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
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.
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.
Cook for 4 hours, until beans are soft and tender. Discard garlic cloves and serve.
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
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.
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.
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.
Serve soup topped with tortilla strips and optional toppings of choice.