Sunday, February 23, 2014

Creamy Crockpot Chicken Chili

I'm always looking for things to cook in my trusty ol' crockpot all day Sunday to have for dinner that evening. Even though the weather is warming up here in Texas, I thought I'd get one more hearty soup in before it gets too warm. In our house, we love chili! But being in a chicken kind of mood, I thought I'd go with something creamier and just as delicious. What better than my own version of cream cheese chicken chili?

In my home, it's everything I can do to keep things I cook that Lance (my husband) will eat from being too spicy. This is a little difficult because I love spicy food. But I do my best to compromise and add that extra kick to my own plate or bowl in this case. So in this chili, I use mild Rotel instead of original or hot. If you like yours a little spicy, go with the original or if you are a huge fan of spicy (like me) go with the hot version of Rotel. Just a little heads up to help you out...

So without further ado...Creamy Crockpot Chicken Chili...


2 chicken breasts (still frozen)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can sweet corn (undrained)
1 can Rotel (tomatoes and green chiles - undrained)
1 can kidney beans or navy beans (undrained)
1 can chicken broth (used as much as you want for desired thickness of chili)
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 diced onion
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 8 oz package cream cheese

Place chicken breasts at the bottom of the crockpot. Drain and rinse black beans. Pour in the corn, Rotel and both cans of beans on top of the chicken. I added kidney beans (as that's what I had on hand), but some prefer white or navy beans in this chili. Either are great, basically your preference. 

Add in the cumin, chili powder, onion powder and Ranch mix.

Stir together the mixture.

Put the cream cheese on top of the mixture.

Sauté the onion and garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil. You don't have to add onion and garlic and it's actually fine without it, but I find that the onion and garlic makes it more flavorful. Once they start to soften, add to the crockpot and stir into mixture. Add 1/2 can of chicken broth to thin out the chili. Use as much or as little as you want for desired consistency. If you want it soupy add the entire can.

Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir the cream cheese into the mixture and use two forks to shred the chicken. 

Stir everything together and serve! 

I put this creamy chicken chili on top of Fritos and added a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of shredded cheese to the top. It's also fantastic on rice, or with crumbled up tortilla chips or even all by itself.  I certainly hope you make and enjoy my version of this delicious chili. If you do, comment and let me know your thoughts! I'd love to hear 'em! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Southern Chicken and Rice with a Cajun Twist

This is a quicker version of this Southern classic casserole with a Louisiana flare just in time for Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras. 

If you're anything like me, you like to do things as quickly and efficiently as possible. Sometimes you just don't have time to do some of the things you'd like to do, including extra prepping of meals. Sometimes you want to cut the cooking time down as much as possible to serve it up as quickly as possible for dinner. To make this dish just a bit more southern, I added some more southern spices with Cajun seasoning. If you aren't a fan of Cajun, you can always omit. 


2 cups uncooked, brown rice
4 cups water
3 cans chicken (shredded)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can chicken broth
1 package of frozen mushrooms (I used Birdseye recipe ready)
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup fiesta blend shredded cheese
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. 

First cook the rice as directed. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, soups, frozen mushrooms and spices. Add in the rice when it's done and mix. Add in shredded cheese. Pour in half the broth. I only used half of the can as you don't want it too soupy, but you want enough to help keep the casserole from become too dry. Add more if it looks too dry. Really depends on your oven and how well it cooks or whether it cooks evenly. 

Pour mixture into a large greased casserole dish (9x13). Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes. 

(Click for full image)

Serve with a couple of your favorite sides, maybe corn or green beans and a salad. Notice the Mardi Gras colors on the plate below!

(Click for full image)

My husband Lance raved and raved about it and ended up eating seconds and even thirds of the chicken and rice.

Hope you enjoy this updated quick Cajun version such a Southern favorite. Let me know how yours turns out!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Easy Peasy Chicken Vegetable and Brown Rice Soup

We had another snow day yesterday in North Texas. What better way to warm one's belly than with a steaming hot bowl of soup? And if you know me at all, I like to work with what I have on hand. Don't have any fresh veggies or a rotisserie chicken readily available at home and don't want to venture out on the slick, cold streets to get them? There's nothing wrong with using canned and frozen alternatives. Easy and still tastes wonderful! 

Lance, my husband, wasn't as lucky as me as to get a day off from work. He unfortunately had to work out in the icy elements yesterday, so I wanted him to come home to something warm and comforting and soup it was! 

Here's my super duper simple recipe. You can add and omit as you see fit. You could add in more wonderful sources to protein such as black beans, navy or even kidney beans. You could spice it up more with the spicier or original version of Rotel. 


3 large cans of chicken (do not drain)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (diced very small)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 package of frozen mixed vegetable steamers (I used the kind with carrots, squash, zucchini, etc.)
1 can corn
1 can chicken broth
1 can of water (used the same can as broth)
2 cans mild Rotel (tomatoes and green chiles)
1 small can mushrooms (sliced or pieces - optional as my hubby loves mushrooms in 
1 cup brown rice
A few splashes of Tabasco to taste (seriously optional - I added mine to my bowl as Lance 
    doesn't like spicy foods)

Begin by sautéing the diced onion and chopped garlic cloves in the olive oil in the bottom of the soup pot. Add in the chicken broth, water and Rotel. Then add the cans of chicken, frozen vegetables, corn and mushrooms (optional). Add your spices and Tabasco and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 35-50 minutes. Add in brown rice and continue to simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is completely cooked. Be warned: it will smell heavenly and you will be salivating waiting to eat it. Ladle into your bowl and enjoy! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

This Post is Brought To You By The Song "Fashion" by David Bowie

A lot of people have mentioned to me that I should start my own fashion blog. I've posted on Facebook the clothes I've bought and have been wearing since I realized that I couldn't go on wearing my oversized clothes. I decided I need some clothes that fit, but at the same time, I'm not sure if I'll continue to lose more weight. My solution: buy things on sale (which has really helped with sales around the holiday season), buy from resale and consignment and buy great pieces from a fabulous online boutique that has both stylish and very affordable clothing.

