Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili + Blue Cheese Garlic Bread / by Chelsea Zwieg

It's September! And Wisconsin has come through once again to remind me why I love it here so much by awarding this first day of September with absolutely perfect summer-is-ending-you-won't-be-sweating-much-longer weather in the 60s and one of those award winning blue skies that can only happen this time of year. I'm sure it will get hot again in a few days, but for right now I am one happy girl. Partly due to this whole September thing and partly due to buffalo chicken chili and blue cheese garlic bread. BLUE CHEESE GARLIC BREAD, GUYS. 

It's pretty much a fact that I will be eating nothing but chili between now and next summer. I will try to post something other than chili on here every now and then, but really, I can make no promises. It's just the best. My favorite thing about chili is that you can put everything in a slow cooker, go to work or go to bed and when you walk back into the kitchen it smells amazing and you have an entire pot full of lunch/dinner for days. I have a standard chili recipe-ish (it changes a little each time depending on what I have in my fridge/how much I don't want to go to the store) and this is that with a buffalo twist. This is definitely on the spicy side, but that can always be adjusted to your taste. Of you can just eat more garlic bread to dull the pain. 

Also, this was my first time making garlic bread. Ever. I know, what a loser. But when it's sold so conveniently in a little foil wrapped frozen package why would I ever want make it? Except, the joke was on me because it is actually so much faster to make from scratch. SInce you don't have to bake it from frozen, all it needs is 3 or 4 minutes under the broiler and you have bubbly, melty, buttery and cheesy bread. Plus, when you make it yourself, you can choose the bread meaning you can make endless kinds of garlic bread for your endless batches of chili all month/year/life long. 

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili

| Ingredients

Serve 6-8

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (30oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (14oz.) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14oz.) can dark kidney beans or black beans
  • 1 (14oz.) can hominy (this can be found in the Mexican aisle of most grocery stores. If it's not your thing, you can use a can of corn)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (just use 2 if you like a thicker chili) 
  • 1 tsp. cayenne 
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • Blue cheese and celery, for garnish

| Instructions | 

  • Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, adding the chicken last. If the chicken is sitting on the bottom, it will likely cook too quickly. Cook on low 6-7 hours. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks. For extra spice, I like to add some extra hot sauce to it at this point. Add the chicken back into the slow cooker and give it a good stir. Let cook 30 more minutes to allow the chicken to absorb more flavor.
  • Top with blue cheese and celery. Avocado will also be a great addition.  Serve with blue cheese garlic bread. 

Blue Cheese Garlic Bread

| Ingredients | 

  • 1 large loaf of bread, split (I used a large french baguette. Just make sure it is not too crusty, or it will be very hard to eat once it's toasted) 
  • 6 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • several sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

| Instructions

  • Preheat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the bread halves, split side up. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, a pinch of salt, 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp. blue cheese until combined. Spread the butter mixture over the bread, reaching all the way to the edges. Sprinkle bread with the remaining cheese. If you don't want cheese overload, you might not want to use all of it. If you do want cheese overload, come be my best friend. 
  • Place the bread under the broiler and cook until the loaves are toasty, golden brown and bubbly with cheese and butter, 3-5 minutes. Watch it closely, broilers don't mess around. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.