There’s a little running joke here in Ohio, and this year we find it especially true …
Ohio has four seasons: 1. Almost winter, 2. Winter, 3. Still winter, 4. Road construction.
Yeah. It’s been one of those winters.
You know, the winters where you can’t bear to do much more than snuggle up in five blankets beside a fire trying to keep your toes warm.
Oh. And we eat.
Because the cold weather makes us extra hungry.
And what are we hungry for? Comfort food. Mmmmmm … yes, comfort food …
Comfort food that’s fast. And easy. And delicious. (This is THK after all!)
This chicken corn chowder combines the sweet, sunshiny flavors of corn (oh, summer … we remember how good you taste!), with just a hint of smoky bacon. All in a steamy, warm, rich, creamy, keep-you-toasty-because-it’s-negative-forty-degrees-outside chowder.
The most comforting part? You just toss everything in the slow cooker and walk away. Soooo easy!
You can even mix it up in your crock-pot insert the night before and keep it in the fridge. (Just think of the time saved in the morning! At least six minutes! You’ll probably need that time to put on your extra layer of clothes.)
And this makes a BIG batch – it’ll still be fabulously delicious right on into another dinner later in the week, or as several warm, cozy lunches … or you can freeze the leftovers!
After the incredible response to our 3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos and Crock-Pot Crazy Pineapple Chili, we knew you weren’t kidding about wanting quick, easy (yet healthy!) slow cooker meals. Well, THK friends, we’ve got you covered!
Now, we know you may be kinda surprised about a few things. Hmmmmm … bacon … in a THK recipe? And frozen onions … and cream of mushroom soup? Are you sure?!?!?
Yep! We’re sure!
Bacon: Of course, you could cook up your own turkey bacon, lower-fat center cut bacon – or even veggie bacon – and crumble it in. But occasionally we actually embrace the time-saving step of using pre-packaged real crumbled bacon (not Bac-Os). A little goes a long, long way to adding meaty, smoky depth of flavor to health-ified recipes.
Oh – and check out the nutrition label. Go ahead. We’ll wait.
We bet you’re looking at only about 25 calories and 1.5g total fat per tablespoon (we call for four tablespoons – 1/4 cup – in this recipe). Spread that out over all those servings, and you’re getting a lot of flavor without too much nutritional compromise.
Frozen onions: These beauties are a busy cook’s dream, at least in certain long-cooking recipes. They’re perfect in this corn chowder because they cook down enough to really soften and meld into the soup.
If you can’t find frozen onions or just happen to have a fresh onion you need to use – that’s ok, too. We’ve used fresh onions in this recipe many times. But given the choice, for this chowder, we definitely prefer the softer, silkier texture of frozen.
From a nutritional standpoint, frozen veggies are generally considered to be similar to fresh, and are sometimes even nutritionally superior because they’re allowed to fully ripen before being flash-frozen at their peak.
Bonus of using frozen onions? It saves time … and tears!
Cream of mushroom soup: We know sometimes it gets a bad rap for being too old-fashioned (you know … think 1950s cream-of-anything mystery casseroles!) but we did significant testing of brands and proportions. We found that there are some great new choices on the market that offer a wonderful, creamy and flavorful backdrop for modern, healthy recipes.
Of the brands that are easily available to us, we generally reach for Health Valley Organic, which is low in calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Read the labels and choose the best that your grocery store offers!
Wow! That’s all a lot of explanation for such a quick and easy soup!
We don’t always share so much of the testing, research and nutritional discussions behind each of our recipes. But, we know you THKers care about what goes into the food your family eats. And you want to know that the recipes you choose are fast … and yet also provide healthier options for fueling your family’s busy lives. So we thought you might be curious about some of the ingredients and methods we chose this time around.
Oh! One more thing … Are you confused about whether you should use frozen chicken in crock-pot recipes? Yeah – we know … it’s a point of hot debate.
Our short answer is: Don’t Do It! (Wanna know why? Check out our recent post Is It Safe to Use Frozen Meat in Your Crock-Pot?).
But let’s get back to the chowder: fast and easy! Warm and comforting! Delicious! Yummmmm …
Our families love this corn chowder, and we love how quick and simple it is to make!
Stay warm this week, friends! And share those blankets – you don’t need all five for yourself!
We’d Love to Hear From You!
So, for those of you who live in colder areas: how many days of school have your local districts missed this year? We’ve logged five days already, and lots of school districts near us have six! Ok, ok … and for those of you who live somewhere that’s not snowy and cold … feel free to share a story about the gorgeously warm temperatures you’ve been enjoying (we promise to be only a teeny bit jealous)!
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Looking for More Great, Super-Easy Dinner Ideas? Check Out:
- Lightning-Fast Cheesy Three-Pepper Ravioli with Italian Sausage
- Cheeseburger Salad with Oven-Roasted Fries
- Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage
- Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Burgers
- 3 cups skim milk
- 1 16-ounce bag frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups frozen diced onions (see note)
- 2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (sometimes labeled as country style)
- 2 cans (14¾ ounces each) cream-style corn
- 1 can (about 14 ounces) organic cream of mushroom soup (We like Health Valley Organic – see note)
- ¼ cup real bacon bits (not Bac-Os)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound chicken breast
- shredded reduced-fat cheese, minced fresh parsley, or whole grain dinner rolls (personal bread bowls) for serving, optional
- Combine all ingredients except chicken breasts in your slow cooker, stirring to mix thoroughly and to break up any clumps of vegetables.
- Add chicken breasts to mixture, pushing them to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Cook on low (6-8 hours), or on high (5 hours).
- Just before serving, use two forks to shred chicken. Or, remove chicken from slow cooker onto a plate or cutting board and cut it into small cubes, and then return chicken to soup in slow cooker.
- Serve soup sprinkled with cheese or parsley, if desired. Can be served in hollowed-out, whole-grain dinner rolls as bread bowls.
Cream of Mushroom Soup: When selecting a cream of mushroom soup, read the labels carefully, as ingredients and nutritional profiles vary widely. We recommend choosing an organic, lower fat brand such as Health Valley.
Make-ahead options: You can mix all ingredients except chicken together the night before cooking, then refrigerate overnight. Then just pour the refrigerated mixture into your slow cooker in the morning. We recommend adding the chicken in the morning when you begin cooking.
This soup makes a large batch, and refrigerates well to be reheated for additional meals later in the week. It also freezes well after cooking and can be frozen in a tightly sealed baggie or freezer container.