{Recipe} Slow Cooker Skinny Chicken Taco Chili

Time to update another recipe! This post was originally published Jan. 22nd 2013. I'd say my photography skills have slightly improved. This is one of my favorites. Enjoy my old photos vs. new!
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I LOVE making food that is healthy...but you'd NEVER know it!  This dish is SO full of flavor and deliciousness, you'd never know it was a "skinny" dish.  And even better? It's made in the slow cooker so you don't have to do a lot of work! My kind of meal.  Our house smelled AMAZING while this was cooking. We almost didn't want to wait the full 6 hours to let this cook. The weather in LA has been pretty cold (yes, 30s IS cold for LA. If you want to laugh at us, check this out ) and this dish was perfect for a cold, winter night. Filled with veggies & chicken, I did have to add just a pinch (or 2) of low-fat cheese & a tiny serving of light sour cream because it wouldn't be chili otherwise.  I served the chili atop a piece of corn bread casserole. That recipe comes tomorrow.  Big thank you to Gina at skinnytaste for the recipe!

Slow Cooker Skinny Chicken Taco Chili
Serves: 6
Cook time according to Gina: 6 hours
Cook time according to Rachel: 6 hours
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!


1 onion, chopped
1 16oz can black beans
1 8oz can tomato sauce
10oz pkg frozen corn kernels
2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes w/ chilies
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

reduced fat & light sour cream optional
Combine everything (minus cheese & sour cream of course) in crock pot, placing chicken on top.
Cover and cook on high for 5 1/2 hours.
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New Photos:
1/2 hour before serving, remove chicken & shred
Mix chicken back in crock pot & cook another 30 mins on high
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Garlic & White Wine Baked Shrimp

After thoroughly enjoying food & drinks a tad too much during the holidays, a lighter meal was in order. I've been wanting to try this easy and simple recipe for quite some time and it did NOT disappoint!  I served this over brown rice and it was incredibly satisfying. My version, however, was not as crunchy as it should of been because I didn't pay attention to the directions and bought already cooked shrimp when the recipe calls for raw shrimp. WHOOPS. I will be making this again! Thanks to Gimme Some Oven for this great recipe! Check out her photo...way prettier than mine. Probably because I used bread crumbs we already had and didn't buy the pretty Panko. Oh well!

Garlic & White Wine Baked Shrimp
Serves: 3-4
Cook time according to Gimme Some Oven: Doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 20 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!


1/2 lb raw shrimp, deveined & peeled
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp white wine
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (had to sub Contadina)
2 tbsp fresh Italian-leaf parsley
salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, garlic & white wine. Stir to combine. 
Pour into greased baking dish. Spread evenly.

In another bowl, combine the butter, bread crumbs, & parsley. Use a fork to mix thoroughly.

Spread the bread crumbs mixture over the shrimp. 

Bake until shrimp are pink & opaque. 15-18 mins aprox.


Sausage (Turkey) Dip

Today is the last day of the NYE feast.  I tasted this dip for the first time years ago at my sisters house. She got the recipe from a dear friend of hers. From there...I don't know where it comes from. It so SO tasty and SO easy to make. I decided to substitute the traditional sausage for pre-cooked turkey sausage to make it easier and healthier and the dip tasted just as amazing as I had remembered. Did I mention it only requires 3 ingredients??!! Easy (except when I almost set my kitchen on fire...see below) and cheap! This dip was GONE and I have to tell you, while watching bowl games on the 1st and eating all the other leftovers, I was extremely disappointed none of this was left!! Just means I'll have to make it again sometime!

Sausage (Turkey) Dip
Makes: 10-12 servings
Cook time according to Rachel: 20 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!


1 can original Rotel, 1 bag pre-cooked hearty sausage crumbles & 2 8oz pkgs cream cheese!
That's IT.

Soften cream cheese. 

In my state of tiredness and lack of common sense, I stuck the cream cheese while in it's tinfoil packaging into the microwave. Sparks and flames flew FAST. Luckily J and my friend who was staying with us weren't in the kitchen when that happened. Whoops.

Combine sausage, cream cheese & rotel in a medium sauce pan. (Not pictured above)

Heat on medium and continuously stir until dip has softened. Aprox 15-20 mins.

That's it!

