Food & Drink

White Chicken Chili Bake is easy, delicous dinner for a busy weeknight

Michelle Madden’s White Chicken Chili Bake with honey cornbread is seen on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Comfort food flavors combine in these recipes for a cozy anytime meal. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Michelle Madden’s White Chicken Chili Bake with honey cornbread is seen on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Comfort food flavors combine in these recipes for a cozy anytime meal. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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This is a very busy time of the year. The holidays have begun and school is in full effect. With parents working and kids in all sorts of activities, school plays and groups, we are all under time restraints it seems. That doesn’t mean we have to skimp on good food and family time in the midst of our busy days. And what better way to bond with friends and family than a nice hot bowl of White Chicken Chili Bake with Honey Cornbread? It is comfort food that won’t break your budget but will fill your heart and belly with a warm feeling that says love.

This White Chicken Chili Bake recipe is a beautiful medley of white kidney beans, which was a new concept for me 10 to 12 years ago, mixed vegetables and white meat chicken, cradled under a warm comfy blanket of sweet and buttery honey cornbread (I also make a separate pan of honey cornbread to have on the side) and a condensed chicken gravy that forms from the combination of the chicken broth and the cornbread as it bakes. It must be some form of magic, and I can’t wait for you all to try the recipe and experience the magic for yourself.

This meal can be prepped in advance or even baked in advance and kept frozen until ready to eat. It is a time saver because you can cheat by using boxed items instead of doing it all from scratch. It is very versatile in that you can remove or add several different ingredients to make this chili bake your own.

If you want to try mashed potatoes to top your chili bake, have at it. You can add mashed potatoes on the top along with shredded cheese, chives, bacon bits, etc. You can use beef chili, vegan chili or even chili from a can. Explore! Your explorations may lead you to the next craze in culinary art.

My eldest daughter, Keylah, loves my version of white chicken chili, and she isn’t a big veggie fan (lol). She was my muse for this White Chicken Chili Bake and Honey Cornbread. Winter for our household means lots of comfort foods, having soups, casseroles, family time and festivities. We don’t like the snow and ice, but we absolutely love good food, friends and family.

This White Chicken Chili Bake with Honey Cornbread bubbles with yummy goodness and is topped with a golden brown cornbread crust that glistens and brings a sweet touch to a savory dish that isn’t contradicting to the other elements of the dish. It is creamy, chuck full of vegetables and white meat chicken. I prefer to use frozen or fresh vegetables because they have a nice snap to them instead of everything being mushy. This dish has tons of flavor as well as texture. The smell alone will invite everyone to the dinner table without you saying a single word.

Making this White Chicken Chili Bake with Honey Cornbread for your family will get you major brownie points and a lot of requests to make it again I’m sure. Well, this is the moment where we roll up our sleeves and wash our hands... It’s time to make your own version of culinary art that is White Chicken Chili Bake with Honey Cornbread. It will be a beautiful, tasty addition to any weeknight, potluck or holiday gathering.

White Chicken Chili Bake

1 whole onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 small bag mixed vegetables

1 whole green pepper, diced

1 can (19 ounces) white kidney beans

4 cups cooked shredded chicken breasts

1 can of chicken broth

Honey cornbread:

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Butter

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs, lightly beatened

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup white sugar

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For the cornbread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch baking pan

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the cream, butter, honey and eggs; stir to combine. Pour half of batter into prepared baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean.

For the white chicken chili: Coat a 9 × 13 dish with cooking spray. In a large non-stick pan, saute onions, garlic, and green pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Add kidney beans, broth, vegetables, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in shredded chicken. pour mixture into the bottom of the dish (Will look like soup at this point. Dish will thicken in the oven). Top with remaining half of cornbread mixture (The mixture will sink to the bottom but will rise to the top during the baking) process. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing for serving.

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