A chili winner for the winter

Kendall Heath does not like “traditional” chili. So her mother, Staycie, took notice when her 15-year-old daughter came home talking about a white chicken chili that her friend’s mom made.

Staycie found a recipe on a site called “Plain Chicken” that was such a hit in her family, she decided to enter the dish in a chili cook-off at her church.

“Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Crack Chicken Chili” won first place at Trinity United Methodist Church’s contest in Athens, Tennessee, on Nov. 17. The church’s program director, the Rev. Tina Morgan, says $800 was raised for the youth group to attend the next Resurrection spiritual weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in January 2020.

Get the recipe.

“Chili cook-offs are great fundraisers because other people do the cooking for you,” says Tina. Sixteen pots of chili were entered in the contest and 75 people attended. They voted for the best chili with their dollars. Staycie’s chili racked up $102.

“It’s very easy, and I’m far from a great cook,” says Staycie. “You could have this and regular chili in the same week and not feel like you’ve had the same thing.”

A classic chili, of course, has a tomato base and includes ground beef along with the beans. This white chili includes chicken, corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, green chilies, cream cheese, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, chicken broth, cheddar, bacon, and ranch.

The author, Stephanie Parker, suggests serving it with cornbread. Staycie says she served it with corn chips.

The recipe was so good that the final decadent ingredient, shredded cheddar, didn’t seem necessary, she said.

The second and third place chili winners at Trinity were Suzi Drumright (pictured at the top of the page, right) and Paige Powers (pictured above, left). Staycie is pictured in the middle.

What’s your favorite chili recipe? Do you like a bowl of traditional or prefer something different, like Kendall? I would love to know your chili secrets and favorite accompaniments. Please share here or send directly to me at annettespence@holston.org.

After Thanksgiving, I’ll let you know what I learned!

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