Six Amazing Things To Do With Left-Over Mashed Potatoes!


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Doesn’t almost every traditional family dinner end up serving one of the most classic dishes, mashed potatoes, for almost every holiday?! I mean, think about it… you have Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and more! And if you are anything like my family and I, you always make extra because you don’t want anyone to end up hungry, and also, because you just never know who might end up stopping by!

We always end up with a LOT of left-over mashed potatoes. And yes, you can heat them up with left-over gravy for lunch or supper the next day and they still taste fantastic… but, boring! Total yawn!

Umm… One of my most favorite things to do is to actually make a mashed potato poutine! Mmm…. So good! Just throw a little cheese and gravy on your mashed potatoes, and you are good to go! And yes – Somebody always rolls their eyes at me when I do this! Although this is like the best idea ever, there are actually, so many more things that you can do with left-over mashed potatoes!

Since my family doesn’t share the same feelings as I do for mashed potato poutines, I decided to compile this list of six amazing things to do with left-over mashed potatoes! I found these recipes on Pinterest, and let me tell you… they are amazing and definitely not even close to being boring!

Mashed Potato Puffs devised by The Cooking Jar

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Mashed Potato Soup devised by The Yummy Life

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Potato Pierogi Pizza devised by Potato Goodness

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Homemade Gnocchi devised by The Art of Doing Stuff

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Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes devised by Just A Taste

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Shepard’s Pie devised by The Project Pile (This one is my very own recipe… It’s really easy to prepare and you can use fresh veggies if you like, or frozen work great too! It’s perfect for busy mom’s or dad’s on the go!)

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Hey! Did you know that you can actually make mashed potatoes in your crock pot?! The Creek Line House has really easy-to-follow instructions, and you can get them right, here!

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Quick & Easy Shepard’s Pie (For the busy family!)

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Shepard’s Pie is one of those really yummy dishes that taste really good, but seem like they take a lot of work to make. However, this does not have to be the case!

I’ve now learned that when I’m making a nice home-cooked meal, if I make extra mashed potatoes, then I can use them to quickly whip up a super delicious Shepard’s Pie! This means that I’m actually slightly ahead of the game called “life” since dinner for the next night is already half-prepared!

Perfect for those busy Mom’s or Dad’s on the go, here is my very easy recipe! 

All you’ll Need:

– 1.5lbs of Ground Beef
– Salt & Pepper
– 2tbsp of Soya-Sauce
– 1 small, diced Onion
Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel 6 Piece Knives Set (5 Knives plus and Acrylic Stand)
– 3 cups of mixed frozen Peas, Carrots, Green Beans and Corn (You can use fresh vegetables in place of frozen, if you like. Frozen just seem to be a little bit faster and easier when you don’t have a lot of time!)
– 1 can of Condensed Mushroom Soup
– 3 cups of Mashed Potatoes
– ½ cup of Shredded Cheese (I’ve made this dish using both Cheddar Cheese and Mozzarella Cheese before, and both tasted great!)
– 4oz of Cream Cheese

What to do:

Step One: Using a nice big pan, start out by frying up your ground beef, onions and Soya-Sauce. Once the meat is fully cooked, drain off and dispose of the fat.

Step Two: (You can perform this step while you are waiting for step one to cook!) In a separate bowl, mix the mashed potatoes with the shredded cheese, cream cheese and pepper. Set aside.

Step Three: Add the mixed vegetables and a dash of salt to the pan with the ground beef and onion mixture.

Step Four: Add the condensed mushroom soup to the vegetable and ground beef mixture. Stir and then let it simmer for about 2-5 minutes.

Step Five: Pour the ground beef and vegetable mixture into a medium sized casserole dish, and then layer the potato mixture on top and cover.

Pyrex Easy Grab 8-Piece Glass Bakeware and Food Storage Set

Step Six: Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, then remove the lid and let the dish bake for another 15 minutes.

Step Seven: Serve and enjoy!

Baked Adzuki Beans


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Have you ever heard of Adzuki beans before? I hadn’t either until the other day… Or at least I thought I hadn’t!

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It turns out that Adzuki beans are actually the infamous “red bean” that you are always hearing about… Are you familiar with that super yummy red bean ice cream that you can find at most sushi restaurants? Yep… that’s the Adzuki bean! See? You have heard of them before!

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These beans are also associated with some pretty amazing health benefits! They are known to play a key part in contributing to the ability to lose weight, to help with the prevention and management of diabetes, lower blood pressure, help increase energy levels, and they are also supposed to have major body-detoxifying effects!

