Uh hi. You’re delicious.
Now, I’m not much of a cook. I can bake cookies and brownies all day. If there’s meat involved though, I’m out. My boyfriend handles that part. On the other hand, I am borderline obsessed with Pinterest. And I’ve tried making a new goal for myself. The time I would normally spend looking at cool stuff I would probably never do on Pinterest, is now time that I spend doing said stuff I never thought I would do. Makes sense right? I thought it was silly how much stuff I had on my boards that I wasn’t doing, and instead of being active and working on projects and crafts and food, I was just finding MORE stuff. So this new mantra led me to cooking dinner for my family. I had just gotten a pretty hefty tip at a show (check out all of my concert dates at FionaCorinne.com and maybe you can help feed my family!) so I decided to do something nice for my parents (and I guess my siblings). After narrowing it down by A LOT, I figured out I really needed to do something in the crockpot. Not only would it be nice to be able to do other things on my only day off, but I also didn’t want to break my mom’s stove top somehow. It came down to these delicious looking ribs and chili. Chili won, only because it is FREEZING in upstate New York right. I needed something hearty.
Now, like I have mentioned (repeatedly), I’m not much of a cook. But I also found like 12 different delicious looking recipes and I couldn’t decide. So I made up my own recipe. I took my favorite parts out of some, and used the average base to go off of. And not to toot my own horn (ha, who am I kidding), it was came out FREAKING PHENOMENAL. I’d eat that stuff all day. Except it was almost all gone that night. Because my family really likes food.
I figured I would go all out, so in addition to the chili, I made fresh strawberry lime-ade and churro cheesecake bars (I’ll post links, don’t worry). I also made Jiffy corn muffins (I was gonna make corn bread from scratch, but we’ve had those mixes sitting around forever and I did in fact have other things to do).
So… are you ready for the recipe? Mine fed 7 of us with maybe 2 bowls of leftovers. We like to eat though, so use your best judgement.
1. 2 lb of frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I honestly found the smallest package I could and went for that… it was 3 breasts and it was a perfect amount). Throw those in the bottom of a crockpot.
2. Add the produce right on top of the chicken. The nice thing with this, if you don’t like something, leave it out! I used:
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cans of beans (if you like bean heavy chili, use more, if you like it light on the beans, use less. I used great northern beans, black beans and kidney beans)
- 2 cans of corn (I rinsed them because I didn’t want it to taste like a corn chowder or something)
- 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes
- 1/2 can of chopped green chiles (I was going to use a whole can, but Rotel tomatoes have some chiles in them so I didn’t think it was necessary)
3. Add seasonings! This was honestly whatever I could find in my spice cupboard, so feel free to experiment.
- 2 tsp cumin (I didn’t have any, and left it out completely. It came out fine)
- 1/2-1 tsp oregano
- 2 cloves of fresh, crushed garlic
- 3 TBS ranch dressing mix (pretty much a whole packet)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (you can use more, I don’t like too much kick)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- a dash of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- cilantro, salt and pepper to taste
4. Throw 16 oz of cream cheese (in manageable little hunks) on there and you’re almost done!
5. Stir it all together, and throw that sucker on low heat for 6-8 hours. I got started later than I planned, so I started it on high and turned it down later, just so I knew it would be done.
6. Stir it occasionally. I think because I had mine on high, I got a lot of gunk up at the edges so I was kind of watching out for it (to save myself from some intense dishes later). If the chicken doesn’t shred when you stir it (mine started to, but I was still worried it wasn’t going to be done it time) you can take it out and do it with a fork. I scooped the breasts out on a plate and tore them up with two forks. It took just a few extra minutes and I had peace of mind.
7. About an hour before you plan to serve dinner, you will have to use the stove top. I know, I know, I wasn’t happy about it either. But it’s not hard, I promise! Mix these together to make a basic roux:
- 3 TBS butter
- 3 TBS flour
- SLOWLY add about 1 cup of milk (or cream, whatever you feel like using)
- I added a chicken bouillon cube just for some extra chicken flavor.
8. Once that has been simmering for a few minutes, add it to the crockpot. Stir it around. It didn’t make a HUGE difference, but I would rather have thick chili than soupy chili.
9. Once the roux has been mixed in, I added some extra creaminess.
- 1/2-1 cup of sour cream
- 12 slices of American cheese (a few recipes called for 24 white slices, but I used yellow, and I used less. I didn’t want the finished product to taste like American cheese)
10. We topped ours off with sour cream and grated Colby Jack cheese. Freaking yum.
So. For a musician who lives on cookies instead of real food, what do you think? Let me know what you did differently, and how yours came out! This was the perfect cold weather meal, and it was so nice to sit with my family at the table and hang out over something I actually made (and didn’t burn).
PS. Here’s a link to the strawberry lime-ade (it’s for cherries, but I used frozen strawberries and it came out awesome… but be prepared to take some time. Maybe I just have an awful strainer, or a crappy blender, but it took FOREVER to strain it) and to the churro cheesecake bars!
PPS. My kitchen is for dancing. What’s your favorite dinner prep song? Do you have a kitchen playlist? Let me know in comments!