Tag Archives: quick weeknight meals

{Chili Week} Chicken & Black Bean Chili

There are about a million ways to make chili and people get pretty heated when it comes to the “right way” to make it or whose chili is best. The competitive spirit came out over the weekend when fellow blogger Anne hosted a Chili-Off Party.

For the party, I made my riff on my mom’s Chicken & Black Bean Chili. As kids, my sisters and I weren’t big fans of the ground beef-kidney bean combo so my mom concocted this chicken-based Tex Mex version. My chili tastes are much broader these days but this one is still a family favorite…and a pretty excellent one, if I do say so.

Despite all the smack talk, we were all too busy eating to actually declare a winner at the party, so we’re hosting Chili Week here on HAP to let you decide. Maybe you’ll find a new fave…or just reaffirm that your chili is the best around.

Easy Tex Mex Chicken Chili

Chicken & Black Bean Chili
3/4 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 11 oz canned corn or 1 C frozen corn
1 can black beans
1/2 C pale ale beer
1 C chicken broth
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tsp salt

Optional ideas to serve with:
shredded cheddar cheese
small shell noodles
sour cream
cilantro
pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, cook onion and chicken with 1-2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Season well with about 1 tsp salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, cinnamon and chipotle powders and continue to cook 3-4 minutes until chicken is almost cooked. Add beer and simmer for 4-5 minutes until liquid reduces slightly. Then add corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes so that flavors can meld. Taste test and season with additional salt.

Serve over cooked small shell noodles and top with cheese or other toppings.

Chicken Black Bean Chili

A Side Note:
I’ve talked about chipotle powder before and I really can’t get enough of the stuff. With canned chipotle peppers I was always throwing out most of the jar, so this has become a “must” in my spice cabinet because I can use just what I need and control the heat better too. You can make this chili without it but I think it really elevates the flavor with a nice smoky heat.

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Apricot Jalapeno Pulled Pork {4 ways}

I am a true believer in quick weeknight meals, which can be very difficult for a foodie. But I would much rather spend time with my husband and daughter on a Tuesday night then spend an hour in the kitchen which means I needed to figure out some shortcuts to help me whip up quick and delicious meals without sacrificing flavor and nutrition.

I find preparing foods on the weekends, when I tend to have more time,
and freezing them for later can save me a lot of time during the week.
The trick is knowing what will freeze well and how to use it up. A
couple weeks ago I made one of my favorite recipes, Apricot and
Jalapeno Pulled Pork
. I used up some of the pork that night and froze
the rest in 3 individual portions to use later in the month. As
promised, here are all the meals I made with this delicious pulled
pork!


Pulled Pork Tacos
First I made pulled pork tacos and served the Apricot Jalapeno Pork on warm flour tortillas with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.

Spicy Quesadillas
A week later, I thawed out some pork and make quesadillas complete with black beans, fresh corn and pepper jack cheese.

Pulled Pork Nachos
The next week we unexpectedly had friends over for the Packers/Vikings game (oh, Brett Favre). I needed a meal that would please a crowd and it needed to be made quickly. I thawed the frozen pork in the microwave and then simmered it in a mixture of bbq sauce and broth. Next,  I layered chips, shredded cheese, green peppers and the pork on an oven safe tray and baked them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

BBQ Pork Pizza
Finally, we used the last bit of pulled pork on a bbq pizza. I used my favorite whole wheat pizza crust and topped it with with bbq sauce, cheese, thawed pulled pork and green pepper rings then baked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.

A little bit of planning led me to 4 easy weeknight meals that I was
able to throw together each in under 20 minutes!

Tips for freezing food:

Invest in some good tupperware or ziplock freezer storage bags, both work great to store food.

Always be sure to properly label the contents of the bag, including the date it was made.

I make it a rule to eat anything I freeze within a month to ensure it will still taste great and will be safe to eat.

Move the food from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before
you intend to use it or thaw the food in the microwave immediately
before cooking with it. Never leave food out on the counter to thaw.

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