7 Layer Chicken Chili and Cornbread Dip

A few years ago I came across a Food Network recipe for an eight-layer chicken chili dip and whipped it up for a Super Bowl party. It was fantastic, but so much work! It required a ton of chopping and prepping, and that got me thinking of ways to cut corners without sacrificing taste. For example, instead of dicing tomatoes, why not use pico de gallo salsa?

So for this year’s Super Bowl I’ve made the dip again, but with my own tweaks. I’ve swapped out ingredients for things that are easier to chop or don’t require chopping at all. And I’ve scaled up the recipe a bit to fit in a basic salad/mixing bowl. I’m pretty happy with the result! It’s still a little time consuming, but definitely easier than the original, and pretty tasty.

The dip is best served with a big spoon, so that you can scoop all the way through the layers, transfer to a plate and eat with tortilla chips.

Serves 16

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (roughly 1 whole chicken)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 1/2 cups)
zest of 2 limes plus about 1/4 cup juice
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 heaping cups crumbled cornbread (about half a batch of cornbread from the Jiffy boxed mix)
1 16 oz container pico de gallo salsa, drained
1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, salt and cayenne, then add the chicken broth and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well mixed. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, cilantro, and lime zest and juice. In a separate bowl, stir together the corn and green onions.

In a straight-sided salad or mixing bowl, layer the dip in the following order: cornbread (tamped down gently), pico de gallo (use a slotted spoon so that you leave behind as much liquid as possible), black beans, cheese, cilantro-lime sour cream, chicken chili, corn and green onion mixture.

Chill, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pictured: Fire King Sunbeam Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-322 Square Cake Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 532 Measuring Cup, Assorted Pyrex Round and Cinderella Mixing Bowls

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Recently we had family coming over for dinner, but we were going to be away from home all afternoon. Perfect scenario for a slow-cooked meal! I decided to make white chicken chili with all the fixings, and it was a big hit. One nice thing about this recipe is that it’s relatively mild — despite the three jalapeños (they mellow out a lot when cooked). Then you can spice it up to taste with toppings.

Adapted from the White Chicken Chili in Slow Cooker Revolution.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped fine
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp canned fire-roasted green chiles
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
salt
pepper
1 tbsp masa harina
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and jalapeños until translucent and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cumin, coriander and green chiles. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, scraping up any browned bits, and transfer to slow cooker.

Add the beans and 2 cups more broth to the slow cooker and stir. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker, making sure all the pieces are mostly submerged. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone easily, about 4-6 hours.

Keeping the slow cooker on, remove chicken and shred into bite-size pieces (discard the bones). Once the chili has settled, remove as much fat as possible by skimming the surface with a large spoon. Stir back in the shredded chicken and let sit a few minutes until hot.

In a small pot, simmer masa in 1 cup of chicken broth for about 10 minutes to thicken, then add to the slow cooker. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste. Serve with an array of toppings.

Toppings:

  • lime wedges
  • sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)
  • red pepper flakes

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan (x4)

Braised Cardamom Chicken

One of my favorite cookbooks is Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries — our family loves Indian food, and every single thing we have tried from the book has been pretty fantastic. I should note that the recipes aren’t all “curries” in the traditional Americanized sense, meaning they don’t all have heavy sauces. There’s a terrific array of rice dishes, for example.

One dish we have made again and again is Iyer’s Cardamom-Scented Chicken with Ginger and Garlic. And while it’s great as is, we have also branched out and used the same spices in other ways. Here I’ve adapted the recipe for an oven-braised version.

This recipe requires a trip to an Indian grocery store — if you have one nearby, it’s well worth a visit. You’ll find a ton of good quality spices in large quantities, usually at much lower prices than other stores, and a lot of them (cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, etc.) cross over into other types of cooking. And you’ll find stuff that’s hard to get anywhere else. (You can also shop online from a store like Kalustyan’s — I have not tried it, but it was recommended by The Kitchn.)

In particular, you’ll need some whole red chiles (spice level: medium to hot) and green cardamom pods:

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Cardamom pods are sometimes used whole, but for this recipe you open up the pods and extract the black seeds. Your reward for a few minutes of work is seeds that are much more pungent and aromatic, and they are one of the main flavors of the dish.