But, seriously though, what do I know about fashion? I know what I like. I have become obsessed with blogs about fashion I've found on Pinterest. I've learned about mixing patterns, which to me is very exciting. I have basically learned how to take common pieces we all have in our closets and mix and match them in different ways. And I gotta say, it's been fun.

In this post, I want to tell you all about the places where I shop and buy fantastic items I can work in different ways to come up with new outfits and, in the end, save tons of money and look pretty good doing. 

Taking advantage of the great sales during the holidays, I shopped at Kohls where I purchased items such as the blue and white striped top, eggplant pants, black pencil skirt and both pairs of mid-calf boots (both last season but you can purchase both colors on Amazon). The charcoal jeweled cardigan, black leggings and multicolored including pink scarf all came from Target. The black fleeced-lined tights came from Urban Outfitters. And one of my favorite new go-to pieces, the denim button-down top came from H&M. Let me reiterate and say that every item bought new was on sale at great prices. Take advantage of sales.  

All of the pants you see me wearing in these pictures, with the exception of the leggings and tights, are from a resale place called Clothes Mentor. The cool thing about this store is there's multiple locations. They have 98 stores in 25 states. To find the location nearest you, here's their website...

Check it out! These are the store locations in Texas alone. 

Pretty awesome huh?

 Here's they McKinney store website:
The Plano store website:
And one more just for fun...
The Frisco store website:

You get the idea, right?

Now let's talk about an amazing resale and consignment store right in my my own backyard in good ol' Wichita Falls. It's called Karma. They don't have an official website but you can follow them on Instagram (@gitnitgurl --go and follow her now!). Let's see...the chambray tunic, red/white/gray scarf, plaid button up top, pink flats, long cashmere sweater vest (one of my favorite pieces) and red leopard print scarf all came from Karma. 

Last but certainly not least, a fabulous online boutique called Minty Hotto Boutique. I've bought many pieces from this store including the chevron print top and dress. Minty Hotto caters to all sizes even the curviest of curvy women. Check out her website: Here are a few more samples of the things she carries and more info as well. 

I just bought the last two tops. Great with leggings or skinny jeans and boots with or without a belt. Also, great tops for pattern mixing as well. Anyway, I love her store. Such great prices, free shipping and great customer service. You can follow her both on Facebook (Minty Hotto Boutique) where she constantly updates with new items, has giveaways and does FB real time online auctions and on Instagram (@mhboutique --go follow her now). FYI, I was going to post a picture of one of her newest items she just posted tonight that I want, but alas, I didn't want you to beat me to the punch and buy her out before I got the chance.

How's that for my first fashion blog entry? If you like what you've read and seen, subscribe, comment and tell others so they can do the same. 

I was thinking of doing an outfit a day daily post with inspiration from Pinterest and ideas of where to buy, things like that. 

We shall see where this takes us. Be sure and check out Clothes Mentor, Karma and Minty Hotto Boutique. You will not be disappointed; I can promise you that! Come and check out my future blogs and, while you're here, check out my recipes and other past posts. 

Crockpot Swiss Steak With Mushrooms

It snowed here yesterday in North Texas, so taking advantage of the "snow day" and home from school/work, I decided I needed to cook the round steak in my freezer. My plan was to try out the roads and head to the grocery store to buy things for soup, but after a call from the hubby, I realized I left my car keys in his car last night. Damn...

What to do...

I'm a theatre teacher/director...plan B let's improvise!

Soup became Swiss steak...then I realized I had neither mushroom soup nor onion soup. Let the improvisation begin!


2 lbs cube or round steak
Flour (I used almond flour with less carbs)
3T Olive oil 
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (diced fine)
1 can stir-fry mushrooms
2 c beef broth (or beef bouillon)
Black pepper to taste

Begin by cutting the raw steak into serving size pieces. Cover the pieces of steak in flour and black pepper. Brown the steak in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lay the pieces in the bottom of the crockpot. Be sure to scrape the skillet, adding all the excess browned flour mixture to the crockpot.
Next, sauté the onion and garlic with 1 tablespoon of oil in the same skillet. Notice the excess from the steak on the onion. Looks and smells great!
Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the steak in the crockpot. 
I found some stir-fry mushrooms in the cupboard along with my other canned goods. My hubby loves mushrooms and so do I, so it's a win-win situation. Here's the brand I used.
Drain and add the canned mushrooms to the crockpot.
Add in the 2 cups of beef bouillon or broth. Cook for 6-8 hours covered with lid in the crockpot.
After meat is tender, turn crockpot to warm while you prepare mash potatoes and other sides to go with this delicious dish. 
As you can see after 6-8 hours, it's made its own gravy that perfectly compliments mashed potatoes.

Serve and enjoy! Let me know what you think.