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Vegetable Chili

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I love a good hearty chili – I bet you do too.  I can eat it any time of the year, but it’s especially good on cold winter days. 
Needing to watch my health and diet, I came up with a vegetable version that is delicious. This satisfies my craving for chili without the extra fat from meat. It gives me my day’s supply of vegetables and a lot fewer calories.  I know sometimes you want the “real” thing, loaded with ground beef or sausage, but this is a delicious and healthy substitute. 
Making chili brings back memories from when I was growing up.  I remember Fall days when mom would put on a pot of chili and while it was slowly simmering, the whole family would go outside (sometimes reluctantly) and rake leaves. When it started getting dark, we would come inside and the aroma of the chili almost made our taste buds jump for joy. It was a race to see how fast we could set the table and dig in.
Normally, I don’t use a recipe, which makes this a convenient, flexible recipe. You can pretty much use what you have – well, there are certain things you always need for chili – but you can make it to satisfy your taste.  But for the sake of this blog, here’s what I put in the above batch.

Veggie chili 1             RECIPE (Notice my crock pot is full to the brim so I have some for the freezer and future lunches.) When I say 1 -2 to cans of things, it’s because it depends on how much you want to make and the size of your crock pot. This is going to taste yummy, even if you vary it some. 1 large can of tomato juice 1 – 2 cans of stewed tomatoes 2 cans of chili beans (I use hot, but that depends on your taste) 1 -2 onions – chopped (less if you choose) 1 packages of frozen mixed vegetables Other vegetables you may have left over – broccoli, cauliflower, green beans (almost any vegetable you like will be a nice addition. 2 packages of packaged chili mix Directions Line crock pot with crock pot liner – optional Put all ingredients in crock pot, stir to mix well and cook on low about 4 hours. You’re ready to enjoy a healthy-hearty meal.  Don’t forget your favorite crackers or corn bread. Hint:  I like the convenience of crock pot liners (find them near the oven cooking bags, and zip lock bags in the store).  They make clean up so much easier. It’s convenient to have a supply of lunches to grab from the freezer for a quick meal.  So after the chili cools, here’s what I do: Chicken and dumplings 5veggie chili 5 Put a freezer bag inside a 16 oz. cup and fill about 2/3 full.  This is the perfect size for a lunch for me – adjust yours accordingly.  When I put the bags of chili in the freezer, I put a paper towel between each so they don’t stick together. 

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