I have to give a BIG thank you shout out to my friend Lindsay for all her help with our NYE feast. I couldn't have done it without you!!! 


Buffalo Chicken Dip

Holy crap, this recipe was GOOD. I am not a big buffalo sauce fan, however, when my boss brought a sampling of this dip into the office and I tried it, I was HOOKED. The recipe was easy, delicious, and referred to as crack by one of my friends. It did have a bit of a kick to it, which J enjoyed. In the future, I might go a little easy on the buffalo sauce, but it wasn't SO spicy that it turned me off from it. Nope...I just dealt with it.   It is served hot, however, when I tried it cold in the office, it was just as delicious! The original recipe calls for bleu cheese crumbles to be placed on top, but I am not a bleu cheese fan, so I skipped that part. I don't think it was really missed but adding it in is up to you!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Makes: 10-15 servings
Cook time according to Rachel: 30-35 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!


3-4 boneless chicken breasts
2 8oz packs cream cheese
1 pkg ranch seasoning
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese (I used colby combo)
10-12 ox buffalo sauce (I used Texas Pete)

Chips/crackers to dip

Crumbled Bleu Cheese if desired


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Fill large pot with water. Bring to boil. Add in chicken. Boil 10-15 mins until completely cooked through. This was my first time ever boiling chicken!

While chicken is cooking, combine cheese, cream cheese, Ranch seasoning and buffalo sauce. Mix thoroughly.
Remove chicken from pot and shred. Duke was so kind to help me out.
Add shredded chicken to buffalo sauce/cheese mix.
Place in a greased glass baking dish and bake for 20 mins.



Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Salami

Day #3 of NYE feast continues with a twist on a classic appetizer.   Growing up, it was common at family functions to have Grilled Salami. It's AMAZING how different salami tastes when it is grilled. I have served grilled salami to my friends before and for NYE I wanted to take it up a notch. I decided to take a recipe I had used before, 3 Ingredient Turkey Meatballs, and replace the meatballs with slices of salami and add one more ingredient. It was SO GOOD!  My friend that had been staying with me took one look at what I was putting in the crock pot and told me while she enjoys almost all foods, she was staying away from this one. Well, SHE MISSED OUT.  You have to just trust me on this  if you are unsure of the ingredients. This was definitely a big hit at the party and it was so easy!

Serves: 10
Cook time according to Rachel: 3 hours
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!


2 Hebrew National Salami's (I used 3 but same amount of sauce)
1 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
1 jar grape jelly (I couldn't find a normal size jar)
1 jar chili sauce

That's IT!


Slice up salami. Throw into the crock pot with bbq sauce, chili sauce & grape jelly. Stir well.
lighting is terrible where my crock pot has to sit
Cook on low for 3 hours. Stir 1-2x.

That's it!!


Creamy Cheesy Artichoke Bread

Day #2 of the NYE feast continues with this AMAZING appetizer. Cheesy and creamy and delicious! This was such a unique change from  traditional spinach and artichoke dip. I made the recipe without spinach, but it could easily be added in. I also used mostly "light" or "reduced fat" ingredients and it still tasted SO rich and yummy. It was easy to make...just not easy to slice.  I would definitely recommend this bread for a more casual gathering as it can get a tad messy. I got the recipe from Closet Cooking but somehow I either misunderstood her directions, or a step is missing, because her bread looks like it was sliced in half and not kept in sandwich form like mine. Perhaps this is why it was so messy. Either way, I will be making this again!

Creamy Cheesy Artichoke Bread
Makes: 1 loaf makes aprox 12-15 slices
Cook time according to Closet Kitchen: 40 mins
Cook time according to Rachel: 45 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy minus the slicing!


1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped 
2 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 ounce reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup light mayo
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 loaf Italian bread

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Slice bread in half length wise & hollow out the inside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine artichokes, mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and green onion. Mix thoroughly.
Stuff the two halves with the artichoke mix.
Cover in tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove tinfoil and bake an additional 10 mins.
Slice the bread into serving pieces. This is where it gets messy & where my final version does NOT resemble the picture.


