Good morning and happy new week to you!
I feel like you might be in the same boat as I am right now: over-scheduled and slightly burnt out. In dire need for some me time, a few cooking magazines, puppy snuggles, and an afternoon on the couch. Life’s been hectic and it’s getting the most of us. As the holiday season quickly approaches, it’s imperative to our overall wellbeing that we take time for ourselves. Even if that’s just 15 minutes with your morning coffee—and not your phone/computer/iPad/iWhatever.
Last week, work was piling up getting ready for my Chicago trip– which was incredible. Thank you to everyone who came to my classes; I couldn’t be more grateful for our time together making cookie dough and pie crust!
But when my to-do list is unbearably long, I work late into the evening, often skipping what I enjoy most this time of year—cooking a warm and satisfying meal.
I decided to put reality on hold, close the office door, head into the kitchen and just cook for the heck of it. Well, slow cook. The crockpot kinda did the most work, but throwing everything into the darn thing was soothing enough! And maybe that’s what YOU need. A crockpot to cook for you, so you have more time in the evening with yourself, children, loved ones, pups.
Kevin and I both loved this soup so much that I decided to make it again and photograph it for the blog, making a couple tweaks here and there. You will love this! I’m not really sure if this qualifies as an actual chowder, but it’s thick and creamy with chicken, potatoes, and corn. I call it a “light” chowder because it’s not thickened with cream or a roux; rather, whole milk and a little cornstarch.
Hello flavor extreme meal! Goodies inside: there’s mega amounts of corn (love that!) and chicken, savory thyme and parsley, plus sweet potatoes for a little something substantial. You can certainly use regular potatoes if it’s easier.
The soup begins with soup-starter basics like onions, celery, garlic, and carrots. These are actually cooked on the stove prior to going in the slow cooker. But that’s the only “work” you’ll really have to do. Throw everything else right in. Are you cooking this during the day while you’re at work? You can prep the veggies on the stove the night before.
Oh, there’s bacon too. You’ll have to cook bacon. What a drag.
About 45 minutes before serving, pour in the milk. Whisk it with a little cornstarch to thicken up the soup. For a richer chowder, use half-and-half. Or you can use 1 cup whole milk, ½ cup heavy cream if you have any on hand. To keep things semi-light, I used all whole milk. And by semi-light, I mean about 150 calories per cup.
This certainly isn’t diet-food, but it’s soul-warming and homemade– which counts the most. It’s filling too, so a little goes a long way. I LOVED these flavors together.
So let’s give ourselves permission to slow down. We get so caught up in our routines that we don’t have a chance to enjoy the present and right now. Like, what’s happening at this very moment. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get all the things done when, in reality, our minds need the most nurturing and rest. And maybe a way to help is a warm home cooked meal with extra bread for dunking!
Slow Cooker Light Chicken Corn Chowder
- 4 strips bacon
- 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (a little over 1 cup)
- 2-3 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14 ounce) can cream-style corn
- 2 (14 ounce) cans corn, drained (or use about 3 cups frozen)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (or regular potatoes)
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 5 cups (1200ml) chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- optional: fresh (or dried) parsley for garnish
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned on both sides. (Keep grease in skillet!) Place strips on paper towels and allow to cool. Once cool, crumble the bacon.
- Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Stir and cook the vegetables in the bacon grease over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Place the creamed corn, corn, sweet potatoes, chicken, chicken broth, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper into a 5 quart or larger slow cooker. (Here's one I own and love!) Add the celery/carrot/onions and the crumbled bacon (save some for garnish if desired!). Give it all a quick stir, cover with the lid, and cook on low heat for about 6-7 hours.
- At the 6-7 hour mark, whisk the cornstarch and milk together. Pour in the soup. Give it a stir and cover. Cook 1 more hour. Serve warm with a sprinkle of parsley and/or any leftover bacon crumbles.
- Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 1 week. To reheat, simply pour into a pot over medium heat and cook until warm. Soup freezes well, up to 3 months.
No slow cooker? No problem! Prepare recipe through step 2. Instead of placing ingredients into a slow cooker in step 3, place into a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Give it a nice stir, then allow to boil and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, stir in the whole milk and cornstarch, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve.
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Slow cooked cinnamon rolls anyone? These are so cool.