Lately, I've been trying a new family dinner method. I cook a double batch of a soup and have it for dinner that night, and then freeze the rest and have it the following week. This Big Batch Veggie Chili, which is so super simple, is one of our new favorites for this cook once, eat twice idea.
I'm sure that part of my internal reasoning for doing this is to have a few tricks up my sleeve for when the baby is here. But it's been unexpectedly rewarding since I only have to do it every other week—plus there's the whole bit about having a dinner already made. I've mostly been doing this with bean soups, including this Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup, because they come together easily and freeze so well. And they tend to be thicker and easier for toddlers to eat.
We recently went to a potluck where L ate a wide assortment of foods on offer, including Veggie Chili. (She also had chips, chocolate, hummus, apple slices, and cheese.) And since I know that she loves beans, I figured that we'd have a good chance that she'd like this soup. She did, though I do admit that she's going through a random phase of not wanting corn right now, so she sort of ate around the kernels.
Otherwise, the combination of veggies in this soup make it really flavorful and packed with vitamins that can help us all stay a little healthier at this time of the year. You can change things up depending on what your family likes and what you have on hand, so feel free to experiment.
Big Batch Veggie Chili
When serving this to a little one, I like to drain off much of the broth. This makes it a little easier (and less messy) for them to eat. If your family likes spice, add in a diced jalapeno (seeds in or out depending on your preference) or a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
- 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (like coconut or canola)
- 6 cups diced vegetables including sweet potato, onion, sweet bell pepper, celery, and carrot. (You can use as much or as little of each as you like, though do include the sweet potato since the flavor is so nice in the mix!)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
- 3 cans beans such as black, pinto, or kidney, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 1 16-ounce bag frozen corn
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are just starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, beans, salt, cumin, and corn. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely cooked through. Serve warm topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and/or avocado.
To store: Let cool completely and store in the fridge in air tight containers for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.