Lazy Budget Chef: Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

My foodie curiosity got the best of me at the Mexican grocery store. That’s how I ended up with a can of green enchilada sauce and no idea how to make enchiladas.

I created Version 1.0 of this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe during our Eat From the Pantry Challenge in a delicious attempt to use that lonely can of green enchilada sauce. It was a win!

 crockpot chicken enchilada awesome soup

Last Sunday, Good Day Columbus asked me to do a slow cooker cooking segment on their TV show.  I wanted an easy dump it all in the crock pot type of recipe because I knew the anchors would ask me interview questions while I was trying to teach them how to make it. I also wanted a recipe that would work for a variety of budgets.

Oh, and it had to taste good too.

Frankly, I was more worried about viewers trying the recipe and hating it than I was about presenting it on television! Why you ask?

Because I Iron Chefed the first version of the recipe and didn’t write it down. I got about three days notice about this gig and spent a lot of time playing test kitchen.  Husband was a gem about taste testing each version and offering suggestions.

Thank goodness this recipe freezes well! I have three batches of various combinations of Chicken Enchilada Stew in my freezer. If you are looking for a good freezer meal recipe, give this one a try!

Behind the Scenes of a TV Cooking Segment

I had to do everything I wanted to do: introduce Lazy Budget Chef and why I write it, teach the recipe, and give a few tips in a five minute segment while being charming and funny so they might invite me back. No pressure, right?

Luckily I had a few things to my advantage. I used to work in television so I had a good idea on what to expect.  I have theater, improv, and classroom teaching experience. I can think on my feet. That still didn’t stop me from saying “uh” a few times and repeating a joke because I was nervous. *cringe*

I had to provide everything from the ingredients to equipment to a premade final product for the show. My clear Pyrex storage containers came to my rescue. They looked professional and organized. Folks assumed I did the show before. Yay good first impressions!

kitchen studio
Sets are smaller than they appear on TV. This studio held three permanent sets. You can one of them from the kitchen set.

I used my large crock pot for TV because it hid my recipe notes in case I forgot what I was supposed to do next. My notes also encouraged me to look at the slow cooker and anchors during the segment instead of straight at the camera like  Diane of Big Green Purse advised me not to do. Thank you Diane for the helpful tip!

cheap teleprompter
I joked to the anchors my big Post It Notes were my lazy budget teleprompter.

Some of the equipment you might see on TV is for looks and doesn’t work like the sink on this kitchen set. This isn’t surprising considering how many power cords fill a TV studio.  

fake kitchen sink
I’d rather have a working stove on camera than risk electrocution with a working
sink but that’s just me.

Chicken Enchilada Awesome Soup Recipe

We nicknamed my recipe Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada AWESOME! because it smells awesome while it is cooking. The TV crew also kept telling me how awesome my soup smelled as I was setting up for my segment.

chicken enchilada soup

I’ve been experimenting with hominy lately and included it in this recipe. Most people drain the liquid from the can and rinse the hominy. I did not because I think the hominy loses a bit of flavor that way. The liquid also acts as a thickener.

If you do not want your stew as thick as you see here, you can thin it by adding 2 to 4 cups of water to the slow cooker. The extra water does not alter the taste. It is also a quick way to stretch the meal if you have surprise drop in guests!


1 - 2 chicken breasts (I use chicken breasts because that’s what I have. You can use chicken legs, wings, thighs, or left over chicken too.)
1 chopped red bell pepper ( I used red for color. You can use whatever color sweet bell pepper you like. Even frozen! I won’t tell.)
1 medium chopped onion (Do you know they sell bags of chopped onion in the frozen food section? Me neither until I bought a back up bag because the fresh onion didn’t look so good that day.)
1 cup dry great northern beans (or any white bean you like)
1 cup chicken broth (I defrosted a jar of my homemade crock pot chicken stock recipe.)
3 cups (1 29 oz can) of hominy including the liquid
3 cups (1 29 oz can) of green enchilada sauce (this is on my list of things I want to learn how to make from scratch)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (or a couple of crushed cloves)
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning (try using my Best Homemade Taco Seasoning in the World recipe here!)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or whatever salt is sitting at the front of your kitchen shelf)
Optional: 2- 4 cups of water if you think the stew is too thick.

Make it: 

1. Combine the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion, great northern beans, chicken broth, hominy and liquid, green enchilada sauce, garlic, cumin, taco, seasoning, and salt into a slow cooker.

2.  Set the slow cooker to high and allow the ingredients to cook until the beans are tender. This took me approximately 6 to 8 hours.

3. Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker. Shred each chicken breast with two forks and return the shredded meat to the slow cooker. Shredding the chicken allows you to stretch the little bit of meat you have on hand far enough to feed an army without anyone noticing.

how to shred chicken
Shred! Shred!

4. Serve the chicken enchilada stew piping hot in a bowl. You can add shredded cheese or taco chips on the side if you like.

chicken enchilada soup

5. Enjoy! Eat! Repeat!

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