So how did I come across these beans you may be wondering… Well, truth be told, I had to steal them! Yep, that’s right — straight out of the farmer’s field!

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Well I better explain… My dad is a farmer and part of his business is combining crops for other farmers. This year when I was down visiting he told me about these Adzuki beans that he was going to combine, and how they were a Japanese bean that people eat… I was immediately intrigued and thought that I must get my hands on some of these beans! So we devised the perfect plan!

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Since soy-a-beans are a more commonly grown and harvested type of bean in Ontario, we had to clean the combine out really well so no soy-a-beans would get mixed in with the Adzuki beans. Even though the combine was thoroughly cleaned out, the Adzuki beans could be rejected if even one single soy-a-bean is mixed in with them. As an extra precaution, you are supposed to combine a few Adzuki beans first, and then dump them on the ground to clean out the internal parts of the combine before continuing on to harvest the rest. It was these first beans that get dumped out into the field for waste, that I was able to steal!

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My mom and I filled up a couple of zip lock sandwich bags, and I just couldn’t wait to cook these bad boys up for supper that night!

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After doing a little recipe researching, I decided that I would use these Adzuki beans to make a more traditional Canadian dish – yummy baked beans! And today, I am going to share this yummy delicious recipe with you! And don’t worry, if you are unable to steal some fresh Adzuki beans straight from the field, you can usually purchase them in the international aisle of your local super market!

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Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6 – 10

What you’ll need:

3 ½ cups of Adzuki Beans

Water (Lots of this!)

1 medium, diced Onion

3 tbsp of butter

¼ tsp of minced Garlic

1 ½ cups of sweetened Apple Sauce

1 cup of Tomato Sauce

¾ of brown or golden Sugar

¼ tsp of Cumin Powder

¼ tsp of Salt

¼ tsp of Black Pepper

1 cup of cooked, diced Bacon (Optional)

Instructions:

Since my beans were fresh from the field, I had to sort through them, (perform my own QA/QC process), and then wash them. If you are purchasing your beans from the store, then you can most likely skip this step!

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The next thing that you’ll have to do is soften your Adzuki beans before baking them. Add them to a big pot of water and bring them to a boil. Once they are at a boil, turn down the heat, and let them simmer for about an hour. These beans will soak up a lot of water, so make sure that you keep checking them and adding more water as needed.

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While you are waiting for them to soften, you can prepare all of your other ingredients.

Sautee your bacon, onions, and garlic in the butter with the salt and pepper.

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Once your beans are all softened, you have two options! You can choose to bake your beans in the oven, or if you have time and love crock pot cooking like I do, you can let them simmer in the crock pot. Since I didn’t have a lot of time that day, I choose to bake mine in the oven.

Either way you choose, you’ll need to set aside ¼ cup of the sugar, and then add all of the other ingredients into your baking dish.

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Gently fold your beans into the other ingredients so that they don’t break or turn to mush.

Once everything is thoroughly mixed, sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on top.

Cover with foil and bake for one hour. Or let simmer in the crock pot for two to three hours.

The very final step is to eat and enjoy!

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4 Ingredient Play-Dough! (Easy & No-Bake!)

4I always say that it’s completely impossible to have a happy baby and a clean house! Trust me, I’m really trying to work on the balance and all, and I know that some moms really do have “it all together”… just not me, yet! Still working on it!

Sometimes my daughter and I role with the motto “Messy hair, and we don’t care!”, and well, we just decide to have fun all day long! So, last week we decided to start out by making play-dough first thing in the morning. Honestly, the making of this play-dough was actually a necessity! You know how sometimes the play-dough gets left out overnight, and it gets all hard and stuff?! [Psst! Do your kids love play-dough?! Check out some of these great play-doe accessories!]

Here are some of the great reasons why I LOVE this play-dough recipe:

  1. If it accidentally gets left out, this play-dough doesn’t harden for at least 24 hours! (Trust me… we just made it last week… and this has already been tested out about 24 trillion times!!)
  2. This play-dough recipe does not require any cream of tar-tar! (Something I always, always want to buy since it has many cleaning and cooking purposes, but I can never remember to simply put it on my list… SO annoying!!)
  3. A lot of the play-dough recipes that I looked up actually require baking… (Ummm no-thanks!)
  4. This recipe makes a LOT of play-dough!
  5. The best part was that I was able to just throw all of the ingredients into a huge mixing bowl, and let my gorgeous two-year old daughter mix it all up all by herself! (Soooooo easy!!!!!)

