So I called my daughter late the other evening to check on something. This was Sunday night—when I’m always caught between hanging on to the weekend as long as I can, while also trying to get myself ready for the rush of Monday. And she said, “I’m cooking.” And I said, “What?” And she said, “Italian Chicken Chili and Pumpkin Black Bean Turkey Chili. It seemed efficient to make these two recipes together.”
But she wasn’t finished with her cooking rundown. “And I was thinking about how good some spicy muffins would be with these chilies, so I’m baking Jalapena Corn Muffins, too.”
I sat down. I was not in a revving-up mood. I must have sounded that way because she said, “Don’t you want to go into the week with at least four meals already made? Two each from each.”
Yeah, but not starting at 9:00 Sunday night.
Funny how you can hardly change a body clock. This young woman and her dad start projects as night-time comes.
Not me. Last week while we were on vacation in a hotel room overlooking the ocean, I got up early each morning while it was still dark. My feast was to see the sun rise over the waves. It was unspeakably beautiful. It’s true, I didn’t see anyone else, but I gotta admit, that was part of the treat.
Okay—no matter when you get inspired to cook, here’s one sturdy recipe that’s packed with veggies and a little heat. And you won’t have to go far to find any of the ingredients. So if it is midnight when you begin. . .
Italian Chicken Chili
from Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook:
600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes
Makes 8 servings
½ lb. loose Italian sausage, hot or sweet
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uncooked and cut into 1” cubes
28-oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
15-oz. can white kidney, or cannelloni, beans, rinsed and drained
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 medium zucchini, peels on and diced
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
shredded Italian cheese blend, optional
1. In a large skillet, cook sausage in oil over medium heat. Stir frequently to break up clumps. Cook until no longer pink. Drain off drippings.
2. Transfer sausage to slow cooker. Stir in chicken, crushed and diced tomatoes, beans, celery, onions, red bell pepper, broth, chili powder, oregano, garlic, and thyme.
3. Cover. Cook on Low 6 hours.
4. Stir in zucchini and mushrooms.
5. Cover. Cook on High 45 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with parsley.
7. Serve individual bowls of soup with shredded Italian cheese blend, if you wish.