January 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili Recipe

*Today (1/15/14) is the last day to donate to Mitchell's Place (for children with autism) and win a $50 gift card to Road Runner Sports online store. So far, you only have one competitor for this drawing, so your chances of winning are really great! You can donate any amount to be entered to win. GO HERE to check out my fundraising page.


We are coming up on the final days of our Healthy You! two-week challenge. I am definitely feeling more unaddicted to sugar, so if I saw a pack of Joe Joes on my counter right now, I wouldn't break your arm fighting you for them, at least initially.

Healthy foods are also starting to taste a little bit better to me. Larabars are my usual healthy palate litmus test. If Larabars taste delicious to me, I know that I'm losing my sugar addiction. If they taste like something I scraped off of my shoe, then I know that I've been on the sugar express.

Trips to the grocery store are pretty straight forward on this plan too. You can see that we're stocking up for school lunches with the sandwich bread and Fruitables (my kids aren't on the plan with us). For the other stuff, the key is very simple ingredients and no added sugar if it's a prepackaged food. The whole sugar thing eliminates a ton of packaged foods. Did you know that tons of salad dressings and marinara sauces (or any sauce) have sugar in them? And salsas?! What the heck? There are so many things that I never thought about having added sugar before paying attention. I was supposed to cut out all processed foods, but I fudged that rule a little, mainly for tortilla chips.

This week, I tried a new crockpot recipe that I loved because it had quinoa and was so filling because of that. I adapted whatever recipe I found online, so I'll share my version here.

Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili

2 15-oz cans of black beans
1 15-oz can of corn, drained
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
3 cups of chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of chili powder
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
2 chicken breasts

Avocado and tortilla chips to garnish when serving (optional)

Mix the beans, corn, tomatoes, stock, onion, pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and quinoa in the slow cooker. Then add two chicken breasts, submerging them in the other ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, remove chicken breasts, shred them (I just use two forks to pull the meat apart), and mix back into the chili. Garnish with avocado and tortilla chips (or whatever else you can think of).

This recipe is so easy, and our whole family inhaled it (not literally, because that would be dangerous). Plus I just got a new 6-quart crockpot, and I'm pretty much going to try and use it every day for eternity. It is so much better than the hand-me-down brown and tan floral version from the 70s that we had until just recently. Like unto this one (that someone is randomly selling on ebay). Sort of.

It was the one that used to have my mom's name on it in black ink, and I sharpied over her name to make my name. But instead of magic erasing her name off, I just adapted her letters into our letters, like changing an a into an o and a into an h. Just classing things up a notch. Being vintage, it was awesome, but with lots of experimentation, I've found that even though kitchen appliances from the 70s look cool, they work cruddy compared to today's versions. Also, in case you were wondering, don't test whether or not the stoneware pot can be used on the stove top. No, no, it can't, which is why we had to get a new one. Pretty sure that is taught in Crock Pot 101.

This is the one that I have now, and the locking lids are the best thing invented.

Also sadly learned that from experience as well. Taco soup does not appear as tasty spread out across the back floorboard of your car.

Another new thing I'm trying is valerian for help with sleeping at night. I like to occasionally take something to help sleep on the nights before an early-morning long run, so that I can fall asleep earlier and easier. Usually that something is melatonin pills, but I want to be able to mix it up and get more herb-y. My sister recommended the Herb Pharm brand with no alcohol, so I ordered some from Amazon. They were out whenever I checked at our local stores (the one below from Whole Foods has alcohol).

Do you ever take anything to help you sleep? I try hard not to so that I don't become dependent on it, but before races and big running days, I will to make sure I get solid sleep that I desperately need. 

Crock Pot -- fan or hater? If you love it, what's your favorite recipe? 

Have you ever purchased or acquired vintage kitchen appliances? My mom bought me the coolest looking avocado green blender from the 60s when I first got married 13 years ago. Problem was that that thing could barely crush ice. Blender fail.


  1. I LOVE my crockpot. My favorite recipe is crockpot lasagna ....so delicious :)

  2. I love crockpot cooking but always feel like (a) i cheated as it's so easy and (b) i've cooked the life (goodness) out of the food. I had a terrible time getting to sleep while i lived in Korea, and found Yogi Bedtime tea really helpful. It contains valerian, passionflower, chamomile and St Johns wort, the latter has naturally occurring melatonin. As do cherries (tart cherry juice included). Also magnesium, calcium and B6 foods can aid sleep too. I freaking love food as medicine. I hope this is helpful!

    1. It does cook, cook, cook the food, but at least you don't drain any of the vitamins (if any are still alive) off. I'll have to try that tea -- seen it before but haven't ever picked it up.

  3. Yum - this looks good!
    I love using crock pots - I use 1 or 2 at least 3x a week!!!

  4. I need to figure out something that will help me sleep. I have been trying to "unplug" and hour before sleep - that is helping a little! LOve, love, love crockpot cooking - I have been making a lot of steel cut oatmeal in it. Nothing better in the morning!!

    1. My husband's also been trying kava kava. I had never heard of it before this week.

  5. OBSESSED with my crockpot. My mom always cooked with it growing up and it's one of my favorite ways to have dinner ready quick and easy. Especially in the winter months. Will definitely have to try your recipe. And I don't take anything to help me sleep...but should maybe consider it. I've gotten in a bad habit of going to bed really late.

  6. Amy and I made this last night. It's a SOLID meal! Thanks for posting it!

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