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of Water
  • 2 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of Table Salt
  • 4 cups of Flour
  • A big Mixing Bowl

All you need to do is throw all of the ingredients into a big mixing bowl, and mix, mix, mix!

I actually got about five “servings” of play-dough out of this recipe, each about the size of my fist! I just put the servings into zip-lock baggies and threw them into the freezer… So next time the play-dough dries up — I’m completely prepared!

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Also, in case you haven’t noticed yet, I pulled an epic mom fail while making this play-dough!!! I completely always, also forget to buy food-coloring!!! Hence, my “white-ish” play-dough… BUT! I figure that maybe we can turn that into another fun activity of color-mixing and adding color into the play-dough the next time we are looking for something to do! I actually ended up throwing a little bit of green glitter into the mixture, just to spice it up a little bit! 😉

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2 Minute Pork Chop Marinade!


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2 Minute Pork Chop Marinade!

Prep Time: 2 Minutes!

On the weekend I decided that I would try “online ordering” from M&M Meat Shops, and let me tell you, what an amazing shopping experience it was! By ordering online, I was able to browse through all of their products, easily search for specific ones, view and compare their weekly deals and easily stick to my budget! Then, when I went to the store to pick it up (at a specific time that I got to choose!), it was all ready in a giant box, and the nice people working even carried it out to my car for me! I was in and out of the store in about 2 minutes! Definitely a fantastic new way that I will continue to shop with, and I highly recommend that you try it too! Perfect for the busy family! (And no — M&M Meat Shops is not sponsoring this post! LOL)

What does this have to do with Pork Chop Marinade?! Well, I just happened to order some pork chops from there to try for the first time. So last night I took them out of the freezer to thaw, and realized that I needed some sort of marinade for them — oh no! (I’m always so close to being prepared for life…. but never quite fully there! LOL)….

My husband and daughter would be home shortly, so with very little time to spare, I was able to put together this super quick and easy marinade, and it actually turned out to be extremely delicious! (Total score!)

All you need is:

  • Pork Chops! (This recipe makes enough for about 4 chops)
  • 1/3 cup of Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s, my favorite!)
  • 1/4 tsp of Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp of Onion Powder
  • A pinch of Salt

Step One: Mix all of the ingredients together with a fork, until it is all an even consistency.

Step Two: Pour the mixture over the pork chops, and be sure to flip them in order to cover both sides with the marinade.

Step Three: After your chops have marinaded for a couple of minutes, or hours — whatever you have time for, throw them on the grill and cook as usual!

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Tip: Since this marinade uses so much lemon juice, it is absorbed by the meat rather quickly, so you are able to use it right away! But for even more flavor, let your meat marinade for a couple of hours, or even overnight!

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy recipe…. I definitely did and will be trying it on chicken next time! Do you have a favorite quick and easy go-to marinade recipe, that you’d like to share? I am always looking for new things to try! 🙂

Classic Lasagna!

3Classic Lasagna

There is nothing like a good classic lasagna for supper, so today I am sharing my number one lasagna recipe with you! Now don’t be scared away by the “made with 5 cheeses” bit…. Any “one” type of cheese will work! I just love, love, love cheese and always have at least 10 different kinds in my fridge — and no, I’m not kidding!

All you need is:

  • 1 package of Ground Beef
  • 1 chopped, medium-sized onion
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 dashes of Hot Sauce
  • 1 can of diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can of your favorite type of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tub of Cottage Cheese
  • 1 tub of Ricotta Cheese (Optional)
  • 2 Cups of shredded cheese (Mozzarella and/or Cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of crushed Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp of Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp of Thyme
  • 1 pinch each, of Salt & Pepper
  • 1 box of Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles

Step One: In a large skillet or frying pan, add ground beef, mushrooms, onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high for about seven to ten minutes, or until fully cooked and then drain.

Step Two: Add diced tomatoes, hot sauce, tomato sauce, crushed garlic and the oregano and thyme to the ground beef mixture. Simmer on medium heat for about ten minutes. (Don’t worry about draining the diced tomatoes, the extra juice will help the noodles cook!)

Step Three: Layer the bottom of your casserole dish with a single layer or noodles. I typically use a 8″ x 11″ casserole dish, but if you wanted to make two smaller square sized lasagna’s, that works too! (This is great for smaller sized families, because you can eat one lasagna and freeze the other one for another night!)

