Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Baby Hippos and The BEST Chicken Chili

This morning was a doozy.

Some creature-child with stealth-like skill maneuvered his way into our bed at 5am - and as usual, drops his stealthy mojo and turns hippo-in-the-mud once he arrives in our sleeping space. I get one corner. My husband gets a sliver down MY SIDE of the bed. And, it's each man for himself over the next two back-aching hours until one of us vacates to our tiny shower for some wide-open spaces.

Lord have mercy.

And, we're out of coffee pods. Would you know that lugging out like a real coffee pot is on par with asking us to run a marathon or hike up Mount Everest? What has become of us?

So. No coffee. A moment of silence please.

It really is a first world problem TURNED MAJOR CRISIS when you have two caffeine addicts trying to navigate through the morning with all the kids off of school and vacation laundry hissing and baby teething and a Lipton tea bag and its friends can make a HAPPY pot of iced tea, but alas - a cup of tea is just not cutting it after you've spent TWO HOURS with a baby hippo kicking you in the spine.

This does have something to do with chili.


I might have cried from not wanting to mother today. I might have pulled out a bottle of Bourbon and gone Miss Hannigan on this brood of babes before me. I might have locked myself in the closet with a tub of frosting and a plastic ladle and emerged fat and happy and dinner would've been pizza and money spent that we didn't need to spend and at the end of the day, a Momma who loves to cook but just COULD. NOT. DEAL. with feeding seven people.

But, my crockpot rescued me. With our favorite chili. Like it does about twice a month.

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Everything goes in sometime before noon. (All day on low. A few hours on high.)

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And, by mid-afternoon, it's ready.

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This recipe is one of the most frequently clicked-on posts on this blog. That doesn't surprise me; every time we serve it to friends, it gets rave reviews.

It's spicy, 'cause that's how we like it, but if you like your food milder, just leave out the jalapenos.

One of the things I LOVE about this recipe is its versatility.

It's chili - but SO much more:

1. You can stuff it inside a flour tortilla for a FANTASTIC burrito. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and Mexican rice.

2. It's an amazing dip. Put it in a casserole dish and top it with cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. (We always do this with the leftovers).

3. It's two or three meals. The original recipe came from a freeze-ahead cookbook - so make a double (or triple) batch, and put the rest in freezer bags. Pull out a bag anytime you need a quick dinner or an appetizer dip to bring to a party!

SO tonight, we can have burritos or tacos or chili and chips or dip. With something I made. With what we have in the pantry.

Something that ALL of us love.

Not pizza. Not pancakes.

And, what do you know?

Momma didn't take to the bottle.

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Spicy Black Bean and Corn Chicken Chili
recipe adapted from Dream Dinners...

3 roasted boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 (11-ounce) can golden sweet corn, drained
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup jalapenos, drained and chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Mexican blend shredded cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)

In a large crockpot, combine all ingredients and set crockpot to low. Simmer for 5 to 6 hours.

If using the stovetop, combine all ingredients in a large stockpot. Simmer the chili on low for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often, until thickened.

Serve topped with Mexican blend cheese and sour cream, if desired.

To make a layered Chili Dip: Combine 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and 4 ounces of sour cream in a small bowl. Spread in the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish and top with leftover chili. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and store in refrigerator or freezer. When ready to eat, bring to room temperature and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chili is heated through. Serve with tortilla chips.


  1. I feel your pain, and you crack me up. This looks good, and I don't usually ever want chili. Thanks!

  2. Mine was more like an octopus, though I have experienced the baby rhino and the hippo. How can such a little person take up so much space!?! Thanks for the laugh and the chili recipe.

    I'm definitely tryin' it. Here's one for you. We LOVE this!

    (Stolen shamelessly from sixsistersstuff.com)
    Jeri Keeley www.jerianna.blogspot.com

    3 lb. pork
    16 oz. chunky salsa
    1 can Dr. Pepper
    2 c. brown sugar

    Put pork in Crockpot and fill halfway with water.
    Cook 4 hours on high.
    Drain water, cut pork in thirds, mix together sauce and pour on top.
    Cook 4 more hours on low.
    Drain liquid and shred pork.
    Save a little liquid and mix it in with the pork so it is really moist.

    We pile this on nachos or roll it in soft tacos or serve it on rice or whatever. Goes great with salsa and cheese and olives and guacamole and everything.