I have clearly been on a slow cooker recipe kick lately! I just love those evenings when dinner is done (and even cleaned up minus the plates – or bowls in this case!). Whether you are busy entertaining guests from out of town or just have a hectic afternoon or evening planned, your slow cooker is the only thing between you and a wholesome real food meal like this slow cooker chili.
Bell pepper season has officially started, and I am pretty excited about it. It’s hard to think of another vegetable I like this much that’s also so versatile (tomatoes might be a close second!). We enjoy eating bell peppers in so many dishes from fajitas to gumbo to grilled panini sandwiches to pizza (as a topping) and even as raw slices dipped in some hummus or homemade ranch. Plus my other favorite thing about bell peppers is that the season feels fairly long compared to other fresh produce. I don’t know about you but I feel like strawberries, peaches, and raspberries are here and gone in a flash. So if you’re one to procrastinate you’ve still got a little time left to stock up and preserve fresh bell peppers before the season ends.
Based on the popularity of my other crock pot “real food” recipes I think you guys will love this one, too. Slow cookers are great for entertaining because you can easily get all the work done in advance and have your house smelling amazing when guests arrive (we use this basic, inexpensive slow cooker). I just made these fajitas myself the other day and my daughters kept asking me “What smells so good??” They couldn’t wait to dig in and if you make the tortillas in advance it will just take some grated cheese, sour cream, and cilantro (plus any other fixings you like on your fajitas), and your feast will be ready in no time. I am getting hungry just talking about it. But don’t take my word for it…you must try it for yourself!
I love soups because they’re an easy way to get in a lot of vegetables, and they are usually awesome leftover (whether they’ve been in the fridge or freezer). I am a big fan of serving easy dinners on busy weeknights and there is nothing easier than defrosting some soup out of your very own freezer. I especially love this soup because it comes with so many “accessories.” You could certainly eat it plain, but it is amazing how the flavor suddenly changes when you pile avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, and cilantro on top. We even sometimes toast tortillas (to make them crunchy like chips) and throw them in the mix as well. This is also a great dish to serve this week if you are participating in our third real food mini-pledge. Even though this dish is meatless it would still be great if you wanted to add a little raw chicken when you sauté the veggies (or even some leftover cooked meat at the end). Just like most of the recipes I post this one is super flexible. If you don’t have or like zucchini then use a different vegetable instead. If you randomly find a half container of mushrooms in your fridge…throw them in. Get creative and use what you have on hand to make this dish easy and budget-friendly!
I love a lot of different foods, but let me tell you that this fajita recipe is right up there at the top. This is the kind of meal where you hear my husband and I “mmmming” and “aaahhhhing” at how good the flavor is the whole time we are eating. Anytime you cook with the freshest ingredients it is hard to go wrong, but I especially think the homemade tortillas are a big part of what makes this recipe so money. If you don’t want to invest the time to make the tortillas then I think store-bought corn tortillas are the best alternative. Unless you have a local bakery, it is really hard to find whole-wheat breads or tortillas from the grocery store without a bunch of junk in them. I did once try Ezekiel flour tortillas (which are made with sprouted grains and kept frozen at Earth Fare), and even though the ingredients were decent I didn’t feel the same way about the taste.