WE EAT | {crock pot} Mexican Quinoa Chili

The crock pot.  I feel like it has a permanent place on my island countertop these days.  We have been living and breathing simplicity since we find out I was pregnant (funny how that whole exhaustion thing works, eh?) and what is more simple than dinner being ready just moments after you arrive home from a busy day at work or chasing toddlers around all day?
I dare you to suggest something.
I’ve revised my once adoration for Pinterest.. I fell out of the habit of skimming it every waking moment it after the girls arrived.. I don’t know if it was that fact that my mind was a tad overwhelmed already with baby needs or if it was pure burn out from 5 months at 23 hours/day of scrolling my feed while on bedrest. It was my search of ‘easy family dinner meals‘ that brought a version of crock pot Mexican Quinoa to my attention.  
Well, duh.
Crock Pot Mexican Quinoa Chili
1 and 1/2 pounds butternut squash
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 can (15.25 ounces) no-salt-added pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted petite diced tomatoes, undrained

2 diced jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed
1 can (19 ounces each) mild red enchilada sauce
1 can (19 ounces) green enchilada sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, or more, to taste 
2 teaspoons ground cumin 
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (I used smoked paprika) 
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your preferred heat!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
the juice of one lime
Optional toppings: cubed avocado, shredded cheese, additional fresh lime juice, plain greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, & tortilla chips for dipping
Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray.

Peel and deseed the butternut squash. Cut it into cubes and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.  I actually used prepared butternut squash (3-4 bags) found in the prepared produce section of my grocery.
Add in the corn, black beans, rinsed quinoa, minced garlic, tomatoes, diced jalapeño  the 2 cans of enchilada sauce, vegetable broth, and seasonings.
Stir well and cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or until the quinoa is cooked and the butternut squash is tender.
Remove the lid and stir everything together really well. Squeeze in lime juice and stir.  Allow the liquid to absorb while on low for another 1 hour or until mostly absorbed.
Season with any additional spices and/or salt and pepper if desired.
Top bowls with toppings – We love shredded cheese, fresh lime juice, avocado, and 0% plain greek yogurt!
This was another one-pot wonder win in our house.  Anything that Parker and Jolie can spend 36 minutes ‘stirring’, is a win at the dinner table.  Also, as usual, dipping tortilla chips into anything is fanatically entertaining.
I usually leave the chips out of eye sight until they’ve taken several good spoonfuls.  Because then really, they aren’t just eating chips for dinner.  They’ve tasted the food and decided, yes I do like this, or no, mama – take it away!  If we experience the latter, it usually takes some coaxing with the chips or some kind of ‘reward’ for at least tasting their dinner (reward being chocolate instant breakfast in their milk with dinner).  Often once they’ve tasted the food, and we leave them be, they will continue to eat on their own.  
Mom wins.

 Please excuse my homely looking child. The weather has been amazing out, so the hours leading up to dinner have been spent outside on the patio.. resulting in the windblown-rag-a-muffin look.
 Just taste it.  You will LIKE it, child.
a food face says that she liked it.
 You never know what you are going to get at dinner time.  Last night it was fun an games.. silly laughter and squeals while we ate.  The night before.  Screaming, crying, throwing food.
A real disaster.  No pictures of dinnertime THAT night.. although it would be an entertaining post to share.
They keep me on my toes, and I appreciate it most of the time.  What I don’t appreciate is rolling over in bed to find a piece of fish that made it’s way to my hair without my knowledge.. 
had my reaching for the saltines, ya’ll.
I do believe the clapping was a result of my introduction to tortilla chips:) 

 potty break.
 ..and Jolie.  Always in attempts to make us laugh.. and she is 100% successful.
 Three things about this meal that I think we all can appreciate.

1.) crock pot (hello)
2.) vegetarian.  Because even if you aren’t a vegetarian, your meat eating self or hubby can appreciate it.. and its trendy to go meatless, don’t you know?
3.) ..It is also trendy to eat quinoa.  And quinoa is really, really good.  ‘Just like rice!’
..and a fourth reason because it’s worthy.. c r o c k p o t


February 11, 2015

  1. This looks yummy!! I think I need to make this soon 🙂

  2. Jenn says:

    Our dinner time always requires at least one potty break too. We will definitely be trying this recipe soon. Thanks for sharing another winner.

    Our Little Miracles

  3. First of all, this meal looks delish! I've been using my crockpot A L O T this winter. The winter blues affects my love for cooking most days. Definitely will be trying this! Second, your girls are A D O R A B L E! Thanks for you sharing!

  4. Astleigh H. says:

    Looks incredible! I love a good crock-pot recipe any day!


  5. britt says:

    Hi Amber!
    Just an FYI that your ingredient list and your instructions include very different items! I bought things from the ingredient list and it didn't mention corn. It also said pinto beans while your instructions say black beans, and in the instructions it doesn't mention the onion! Haha it was a little confusing. I'm excited to see how it turns out!