a cheese quesadilla or on top of a salad.

Dried beans are extremely simple to prepare and the slow cooker does most of the work in this dish. If you have leftovers they freeze well for a ready-to-eat protein on a busy night, just defrost and reheat.

Ingredients:
1 cup dry pinto beans
7½ cups of water, divided
2 garlic whole cloves
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash and sort beans, removing any small stones, dirt or damaged beans. Place beans in a large stock pot and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow beans to soak for up to 4 hours.
  2. Drain beans and place in a slow cooker set to high heat. Add garlic, chipotle chile pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and cayenne pepper to the beans and cover with 2½ cups of water.
  3. Cook for 4 hours, until beans are soft and tender. Discard garlic cloves and serve.

Servings: 6

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Frozen corn from last season’s harvest is a special treat to enjoy this time of year. It shines in my Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, which also features delicate squash. A perfect blend of winter and summer produce to enjoy this time of year when drastic weather changes leave you sporting flip-flops one day and snow boots the next. This colorful bowl of produce will surely brighten your day regardless of the weather you are experiencing.

The ingredient list may look long, but the recipe is easy to prepare and is mostly hands-off. Topping your bowl with oven-baked tortilla strips elevates this simple bowl of soup to restaurant quality, but without extra the calories of fried tortillas.

Soup Ingredients:
1½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 small delicata squash, seeded and chopped, leaving the skin on
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon salt
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen yellow corn, defrosted
1 lime


Tortilla Strip Ingredients:
4 corn tortillas
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

Optional Toppings:
Chopped cilantro
Diced avocado
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker and top with delicate squash, onion, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and salt. Add tomatoes with their juice and chicken broth. Cover with lid and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for five hours.
  2. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Place shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and add corn and lime juice. Stir to combine and continue cooking on low while you prepare the tortilla strips.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil and cut into ¼-inch thin strips. Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.
  4. Serve soup topped with tortilla strips and optional toppings of choice.

Servings: 6

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans and Greens


Pinto beans and sautéed greens are two of my favorite southern sides, and they also make a great combination in this easy, no-fuss meal. This is a bowl of comfort food that will provide warmth on a cold winter night. Add a hot skillet of cornbread, just like your grandmother made, and you have a delicious meal that’s worth writing home about.

I used dried beans in this vegetarian meal that’s sure to please even the meat lovers in your life. Dried beans are a great bargain and you can control how much salt is added. Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Kale is packed with vitamin A and C, and also a good source of calcium and potassium. Enjoy this nutritious bowl of goodness.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
9 cups water, divided
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bunch kale
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
20 hot and sweet jalapeño slices

Directions:
1. In a large pot, add dried beans and 5 cups water. Heat to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least an hour. Drain beans.
2. In a slow cooker, add pinto beans, onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, turn to high heat and cook for 3 hours.
3. Wash and chop kale, removing tough stems. Add kale to pinto beans, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional hour.
4. Stir cilantro into kale and pinto beans, serve in bowls and top each with 5 hot and sweet jalapeño slices.

Serves: 4

Note: This is a fast soaking method for beans, and you can always soak overnight if you prefer. You can substitute kale for other greens, such as turnip, mustard or swiss chard.

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Drunken Pork

I will always be partial to Memphis-style barbecue sauces with their perfect sweet and tangy combination. However, I do appreciate a good vinegar-based sauce from North Carolina and white sauce from Alabama. This recipe is perfect for entertaining a crowd that may have strong opinions about which state has the best sauce. Simply serve a variety of warm sauces along with your pork and let your guests decide.

Ingredients:
2½ to 3 pound pork butt
1 can or bottle of craft beer, such as IPA
4 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Optional: Barbecue sauce, heated

Directions:
1. Place pork, beer, garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is tender and starts to fall apart.
2. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle. Using two forks, shred the pork and discard any bone or large pieces of fat.
3. Serve shredded pork plain or toss with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Note: This recipe is also very adaptable for different meals throughout the week. It makes a great lean protein topping for salads and baked potatoes.

Servings: 5 to 6 ~ Serving size: varies depending on cut of meat