Step Four: Cover the single layer of noodles with about half of the ground beef-sauce mixture. Make sure that the noodles are fully covered, and then lay down another single layer of noodles.

Step Five: Spread the whole tub of cottage cheese over the second layer of noodles, and then cover the layer of cottage cheese with a layer of ricotta cheese…. Mmm!

Step Six: Place another layer of noodles down over the cottage cheese/ricotta cheese layer, and then cover the noodles with the remainder or the ground beef-sauce mixture.

Step Seven: Sprinkle the two cups of shredded cheese on top of everything, and then sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.

Step Eight: Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking for a crispier top.

Step Nine: Let stand for five minutes, serve, and enjoy! 🙂

 

Ten Minute Tuna Pasta Salad!

2Summer is finally here! BBQ’s and summer get-together’s are in the air!

Tonight I thought that I would share with you one of my favorite, go-to side dishes — Tuna Pasta Salad…. The best part about this salad is that it can be ready in just ten minutes!

This salad always knows how to get me out of a jam when I come home late from work and have to be somewhere ASAP, and this pasta salad is always there for me when I forget to plan out dinner and need something quick and tasty…. I guess, if salads were besties, this one would be mine!

All you need is:

  • 1/2 a bag of Pasta (I prefer small shells for this pasta, but just about any type will do!)
  • 1 can of Tuna
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Green or Regular Onions (Whichever you have on hand!)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Celery
  • 2/3 cup of Mayo
  • 6 dashes of Hot Sauce
  • Pepper

Step One: The very first thing I do in order to get the ball rolling for this pasta is get my water boiling, and my pasta on.

Step Two: While the pasta is cooking, I take full advantage of the time, and get my veggies (onions and celery), all chopped up and into a big bowl.

Step Three: Next I drain my can of tuna, and then add it to my big bowl.

Step Four: I then throw in my mayo and hot sauce. My favorite mayo to use is Hellman’s because I love “salty”, but any type of mayo will work!

Step Five: As soon as my pasta is soft, I then pour it into a big strainer. I usually let my pasta cook for about 7 minutes, but you can check your packaging for exact timing!

Step Six: I run cold water all over my pasta, and stir it with a spoon while doing so. This really helps it cool down fast…. A great trick for when you are always late like me, or just in a huge hurry!

Step Seven: After your pasta is cool and drained, add it into the big bowl and mix, mix, mix!

Step Eight: Place pasta into your favorite serving dish, garnish with celery leaves, sprinkle with pepper, and enjoy!

Tip: This salad keeps very well if you wanted to make it a day ahead, or eat the yummy leftovers for lunch the next day!

 

Weekly Meal Plan – A How-To Guide


Weekly Meal Plan - A How-To Guide

Ok, here’s how to do it! Here’s how to save a TON of money per month! It’s really simple, it’s really easy…. and I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with FOOD!

Yes — If you are anything like my husband and I, we eat out everyday for lunch…. breakfast too! And at night, we find it way too easy to give in to our daily cravings of whatever might come our way…. Maybe it was that Burger King that we drove by on the way home from work, that DQ commercial that we just saw on TV…. Or perhaps, we just feel unorganized and lazy and nothing seems more appealing than my absolute favorite go-to meal: Pizza!



Well, guess what…. those days are over! It’s time to shape up, it’s time to start saving money and it’s time to eat a little healthier! So here’s how we are going to do it….. with a WEEKLY MEAL PLAN! I’m not only going to show you an easy way to do it, but a super-versatile way too, so you don’t get super-bored and give up!

Ready, set, go!

Step One – Create the base: Designate each night of the week for a type of meat, (or protein if you don’t care for meat!) or a certain meal “type”. I would define a meal “type” as something like tacos, or casserole, or even crock-pot! By doing this, you are predetermining what you are going to need to purchase or take out of the freezer ahead of time.

Step Two – Make a list of side dishes: You can use this list and switch up your choices for different nights of different weeks, and this way, you’re sure to never get bored! Let’s face it — This isn’t the 1950’s and we don’t want to sit down and eat meat, potatoes, carrots — every single night!




