Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Healthy Crockpot Chicken Chili

It's hard to believe that ski season is already half over. Every Saturday and Sunday the boys eagerly participate in their Screaming Eagles Ski Program at Holiday Valley. They absolutely love the program…their coaches are amazing, they are making lifelong friends, they are having a blast and are becoming quite the accomplished little skiers. I'll admit, I miss skiing with the boys on the weekends. They love their program but it takes away from the amount of time we get to spend with the boys and ski. Luckily though, the boys are on their own for lunch during their program. They enjoy having lunch with their friends but they surprisingly prefer to eat with us.  Knowing that the boys would rather eat with us than with their ski buddies makes my heart go pitter patter. I know that won't last forever, so I'll take what I can get and make the most of it. So I always make sure to have a killer good lunch waiting for them at the lodge. Lobster Mac and Cheese, Sloppy Joes, BBQ Pulled Pork, you name it I'll make it for my boys! Today I made them Chicken Chili and they termed it "totally epic chili!"

The first spoonful the boys took they immediately ooh and ahh'd about how delicious the chili was. It was spicy but not overpowering. I served tabasco on the side in case someone wanted to kick it up a notch. Dave and Tyler liked more heat. I add corn to my chicken chili to give a subtle sweetness. So its really a nice blend of sweet and spicy. Nate and Zachary liked it creamy so they added extra sour cream and monterey jack cheese to theirs. The cheese melted on the top so every bite they took the string of cheese followed to their mouth. It was quite funny. The cumin, chile peppers, cilantro and fresh lime juice gave it a burst of flavor that kept us coming back for more. I used chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts because thighs give it a deeper level of flavor, especially slow cooking in the crockpot.
The moment you lift the crockpot lid after the chili is cooked you will be amazed at how delicious it smells. The sweet and spicy aroma fills the air and you'll automatically take a deep breath.

What I love most about this chili is that it's hearty but healthy. Nothing is better than eating a satisfying meal that's really healthy for you. This chicken chili recipe is packed with good-for-you ingredients, so there is no guilt associated with eating it. Beef chili, don't get me wrong I love it, always makes me feel bloated and stuffed after I've eaten it. Chicken chili on the other hand will make you feel lighter on your feet. Trust me, after a day skiing on the slopes a bowl of this chili is sure to warm your body without making you feel sluggish. After the boys ate two bowls each they were energetic to get back on the ski hill and crush every double black diamond out there. Dave was ecstatic that he beat his record ski speed today…he contributes it to his epic ability, which may be true, but I contribute it to my epic chicken chili!

Chicken, cannellini beans, chile peppers, corn, fire roasted tomatoes all in one slow cooker make for an amazing chicken chill on a cold winter day. Serve with corn bread or tortilla chips and your meal is complete. Salute to a healthy chicken chili and enjoying it with my boys!

Healthy Chicken Chili
Chicken, cannellini beans, green chile peppers, corn and tomatoes are the star ingredients
Fresh cilantro and lime add loads of flavor
The toppings like monterey jack cheese and sour cream
make it extra creamy and stringy!!! Just ask Nate!
Perfect on a cold winter day
Serve with corn bread or tortilla chips


Chicken Chili (Click to print recipe)

Preparation and cook time: 6 hours

Serves 8

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • 3 cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4-ounce cans diced green chili peppers
  • 1 sweet red pepper diced
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn
  • 1 14-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 2 tb chopped fresh cilantro
  • a few dashes of tabasco sauce
  • 3 tb freshly squeezed lime juice
  • For garnish - sour cream, cilantro, shredded monterey jack cheese, avocado, tabasco sauce
Mix all of the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Gently shred the chicken with a fork and slowly stir ingredients together. Serve in bowls and garnish with topping suggested above. Serve with corn bread or tortilla chips.

Food Impressions:

Nate: "This kind of tastes like the tortilla chicken soup you made a while ago. I think I like this better. It smells so good and I love the melted cheese. Perfect ski lodge lunch" As soon as Nate got home from skiing he asked to have a bowl of chicken chili for snack. Luckily there were some leftovers.

Tyler: "It's spicy but not too spicy. I like it with extra tabasco sauce." Tyler also had a bowl for snack.

Zachary: "Yum, there are so many good flavors and the chicken is so tender. Load my bowl with cheese please."

Dave: "Really good. Not too spicy but it is savory. The chicken is perfect and I think using thigh meat creates a richer flavor."

Andrea: What I loved most about this slow cooker meal is that its healthy. Its good for your heart and soul.  

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