The recipe also calls for ghee, a type of clarified butter that you can buy from an Indian grocery or make yourself. Making ghee is super easy: Alton Brown has a recipe here on the Food Network website.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tsp whole cardamom seeds
6 whole Indian red chiles
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp canola oil
8 chicken drumsticks or mix of drumsticks and bone-in thighs, skins removed
1 tbsp ghee
3 bay leaves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Grind the cardamom seeds with three of the chiles (a coffee grinder works best if you have one strictly for spices; otherwise you’ll need to start with ground cardamom, chop up the chiles yourself and grind with a mortar and pestle). Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt and oil and stir to form a paste. Rub the chicken with the paste and marinate for at least two hours (preferably overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large oven-safe skillet over low heat, melt the ghee. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and remaining chiles. Top with the chicken and onions. Move the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken braises in its own juices and reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees and is almost falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Top with cilantro and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-10-B Skillet, Pyrex Royal Wheat 063 Divided Dish

Chicken, Sausage and Rice Gumbo with Collard Greens

I hesitate to call this dish gumbo because the term is so loaded with a specific food culture. My version is probably not “authentic” — but it’s delicious and hey, I can make gumbo however I want! I think of it sort of as a gumbo soup — hearty but not too thick in the broth department, full of Cajun flavors and with rice and greens mixed right in.

The spice level here is medium to hot — to me that’s zesty but not mouth-on-fire hot. You could cut the red pepper flakes to go milder, or add cayenne to go hotter. Also, if you prefer a thicker stew, you could double the butter and flour.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14 1/2-oz cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 10-oz bags cleaned and cut collard greens
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp ground gumbo file
salt to taste

In a large dutch oven, saute the sausage over medium heat until browned and the fat begins to render. Remove the sausage and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pan.

Lower the heat slightly, add the butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a whisk until incorporated. Continue stirring constantly and cook until caramel in color, about 15-20 minutes (actual time can vary quite a bit; let the roux get as dark as you want, being careful not to burn).

Add the onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery and garlic and stir until coated in the roux. Add the diced tomatoes and deglaze, scraping up and stirring in the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add chicken broth, thyme, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.

Add the chicken and lower to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred or chop into small pieces, set aside.

Add the collard greens and stir until wilted. Cover and simmer until the greens are tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the gumbo file, sausage, chicken, rice and salt and simmer for a minute, then serve.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 443 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Wildflower P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fresh Cut P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fruit Basket P-43-B Petite Pan 

 

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

It’s surprisingly easy and fast to make red enchilada sauce from scratch, and it tastes so much better than the canned stuff. We typically have all the ingredients already, and I love being able to whip something up out of the pantry. Plus, you can make it as spicy as you want! If I were not feeding a 5-year-old, I would probably double down on the chipotle.

In the spirit of cooking whatever you happen to have on hand, it’s also easy to experiment with the enchilada filling. Sauteed mushrooms, leeks or zucchini would be yummy, or you could throw in some black olives or corn. Ground beef or turkey would also work.

Note: If you don’t have precooked chicken, you can simmer a boneless chicken breast in the sauce until cooked through (about 15-20 minutes), then shred or chop into small pieces.

Serves 6

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Ingredients

1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14 1/2-oz can low sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground chipotle
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (see note above)
1 15 1/2-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp masa harina (see my note about masa here)
cooking spray
12 medium corn tortillas
16 oz shredded cheese (Mexican blend)
3 green onions, chopped

For the sauce: In a small pot, combine 1/2 cup of the chopped onions, garlic, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle and salt. Pulse with an immersion blender until smooth (or do this in a regular blender). Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.

For the filling: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the rest of the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low and add chicken, black beans and 1/2 cup of the sauce; stir until everything is coated and hot. Sprinkle in the masa and stir until absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the assembly: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 13×9 pans (or equivalent) lightly with cooking oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of the sauce into each pan and spread to coat the bottom. Heat up the tortillas in the microwave (this helps keep them from tearing).

Spoon the filling into each tortilla in a line down the middle, and add a generous sprinkle of cheese. Roll up gently and place in the pan, seam side down. When the pans are full, pour the rest of the sauce over the tortillas and top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake uncovered until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Pictured: Corning Ware Green Macrame P-332 Roaster, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-332 Roaster

Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken with Fennel, Orange and Rosemary

This recipe was inspired by an old friend, who first introduced me to roasted fennel years ago while working on a recipe for a magazine assignment. That recipe seems to have dropped off the face of the internet, so instead, my starting point was The Kitchn’s Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel & Lemon.

For a vegetarian version, try tossing the roasted veggies with cannellini beans (one can, drained and rinsed).

Serves 4

Ingredients

4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
zest and juice of 1 large orange
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
2 carrots, cut on the diagonal in 1/2-inch slices
1 red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
black pepper

In a medium bowl, mix orange zest and juice, olive oil, vinegar, rosemary, garlic and salt. Add chicken, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours (30 minutes minimum).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine fennel, carrots, onion and chicken mixture. Toss to coat veggies in the marinade.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken pieces and veggies to an oiled sheet pan in an even layer. Season with fresh-ground pepper.

Roast until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 40-45 minutes. Veggies should be tender and brown on the edges.

Pictured: Pyrex Holiday Casserole 024 Round Casserole; Pyrex Lime 909 Rimmed Pie Plate;  Pyrex Dessert Dawn Yellow 209 Rimmed Pie Plate