Happiness Project#74: Family Chili Dip!



It’s nearly time. In a little over a week I’ll be going in for my 4th major surgery in 3 years. This time I’ll be having multiple damaged discs in my lower neck repaired. An invasive procedure that I’ve been needing to have done for well over 10 years. And here’s the honest, unfiltered truth: I’m scared out of my mind. Not because I don’t believe that it won’t work, because I do know that it will help me immensely, and I’ll finally (finally) be able to move pain-free again. Cue the hallelujahs!

Nor is it the thought of the recovery either (which will be 2 to 3 very long months), that’s messing with my head. It’s the surgery itself that’s leaving me incredibly, and irrationally nervous and anxious and yes, scared. You’d think that after undergoing 8 major surgeries within the last 11 years, I’d have gotten over this irrational fear of mine. Geez, I even have a handy prescription for the many situations just like this, when the fear and anxiety is nearly debilitating. But yet, after 11 years of more ER visits than I can count, the idea of being put under full anesthesia (as well as my actual neck being worked on), is still one of my deepest fears. It doesn’t seem to matter how encouraging and logical any of my family & friends are, when attempting to snap me out my panic. Logic doesn’t make it any easier.  Because it’s all just horribly, horribly scary. So even though I cannot wait to be pain-free and mobile again (like you wouldn’t believe), the waiting for and then undergoing both the surgery and long recovery, is leaving me undeniably emotional.

So what does this Mama do when her brain is freaking out over things that cannot possibly be controlled? She bakes. Or if not that, she whips up something else just as tantalizing. Because kitchen wizardry is my kind of therapy. Hence this super easy, delightfully addictive 3 ingredient Chili Dip! Yes, I did just say only THREE ingredients! Which means chip dip for days!! Here’s all you need:

2 cans of your favorite canned chili with beans, warmed by either microwave or stovetop

1/2 cup of fresh sour cream

A couple pinches of shredded cheddar cheese

Your favorite bag of dipping chips! In this case, tortilla strips!

Remember how I just mentioned how crazy easy this recipe is? Well, it really is. Because all you need to do is mix up the warmed chili with the sour cream, with the shredded cheese. Until those 3 ingredients are nicely fully blended.

And then, dip those chips!

Just a little warning, though. This dip is deliciously addictive, so you might need to forcibly resist gobbling up this entire chili dip in one mere sitting. My family can’t. I dare you to instead. Ha.

In case this is my last recipe post before my surgery next week, I’ll see you all on the flip side!


Happiness Project#49: In-A-Pinch Chicken Chili!


Chili. My husband is the KING of all things chili! Both sides of our Family request his chili dish, whenever the weather starts to bring in some chill, without fail. But since I’m the one cooking dinner dishes, more often than not now, I decided that it was high time to create my own kind of chili bliss. Nothing like my husband’s traditional dish, either. There’s no way that I would ever want to mess with such a tantalizing culinary masterpiece! That’s how good his chili is! But here’s the thing, good chili recipes tend to have A LOT of ingredients. Like an entire grocery cart full of ingredients. Which is NOT good for my weekly grocery budget. Unless I’m willing to sacrifice my favorite granola cereal or favorite apple or worst yet, coffee. Needless to say, the thought of going coffee-less (even for a day) leaves me close to tears. So no, NO chili then.

Until now, my friends! Thanks to some Pinterest inspiration! With chicken, instead of meat! And the loveliness of whole, uncrushed bay leaves, which I rarely find a chance to use correctly! And best yet? I’m going to show you the “secret” short-cut to creating this super fantastic slow cooker dish, in-a-pinch! So that you don’t need to wait 5 or so hours to wrap your taste buds around this lovely Winter soup! Particularly if you’re a parent with little time to spare. Like me. So here you go…

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed

3 chicken bullion cubes

2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained

1/2 white onion, peeled and finely diced

2 whole bay leaves

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1-1/2 cans gold & white corn, drained

3 cups chicken broth

1 (1-ounce) packet Ranch dressing mix

pinch or two of salt for taste

You’ll be multi-tasking for this one, so get ready!

In a medium sized pot, with about 2 cups of water, over medium-high heat, drop in two pinches of kosher salt, followed by the 3 thawed chicken breasts. Let cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through. Drop the heat to low and add in the two whole bay leaves. Let cook for another 5 or so minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the 3 cups chicken broth, bullion cubes, onion, oregano, cumin, chili powder and ranch dressing. Let slowly incorporate for 8-10 minutes.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, drain and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes before you shred each chicken breast into long pieces.

Now the pretty part! Plug in your slow cooker machine, set on high, and pour in both cans of the beans and corn. Then add in the shredded chicken (which will smell ridiculously fragrant, indeed). Followed by the entire skillet full of the mixed broth and spices. Let sit in the slow cooker for 30 minutes before stirring up all of that lovely chicken chili together!

And serve! With a dollop of sour cream, for an added bit of creaminess!

So. SO. GOOD. So good that I might make this dinner dish at least once a week! Winter or not 🙂

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