, , , , , ,

Recently tomatoes have been cut from our diet. I love tomatoes and many of the recipes I cook are tomato based. Here’s the issue: tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, along with a few more of my favorite foods such as peppers and eggplants. In some people the nightshade plants make arthritis worse and eliminating nightshade foods can help keep arthritis at bay.  The problem comes when one family member loves tomatoes and the other one now has to avoid them.

There are very few, if any substitutes for tomatoes, so I’ve been on the hunt for ways to make my favorite dishes without tomatoes for the non-tomato eating half of our family, yet please the tomato-loving member. It’s been tough, especially with chili season upon us.

So, I set out to conquer the problem. Here’s one of the recipe I came up with: No-Tomato Crockpot Chili. I hope you’ll enjoy it. 

photo from the kitchen of Catherine Castle

No-Tomato Crockpot Chili


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can beefy mushroom soup (I used Campbell’s soup)
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2 cans of beans with the canned liquid. The bean liquids help make up for the loss of the volume of the tomatoes. You can use seasoned or unseasoned chili beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or lentils. Your choice and you can mix and match beans types.
  • 1 small can diced chilies, if the non-tomato eater can eat them without issues
  • One garlic clove, diced (optional)
  • Chili powder to taste
  • ¼ cup water, or less if you want a thicker chili
  • Salsa, your heat preference for the tomato-eating family members
  • Cheese for topping (optional)
  • Spaghetti (optional)


  1. Break up ground beef in a large skillet and brown along with the diced onion and garlic.
  2. Add beans and bean liquid, diced green chilies, soup and water to crock pot. Stir to mix well.
  3. Drain beef mixture of fat and place in a crock pot. Stir to mix
  4. Cook on high for 2 hours or until hot, or on low 4-6 hours or until hot.

At serving time, place spaghetti in bottom of bowl and add beef chili.  For those who can eat green chilies and tomatoes, top their bowls with ¼ to ½ cup of salsa and 1 teaspoon of green chilies to each cup of the beef-soup-based chili.  Stir lightly to combine.

While your chili is cooking settle into a comfy chair and check out Catherine’s multi-award-winning, inspirational romantic suspense book, The Nun and the Narc. It’s not your usual inspirational romantic suspense. Here’s what one reviewer said:

“You know that you aren’t supposed to laugh during a romantic suspense book, right?  And it’s a different kind of Inspirational Romance, too.  There were times in this book that I was rolling with laughter.  We needed the laughter considering that Maggie and Jed were dealing the Mexican drug cartel, trying not to get killed in the process and coming to terms with their faith and each other.  Oh and falling in love…

… Ms. Castle wrote some the most dramatic scenes that I’ve read in a while.  She could write an action/thriller movie with no problem.  I really felt like I was the fly on the wall and actually cringed, ducked and held my breath.  I will also say the James Bond references were spot on.  Jed Bond!  LOL!  Priceless and needed when you are dealing with the cartel.  Also, the humor that she writes helps with the tension and action sequences, too.

Don’t worry about the book being “preachy” or heavy handed.  Ms. Castle wrote a book that everyone can relate to in one way or another…” From Harlies Books.

The Nun and the Narc

By Catherine Castle

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

The Nun and the Narc is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.