Friday, January 6, 2017

Family Cookbook- Janelle's White Chicken Chili

Today we're going to work with some leftovers. Making over your leftovers into something really delicious and totally different is not all that difficult. All you need a well stocked pantry and some great recipes and you can recycle your leftovers into something so delicious, no one would guess it's leftovers! 

Sitting in my fridge right now is a good two-thirds of a roast chicken. In a household of two a roast chicken normally provides a couple meals for us, and if I make enough of the sides, like stuffing, I am perfectly happy with a repeat of the same meal. This time we enjoyed our chicken with roasted vegetables and a salad so I now have a lot of chicken and a world of ideas of what to do with it. A couple weeks ago my daughters and I had our family baking day, and my daughter in law Janelle had a big crockpot simmering away with her award winning white chicken chili. Yes, award winning! Earlier in the season our company hosted a chili cook off and Janelle took first place with her creamy cheesy chili. I love this stuff!

I sat up my workstation right at the kitchen table- my chicken to pick, vegetables to chop and cheese to cut up, cans to open and my crockpot. Because I had such a large chicken, I had easily 3 cups of cubed chicken meat to use. You can also sub cooked chicken breast or thighs. The cut up chicken went into the crockpot first, followed by the diced onion and bell pepper. Janelle uses a yellow bell pepper when she makes her chili. I used a red bell purely for economic reasons. I stopped at the store to grab the few items I did not already have and yellow bells were $4 each, with red bells at $1.50 each, so red bell pepper it is! Next I cut up the cheese. I didn't have a box shredder in the drawer and didn't want to drag out the food processor. I just cut up the cheese into tiny cubes. Janelle uses half pepper jack and half Monterrey Jack, but I used all pepper jack since we like things spicier. I had roasted and diced some fresh Hatch chilies when they were in season so I got those out of the freezer and used those. 

The other ingredients were the real surprises to me. Jarred Alfredo sauce? Sounds bizarre but the creamy texture is exactly perfect for this hearty soup. Sour cream and chicken broth also go in the pot and white beans. I used canellini beans because I love them so much. Cumin goes in to bring the chili flavor out to the forefront and cayenne pepper to taste- add sparingly at first as it will intensify. Finally, a couple cups of corn kernels, another item this Iowa girl always has in her freezer, and it's ready for a slow simmer in the crock pot to meld all the flavors into creamy perfection. I'm not so sure I can wait patiently for this chili to cook!!

Janelle's White Chicken Chili

3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup sour cream
2 cups chicken broth
1 can diced green chilies
one medium onion, diced
one bell pepper diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups frozen corn kernels
3 cans canellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese 
1 tablespoon cumin
cayenne pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot. Cover and cook on Low 4-5 hours. 

I made tortilla strips to serve with our chili. It's super easy to do and much more economical than purchasing ready made tortilla strips. They are great to have on had for soups, chili and salads too. Start with a package of fresh corn tortillas or make your own if you can. Brush the tortillas lightly with olive oil.

I used olive oil that had been muddled with a couple slices of jalapeno for a little extra heat. Stack the tortillas and cut into strips with a sharp knife. Spread out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and pop in a 400 degree oven. 

WATCH CAREFULLY! They crisp quickly and can burn in the blink of an eye. Allow to cool then store in an airtight container.

Serve the chili with the tortilla strips or any other garnish you like- sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro or a lime slice, or even a little bit of all of that!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free as part of a random drawing. There was no requirement of using the products and then providing written promotion. This post is entirely of my own writing. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe are of good quality and safe. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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