Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hot Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili

Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili
The husband and I went out on a date last night. Sure, we have fun nights at home and sometimes go out to dinner within a 10-mile radius of our home. But last night we went out to see my boyfriend and the man who sings our wedding song. And let me just tell you WOW. We had such a great night of live music. But before we could leave the house for the concert, I needed to put a quick dinner on the table. In my never-ending quest to reproduce the white chicken chili we've come to know and love from one of our favorite local restaurants, I told the husband I thought I'd make chicken chili in the slow cooker. We've had our share of slow-cooker meals burn while we were at work, so the husband was a bit hesitant at using the slow cooker. But I assured him I had it all figure out and we wouldn't come home to burned food - again.

I found a recipe in one of my Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks and pawed through the pantry to see what we had in stock. We had a little chicken thawed, two cans of white beans, veggies, jalapenos and a can of chicken stock, so I figured we could make it happen. I cooked the chicken the night before in our convection oven - a perfect invention for a home of two - and threw the rest of the meal in the slow cooker the next morning. Everything filled the slow cooker perfectly. I had no worries that the meal would burn during the day. But   I did worry a little about how it'd taste: Our can of jalapenos had carrots in it. What was that all about? I crossed my fingers, kissed the husband and doggies goodbye and went to work.

When I got home the house smelled amazing. I was so excited about dinner. The husband sat down to his bowl first and immediately let me know how salty it was. For the record, I'm blaming the overwhelming taste of salt on the seasoning packet. I think next time I'll try to replicate the seasoning packet with my own seasonings and skip any sodium that may be in the McCormick's package. Once we got past the initial saltiness, though, everything was fine. It was actually quite good - but hot! I thought it was so hot I had to top mine with light sour cream last night and nonfat plain yogurt today. Yes, I'm a bigger wimp when it comes to heat than the husband, but still. It must have been the entire can of japalenos (and carrots) the husband threw into the slow cooker when I wasn't paying attention. I had wondered if we should drain the can, but he beat me to it, throwing the entire can in without question. 

Despite the chili's heat and initial sodium shock, it was a good meal. Dinner was ready and waiting the minute I walked in the door. How can you complain about that? And the meal made about seven servings, which meant we had plenty for lunch today. All in all, this meal was a win for everyone. Usually the husband will have a suggestion as to how to improve the dish the next time, but he told me this one was a keeper. 

White Chicken Chili Topped With Nonfat Plain Yogurt
Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili
Inspired by BHG

5 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
salt, sprinkled on chicken to taste
ground pepper, sprinkled on chicken to taste
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can great northern beans, UNDRAINED
1 (7 ounce) can diced jalapenos (for some reason, our can had carrots in it!)
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope Mccormick white chicken chili seasoning mix
2 cups 99% fat-free chicken broth (reduced sodium, preferred)
1 cup water

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper; cook at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink. (This can be done the night before and kept covered in the refrigerator.).

Cut the chicken and veggies and throw them into the slow cooker. Add in the beans - two cans rinsed and drained and one can UNDRAINED. Add the jalapenos and seasonings; stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and water.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Makes 7 servings
Amount per serving: Approximately 216 calories, 1.7 g fat, 35 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 16.5 g protein

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