Recipe: Slow cooker chili

by Becky (from Momstown Ottawa) On those busy days there isn't anything better than having supper taken care of. When it's 4 pm and I forgot to take something out of the freezer for supper, or simply don't have the energy to decide what to make, it can be a resentful and stressful time.

For me, my slow cooker is a supper saver some nights. I'm able to prepare it when the kids are happy (or at school) earlier in the day, and it's ready when we want to eat, or when my husband gets home from work. No matter how busy we've been in between.

Have a favourite slow cooker recipe? Share it in the comments! Below is my recipe for beef chili. It's a family crowd pleaser (also a go-to when we have a group of people over!)


This recipe isn’t a hot chili – so feel free to add more tobasco if you prefer extra heat. However, it is very garlicky which we love!

If you are a new cook, this is an easy, family pleasing meal. Enjoy!


-Extra lean ground beef (or turkey) – about 1 package (2 pounds)

-4 cups crushed tomatoes (I use 2 large cans)

-2 cans red kidney beans, drained

-1-2 pepper(s) chopped

-2 cups mushrooms, sliced or chopped

-1 chopped onion

-6 cloves crushed, fresh garlic

-2-3 tablespoons chili powder

-3 dashes tobasco sauce


1-In frying pan or wok, cook meat. When cooked, add garlic, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Let cook until onions start to get tender and translucent. (Note: In a pinch for time? Just cook the meat and add the raw veggies directly into the crock pot as in step 2. Cooking the veggies and garlic makes more of the yummy flavours come out, but isn’t a must.)


2-In the crockpot, add tomatoes, beans, chili powder and tobasco sauce.


3-Add meat mixture to the crock pot.


4-Simmer on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 3-4.


5-Serve with your favourite fresh bread, garlic bread, or with nacho chips and sour cream (my favourite way! You don’t even need a spoon. And note: the 2 measly chips in the picture below are for show only. I eat half the bag with it…)


For leftovers (or for my son!) I make a plate of nachos, baked in the oven with melted cheese on top. My son gets his like this because, while he will eat a bowl of chili, if the nachos are available he’ll just eat those. This way, to get to the nachos, he has to also eat the chili.


originally posted on

Still looking for more slow cooker recipes? Try these from momstown meals:

Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Chicken

Slow Cooker Indian Cauliflower

Slow Cooker Bean Soup

momstown is for neighbourhood moms wanting to connect for support, conversation and  fun.  We are currently looking to expand into Ottawa and are seeking an entrepreneurial mom who might be ready to start an exciting new career!  For updates and information visit our momstown Ottawa blog.

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Fast Food: Make grocery shopping a little easier

By Heather

I am a firm believer that a good grocery shop begins at home with just a bit of preparation. A little planning saves you time and money because you don’t have to take extra trips to the store and you aren’t as tempted to just order in when the day gets away from you!

Ask any organizer and they likely have different ways of setting up their kitchen, their grocery lists and doing their shopping, but don’t worry — there is no one right way. It’s about what works for each of us. And here is what works for me:

Know what you want. Meal planning makes grocery shopping — and five o’clock on a busy Wednesday afternoon — so much easier! Before you shop, make up a menu of dinners for the week by flipping through your cookbooks and/or online recipes for inspiration, and then note down what you need to buy. By writing out your menu for the week you have a clear plan. I find this helps keep me on the straight and narrow. If I see “Tuesday: Thai Chicken with side salad” and I know I have done my shopping accordingly, I am way more likely to have Thai Chicken and a side salad on my plate than any type of fast or frozen food.

Know what’s there. Let me warn you that you will be in for some ribbing from family and friends but this step will be worth it, honestly…label your fridge. I know, I know, it sounds a little over-the-top but it will change your life as a foodie! A few years ago I separated the sections on my fridge door into categories like “sweet stuff”, “dressings”, “condiments” and the shelves into “meats”, “fruits and veggies”, and “dairy”, etc., and it has made a huge difference in the amount of food I shop for and throw out. By having clearly marked sections (choose labels that have a laminate surface for better durability), I can quickly figure out what I need for my menu planning week — and when I really don’t need yet another bottle of salad dressing! Another bonus to labelling is that I don’t end up losing items in the back of my fridge when I know what I have purchased has a purpose and a place. Even better, my husband and kids can also easily locate and relocate food because every shelf is clearly marked.

Know what you need. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and realized you forgot to buy a particular item yet again?! Don’t leave your shopping to memory — write down what you need as soon as you realize you are running out of it. I keep a 4-by-6-inch pad of paper and a pen mounted on the side of my fridge with a magnetic clip. When I see I am getting low on something, I add it to my ongoing grocery list. It saves me riffling through the fridge right before I head out shopping or counting on my memory recall when in the meat aisle — and my family also knows that if they want more of their favourite cereal, they have to add it to the list. When I sit down to do my meal planning, I use this ongoing list and my recipe requirements to re-write my list according to my grocery store’s layout — so fruit and veg go at the top of the page, followed by bread, then cleaning products, etc. I find it is worth the few extra minutes to re-write the list so I am not criss-crossing the store.

These ideas are what works for me, but be sure to tailor your shopping experiences to what works for you. Maybe it is a pre-printed checklist of often-purchased ingredients, maybe it is making your meals on the weekend and popping them in the freezer — whatever it is, find out what works for you and stick to your plan. It will make Wednesday dinners (and all the others) so much easier

Heather Cameron is a mom of two and a professional home organizer and decorator with Edited Interiors. She believes that being organized isn't about being perfect but about finding what works perfectly for you.

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Valentine's Day Dinner

by Carly
We love to celebrate Valentine's Day with a nice family dinner.  We set the table with our nicest dishes, keeping to a red and white theme.  Jake loves shaped pancakes so I had fun making heart-shaped ones for our special dinner.
I had a few heart-shaped cookie cutters laying around, so after mixing my pancake batter and pre-heating the pan, I sprayed the cookie cutters with cooking oil and placed them in the pan.  Add the batter, be careful not to overfill the cutters.  When the pancake starts to bubble, use a pair of tongs to remove the cookie cutter from the pan.  You may need to gently cut around the edge of the cutter with a knife to loosen the pancake first.  Once the cookie cutter is removed, flip the pancake and cook it on the other side.  Be sure to re-spray the cookie cutters with cooking oil before using them for the next pancake.
Since my husband isn't big on pancakes, I made him some heart shaped eggs, using the same method.
Topped with maple syrup, some powdered sugar and homemade fruit salad, our pancakes made with a lot of love were a big hit!
Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband and her 5 year old son, Jacob.  Probably in reverse order.   She also blogs.
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