Crock Pot Comeback!


Let’s hear it for Central Iowa!


I could have been smack dab in the middle of San Diego if I closed my eyes today (although the corn fields I drove past this afternoon kind of gave it away! ;) ) as it was sunny, 75°, without even a smidgen of humidity all day.




After work I threw my workout clothes on and hit the trail for a 4 mile jog, where I was in the company of what felt like half the town. Nobody’s was staying indoors on a day like this.


Can it just stay like this forever?


Pretty please? ;)


Alas, the change in seasons does have its perks…

Fall foliage drives, weekends wrapped in hoodies, all pumpkin ALL THE TIME and, of course, crock pot dinners.

Oh yes. They’re baaaa-aaack! ;) Truthfully, I don’t know why they ever left!


Crock pot dinners are totally the answer to summer’s sweltering temps, as they don’t heat up the house like the stove does. I just feel like everything that comes out of ’em is perfect for those cooler Fall and “that one season” months though.


This is the first time I busted out my Smart Pot Crock Pot since I tucked it away last Spring, and I surely did miss it.

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The smell of Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili simmering away when I walked in the door was nearly enough to bring me to my knees!


Like a Tex-Mex version of a Chipotle Burrito Bowl, this Taco Chicken Chili combines two kinds of beans with zesty Rotel, sweet corn, spicy seasonings and tender shredded chicken.


After 4.5 hours of cooking, the chicken literally shredded itself. I swear all I had to do was tap it with a fork!!!


I followed Gina’s recipe and only made two, minor modifications:

  1. I used a dash of cumin, instead of a Tablespoon.
  2. I cooked the chicken breasts for 4.5 hours on high, instead of 6.


I have this irrational fear of overcooked chicken (you can always cook chicken more, but there’s nearly no way to rescue it if it’s overcooked, tough and leathery) and 4.5 hours on high was PERFECTION.


After the rest of the chili cooked for the full 6 hours, I mixed the shredded chicken back in and served it on a bed of rice topped with shredded Cheddar Jack cheese and salsa.


Ben’s favorite salsa in the world, besides mine natch…is locally made Graddy’s Salsa.


It tastes fresher than if you took a big bite of fresh veggies from your own home garden. I don’t know how they do it.


It’s amazing!


Another absolute winner from Gina with her Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili. AND, bonus, it made about 75 servings, so Ben and I will both be enjoying it all week for lunch (we heart leftovers. :) ) Here’s to the the kickoff of crock pot season!


In other news, I got an incredibly fun package in the mail today – a Kodak Photo Book of Ben’s and my Trip to Italy!!!!


Foodbuzz sent me a coupon code for a free photo book awhile ago, but I totally missed the deadline to use it. Fail.


Still wanting to chronicle our trip, I paid full price and could not be more pleased with the result.


The pictures are crisp, clear and making the book was really simple.


They’re actually not too expensive – about $20 for this 20 page book – so I’m thinking about going back and making one for several of the trips Ben and I have taken together in the past.


I’m SO bad about actually printing pictures and putting together an album, and this is a fun, easy way to get the gist of your vacay in a fun little book. :D


Viva memories!!!


In other news, the sounds of crickets and bird chirps coming in from the backyard through my back patio door is charming my socks off, so I think I’m going to go enjoy the evening outdoors.

Have a great night! :D


Do you like eating leftovers?

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  1. I was just pulling pictures from my last 2 big trips – London and Sonoma – to do a photo book. Where did you order yours from?

  2. Bailey 09.06.2011

    Where is this photo book from? I’d love to make one for my travels!

  3. What a cute book! I bet that’ll have you pining for another European adventure in no time :)

  4. Kodak books are great! I made one for my trip to Maui.

    I love my crockpot! I try to use mine at least once a week. I’ll have to add this to the rotation!

  5. Melissa 09.06.2011

    That book is AWE.SOME. What a great way to chronicle your trip. I’m terrible about printing photos, too. Maybe I need to make one of these books yearly!

    Your dinner looks fab. I, too, fear overcooked chicken–especially in the crock pot. Will have to try this 4.5 hour trick.

