Saturday, January 26, 2013

Crock Pot Creamy Chicken and Ranch Chili

This is what I like to think of as a true crock pot recipe--meaning that you take a bunch of things, dump them into a crock pot, and turn it on. It takes 5 minutes. I realize that there are other crock pot recipes where you cook things first or prepare things first and then leave it to slow cook in the crock pot. It's not that I hate these recipes. I even have one or two on this site. But for me the 5-minute crock pot recipe is what really made crock pot cooking great. It's what most of us think of when we think of crock pot cooking. Of course, it's partly also what's given crock pot cooking a bad name because often what you're dumping is a few cans of cream of whatever soup or maybe one of those packets of dried onion soup. Yeah--you know the recipes. They're not evil incarnate or anything, but they remind us of our grandmothers' cooking (for better or for worse). And yet. The new, young, trendy crockpot cooking often involves 15 steps and 25 minutes (or more) before anything actually makes it into the crock pot.

This recipe combines the best of all worlds--no cream of anything soup (and it can be made pretty whole-foodsy if you wish), but it's a five-minute time commitment.

This is also a chili for people who don't like chili. That's helpful in this house. It's creamy, chickeny, and the white beans are more mild tasting and less offensive to bean-haters than kidney, pinto, or black beans. Kip really liked it.

It's also delicious--possibly my new favorite chili.

Crock Pot Creamy Chicken and Ranch Chili
adapted from Rita's Recipes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours
Cost: $5.50 for 6-8 servings
chicken: 1.50, tomatoes: 1.00, beans: .50, corn: .50, ranch powder: .50-1.00, cream cheese: 1.00

2 small breasts chicken (they can totally be frozen)
1 small can Rotel (or just a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes would work with juice)
1 15-oz can corn (with liquid)
1 15-oz can Great Northern white beans (drained and rinsed)
1 package Ranch dressing (or 3 Tbsp ranch powder or a homemade recipe like this one--just use the dry ingredients)
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4-1 tsp chili powder (we used 1/2 and that was plenty of heat for us)
1 tsp onion powder
1 8-oz package of cream cheese

Throw it all in the crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours. [Note: My crock pot is an older model (probably 11 years old) and my 'high' setting is not as high as many newer crock pots. If yours cooks hot, you might want to set it to low.]

This would be great served over rice or farrow, but we just ate it as a chili with cornbread.


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