How We Held a Small Family Meal During the Pandemic Including Recipe for the Yummiest Crockpot White Chicken Chili

*I have been compensated for this post, however all opinions are my own . In the 10 years I haven’t lived at my parents’ house, my family ha...

*I have been compensated for this post, however all opinions are my own.

In the 10 years I haven’t lived at my parents’ house, my family has never come over for a meal (with the exception of my sister, who would visit almost weekly for us to spend time together and watch our tv shows). Since we bought our first home back in March, I really wanted my family to come over and see it. My mom, sisters, and nephews came over earlier in the summer (with masks) to see the house, but my dad had yet to see it. Hubby and I are so proud of our house and how we’ve made it home, so I really wanted my dad to be proud too, ya know? Well, his birthday was a couple of Saturdays ago and I invited my parents and sisters over for a chili bar. But we’re in a pandemic, right? So I worked really hard to make it as safe as possible. My family mostly doesn’t go anywhere, and I’ve seen them several times over the past few months, but I was handling food and so wanted to take precautions.

First, I prepped for two different chilis to please everyone. I made a white chicken chili and a traditional beef chili. I’d never made white chicken chili before and honestly thought I wouldn’t be into it. But it was a hit! I reviewed a few recipes and then combined all the best of the recipes and made a freaking delicious chili. The entire crockpot-full was gone super fast. Here’s the quick recipe.

Quick & Yummy Crockpot White Chicken Chili 

Small chopped yellow onion
Seeded and diced jalapeño (I used one, but you could use more per spice preference)
3 lbs chicken breast with all the funky pieces cut off
3 cloves of garlic, freshly minced
2 tsp Creole seasoning
½ tsp basil
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp onion powder
1 jar of mild salsa verde
2 cans white beans, rinsed & drained
32 oz chicken broth
1 regular block of cream

Put all ingredients in a large crockpot in the order listed above.
Cook on low setting for 8 hours, or high for 4.
Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred.
Use whisk to stir up everything in crockpot until cream cheese is melted. There may still be a few tiny specks of cream cheese and that’s okay.
Place chicken back into crockpot, stir up, and serve.
Top with shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped jalapeños, etc. Or eat as-is.

That chicken chili is heavenly! I swear.

To stay cautious, I served everything with paper bowls and plastic spoons, plastic cups for drinks - that way I didn’t have to worry about dealing with folks mouths and germs on our everyday dishes. For toppings, I got squeezable sour cream, chopped jalapeños and shredded cheese went into tiny plastic ramekins with lids, and Fritos were put into snack-size zippered baggies. It wasn’t a super sustainable luncheon, but I feel it was done pretty safely. For most of the plastics, those were emptied and/or washed and recycled. What’s more is we stayed under 10 folks and all immediate family. It was a really enjoyable time.

I also really took precautions with cleaning before cooking, after everyone was finished eating, and after everyone left. Cleaning stone countertops has been interesting, simply for the fact that our counters are granite and so it’s tough to see any speckles or messes left over without getting at eye-level. But I make sure to wipe them thoroughly with disinfectant wipes and then I spray with an all-purpose cleaner (I’m loving Mrs. Meyer’s fall scents right now - particularly apple cider!) and wipe clean with paper towels or clean dishcloths. I don’t use sponges on surfaces just because of the bacteria they hold.

Other than the camouflaging of messes, I really love our countertops. I’ve only ever had those dreadful formica counters, so stone countertops are a dream. It wasn’t a non-negotiable when we were house shopping, but it was definitely high up on the “wants” list. I think if we’d bought a house with formica counters, I would’ve definitely looked into getting a new countertop surface. Luckily there are several places to choose from in the Atlanta-area. Click Countertops offers plenty of beautiful high-quality and affordable options. If you’re searching for granite or quartz countertops in Alpharetta, GA or the surrounding areas, they offer quick turnaround times and competitive pricing. I know for us, stone countertops have really made our space feel a bit fancier. We even have a breakfast bar with those same stone countertops, which is where I eat almost daily, and where my dad enjoyed his cup of chili.

Our birthday luncheon for my dad was a success. Hopefully if you’re planning some tiny family get-togethers this fall, these tips have been helpful for separating foods into smaller single-serving sizes. I definitely think having a couple immediate family members over for lunch was a much safer option than even considering dining out (which I absolutely refuse to do - you can’t wear a mask while you’re eating!). Either way, please do what makes you comfortable while being mindful of the safety and wellness of others. The holidays are going to be weird this year, but hopefully a small single-serving get-together will be just perfect.

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