Clean Out the Pantry CrockPot Chili

Day 212.

Some of the recipes I've done this year have been a bit out of the norm for me. One of the reasons I love crockpot cooking so much is that you don't really need to follow a recipe---many times I can just start opening cans and clean out the fridge and create a delicious meal without trying.

This is one of those meals.

We had too much food in the house for me to feel comfortable buying more, so I dug through what we had on hand, threw it in the pot, held my breath, and hoped for the best.

I was quite happy with the results.

I urge you to do the same in your house. Just play. Dig through the cubbard and see if what you already have on hand can be combined to become a new family favorite.

Cooking should be fun. When preparing dinner becomes a chore --and it's no longer fun-- that's when you reach for the phone to call for pizza.
The reason the crockpot has become such an invaluable tool in our house, is because I can make-do (usually. this year has turned a tad bit nutty) with pantry staples, or with meat I buy on clearance.

You can, too.

The Ingredients.

2 cans (6oz) tomato paste
3 cans of beans, drained and rinsed (I used garbanzo, white kidney, black beans)
1 tables spoons Italian seasoning
1 chopped yellow onion

2 cloves chopped or minced garlic

2 cups broth (I used chicken. vegetable would work great)
1 to 2 tablespoons (heaping) sliced jalapenos from a jar or can (optional)  (NOTE: if feeding small children, add at the table ---it was too hot for my kids when cooked with the beans)

The Directions.

Open cans. Rinse the beans, and dump them into the crockpot. Add all the rest of the stuff---there aren't any rules, here.

Except to recycle the cans.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

The Verdict.

This was too spicy for the kids, but Adam and I really liked it a lot, and each had two bowls. We had it with cornbread, that
you could make in the crockpot, if you wanted to.

I liked this. I needed to get back to my crockpot cooking "roots"---and it felt nice for me to make things up as I go along again.

clean-out-the-pantry minestrone soup
lazy chicken
fried rice
marinated meat

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at July 30, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. I have just recently discovered your blog! It is wonderful! You are the most clever woman I know! You have me addicted! I love to cook and I love my crockpot too! So...your blog is right up my alley! Everytime I run into someone who says they can't cook, I you have a crockpot? So glad I met you and I will be introducing you to ALL of my friends!

  2. Some of my favorite things that I've made came from just throwing things together and hoping for the best. This looks tasty!

  3. Anonymous7/30/2008

    I have been following your blog since the rachel ray episode- it's great stuff and I check daily! I just found it funny that you made chili, I made chili yesterday and was hoping for a crock pot recipe but didn't really find one I i made it on the stove. Now I have a better idea of the method for chili in the crock so I will be trying out your recipie next time! Oh- I also made mine with a corn bread topping (made with cream corn and an egg, not like the reg directions). Thanks for the great blog!

  4. that's so crazy! i made chili yesterday too because i was sick of buying food! i had to dump and plug in and leave. oh and ive only had my crockpot for 2 weeks and the lid broke. we have the same one as yours, have you had problems with the lid?

  5. so glad you could get all 18th century again and return to your roots. Did you have a bowl for the 'mothah'? =)

    Sorry, does that sound as dumb as I think it does? Just checking.

  6. We love doing chili in the crock pot. Yesterday we had meatloaf in the CP and the fam. loved it. I've got an Australian dish (Slow-Cooked chicken with Coconut and Whole spices) that I'm ready to try in the CP. I've not made your tapioca yet, but things have been kinda crazy here. Thanks for sharing!

  7. The "empty the cupboard into the crockpot" approach pretty much defines my crockpotting style 95% of the time. It's your blog that has got me following recipes...sort of :)

  8. Anonymous7/30/2008

    i had garbanzo, red kidney, and great northern beans. substituted beef broth for chicken.....and my tomato paste was expired but i threw it in there anyways. it wont kill me...right? LOL. anyways, just threw everything in, i'll let u know how it turns out tomorrow.


  9. I've done this! My 'clean out the pantry' usually ends up minestrone or a stew. Leftover misc. + a can of beans (or two) and voila - soup!!

  10. Anonymous7/30/2008

    I just got my crockpot today. I won it here... it is everything you adverised... I am so happy... THANK YOU!!! All my friends read your blog and they hate me! I cannot wait for the next potluck at work... so I can work my locking lid.

  11. Anonymous7/31/2008

    I come to your site EVERYDAY!! I have tried many recipes and I want to try this one on the weekend. I was curious though, if I wanted to add beef or chicken to this, how would I do it? Would I add the raw meet with everything else? Can you tell that I am new to crockpot chili cooking? lol

    Thank you so much for the help and once again .... I LOVE THIS SITE!!!!

  12. Hi Arin,

    if you are using really lean meat, go ahead and crumble in the raw meat--it will cook just fine in the crock. if your meat isn't very lean, or you feel more comfortable with browning on the stovetop and draining, you can add the already-cooked meat. It will take on the flavors in the pot quite nicely.


  13. Can't go wrong with some good chili. It is a good way to move cans that have been sitting around too. Wish I was having some of that chili right now!

  14. Anonymous8/01/2008

    Hey! I made this before you did -minus the broth, plus a pound of ground turkey. Turned out fabulous. Like chili... without the chili.

  15. HAHA i must say im laughing so hard because of the singular rule for this dish! i would say the exact same thing! hehe great minds recycle!

  16. The problem I have with cupboard cleaning meals is if it is super, I have no idea what I put in to it or how much! So it becomes a one hit wonder.

  17. Do you have any good recipes for gluten-free corn bread? I'm having a hard time finding a good one.
    I LOVE your blog, by the way. Your recipes are SO good! Thanks for inspiring many delicious dinners at our house. You rock!

  18. I make an easy crock chili too, with ground meat.

    1 lb ground meat - your choice
    1 jar salsa ( I like one with mango or pineapple in it!)
    1 can tomato paste
    1 can tomato sauce
    2 cans beans...whatever color pleases you
    and then I add whatever veggies I have handy...corn, green beans, whatever!
    It cooks for a few hours on high and is delicious. :)

  19. I haven't had much luck with the crockpot but am giving it another shot, starting with this recipe.

    Except I had a frozen chicken piece in my freezer that I put in at the bottom to use it up - and I used diced tomatoes and tomato puree instead of paste (so I used slighly less broth than 2 cups)

    And one whole jalapeno (pickled) because didn't have um sliced ones. is hoping. I would love some more mexican recipes such as enchilada type casserole type things, and will be trying your recipes over the next few months as winter comes (i'm in Australia where we don't have tomatillos or rotel!! I haven't worked out what I'm going to do about that yet)

    Wish me luck on my interpretation of this chilli!

  20. This is a way cool Recipe...I didnt have everything you had but here is what my pantry had and im pretty sure its gonna be a BOMBASTIC SWEET CHILLI!!!
    2 cans tomato Paste
    A can of Campbells French Onion Soup
    Can of Chicken Broth

    Large can of Whole Tomato's
    rinsed good sliced up with scissors cuz i'm lazy

    1lg can and 1 sm can(10.5oz) of Van Kamps Pork N Beans Rinsed (all the beans i had in my pantry)=sweet flavor

    Couple of TBSP of Chilli Powder

    1-2Tbsp Lawry's Roasted Garlic Salt (with oregano and basil) in leu of Itaian seasoning and garlic salt separate

    should be yummers..thanks for the IDEA!! Lazy Sunday Crock pot yummyness
    xoxo Sugar