Monday Mealtime: Spicy Chicken Chili

Mondays are some of the hardest days around the Edwards household. It's the day our work week begins anew, where the little one heads to school, and everything gets just a bit more hectic. Who really wants to think about last minute dinner plans? Unfortunately, it's a trap that is easily fallen into around here, but this week, we've decided to take back our enjoyment of cooking at home. Menu planning was something that used to save our behinds (and our checkbook) often back in the days of new baby, homework, and a crazy work schedule.

We started out with something relatively easy. Adam asked for chili and I wanted to use my crock pot, but I wanted to switch it up a little from our usual chili recipe. A quick Google search landed me on a site called Sally's Baking Addiction, where I found the most amazing recipe for chicken chili. Here is our (not so different) take on it.

First, you'll need your crock pot. You can do it in a regular stock pot, of course, but I love the simplicity of putting everything in, giving it a stir, and leaving it alone for a few hours.

Next come the ingredients. For this delicious (albeit spicy) chili, you will need:

2 large chicken breasts (or, in our case, about 6-7 tenderloins) 2 cans of diced tomatoes 1 can tomato sauce 1 can of black beans 1 can dark red kidney beans (our addition - we love the weariness of additional beans!) 1 can of corn (or 1 package frozen) 1 green pepper (I added about 1/4 a bag of frozen diced green peppers in addition to my fresh) 1 jalapeño (optional to make it less spicy. For the love of your eyes and other sensitive body parts, wash your hands after cutting this up or save yourself the trouble and wear gloves. Trust me on this one!) 1 cup chicken broth or stock 1 tablespoon minced garlic (be generous! Garlic is delicious and good for you, after all.) 1 tsp salt (I used our pink Himalayan salt from the Amish store in Flatwoods, WV) A few generous dashed of your pepper shaker 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 tablespoon cumin 4 ounces of cream cheese

Cream cheese, you might be asking? Oh yes. It really does make this recipe stand out and gave it a great creaminess. We barely added any of our usual fixings.

Your first order of business is to chop up your peppers (or find them frozen!), mince the garlic if you enjoy it fresh, and open your cans of beans and corn so they can drain. The original recipe calls for the beans to be rinsed and the tomatoes to be drained, but I skipped those steps as we tend to like our chili soupy and don't mind the bean juices.

Now combine everything but the cream cheese in your crock pot. Give it a stir, put the lid on and let it do its magic! (High heat for 3 hours, low for 6-7.)

Come back when it's done, pull out your chicken and shred it up. It will be some of the juiciest chicken ever, and it compliments this chili so well. Next, put the chicken back it, cube up your cream cheese so it is easier to melt in, and stir it until incorporated. Viola! Spicy chicken chili, a creamy, hearty dinner. Serve with some corn bread and enjoy.

Possible changes: Try ground turkey or lean beef. Omit meat and plump it up with veggies. Instead of crackers for your crunch, try this with celery! It's surprisingly good.