The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

Who would like another recipe that only takes an effortless 5 minutes to prepare? What about a recipe that allows you to forget to thaw your meat ahead of time? A recipe that tastes amazing and is a crowd pleaser? Okeedokee! Let the excitement over this Crock Pot White Chicken Chili commence!

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This is one of those recipes in which you quickly place ingredients into a pot then walk away and let it make dinner for you. Is this a perfect recipe for a busy holiday season? Oh yes. Let’s enjoy our holiday season while our crock pot cooks dinner for us, shall we?

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Call this White Chicken Chili, or actually, let’s just call it A Night Off. This is one of those rare times we can simply open cans of prepared food and dump them into a pot. We can feel great knowing that it’s all still real food and it’s still healthy and nourishing for our families!

The Simplest White Chicken Chili

The Simplest White Chicken Chili
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1-2 pounds boneless Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 15-ounce cans Black Beans (drained)
  • 2 10-ounce cans Rotel (Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles)
  • 2 cups Frozen Corn
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix*
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese
Instructions
  1. Place chicken (frozen or thawed) in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Add beans, Rotel, corn, and seasonings over the chicken and stir.
  3. Place cream cheese on top of the mixture.
  4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Remove chicken and shred, then stir it back into the soup.

*Here’s my Homemade Ranch Seasoning recipe.

Complete this meal by pulling salad fixin’s out of the fridge and washing some fresh fruit.

The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

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Soup or Smoothies? I Can’t Decide

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March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  I learned that in Kansas in first grade when my teacher Mrs. Howell explained the concept, then gave us paper plates to make lion and lamb faces.  We hung them on the wall in the back of the room above the coat rack.  (I remember pointless things.)

I’ve since learned that typically in Nebraska, March comes in like a lion and acts like a lion all month and goes out like a lion and greets April like a lion and once in a while a little lamb pokes it soft little head out just long enough to tease the lion.  But this year the lamb appears to be a bit more feisty than the lion because the sun is shining and we’re having some unusually warm weather.  The boys have been going outside in shorts because they can.  We’ve been shooting hoops in the driveway with the sun in our eyes.  Awesomeness.

For the first time in months, a smoothie sounds good, especially after playing or working outside.  But then we come back into my house and guess what?  Brrrrr!  The house hasn’t caught up yet with the outside weather.  What should we expect?  It is still getting pretty cold at night.

So sweaters or shorts?  Flip flops or boots?  Iced coffee or hot?  Soup or smoothies?

I’m thinking both.  Lions and lambs can be friends, can’t they?  Here’s what I’m celebrating during this fun collision of lion and lamb during the month of March:

1.  THE SUN IS SHINING, even during the cold parts of the day.  I heart sunshine.  I’ve probably mentioned that here before.
2. I can enjoy baking and grilling at the same time.  This doesn’t happen in the winter or the summer.
3.  There are no bugs yet because they haven’t yet realized that it’s warm enough to come out and crawl on us.
4.  Soup and smoothies taste good together.

Cheeseburger Soup

Today I present to you, in honor of The Month of Crazy Weather, our favorite soup and smoothie recipes.  You just never know when you’ll need one or the other or both at the same time.

Soup

Smoothies (and other fun, cold drinks)

While looking through my archives, I realize that I actually have very few smoothie recipes here.  That’s because I just throw in whatever fruit we have, which makes smoothies at our house “non-recipe” items.

What are you experiencing at your house?  Lion or lamb?  Soup or smoothie?  Boot or flip-flop?

Add Spinach for Extra (Inexpensive) Nourishment

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Have you heard the news? Spinach is the new chocolate. It’s showing up in everything. People can’t get enough. It’s highly addicting. Spinach makes people sooooo happy.

I just made all that up.  Chocolate will always be chocolate, and spinach will…not. But at our house, the “can’t get enough spinach” statement is very true. I’ve been adding spinach to everything. (Actually, I haven’t been adding it to my coffee. I do draw the line there.)  It’s almost become a joke. The boys sit down to eat and say, “So did you add spinach to this, too?”

