Chicken Chili: My favorite easy, yummy “go-to” meal.

I am looking forward to fall for several reasons, but one of them is that I just feel more in the mood to cook in the fall.  Hearty soups, stews and one pot meals just make life a bit easier.

I want to share one of our very favorites with you today:  Chicken Chili.

My kids actually say Yay! when I tell them that we’re having Chicken Chili for dinner.  I first had this at my friend Jen’s house several years ago.  Since then, I’ve revamped it, spiced it up and tailored it for our family.

I love this dish because it’s delicious in addition to being low-fat, high-protein and very economical.  But best of all?  I can make it ahead of time and it’s the perfect freezer meal on those busy days when I didn’t plan for dinner.
This recipe makes a ginormous amount of Chicken Chili, but keep in mind that I have 4 growing boys who are eating me out of house and home and love this meal.  If you have a smaller family, just halve the recipe.  (Or make the whole thing and freeze some.)

You will need:

  • Large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 4 to 6 chicken pieces (I use thighs and leg quarters, skin removed)
  • 1 Tbsp of ground cumin
  • palm-full of dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 2 cans each of: black beans, white beans, pinto beans, corn  (all drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (un-drained)
  • jar of salsa (I recommend chipotle)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped into a paste (optional)
  • 1 bunch fresh (or frozen) cilantro, chopped (optional)
In a large stock pot bring water, chicken stock, onion, salt and garlic to a boil.  Add chicken pieces.  You can use chicken breast, but I like the darker meat for both flavor and price.
Boil chicken for 5 minutes or so, then reduce heat and let the chicken simmer for another 25 minutes.  Remove chicken with tongs and set aside.
Drain and rinse the beans and corn.  Go ahead and do it all at once.  It’s faster and easier that way.
Toss the beans and corn into the pot, along with the oregano, cumin, and the chopped chipotle pepper.

Add the 2 cans of tomatoes, the cilantro, and the jar of salsa.  (We like spicy, so I add more like a jar and a half, but it’s totally up to you.)

Pull the chicken off the bones, shred and put back into the pot.  Let simmer another hour or so.  I use a diffuser under the pot to help evenly distribute the heat, and I actually let it sit overnight… we think it’s better the next day because the flavors are really able to marry.  The smokiness of the chipotles, the broth, the beans, it all works together for a yummy, hearty meal.

I even toss in extra things here and there.  For example, I added some leftover rice and roasted red bell pepper to this batch.  We top it with shredded cheese, sour cream and more fresh cilantro.  It is mmm, mmm good!

And yes, freezing it into smaller portions means the boys can grab some and heat it up when ever they want.

Yummy, healthy, hearty and comes in at about a dollar a serving.  Not bad, huh?

I hope you like this easy, affordable recipe!  Between April 25 – May 25, 2014 a donation of just $40 will help the Beckstrand Cancer Association feed a family coping with cancer for an entire week!  Click HERE to make your donation.


  1. says

    We would gobble that up too. Have you ever tried making it with ground turkey?
    I have to remember to add corn to my next batch. Corn and chili spices just go hand in hand.


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