Five Minute Salsa Chicken

IMG_2228Do you have five minutes? Great – because that’s about how long you need to prepare this delicious Salsa Chicken! Two ingredients + one slow cooker = a delicious dinner that you can prep early and forget about for a few hours.

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Six Ingredient Chili

WIN_20151030_191018Too often, chili is a food of unfortunate extremes. At one end are recipes which profess that only expensive cuts of meat and rare chili peppers grown in obscure South American locations can be used – at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we think that’s silly. At the other end, there’s ready-to-eat chili in a can. Unless you are hiking through the Alaskan wilderness, have gotten lost, and are using canned chili to stay alive, please put the can down.¬† ūüėČ

Today’s chili recipe is perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon or a quick weeknight dinner. I like to double this recipe and freeze individual portions for fast lunches. A word to the wise: we’re cheating a bit on the six ingredients. Don’t worry – you only need six items from the market. One of those items, salsa, actually contains a whole list of typical chili ingredients including tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and salt. By using salsa, we save ourselves the time of slicing and dicing several other ingredients, but we still capture all of the chili flavor! Let’s get started.

WIN_20151030_164633Ingredients (Makes 8 cups)

1 pound lean ground meat (turkey or beef will work equally well)

4 cups of salsa (any variety and spice level you prefer)

2 cups of corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)

1 small can tomato paste

2 tablespoons ground chili powder (mild, medium, or hot)

2 cans (15 oz each) kidney beans


Step 1) Brown meat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until meat is fully cooked.

Step 2) Drain meat. If you want your chili to be as low-fat as possible, add some water to the meat and drain it a second time.

WIN_20151030_170628Step 3) Add salsa, corn kernels, tomato paste, and chili powder to the meat. If chili mixture is too thick, add water (1 cup at a time) until desired consistency is reached.

Step 4) Simmer chili for 30 minutes, covered. Add kidney beans and heat through. Serve hot.

Step 5) Want fancy chili? Feel free to offer sides of cheddar cheese, sour cream, macaroni noodles, and/or oyster crackers alongside bowls of Six Ingredient Chili. Enjoy!

Best Ever Canned Salsa

WIN_20150809_154501I look forward to canning salsa every spring and well into summer… often, I can be found daydreaming of this salsa recipe when I am planting seedlings in my garden soon after the snow melts! I can several dozen jars of this salsa every August, to enjoy throughout the winter. It’s delicious with tortilla chips, of course, but also useful for main dish slow cooker¬†meals. One quart of this salsa, combined with a few pounds of spare ribs, chicken pieces, or a beef roast makes a fantastic winter meal after about 8 hours in a slow cooker set to “low.”

The mildness or spiciness of this recipe is entirely up to you. If you want mild salsa, stick with mild bell peppers. For just a bit of heat, add one or two jalapeno peppers with the seeds removed (wear gloves!). To really knock your socks off, add several jalapenos, habaneros, or Thai chilies, seeds and all.

Please make sure you review Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines before you get started!

WIN_20150808_122610Ingredients (Makes 5 quarts or 10 pints)

18 cups chopped tomatoes (I started with 20 large tomatoes and 4 cups of whole cherry tomatoes)

6 cups assorted chopped peppers (I started with 2 jumbo bell peppers, 6 mild banana peppers, and 1 jalapeno)

WIN_20150809_1442146 cups chopped red onion (about 6 large onions)

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup ground cumin

1/4 cup chili powder (I used medium-hot)

6 cloves garlic, minced

WIN_20150809_1451341 small can tomato paste

2 cups chopped cilantro

Bottled lemon juice (2 tablespoons per pint, 4 tablespoons per quart)


Step 1) Bring tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste to a gentle boil in a large stockpot. Add salt, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to incorporate seasonings. Remove from heat.

Step 2) Ladle salsa into sterilized jars (see canning instructions) until jars are half full. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each pint jar, and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP – it is very important to add lemon juice for food safety!

WIN_20150809_145246Step 3) Finish filling jars with salsa, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by pulling a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place seals and bands on each jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Enjoy throughout the winter!