Slow Cooker Beef and Potato Stew

Hearty Beef Stew

The weather forecast this month for the Seattle area is a consistent daily report of dreary days filled with rain heavy clouds, dark skies, and wet pavement. The only plausible solution is to warm up with chunky, waterproof layers and comfort food in my belly.

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew (via):

1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
10.5 ounce can condensed French Onion soup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
3 pounds boneless beef chunk, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes with excess fat trimmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into halves or quarters
1 medium onion, large dice cut
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 cups frozen peas
additional salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes), as need to thicken stew
crusty Italian bread, toasted

Add chicken broth, onion soup, water, tomato paste, and soy sauce into the slow cooker; whisk together to evenly distribute the tomato paste. In a large bowl, season beef chunks with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned beef, potatoes, onion, and carrots to the slow cooker; cover with lid and cook on high for 6-7 hours until beef is tender. Before serving, add frozen peas and allow to cook for an additional 5-8 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup potato flakes to thicken the soup. Add additional potato flakes 1 tablespoon at a time until desired thickness is achieved. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted bread.

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Chicken Taco Chili

Chicken Taco Chili

After an exhausting weekend (read why here), the thought of cooking and cleaning up a meal sounded impossible until this crock-pot chicken taco chili appeared on my Pinterest board.  With the weather slowly warming up, I wanted to seize one last opportunity to make a stomach-warming meal of chili.  Although the ease of the recipe (adapted from here) is extremely easy to begin with, I simplified even more by using frozen chopped onions to erase any need for a knife!

Prep Time     5-10 Minutes
Bake Time     6 Hours on Low
Makes           10 Servings

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
16-oz can black beans
16-oz can kidney beans
8-oz can tomato sauce
10 oz package frozen corn kernels
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

for topping (optional):
cheese
chips to scoop
sour cream
fresh cilantro

Directions:

Combine beans, onion, diced tomatoes, frozen corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours. A half hour before serving, remove the chicken breasts, shred, return to slow cooker, and stir. Top with any optional toppings, we love to scoop up the chili with tortilla chips.

**Recipe Source:  Photo a Day**