White Bean Chicken Chili

Sometimes, trying new recipes can be exhausting.  Sometimes, after a tedious, never-ending day of work and chores, you just want to come home and cook something reliable. Something that you know will turn out delicious and requires minimal work.

Those are totally the kind of days weeks I’ve been having.  This white bean chicken chili is one of our all time favorite recipes for a few years now.  It is filling, healthy, oh-so-tasty, makes enough for about 6-7 meals, inexpensive, and not terribly time consuming.  This chili is essentially the ‘total package’ of dinners.

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I found it a few years ago on AllRecipes, and have adapted it over time based on personal tastes and reviewers suggestions.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Adapted from this AllRecipes recipe (I promise my changes are better- they have been years and 30 batches in the making)

You Will Need:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 large can salsa verde
  • 2 (16 oz) cans diced tomatoes (fire roasted or basil flavors are great)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb shredded cooked chicken meat (rotisserie saves time, not money)
  • 1/2 large bag of frozen corn
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • crunchy bread to serve along side is “optional”

Directions

  1. Heat oil on medium-high heat, and cook onion and garlic until soft
  2. Stir in broth, salsa verde, diced tomatoes, and spices.
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for about 10 minutes
  4. Add corn, chicken, and beans, and simmer for as long as possible to allow flavors to come together (20 minutes or more ideal)

This chili is SO good and very filling as well.  Despite how filling it is, I always go back for seconds.  And you will too.  Trust me.

So much has happened this week, I cannot wait to blog about it all.  Many exciting and scary changes ahead.  But for now… chili.

Treat Yo-self Day

For those of you who watch Parks and Rec, the title speaks for itself.  For those of you who don’t,  I have two things to say.  1) The title is a reference to the show, not an example of my grammar,  and 2) you should really watch the show, it’s hilarious.

In all seriousness, the other day I had the rare gift of a day off in the middle of the week.  Words can not even express how much this day to myself recharged my soul.  I spent the day doing only things for myself and ignoring every other obligation I had, which is the main premise of a ‘Treat Yo-self day’.  I did not ignore these obligations in defiance, but more because I knew that if I didn’t take a day to be selfish, the other things would never be accomplished efficiently and properly.

How rare it is to take a day- a whole day- to ourselves.  Think about it.  A day “off” or a weekend usually involves playing catch-up, running errands, and spending time with our [insert important person/s in your life].  Almost never do we get a whole day to bond with ourselves.

On this magical day to myself, I fit in a quick workout in the morning, had a nice big slice of banana bread for breakfast, got my hair cut for the first time in way too long, and spent the day shopping and having lunch and coffee by myself.  All alone.  And it was pure bliss.

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Some people might feel lonely spending the whole day in a crowded mall alone, but for me, it was therapeutic.  It allowed me to engage in an activity I love (shopping) without having to worry about another person’s needs, schedule, or preferences.  I didn’t have to spend an hour convincing my friend that blue was her color and the dress she tried on was in fact slimming.  I didn’t have to help my boyfriend hunt for the right size shirts for work, picking through the heaping pile of men’s dress shirts until we found a  sized 16 neck.  I was able go into each and every store I wanted to for as long as I wanted to, and I was able to sit and enjoy my fattening and difficult to eat falafel sandwich without worrying about the tzatziki sauce all over my face.

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Moreover, my thoughts were completely my own.  I was able to use those thoughts in an empty yet enjoyable way, such as people watching.  I also used them to contemplate things on my mind recently.  Things I have been meaning to mull over, except life is always just a little to busy to do so at the moment.  The realization that we rarely have time to just ‘be’ with our thoughts is sad, but etching out a whole day to be with these thoughts, while doing something enjoyable, is so peaceful.

It all felt so good.  More than good- necessary.