To give you an idea, here is what the base of my weekly meal plan looks like:

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Now I’m going to give you some different ideas for these different categories, which include links to some of the best recipes out there! Go ahead, try them out! Eat yummy and save money! 😉

Chicken Recipes

Taco Recipes

Casserole Recipes




Pork Recipes

Beef Recipes

Crock-Pot

Side Dishes


HERE ARE SOME MORE RECIPES THAT YOU MAY ENJOY!

Four Ingredient Gourmet Burgers (The quick and tasty burger hack!)

3 Ingredient Meat-Loaf

Get More out of your Hamburger Helper

Honey Apple Roasted Ham (A very quick and easy, delicious recipe!)

Steak Marinade! Perfect for Grilling!


Weekly Meal Plan - A How-To Guide


*This post may contain affiliate links.

Healthy, Easy, Yummy — Apple Chutney!


Healthy, Easy, Yummy — Apple Chutney!

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Bake Time: 10 minutes

Hello, hello everyone! It’s been a little while since the Project Pile has done a recipe… we have just been so busy around here! Last September I started teaching at our local college, then I starting working on another “project” for another company here in town…. Plus, we are now expecting again — Yes, expecting! So, now it’s the end of the school year, I thought that I would share this really yummy, really easy and healthy apple chutney recipe that I came up with last week when I had to quickly throw together one of those last minute, yet super delicious, home-cooked meals!

I needed the perfect side to go with my pork chops…. something fresh, crisp and summery…. and then it came to me — Apple chutney! Now, here’s the interesting part, the part where my chutney differs a little bit from other recipes…. there is no vinegar in this chutney recipe at all! The vinegar is actually replaced with cranberry juice, which allows the amount of sugar required to be significantly reduced, therefore making it much healthier than your typical chutney recipes! 🙂

So here it goes — hope you enjoy!

All you need is:

  • 3 diced Apples
  • 1/4 cup of Cranberry Juice
  • 1/4 cup of diced Onions
  • 1/4 cup of Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 cup of Cranberries
  • 1 tsp of Butter or Margarine
  • 1 tsp of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Step One: In a small or medium sized frying pan, saute onions on medium heat in the butter or margarine, until golden-brown.

Tip: Add any extra seasoning that you like during the sauteing process, for extra flavor!

Step Two: Add the apples, cinnamon and cranberry juice. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for seven minutes, or until the apples are soft.

Tip: The cooking time will vary depending on the type of apples that you use. The softer the apple, the less time it will take for them to soften.

Step Three: Stir in the brown sugar and simmer for about two more minutes.

Tip: The addition of the brown sugar won’t only sweeten the mixture, but it will help to thicken it a little too, as it cools.

Step Four: Remove the mixture from heat, and add the sunflower seeds and dried cranberries — Then serve and enjoy!

Tip: It’s best to add the cranberries and sunflower seeds at the very end of the process, otherwise they may harden.

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The Best Crock Pot Chili!

Mmm…. On a cold or rainy day, this chili is my go-to meal! Not only does this chili taste amazing — it’s also kind of a “cheater” chili, meaning that its so easy to make! I used canned beans, canned tomatoes and frozen vegetables — such a time saver! But remember, if you wanted to replace these canned items with fresh ingredients instead, you absolutely can! Oh and just in case you are wondering… the vegetables totally cancel out the bacon! 😉

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What You’ll Need:

1 lb of hamburger

1 package of bacon

1 medium diced onion

1 can of bean medley (mixed beans)

1 can of baked beans (in maple sauce)

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 cup of frozen veggies (peas, carrots, corn, green and Lima beans)

1 cup of diced mushrooms

1 1/4 tsp of cumin or chili powder

1 tsp hot sauce

2 tbsp of ketchup

Step One: In a frying pan, saute hamburger, onions, mushrooms and bacon.

Tip: During this step is where you can throw in any extra seasoning if you like! Sometimes I’ll add oregano, thyme, or even just plain old salt and pepper.

Step Two: After the meat mixture has been prepared and drained, add the mixture plus all of your other ingredients into the crock pot.

Tip: If there are any veggies that you don’t totally love in this recipe, feel free to substitute them with some veggies that you do love!

Step Three: Turn the crock pot onto high and let everything simmer together for three to four hours.

Tip: If you are going to be away all day, turn your crock pot to the low setting rather than high…. this way it can simmer all day long and won’t burn!

Step Four: Serve your chili in a nice big bowl, and enjoy!

Tip: Cheesy garlic bread, or a nice soft bun with butter are the perfect addition to this meal…. oh and maybe a nice big glass of red wine too! 🙂