Slow cookers are perfect for busy lives | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Slow cookers are perfect for busy lives

Stephen Moise / The Ridge Tahoe

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” The Tribune is running favorite recipes from local chefs and other readers. If you have a recipe to share ” or if there’s a recipe you’re looking for ” write to tahoetalk@ tahoedailytribune. com. If you are submitting a recipe, include your name and/or the name of your restaurant and any photos.

Today’s submissions come from Stephan Moise, executive chef at The Ridge Tahoe.

“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.”

” Instructions for the new millennium from the Dalai Lama

In these tough times, we are all feeling the crunch of money and just trying to get by. In restaurants, as well as at home, offering variety and being cost-savvy is important to everyone.

It is very common in most households to have the cabinets full of impulse buys that sit there unused. Let’s start to change that waste of money into fun snacks and meals for your family. Here are a few ways to do just that.

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What works for my family is taking time to write a weekly menu, including snacks, and making the effort to shop only once a week. This may be hard at first, but in the long run will save you time and money.

We all seem to live very busy lives, and it doesn’t help with all the anxious feelings that come from our current economic situation. These first simple steps allows us to focus on what we can do to make our hard-earned dollar go farther. When you have leftovers and you know what your family likes to eat, you can turn them into fun lunch items for the kids or after-school snacks. This helps you not only create one more meal, but more importantly, saves your money from being thrown away.

One great tool that works for my family is a slow cooker. Assemble all the ingredients and let the meal cook while you are at work, then come home and eat. This is great for families that are always on the go. Here are just a few examples.

1 pound cooked boneless shredded chicken

1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups water

15 ounces low-sodium chicken broth

1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons crushed bay leaves

2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon jalapenos, minced

1 cup shredded zucchini

Combine all ingredients in greased 41⁄2 to 6-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours.

Garnish with tortilla strips, grated pepper jack cheese, guacamole and chopped green onions. Serve with Spanish rice.

The soup leftovers can be turned an amazing casserole or layer dip for snacks by putting crushed tortilla chips, refried beans, chopped olives, shredded lettuce and cheese. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes or until hot.

2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

1 large onion, chopped

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid

2 8-ounce cans tomatoes puree

1 16-ounce can kidney beans with liquid

1 4-ounce can diced green chilies with liquid

1 cup water

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons dark chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander seed

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients into greased 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Garnish with sour cream, chives and grated cheese.

Serve with warm corn bread.

You can turn leftover chili into burritos for snacks or lunches. As a second meal, make tostadas by adding shredded lettuce and cheese.

Keep things simple, cook what you and your family loves to eat, buy only what you need and have a leftover night once a week to make sure you get the most out of your hard earned money.