I wouldn’t be fully honest if I didn’t mention that the retail therapy of buying myself some special things didn’t help.  But is it really a coincidence that on this day all about me I just happen to stumble upon the perfectly fitting pair of black skinny jeans or the precise cross body bag that I have been searching for?  Hardly.  Those items were placed there by fate to make me even happier on an already blissful day.  Plus, splurging on fine things is another understood element of ‘Treat Yo-self day’.

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Although the inspiring concept for Treat Yo-self Day emerged from a hilarious TV show, the premise is universally solid.  Every now and then, we deserve a relaxing day to ourselves, by ourselves.  The logistics of this happening may be difficult.  They may involve babysitters, “sick days” at work, skipped classes, or canceled plans.  Even so, the difficulty of getting that whole day alone speaks volumes as to how needed it is.

I encourage all of you to get out your iCal, planner, calendar, or post-it note, and schedule a Treat Yo-self day as soon as possible.  You deserve it.

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Chicken In A Pastry

Finally, after a week of hectic schedules and grab-and-go food, we were able to cook a nice dinner last night: chicken in a pastry!  Before I blog any further, I must tell you guys that I am aware the pictures of this meal are rather unappealing.  There is only so much Instagram and Photo-toaster can do for an un-photogenic meal.  However, I promise you the taste makes up for the appearance!

Chicken in a Pastry

Chicken in a Pastry

This is seriously the easiest meal to make- you only need 3 ingredients!

  • Puff Pastry Sheets (I used Pillsbury)
  • A soft, spreadable herb/cheese mixture, such as Rondele, (I used the light variety)
  • Cooked, cubed chicken, either baked or cooked in a pan until just cooked.

I apologize for not having step-by-step pictures- we were a bit pressed for time.  Next time I make this I will inset the photos into this post.  But, no worries,  this recipe is fool-proof.

Chicken in a Pastry

  1. Season chicken with salt and freshly cracked pepper and cook in the oven or on a frying pan until just cooked through.  *It is important not to dry out the chicken by overcooking now, as you will bake the chicken once more for about 15 minutes.  Once cooked, dice the chicken into small chunks. Set chicken aside.
  2. Defrost pastry sheets according to directions on box.
  3. Cut the sheets into desired sized squares.  In the Pillsbury sheets, you get two full sheets that each break into thirds.  I then cut each third into thirds again to make one square (this is your desired pastry).  This will yield 18 total squares which equals 18 filled pastries when done.  Depending on the brand you use, and whether or not this is a meal/appetizer etc.., you will need to eyeball the appropriate size you want your pastries to be.
  4. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the herbed cheese onto a square and place about 3-4 small chunks of chicken on top of the cheese.  Bring the four corners of the pastry square up and press them together, forming a pocket so that all of the filling is enclosed.  Repeat for each square.
  5. Lay all of the pastry squares on a foil-lined baking sheet (dull side up) and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry shell is just turning golden brown.
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Chicken in a Pastry

This is seriously one of the most comforting and simple meals ever.  I served it along with a nice fresh salad of spring mix lettuce, diced pairs, blueberries, and walnuts dressed with oil and vinegar.

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Salad with pear, blueberries, and walnuts

I know this is not really a “recipe” necessarily, as the idea of stuffing puffed pastry sheets with cheese and filling is not new.  But, I hope I at least planted a seed in your mind for the next time you need an easy yet comforting dinner that leaves you both full and satisfied :)

I just wanted to mention the addition of my “Best Thing I Ever Ate” section to the blog.  This section will be documenting my absolute favorite foods in different categories. It is a work in progress, but please check it out.  I would love to hear any feedback anybody has to offer.

Now, off to enjoy a very not homemade but equally satisfying dessert: girl scout cookies!  It was brought to my attention the other day that most types of girl scout cookies can actually be found year-round in the grocery store from other brands (i.e. Keebler “grasshoppers” = thin mints).  However, I feel that there is a certain nostalgia/special element to girl scout cookies that makes them so special, even if they are not necessarily the best, most unique cookies ever.  What do you guys think?  Worth the $3/ box for a bite of your childhood?  I think yes!