  6. Emily 09.06.2011

    Fun! I’ve always wanted to make one of those books, but haven’t really had an occasion for it. Your dinner looks AHHH-mazing. I’m currently stuffed from my own dinner, but those pics are making my mouth water!

  7. I don’t have a crock pot, but man that dish makes me want one! And that book looks fantastic! So professional looking…what a great way to document a memorable trip.

  8. I have made this recipe from Skinny Taste before it is AMAZING!!! I am finding as the weather gets colder here in Minnesota all I want is soup!

  9. i’m in chicago and it’s been beautiful and refreshingly cool these past few days!

    crockpot meals are one of my favorite parts of fall/winter. there is nothing better than coming home to dinner simmering away! can’t wait to dust mine off these next few weeks!!

  10. Jodi 09.06.2011

    Love the perfect late summer weather. It has been beautiful here in Utah these past few days as well. Wish it was always like this. I also love anything that is like Chipotle and dinners that are made in the crocpot! Thank you! Will be trying this soon.

  11. Such a lovely photobook! Perfect to go on a coffee table :)

    Your dinner looked delicious– and so did the weather over there. Man oh man what I wouldn’t have given for a beautiful day like that! Instead, we were in sweltering triple-digits here in SoCal. It was all freezing-room temperature food, all day long.

  12. I love the photo book! We made one for my in laws, and bro & sis in law, as a Christmas present. We included a bunch of fun family pictures and also had one page for each person in the family that included a few pictures of that person w/ fun facts like “Fav dessert,” “Fav movie,” “Pet peeve,” “Worst food you have ever eaten,” etc. It was a HIT.

    Your dinner looks great too.

  13. Maria 09.06.2011

    You need to invest in the crock pot liners. They make cleaning the crock sooooo much easier!

  14. colleen 09.06.2011

    Actually brought out our crock pot a few times this summer, but am ready for the cooler season. Love the book. I had two books made of our three kiddos for the grandparents for Christmas – “A Year in Review” Loved how well they turned out and will definitely do it again.

  15. Sarah 09.06.2011

    I love that book! I’ve thought of getting one or a few for us of past trips/etc and am glad to hear it turned out so nice!!

    Crock pot meals are the best!! Nothing beats coming home to a warm meal and a yummy smelling house :)

  16. I made a Kodak book of my honeymoon too and loved it! Ours turned out beautifully and it was so easy to make. Sorry you missed the deadline.

  17. What a beautiful day you guys are having up there! The book looks wonderful! Such a cute idea!

  18. debbie 09.06.2011

    I love the idea of that modern photo album!

  19. My husband and I love leftovers! They make the best lunches and dinners if I know the next day is going to be a crazy one. This chili looks amazing! I am so ready for sweatshirts and crockpot meals, but we have another two months of the heat here in Phoenix :( Bookmarked for when it finally cools down!

  20. Angela @ Momethis 09.06.2011

    You had me at Rotel. :-)

  21. I don’t mind leftovers for the most part. . . they’re okay, but nothing I get too excited about though.

    I have been using my Crock Pot for making beans lately, which definitely beats the stove top!

  22. courtney 09.07.2011

    I actually DO live in San Diego and you should know that it RAINED today and was gross and humid and 90 degrees. Everyone was disgusted and the world basically stopped here today… hope it goes back to normal tomorrow!

  23. Hope 09.07.2011

    This crockpot chili looks amazing! I made Gina’s recipe last year or maybe two years ago and I loved it! I completely forgot about it until I saw you posted it. I’m going to have to make this again this fall! I cannot wait. Looks delicious! :)

    Love the photobook! It came out great! I was able to make one from Foodbuzz also! I made a guest book for our wedding. :)

  24. Ashley 09.07.2011

    I love crockpot meals! So delicious!

    I actually made one on Monday and it was to die for! I love the photo book idea, I need to do that for my millions of pictures laying around!

  25. robin 09.07.2011

    wow kristin…that book turned out great! love it…thanks so much for sharing the link…and yep I feel it too…that beautiful blue sky with the crisp air that lets me know it won’t be that much longer for my favorite season to be here. My crockpot has been hibernating as well and thanks for reminding me it’s under my cabinets somewhere just waiting to cook up some FALL chili…yum!