Vodka Infused Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Deciding what to do for New Years Eve can be stressful. When you live in a place like LA and every bar/club requires a car, trying to get around on a normal night can be a hassle. On a holiday?? A NIGHTMARE.  A good friend of mine was in town and with an extra set of hands around, J and I decided to have a small party at our house.  I love having parties because it does give me an excuse to try out some fun recipes that I wouldn't normally make during the work week. Stay tuned for a barrage of new recipes!

Duke dressed in his finest to ring in the new year.
 When I saw these berries on Pinterest (where else) I was sold. It also introduced me to a new blog, Cargile Family Favorite Recipes that I will definitely be stealing more recipes from! The Cargile Family used chocolate vodka. I decided to use whipped cream vodka and they were delicious. I don't really think you could go wrong with either choice!

Vodka Infused Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Makes: as many berries as you buy...silly question
Cook time: Berries must soak for 24 hours in vodka plus 2 additional hours for dipping & hardening.
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy when you have a tip I will give below.


1 box of bakers chocolate (for each container of berries) and 1/2 bottle whipped cream or chocolate vodka (for each container of berries)


In a double lined large zip lot bag, combine strawberries and vodka. Let the berries soak in the fridge for 24 hours.

So apparently when berries are covered in vodka, the dipping chocolate does't stick to the berries well. 
Place the soaked berries on a lined baking sheet and place back in the fridge for an hour or so.
Then begin the dipping process. 

If you've never melted chocolate before (and didn't read yesterday's post) melt the chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave, mixing well in-between. You CANNOT just put the chocolate in the microwave for 2 mins...it will fry the chocolate.

Dip the berries and place back on the lined baking sheet. Fridge for another hour or so until the chocolate is completely hardened. 


{Recipe} Award Winning Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake Truffles

Holy crap it's been a while since I've posted! These past few weeks have been super hectic...but really when are the holidays ever calm?  Between traveling to two different families in two different states, hosting out of town guests, having parties and doing a bit of redecorating,  my downtime has been practically non-existent. However, the past few weeks have been a complete BLAST and I am not looking forward to work starting back up this week.

Before the holiday break, our office held their annual cookie contest. While I enjoy a good chocolate chip cookie, other cookies just don't get me excited. I had found these truffles a while back and decided this would be the perfect time try them out. THEY WERE AWESOME. I modified the recipe a bit to be more "holiday-esq."   The rules were to make 36 cookies for the contest. Well, I only made about 24 but within minutes, they were gone.

Not only were the truffles a success in the office, they also won me the Cookie of the Year award! Because they were so popular, and our office has WAY more than 24 people in it, I ended up making 124 the next week for those that still wanted to try them...and once again they were GONE within 30 minutes. 

And with the award came this awesome prize! I don't have a food processor but I've always wanted one. I cannot wait to try it out!

Now the balls are a bit time consuming and if you're a perfectionist, they might drive you a bit crazy, but I promise the end result is worth it!! Chef in Training provided the recipe but she calls them "No Bake Cake Batter Truffles" and while, yes, it does require cake mix, I modified it a bit and to me, they taste like cookie dough. You be the judge.

Makes: 24-30 truffles
Cook time according to Chef in Training: doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 1 hour + 1-2 hours to chill
How difficult was this for Rachel? Not too hard, but can get messy!

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/5 cups flour
1 cup yellow cake mix, dry
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
16 oz white dipping chocolate
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
4 tbsp milk


Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined. Blend in vanilla.
Add cake mix, flour and salt. Add in milk until mix becomes dough-y.
Mix in chocolate chips by hand.
On a wax/parchment paper lined baking sheet, roll dough into one inch balls. Chill in fridge for 15 mins.
Now comes the tricky part. Once the balls are ready, melt the dipping chocolate in 30 second intervals while storing in between in the microwave. If you've never melted chocolate before, this is SUPER important. You CANNOT just put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Also, you may want to watch what bowl you use. I've used these bowls MANY times in the microwave, but there is something about melting chocolate that changes everything. See the cracks (not the chip at the top...thanks J) that look like a design? Yeah, thats the paint on the bowl cracking. Good bye pretty blue bowl.
Once chocolate is melted, dip balls into the mix. I used a tooth pick to stir it around and a spoon to help
Place the ball on the paper and top with sprinkles before the chocolate hardens. Once all the balls are dipped and covered in sprinkles, place in fridge for aprox 1-2 hours until completely hardened.