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Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicken Taco Chili

I just want to start out with this:  I cannot wait for my cat to get better!

I love her so much, but she fights tooth and claw against her medicines and her food.  I'm actually pretty good at getting cats to take pills.  I used to take care of my former boss's cats when she would go out of town and they were all very old and on lots of different medications.  I could get them to keep their pills down no problems, but Rhada is a different story.  Every single pill is a fight and she has to have 7 each day.  My patience is wearing thin.

Besides that I've had a pretty good day.  While Bailey napped today I made out a grocery list for February.  Now, I went to the store on Saturday because some of our most-used items were on sale, but I didn't get everything I needed for the month.  I got everything I need through two weeks.  So I made the list today for 2/10-2/28.

Then I got dinner going in the crock pot and started a loaf of bread.

We had chicken taco chili for dinner and I made some sandwich bread for the week.  We ate a big chunk of it for dinner tonight too.

Finally I cleaned the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up the living room floor.  Bailey played with her blocks this morning so they were everywhere and I was getting tired of stepping on them.  I also had to sweep because she had dropped Cheerios all over the place.

After almost 3 hours I had to go check on Bailey because I hadn't heard a peep since I put her down.  When I walked in she was face down with her little butt up in the air (so cute) but she woke up when I tried to shut the door back.  I hate that I woke her up but if she'd slept any longer she may never have gone to bed tonight.  And trust me I had a hard enough time getting her to bed as it was.  I put her down at 9:00 and at 11:00 she was still in there talking to the ponies.

So now for my recipe.  Chicken taco chili.  I found this recipe on Pinterest.  All of my friends were pinning it and I finally decided to try it about 6 months ago.  I hated it.  I loved the idea of it but it wasn't what I had hoped it would be.  I love chili but I'm really more of a chicken person than beef.  It sounded so good and I was disappointed with how it turned out.

I should admit that I didn't follow the original recipe exactly.  I rarely do.  Aaron has some very particular tastes and if I followed the recipe to the letter I know there is no way he would eat it.  He didn't much care for it the first time either, but agreed that if I tweaked it some more he would try it again.

So I tweaked.  I simplified.  I did everything I could to make it perfect.  I'm pretty sure I finally have perfection.  So this is the original recipe.  Aaron doesn't like chunks of tomatoes no matter how small.  He likes any tomatoes in a recipe to be either paste, sauce, or juice.  I substituted one can of tomato sauce and a can of green chillies for the Rotel.  The only other major change I made was to omit the cilantro simply because I am not a fan of it.

Chicken Taco Chili

1 lb chicken breasts or tenders
2 cans (or 3 cups) beans (black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 packet taco seasoning (or 2 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz bag frozen corn
shredded cheddar cheese and corn chips for serving

Pour the beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and green chilies, taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin, garlic, and corn into the crock pot and stir to combine. Place the chicken on top and push down gently until the chicken is at least partially submerged. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours.  Before serving remove the chicken and shred it with two forks. Return the chicken to the crock pot and stir to combine. Serve with corn chips and shredded cheese.

This recipe is hearty and healthier than regular chili and I adore almost anything I can cook in the crock pot because it leaves me free to do other things during nap time.  I have been known to mix it with macaroni and cheese too.  I love chili-mac!  It freezes well.  We usually only eat half so rather than cut the recipe in half I just make the full recipe and freeze whatever is left.

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