  26. Elyse 09.07.2011

    I love your photobook! What a cute idea :-D I went to Chicago with my boyfriend recently and I think I am going to do the same! Thanks for the tip ;-) I adore leftovers. I always try to cook extra for the mere sake of them. A lot of the time I find things taste even better the second day!

  27. […] down the road. Perfection in the kitchen Iowa Girl Eats is pumped about the season too… her Taco Chicken Chili looks yummy! I am new to the crock pot world so I will be checking out some of her recipes for some […]

  28. Kristin from MN 09.07.2011

    I love your photo book! I just made one chronicling our vacation to the Black Hills this summer for my son and step-daughter. I used Shutterfly and both books look great! I waited for a special and got 20% off with free shipping. I know Snapfish also has photo books too.

  29. AJ 09.07.2011

    I have been thinking about doing a photo book to give to my future in-laws for Christmas. We visited them in Chicago and have lots of pictures.

    Do I like leftovers…. Depends on the leftovers. Leftover french fries, for example – ew, no. Fried food is just gross leftover. I’m a fan of most other types of leftovers. I don’t like to let food go to waste.

  30. i love making photobooks! i love shutterfly and picaboo…they often have good deals and discounts so you can get more pages for your $$$!

  31. Emily 09.07.2011

    Ah! That picture book looks awesome, sounds like it would make a GREAT gift for someone!

    Also: yum yum yum yum yum. I can almost smell the crock-pot chicken through my computer screen!

  32. Teresa K. 09.07.2011

    Love the photobook – what a clever idea – what a great wedding present that would be for someone!
    I have to thank you for your recipes – a case of cookbooks I had (yes, of course the favorites) were destroyed during Irene – and the ones I copied onto my computer – well – the computers are still soggy so we don’t know if they can be saved. – But I have no fear – you & your blog help ALOT! So, thanks IGE!

  33. That dinner looks awesome and that photo book is beautiful!

  34. Stephanie 09.07.2011

    Love the photo book! I work for Kodak so I can hook you up with a discount if you want to make more. Email me!

    I can’t wait to haul out my crockpot either! I’ll surely be making this. Thank you for all your great ideas day in and day out!

  35. John 09.07.2011

    Food looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Lauren 09.07.2011

    what an awesome idea for all my online photos! thanks for sharing. crock potting isn’t done enough, your dinner looks great!

  37. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Sounds great.

  38. Erika 09.07.2011

    I love leftovers, but not all leftovers ;-). My favorites are anything from Cool Basil (love thai food!), a baked pasta dish (lasagna, tetrazini, ziti, etc) or pizza. Reheating plain chicken or something like that is not so tasty :-)

  39. I love the crockpot, and I love crockpot leftovers. Just not two nights in a row! I always freeze the leftovers.. they taste good down the road, but I hate being faced with days and days of the same dinner. I whipped out my crockpot two nights ago to make stuffed cabbage rolls :) Recipe coming soon, and they heated up well! Though I ate them cold at 2 one morning. gross, eh? To each her own ;)
    Chinese leftovers are probably the only thing that never get old. And I’m pumped cause I made chinese chicken in garlic sauce tonight! :D

  40. Allison 09.09.2011

    I MUST buy a crock pot this season [just to make this haha]! My biggest dear though is leaving it on while I’m at work and something happening aka electrical fire- silly thinking?! P.S. Beautiful book!

  41. Jessica 09.09.2011

    I’m making that crock pot chicken chili ASAP!! <3 crock pot

  42. Cara 07.03.2012

    Kristin, I just bought the new fitness magazine and I noticed your website. I’m from Ottumwa Iowa, but I haven’t lived for 26 years since I graduated high school. I joined the military in 1986 and now I’ve been married for 24 years and have two teenage boys 17,13. I just wantedto say thatI love your website. Need to lose some weight(44 years). I think your recipes I good. So glad that I picked up the mag today. Have a great 4th of July. where in Iowa do you live?

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