Crock Pot Cheesy Beefy Chili

Sometimes, you want the same old comfort food…but not quite the same. With that in mind, I present a twist on a recipe I posted previously: Cheesy Chicken Chili. This redo came out of dh’s desire for some BEEF UP IN THIS JOINT, which made for a rare “beef twice in one week” for me. I’m not anti-beef, but I just don’t eat a ton of it. I could give up red meat entirely and not mind, but chicken and fish…well, that’s a whole other story.

Anyhoo…dh wanted beef, and I wanted something that was in the “stick to your ribs” category, so I suggested that we take Ye Olde Cheesy Chicken Chili recipe and beefify it. The good news is that it worked brilliantly. It had a nice flavor, the beef was insanely easy to shred (far easier than the chicken breasts, as a matter of fact), and it’s one of those recipes that takes no time to set up and no time to deal with. This is ALWAYS a win in my book, since I’m a big believer in not getting so fancypants with the crock pot recipes that you essentially nullify the convenience of using it during the work-week.

Do you have to use the specific beans I list below? Nope. The issue is that the great northern beans from the chicken recipe won’t stand up to the beef, so you need beans with a little more oomph and flavor of their own. You may also be able to dial back the salsa a little, but I wouldn’t go less than about 16-20oz of salsa. Given the heft of this particular meal, it can go fine in a bowl of its own, or it can go on a plate (as seen below), with chips, a soft tortilla, rice or whatever you choose to use as an accompaniment. Also note that I didn’t add the corn that’s used in the original chicken recipe, either; it seemed like that would get completely lost with the beef, so I put the corn on the side (in this case, it’s Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Scene).


Cheesy Beefy Chili

It’s beeftastic!


Prep: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 8-10 hrs on LOW or 4-5hrs on HIGH, plus 20 mins on HIGH

Serves: 6-8



1-1/2 lbs top round steak (or other boneless beef that’s not just a complete layer of fat)

24 oz salsa

15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz shredded cheddar (or cheddar/jack) cheese


Make it Happen

1. Spray the inside of a 4qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Add a small amount of salsa to the pot, to coat the bottom, then add the steak and the remainder of the salsa.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10hrs or on HIGH for 4-5hrs.

4. When the initial cooking time is up, remove the beef from the pot and place on a plate for shredding.

5. Add the drained and rinsed beans to the crock pot, then stir well to combine. Re-cover the crock while you shred the beef with two forks.

6. Add the shredded beef and the cheese to the crock pot, then stir well to combine.

7. Cover and cook on HIGH for 20 mins, then serve!

Crock Pot Dijon Chicken with Mushrooms

This recipe is a renovation of a recipe we’ve been working for several years, acquired from a recipe swap online with some fellow moms. The original recipe (which we modified for our needs) relied on cream of mushroom soup and canned mushrooms. Well, that works…but only for so long. The kids seem to prefer fresh mushrooms to canned (no argument from me) and the response to the chicken itself has only ever been tepid, where the little ones are concerned.

So, when dh suggested that we make the usual recipe, I balked and asked if anyone minded if I switched things up. Thankfully, I have a patient family that’s willing to endure my experimentation. After all, we humans are learning machines and I try to incorporate what I’ve learned works (and remove what doesn’t).

As luck would have it, this overhaul worked out splendidly! The flavor factor increased exponentially, and the acceptance rate from the kids went up by quite a bit. For example, dd usually picks at her “no thank you helping” of chicken, and this time out she asked for seconds: both the first night we had the dish AND the night when we served it as leftovers. This is a very good sign. Our ds did great with the mushrooms, so this is definitely a win in my book. It also doesn’t hurt that this recipe requires almost no prep time; I purchase mushrooms pre-washed and pre-sliced to save time, and that always works wonderfully.

I will note that the Healthy Request cream soup listed below is my standard answer for “cream of” soup recipes. While you can make it with a full fat/sodium/calories soup, I choose not to – and I haven’t found that the flavor lacks at all. Also, as with many of the other crock pot recipes I’ve posted, this one can cook longer. I had this one in the crock for about 11hrs, and it wasn’t overcooked or dry. So, consider the cook times below the minimums and know that you can go longer without things going awry.


Crock Pot Dijon Chicken

Chickeny mushroomy goodness!


Prep Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 6-8 hrs on LOW, 3-4 hrs on HIGH

Serves: 4



2 cans Campbells Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup

4 Tb dijon mustard

8 oz water

16 oz washed & sliced mushrooms

1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 breasts, approximately 6oz each)

Non-stick cooking spray


Make it Happen

1. Coat the inside of a 4qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a bowl, stir to combine the soup, mustard and water.

3. Place the chicken in the crock pot, then pour half of the mixture from the bowl on top of the chicken.

4. Place the mushrooms in the crock post and pour the remaining half of the mixture from the bowl on top.

5. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hrs or on HIGH for 3-4 hrs.

6. Serve immediately, over rice, butter noodles or pasta.

Edamame Salad

There are times when you just need a go-to side dish for a party, whether you’re hosting or merely bringing. This is just one of those dishes, and it has the added benefit of being vegan – which means it can go for just about any crowd. It’s also possible that this is a gluten-free dish, but don’t quote me on that; I’m not an expert on gluten-free dieting. At least upon first glance on the mighty interwebs, it looks as though it may just be.

I’m also in love with this dish because it’s stupid-easy to make and it’s best made in advance of a party, which also takes some of the pressure off trying to make EVERYTHING the day of. For regular lunch/dinnertime eating, I’d recommend just halving the recipe, or (what we often do) making the full recipe and taking leftovers as a side for lunches.


Edamame Salad

Simple + Tasty = WIN

Prep time: 10 min. (+ overnight sitting in fridge)
Serves: 8

Salad Ingredients
1 lb frozen shelled edamame
3 cups frozen corn
1 (15 or 19oz) can black beans
2-3 small shallots or 1/2 cup red onion, chopped finely
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb parsley
1 Tb marjoram
1 Tb basil

Dressing Ingredients
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tb dijon mustard
1 Tb olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Make it Happen
1. Rinse and drain the edamame. Make sure to shake the colander well to release any extra water. Place the edamame in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the corn to the mixing bowl.
3. Rinse and drain the black beans; add to the mixing bowl.
4. Add the shallots, garlic and herbs to the bowl. Stir well to blend the ingredients.
5. In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing by adding all five ingredients to the bowl and stirring quickly until all dressing ingredients are mixed.
6. Add the dressing to the mixing bowl with the salad and stir well to coat the salad with the dressing.
7. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.


  • This salad can be prepared same-day IF the edamame and corn are well thawed so that they’re not completely frozen. However, the dressing gains a little strength & oomph by being left to sit overnight, so preparing the night before is preferable. If you want to throw it together the same day you’re eating it, I recommend putting the frozen corn and edamame into the refrigerator the day before, so they can thaw before you construct the salad.
  • You can substitute fresh herbs for the dried ones noted above, but if you do make sure that you chop finely.