The good news is:  They are eating it. ALL of it. And they aren’t complaining. Even the pickiest one. Why aren’t they complaining? Because you can add spinach to many, many recipes and it will not change the flavor. It will only add nutrients. And…it might turn the food green, but whatever. I’m not trying to hide the spinach. I’m just trying to add goodness to our food in every way possible.

While I continue to learn more about eating well, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is this:  Healthy eating is not just about what you eliminate from your diet. It’s about making sure you’re filling your body with as many good nutrients as possible so that it can thrive.  I’ve also learned never to overfill my blender, which is an equally important lesson, though not so much about nourishment as it is about the regret of finding crusty peach milkshake on the ceiling three days after the episode.  But about adding nutritional value to our food…

Spinach has 19 amazing nutrients. Nineteen!!!! Vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C, fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein, and choline – all in a spinach leaf.  Impressive.

Add Spinach for Extra Inexpensive Nourishment

The best news of all? Adding spinach to your recipes is a very inexpensive way to eat healthier. I paid $6 last week for a pound of spinach. That sounds like a lot of money until you recognize that spinach is very light weight and one pound of spinach is enough to stuff my pillow. I add spinach to meal after meal after meal. Just think of it. For about 75¢ per meal, I can add 19 fantastic nutrients to my dish.

How to add spinach to your food:

I find that simply tearing up handfuls of raw spinach with my hands and throwing it into the cooking pot works great. My cousin said that she dumps a package of raw spinach into her food processor, adds just enough water to help it spin, then purees it. Then, she freezes the pureed spinach in ice cube trays, throwing a frozen spinach cube into recipes. Brilliant!

What I’ve added spinach to successfully:

What I haven’t tried yet, but you better believe it’s on my list:

If you haven’t tried adding spinach to your recipes, I highly recommend it! If you have tried it, leave a comment to share what has worked for you.

Prepare Your Veggies For Quick Cooking (and a day in the life, sort of)

You might read this little time saving tip and say, “Hey, it takes the same amount of time to prep veggies no matter when you do it. This isn’t a time saving tip at all.”  And yet, in an effort to save us all from walking wearily into our kitchens at 5:10, with no motivation to peel a carrot, much less prepare an entire healthy meal – I felt this was worth mentioning. While you still have to get this work done sometime during the day, at least this does save a few minutes of effort at meal time.

Following this simple method is always so helpful to me. My day is a big mixture of schooling, working at the computer, doing household chores, cooking in the kitchen, and keeping up with the kids’ activities. I often hop around from math, to mixing up a recipe, to history lessons, to answering emails, to phonics practice, to putting lunch into the oven, to helping with an algebra question, to answering the door, to responding to potential website advertisers. You can see why I always give people a deer in the headlights look when they say, “So what does your schedule look like?”  Schedule? I don’t have one. I just work and parent and parent and work all day. I love it. Every day is different, yet it is very much the same. The kids know what they need to get done. Matt and I know what we need to get done. Our routine is un-scheduled.

Yet one thing is pretty constant about our days:  From about 3:00 to about 5:00 in the afternoons, the kids take turns having their “play Minecraft on the computer time” while Mom tries to write something that includes helpful information and complete sentences. Therefore, section 4 line 8 of the Coppinger Household Rules Handbook states:  “Do not interrupt Mom while she is in writing mode unless one of your brothers just blew up.”  Since “Do not blow up your brother” is printed in large, bold letters at the beginning of section 2, I think we can all agree that there should be no reason to interrupt Mom while she is in writing mode. Okay then.

I tell you all of this life in the Coppinger house information for one reason:  As I pull out of writing mode and back into the hungry people will need to eat soon mode, I find that I am slightly weary and brain dead from thinking, making decisions, and working all day. I do not feel like cutting broccoli into cute little trees. I am not excited about preparing cauliflower for roasting. I do not want to do anything in the kitchen but the bare minimum. This is where all my Getting Ahead in the Kitchen practices are invaluable. The kids get to come in and help get dinner on the table (their reward for not blowing themselves up during my writing time). And since I’ve already prepped the veggies earlier in the day, all we have to do is roast them, stir fry them, or steam them. Hallelujah!

