Saturday, May 22, 2010

Look At Me, I'm Sandra Lee!

I'm not normally a fan of the "dump 'n' stir" philosophy of cooking so thoroughly relished by Sandra Lee, the eternally perky woman who has built a Semi-Homemade empire through such gag-inducing notions as making meatloaf with dry onion soup mix and Cream of Mushroom soup. (I saw it myself, or else I'd have thought I'd gone through a time machine back into the 60s!) Processed ingredients forming some semblance of a meal, and requiring no ability beyond running a can opener ... not for moi. I don't necessarily cook to Cordon Bleu standards of complication, but still!

But after a stressful month or so leading up to last weekend's hospitalization of a loved one, compounded by a wretched and broken-hearted week in which I abruptly find that I am no longer part of an "us" for reasons beyond my comprehension and control, I'm just not in the mood to cook despite it normally being a great passion. Jeremy, however, needs to eat ... as do I, although it's difficult to choke anything down. I'm trying to push nutrition into myself, focusing on fruits and vegetables and protein.

And so this morning -- a dreary, rainy day to suit my misery -- I decided to pull out my Mama Bear crockpot (as opposed to the Papa Bear and Baby Bear versions). Let the slow cooker do the work while I wallow! But what do I have to put into it, other than a couple of defrosted ground beef patties, since I haven't been to the grocery store in a few days?

A can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers and onions. A can of black beans. A packet of taco seasoning. A jar of taco sauce. Oh, no -- I must resign myself to the "dump 'n' stir" ... a pot of chili is clearly what the fates have planned.

So I browned the beef and sauteed the onions, just so I can claim that I actually did some cooking. I rinsed the beans and plopped them in along with the tomatoes and sauce and seasoning. I added a dash of Tabasco and a little bit of non-alcoholic beer discovered recently when I cleaned out my pantry. (I had Pink Eye and was a walking contagion -- I had to do something while I was on doctor-ordered banishment from work and public interaction!) And then I covered the crockpot and set it to do the cooking while I did some therapy shopping. (New-to-me jeans, t-shirt, skirt, pink beaded tank sweater, glass dish, and Moroccan tile-inspired plates from a thrift shop, plus gorgeous dangly floral earrings bought with the remainder of a gift card from a fabulous friend ... inquiring minds need to know these things!)

And ya know what? The chili was pretty good, if I may say so myself! I don't know that this will become my new m.o., but dumping stuff in and stirring it around to make an easy meal worked out well today. A few nacho chips crumbled on top, a dollop of sour cream, and dinner was served ....

Crockpot Chili

1/2 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 cup corn
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies and onions
1 packet taco seasoning
6 ounces beer
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup taco sauce
generous splashes of Tabasco sauce
salt, pepper

Brown the ground beef and the onions. Then dump them into a crockpot along with everything else on the list, stir the ingredients, cook on "low" all day.

P.S.: For those of you who aren't old enough to know this, the title of this post is a play on "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" from "Grease." Yes, I'm showing my age ... being old is better than the alternative!


Lizzie Ann said...

thanks for your encouragement about bipolar! :) I'm following back!

Abby said...

There are few things that make me happier than a crockpot meal that turns out fantastic. They're definitely mom's best friend!

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