Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Chili

My neighbor Kristy doesn't love cooking.  She likes it --- and she loves the idea of cooking for her family.  She knows I love cooking, so she asked me to give her some ideas for good family dinners.  Now let me start off by saying that her crew isn't the easiest to cook for -- they have some food -- shall I say dislikes.  They don't like eating vegetables.  And Kristy is endlessly trying to get veggies in their tummies.  They are a meat and potato family. But I told her that the vegetables and beans can always be hidden in the meal. Last week she asked me to come by and cook dinner with her.  I thought I would show her an easy chicken chili recipe.  This recipe has a bit of sweetness to it because of the marmalade, and it can have as much heat as you can take. 

What is great about this recipe is it is easy and when I say easy, it is EASY.  This is a great meal to go to when your day has been too crazy to even make yourself and peanut butter sandwich. There is nothing better than smelling a crock pot dish coming together.  The end result is warm and fills your belly.  The crock pot allows the flavors to become fully married, and oh the best part -- only one pan to clean up after dinner.

Chicken Chili -- (with Mommy hints)

2 -3 chicken breasts
1-2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning (Mommy hint -- use your favorite kind -- if you want more heat use 2 Tablespoons -- my  favorite is La Preferita)
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of salsa (Mommy hint -- use your favorite -- my favorite is Newman's Own all natural medium salsaIf you want the chili to be spicier -- use a hot salsa)
1/2 cup orange marmalade (Mommy hint --  if you don't like orange marmalade don't worry - you don't taste the orange - all you taste is the sweetness in the background My husband hates orange anything -- and when I tried to make it with another preserve for him, he didn't like it as much -- the marmalade is the best of the different fruits that I have tried.  But take a chance and change it up with any fruit you want)
1 can black beans (Mommy hint -- my neighbor's husband doesn't like beans, so we pureed the beans.  We were able to keep the nutrients and fiber and hide the scary beans from Mike)

Brown cubed chicken in a saute pan with olive oil, taco seasoning, and garlic. Once browned place chicken mixture in crock pot.  Then deglaze pan (Mommy hint -- get all the flavorful brown bits off the bottom of the pan) with salsa and marmalade. Once deglazed, place mixture in crock pot with chicken. Cook on low for 2 - 3 hours.  Mommy hint -- don't put beans in until last half hour before serving. 

I like to serve this over noodles. Use a short fat noodle.

Mommy hint -- If you don't want to use the crock pot, and you want to go from refrigerator to stove to table quicker, you can.  Do this whole process in one pot.  Cook on low for 45 minutes and serve. 

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