I recently returned from staffing a Birthright Israel trip. While I was “working” I was having a lot of fun as well. Being on vacation, even a working one, makes for a tough transition back to one’s regular routine. At home no one is going to feed you three meals a day, shuttle you around pointing out history and highlights, or make your bed for you. After a week I finally recovered from jet lag just in time to figure out what I would prepare for Shabbat dinner. Without a hotel buffet option I was hoping I could find something easy.
So, I fell back on an old secret: fiesta-in-a-box. You know what I’m talking about – that little cardboard box full of hard taco shells, taco sauce and chili seasoning. It’s actually the basis of a wonderfully easy shabbat meal. In the summertime we transform this box into a shabbat picnic lunch for eating in the park across the street. In the winter we bring the crockpot insert with steaming chili right to the table.
The secret to making the taco box a bit more festive is having some good toppers. I like to serve the chili and tacos with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, maybe some cilantro and non dairy sour cream (such as Tofutti’s version). You can even warm the tacos up in the oven for an added homey touch.
But now to the meat of the matter. To make this simple delicious chili in your slow cooker, give yourself about 3 hours. Buy one can of beans (kidney, black or mixed, according to your preference), a can of fire roasted tomatoes and a package of Grow and Behold ground beef. Dump all of this into the slow cooker insert, break up the ground beef with a spoon into bite size chunks and sprinkle with the seasoning from the taco kit then stir. If you like your chili with some crunch consider adding diced onion to the crockpot. While it cooks take a nap and dream about your next vacation.
1 Taco kit containing taco shells, taco sauce and taco seasoning
8 ounce can of beans (kidney, black or mixed, according to your preference),
8 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
Package of Grow and Behold Ground Beef
Onion, diced (optional)
2 tomatoes, diced
½ head of green lettuce, shredded
1 container of non-dairy sour cream
Place the beans, canned tomatoes and ground beef into a crock pot. Break up the ground beef with a spoon into bite size chunks. If you’d like to use a diced onion, add this now. Sprinkle the seasoning from the taco kit over the mixture and stir. Cook on medium for 3 hours.
Serve warm with taco shells filled with the chili mixture, topped with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and non-dairy sour cream.
You can plate this in the kitchen or bring the crock pot to the right to the table for a more informal approach. If you want to go picnic style pack each component – prepared chili, cut veggies, sour cream, tacos, sauce etc, in separate containers and assemble at the picnic.