When the weather starts to get colder, my body craves warm and comforting food. As a busy working mom of twins with another baby on the way, cooking is sometimes the last thing I feel like doing at the end of a busy day. However, knowing how important it is to eat healthy (especially when pregnant); I decided to create a recipe that would be quick, easy, comforting and nutritious!
Let’s face it, life is busy! We all seem to constantly talk about how busy we are, but should we really let that be an excuse to not take care of ourselves and our families? I don’t think so! With a little knowledge and preparation, you can be sure to have a nutritious meal with very little effort.
This pregnancy has affected me very differently than my first. I’ve been more tired and nauseous than I remember; although this time I have two 4-year old that need nourishment along with a husband that works long hours and commutes daily. I was in desperate need to find something quick and easy, without suffering nutritional value.
When I started thinking about some of the most important nutrients that were vital to my baby’s growth (and would certainly be great for the rest of my family too), the idea of CHILI came to me as nourishing comfort food. I knew I needed something high in protein, folate, iron and fiber – keeping this in mind is what helped me decide what main ingredients to use.
I used lentils because they are high in folic acid; this is super important in the baby’s early development of their nervous system. Lentils are also a great source of vegetarian protein, fiber and iron. I used grass-fed beef from a local farmer as it’s a great source of protein and is richer in Omega-3 fatty acids and carotene (Vitamin A) than conventional meat. Plus, it is also very high in B vitamins which are difficult to obtain from a plant source. And lastly, I used black beans as they are also very high in folate and an excellent source of protein and fiber!
The first time I made this recipe, I didn’t really include any extra vegetables, but now I regularly sneak in carrots, red peppers and/or celery for some added nutrition that my kids don’t even notice!
I love that cooking this in a large batch allows me to freeze the leftovers so I can use it as a quick meal again later in the month; another added bonus for us busy moms!
Black Bean & Red Lentil Beef Chili
2 cups dry black beans (soaked overnight) - 1 cup of red lentils (soaked overnight)
1 lb grass fed local ground beef (de-frosted) - 1 L jar of tomato sauce
1 onion (chopped small) - 2 gloves of garlic (minced)
1 or 2 cups chopped veg (optional) - 1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chili powder - Salt and Pepper to taste
Note: Feel free to add cayenne or chili peppers to taste
How to make it:
Soak black beans and red lentils overnight. If your beef is frozen, pull it into the refrigerator the night before.
Into your crockpot add your tomato sauce, chopped onion, garlic, chopped vegetables, olive oil, lentils, beans, ground beef, chili pepper, salt and pepper.
Give it all a quick stir.
Turn your crockpot on to LOW and set the timer for 7hrs
Check it after 7hrs to ensure beans are cooked to your liking and that your spices are enough. Cook longer is needed.
Top with a sprig of cilantro or parsley and enjoy!