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.

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken

This recipe is about a month late in getting posted, not because I’m a completely lazy person but because I’m often going in so many directions at once that sometimes it’s easier just not to go in ANY direction when offered a few free minutes a day where directions aren’t required. Sorry about that.

So, once we get past that, we get on to a recipe that worked. Oh my, did it work. One of my favorite southern treats is a pulled meat sandwich (typically chicken, but pork is a close second), and when we were having family over for dinner it seemed like a simple way to prepare an easy crowd-pleaser.

At my sister’s suggestion, I paired this with a maple cornbread recipe from the geniuses at King Arthur Flour – it’s a simple and tasty homemade cornbread that I will surely make again in the future. I also threw together a batch of kale chips, so there would be something green on the plate. OK, sure, the right accompaniment would’ve been either collards or fried okra, but kale chips seemed to be more my required level of effort. It also had the bonus of having been the first time my parents had them, so I had the rare pleasure of introducing them to something!

The “hardest” part of this particular meal is the shredding; everything else takes only seconds to prepare. Shredding can be tedious, but once you get into a groove with it, even a few pounds of chicken shreds pretty quickly. It’s just wonderful to have dishes that take virtually no time to throw together when you’re entertaining. Once we can get the kids to (reliably) eat meat, we’ll be making this more often. The other benefit is that, unlike the pulled meats I’ve gotten pre-packaged at the grocery store, I know exactly what’s going into the dish. Since I’ve been on a rid-my-house-of-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup kick over the last year or so, this is a really nice thing. (FWIW, we use Heinz Organic or Simply ketchup varieties; both are HFCS-free.)

The first picture shows you the full plate; the second picture shows you what happened when we thought it would be fun to try some of the pulled chicken on the cornbread. “I just want a small taste of the chicken…what would happen if I put it on a square of cornbread?” My BIL and I both thought of this at the same time, and his positive response to bite #1 of the combination spurred me to try it myself. OH BABY WAS IT GOOD.

Crock Pot Pulled Chicken with Maple Cornbread and Kale Chips

A plate full of OMNOMNOM

Crock Pot Pulled Chicken Cornbread Sandwich

Two great tastes that tasted grrrrrreat together

Prep Time: 5 min

Cooking/Active Time: 8-10 hrs on LOW plus another 10 minutes to shred and 15-20 mins on HIGH

Serves: 8-10 people



2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade/Cooking Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup green chili sauce
  • 14-1/2 oz can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple juice

BBQ/Finishing Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tb green chili sauce


Make it Happen

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

2. Add the chicken thighs and chicken breasts to the crock. Mix the worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, chicken broth and apple juice in a bowl and pour over the chicken.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hrs.

4. In a bowl, combine the ketchup, molasses, yellow mustard, and the worcestershire and green chili sauces that comprise the finishing sauce.

5. When the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the crock to a cutting board and shred with a pair of forks.

6. Dump out the liquid in the crock and put the shredded chicken back into the crock, along with the finishing sauce. Stir well to combine.

7. Cook on HIGH for 15-20 mins, just to bring the sauce up to temperature. Serve on rolls. Or cornbread. Or with a spoon straight to your mouth OMNOMNOM…