Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

By Stacie Morgan, February 18, 2016, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

We spent last month creating healthy recipes that were low on energy use and big on flavor. Today’s recipe could fit right in with that theme as it is a perfect twist on one of my favorite slow cooker recipes: chicken three-bean chili!

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Mmmm… Chili…

Since February is American Heart Month, this is a great dish for making little changes that impact your heart health!  By choosing to swap lean chicken breasts in place of ground beef, you are reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your chili.  I remember from my nutrition classes at Texas A&M that these two nutritional content items are important factors for heart health!

And since you’re only using the slow cooker for this meal, you’re saving on your energy use, too! One of my other favorite recipes is a Pale Ale chili I shared last October, and this recipe uses even less energy.

To keep today’s recipe heart healthy, I start by skipping the masa roux to lower the amount of added fat in this recipe.  By using a can of tomato puree and the starch from an extra can of beans, the chili will be thickened to the point you won’t miss the masa.

I add diced yellow bell peppers to this chili to deliver a powerhouse of nutrition in the form of vitamins and nutrients. The beans add protein and iron, and they battle high cholesterol levels because they are full of soluble fiber!

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Doesn’t that look so very yummy? And it’s good for you!

There is no added fat in this recipe and limited preparation. Just dice your fresh ingredients, rub and season your chicken, mix your tomato base, and let the slow cooker do its thing. Add in your three beans during the last hour and serve with fresh toppings.

Let’s get cooking!

Slow Cooker Chicken Three Bean Chili

Chili Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ tbsp. Chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. White sugar
  • ½ tsp. Ground oregano
  • ½ tsp. Ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. Coriander

Chili Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Look at all those lovely colors!

  • 3 ½ lb. Chicken breasts, refrigerated (thaw first if frozen)
  • 2 tbsp. Garlic paste (or pressed garlic)
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • ½ tsp. Fresh cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 c. Yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c. Red onion, diced
  • 1 c. Sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • ¼ c. Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Large fresh jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ c. Chicken stock
  • 5 c. Beans (Dark kidney, light kidney, and black beans-1 small can each)
  • 28 oz. Tomato puree (from can)
  • 15 oz. Diced tomatoes (from can)

Directions:

1) Prepare all ingredients as directed in the list above.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after working with the raw chicken.

2) Remove the chicken breasts from the packaging and place them in a large glass bowl. Rub them with the garlic paste evenly on both sides. Sprinkle them evenly with the sea salt and fresh cracked black peppercorns. Squeeze the fresh lime juice over the chicken, and let the meat marinate while preparing next step.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Look at all those tasty spices.

3) In a small bowl, mix together all the chili seasoning.  In a large mixing bowl, add the tomato puree from the can, chicken stock, and the seasoning mixture. Whisk it together.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

All those peppers and onions will really impart flavor into this dish.

4) Spread the prepared fresh yellow bell pepper, red onion, yellow onion, Roma tomato, cilantro, and jalapeno on the bottom of the slow cooker. Use your hand to mix these things together. Pour the can of diced tomatoes over the mixture.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

It’s all about making sure your proteins can absorb all the possible flavors.

5) Next, add half the chili seasoning/tomato puree/ chicken stock. Using a spoon, mix it in with the ingredients already in the slow cooker. Lay the seasoned chicken breasts down on top of this. Pour the second half of the seasoning/tomato puree/ chicken stock mixture over the chicken breasts.

6) Cook on low heat for at least 5 hours.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

It’s important to pull about the chicken breasts for the last hour or so of the cooking process.

7) After at least 5 hours, carefully remove the hot chicken breasts and pull the meat apart to a small, shredded texture as shown in the photos. Add the meat back to the slow cooker along with the beans and continue to cook for at least 1 more hour.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Almost ready to eat!

8) Keep on warm until ready to serve!

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Dinner time!

A great way to save on a few extra calories and fat is to swap out typically heavy toppings for lighter options. For example, I only used a little bit of hand shredded low fat medium cheddar cheese and skipped the sour cream entirely. I also recommend buying an extra Roma tomato and dicing it up along with any extra cilantro, red onions, or green onions to keep things super fresh.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Three-Bean Chili

Why yes, I DO want some cornbread with my chili!

This recipe makes about 10-12 servings. It’s a great option if you’re a “Meal Prepper,” because it freezes and reheats well. You can serve this delightful, low-fat, nutrient dense, and robust chili with gluten-free cornbread or with just a handful of Fritos for a lighter version of Fritos pie. And if you serve it over omelets with fresh Roma tomatoes, it’s a fantastic breakfast option!

Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts recipe to help you create delicious, homemade food while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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About 

Stacie is a Texas A&M graduate using her animal science education and passion for food to get creative in the kitchen. She previously worked in business before becoming a mom to a special little boy. She's excited to share recipes her family enjoys at home - and they may even help you save energy and be more green in the kitchen.

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