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Happy Monday all! Today went by real quick, all of a sudden it was the end of the day and I was cruising home and off to the gym. I slept in this morning to extend the weekend just a little bit longer and when I saw 23° on my weather app this morning boy was I glad I did!! Brrrr the winter is fast approaching.

This colder weather called for some cozy chili, a staple in my meal-planning, but never before made in our one-and-only engagement present, the Slow-Cooker.

the makings of some darn good chili

Just like the pulled pork, there was very little prep and when it was time for dinner (usually around 9 pm for me) the only required work was scoop, pour, cover in cheese, indulge!

Slow-cooker Ground Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine or water, I used Sutter Home Zinfandel
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (19-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can black beans, undrained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Preparation

  1. Cook the ground beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until brown, stirring to crumble. Add chopped pepper and the next 9 ingredients (pepper through garlic), and cook for 7 minutes or until pepper is tender.

brown the meat and peppers (and onions if your sig other doesn't hate them like mine!)

2. Place meat mixture in an electric slow cooker, and stir in beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cover with lid, and cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours. Spoon into bowls; sprinkle with cheese.

Note: The chili can be made on the stovetop if you don’t have a slow cooker. I did this for a while, it’s certainly not as flavorful but still very tasty :)After adding the beans and the tomatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, 1 1/2 hours.

look at all those colors simmering away

While the chili was slow-cooking it’s way to awesomeness, I got a little bored and decided to make dessert for us too. I made cookies last weekend so decided to mix it with dark-chocolate brownies based off this Cooking Light recipe:

Cooking Light: Fudgy Brownies

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (1 bar Hershey’s dark, 1 bar Cadbury’s Twirl)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup skim milk, 1 TB whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.

who doesn't love chocolate after dinner??

  1. Place butter and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds. Stir until smooth, and set aside. Cool slightly. Add 1 cup sugar, milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, egg yolks, and egg; stir with a whisk to combine. Add butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Pour batter into an 8-inch square metal baking pan or 9X13 baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean.

We ate ours heated up in the microwave for about 20 seconds with whipped cream on top, YUM! What a great way to end the weekend: chili, wine, and brownies.

fresh out of the oven

I didn’t have too much energy or motivation to head to the gym so I researched some interval workouts for the elliptical. Thanks to Tina from Carrots n Cake for this awesome (and super quick) workout, I adjusted it to the elliptical for tonight.

  • 0 -5 mins –> Easy 5.0 MPH, Level 8
  • 5 – 7 mins –> 5.0 MPH, Level 7
  • 7 – 9 mins –> 5.2 MPH, Level 7
  • 9-11 mins –> 5.5 MPH, Level 6
  • 11 -16 mins –> 5.6 MPH, Level 6
  • 16 – 21 mins –> 5.0 MPH, Level 7
  • 21 – 22 mins –> 5.5 MPH, Level 6
  • 22 – 23 mins –> 6.0 MPH, Level 5
  • 23 – 24 mins –> 5.0 MPH, Level 7
  • 24 – 25 mins –> 6.0 MPH, Level 5
  • 25 – 26 mins –> 5.0 MPH, Level 7
  • 26 – 27 mins -> 6.0 MPH, Level 5
  • 27 – 30 mins –> 5.5 MPH, Level 6

Followed by an awesome total body workout to be posted tomorrow. Dinner is STILL cooking, salmon taking longer than I thought. Have a great night!

Do you like chili when the weather gets cold? Slow-cooker or Stove-top?

Have you done any good interval workouts lately?

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