Leftover Taco Night Slow-Cooker Chili

 I had on my menu plan this week to make chili in the slow cooker today.  It has been so stinkin' hot lately.  Summer has finally hit Northeast Ohio when it's on it's way out.  I can't tell you how many times we froze at the water park over the "summer" because the temperatures never rose above 70 degrees.  Now, when the kids have already been in school for three weeks, it's finally in the 90s.  Say whaaaaaaat?  Oh well.  So, this week has been the perfect week to use our crockpot.

I am learning in the past couple weeks that it might not be necessary to have a meal plan for every day of the week with something new for dinner.  We always have leftovers and we might need to incorporate one more night into the meal plan for a "leftover" night.

As it is, I decided to use some of my leftovers from this week in this Slow-Cooker Chili.

I had some refried beans left over from the kids' lunch this week.  I know it sounds weird to put refried beans in chili. . . . . but think about it. . .  .what's in chili?  

I also had a pound of taco meat left over from Wednesday night.  It was my plan to use a new pound of ground turkey to make the chili today.   But why?  

We still had a lot of that cabbage soup from Monday night leftover to finish, so why should I keep using up all of my meat?  I just ate leftover cabbage soup last night and figured my hubby could keep working on all of the other leftovers too.  My chicken casserole yesterday got changed into a chicken soup in the crockpot, because. . . . as I said. . . . it's been too hot to turn the oven on in the afternoons.

Soooooooooo. . . . I saved the taco meat from Wednesday night to use in the chili.
This morning when I went to make it, I mixed together the taco meat that I put aside and the refried beans.  I think the refried beans will act as a thickener.  I also put in the leftover rice and beans from the kids' lunch yesterday.  

(I made two servings of the instant brown rice in the morning and mixed it with some of the taco meat from Wednesday night and half a can of organic "salad" beans.)  We ended up having enough for both of their thermoses and had some leftover.  So into the Chili it went!  As with the refried beans, the rice will act as a thickener in the chili.
We also put in the other half can of salad beans (chick peas, pinto beans, kidney beans.)

So, altogether so far in my "leftover" crock pot chili was:
1 pound of leftover taco meat
(1) 8 oz. container of leftover rice and beans
1/2 can of leftover salad beans
4 oz. container of leftover refried beans

I added to that:
(1) 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
(1) 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
black pepper to taste

Sometimes, you just have to get creative to make sure that no food goes to waste.
 It looks and smells yummy.  It's making me hungry for something more than this salad I'm eating for breakfast right now!
You have to do what you have to do to make sure your organic veggies don't go to waste, y'all!
I think I've ordered too much produce in the last two weeks.
I'm beginning to have produce food waste anxiety.  I hate to waste food.  I think I've still got to test the waters to figure out this food budget thing and how much we actually need.

What's the most creative way that you've used leftovers?


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