Prep Your Veggies for Easy Cooking

So the Eat Healthy, Save Time tip of the day is this:  Sometime while you have ten minutes during the day, prepare vegetables for steaming, roasting, stir frying, eating raw – or however you’re going to serve them at dinnertime. Cover and put them into the fridge for later. (Hooray for Pyrex bowls with lids!)  Pull them out and cook them quickly for dinner. Not home much during the day? I’d suggest doing some prep in the evening before bed. The next day, after you get home from a day at work, school, or running errands – pull out your prepared veggies to cook with your meal.

Prepping veggies doesn’t take long, and it isn’t difficult. But it is something that we have to be intentional about – otherwise we’ll likely skip the veggies…again. Don’t do it. Focus on the veggies (section 13 line 4) Prepare them when you have a few spare minutes for effortless, brainless dinner prep later. Then, not only have the kids avoided blowing themselves up, our bogged down brains have not exploded either. It’s a win-win.

How to Make Beef Broth

There’s nothing very beautiful about pictures of soup bones and vegetables floating in water. And yet, here I am again, just like the time I showed you all the pictures of my chicken carcasses. Some people create adorable collages of their children. Me? I spent time yesterday crafting a collage of my beef broth. Isn’t it precious?  Take note of the fatty bubbles floating along at the top of the jar. I’m so proud.

Homemade Beef Broth

Beef Broth is as fantastic for your body as Chicken Broth. There are so many minerals we need that we can get from beef bones, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, and potassium – all in their natural, beneficial, and digestible form. The vegetables you add to the pot of broth are invaluable. And the best part? Making homemade broth is one of the most inexpensive ways to provide nourishment to yourself and to your family members.

Look into buying Beef Soup Bones. There’s still a little meat on the bones (more on that later), but mostly you’re just going to pay a small amount for a package of bones. Cook those mineral-filled-bones in a pot with water and veggies, and you’ve just created several jars full of nutritional goodness for a very tiny amount of money.

Here’s how I make Beef Broth. As you can tell from my collage above, my process is very fancy and exact:

1. Place thawed or frozen beef soup bones into a large kettle or stock pot.
2. Add, to your heart’s content, chunks of onion, carrots, leeks, celery and/or any other veggie you enjoy in your broth.
3. Fill your pot with water.
4. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
5. Cover and simmer pot of water/veggies/soup bones for 4-6 hours. Or more. Or less. Or whatever works for you.
6. Remove soup bones from pot. Pull cooked beef off the bones with a fork, and set meat aside for soup or salads.
7. Blend liquid and vegetables together until smooth.
8. Allow broth to cool, then refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to use it to make soup, cook rice, or add it to a recipe.

That meat you’ll pull off the bones? It tastes incredible because it’s right by the bone and has been cooked low and slow. I love it in chef salads. I also snack on it as I’m pulling it off the bones.

Why do I blend all the veggies into the broth? Because after 6 hours of simmering, they are mushy. When I blend them in, they just become part of the nutritious broth. Depending on the number of carrots I use, my broth might turn orange. No matter. It’s delicious.

Once you’ve made Beef Broth, what can you do with it? You can use it to make Beefy Vegetable Soup. You can also use it in any recipe that calls for chicken broth – like my Cheeseburger Soup or Pizza Soup. Cook rice in broth for extra nourishment and flavor in a side dish – or add that wonderful rice to Cheesy Beef and Rice. Follow my instructions for Chicken Noodle Soup, but instead use beef broth and the meat that came off the bones for Beef-n-Noodles.

What other ideas do you have? What ways do you use Beef Broth? 

Isn’t this a wonderful way to be healthy and save money at the same time?!