Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

by Anne Bennett on January 11, 2016

chicken chili

Photo courtesy of Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen

It’s mid-January, which means that those of us now knee-deep in Weight Watcher’s new SmartPoints program have become more comfortable (aka less hysterical) with the less-sugar-more-lean-protein approach to eating. Repeat after me: we can do this. We can definitely do this.

I found some help from my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. Deb recently featured a recipe for slow cooker chicken chili that, if you haven’t cooked dried beans before, may make you a convert. What a revelation — this is a true set-it-and-forget-it recipe, in which Deb instructs us to place everything into the slow cooker and walk away. Ten hours later you return to a delicious pot of chicken chili. And healthful? You can belly up to the health bar with this chili. It’s high in protein and low in SmartPoints, which means that for a small investment of your daily SP, it’ll keep you satisfied for hours.

If you’re short on time in the morning, do what I did — assemble everything in the evening and just before hitting the sack, turn your slow cooker on LOW for 10 hours. The next morning you’ll awaken to ready-made dinner. Our weather has been so cold that all I had to do was set my slow cooker pot outside on the back porch until just before dinner time. In the late afternoon I brought it in, put my slow cooker on HIGH and before long, dinner was ready to enjoy.

If you are not into dried beans, here’s a similar slow cooker recipe for Chicken and Black Bean Chili from Weight Watchers’ One Pot Meals that calls for canned black beans. But I recommend that you first try Deb’s recipe with dried beans. They cook perfectly in the slow cooker, they’re more economical and the recipe makes a big batch, part of which you can freeze for later.

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (I used half breast and half thigh meat)
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 fresh jalapeño, minced, or ground chili powder to taste (I used 1 jalapeño)
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them (or 2 10-oz. cans Rotel)
2 2/3 cups dried beans (I used half black and half pinto)
5 1/3 cups water

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker; cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or HIGH for 4 1/2 to 5 hours

Some of the chicken will have fallen apart. The rest will shred easily with two forks. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with your choice of lime wedges, plain Greek yogurt, chopped scallions or red onion, chopped cilantro, hot sauce.

Serves 6 to 8
SP for 6 servings: 6
SP for 8 servings: 5

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