White Chicken Chili and Other Crockpot Recipes

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

Do you need an easy dinner for this week? Look no further! This recipe is a favorite in my family. It’s also a Weight Watchers recipe, so it’s both healthy and delicious. Soup and chili season is coming soon, and you’ll want to make this all winter long! Bring it to chili cook-offs, potlucks, or family dinners; its sure to please.


White Chicken Chili

Makes 8 servings


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 2 cans of White Northern Beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 c. water or fat-free chicken broth


Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. If desired, top with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.


Here are some more delicious crockpot recipes to make cooking easier this week.

30 Easy Crock-Pot Meals You Can Prep in 20 Minutes or Less

Slow Cooker Recipes

89 Best Slow Cooker Recipes That’ll Make Any Busy Weeknight Easier

Slow Cooker Recipes to Make in Your Crock Pot

Fill Your Plate related articles:

Favorite Recipes from Fill Your Plate Moms: Crock Pot Carnitas Tacos

Picky-Approved Chili

Homemade Chili

Veggie Chili Recipe

White Bean and Lentil Chili

 Favorite Recipes from Fill Your Plate Moms: Smoky Three-Bean Beef Chili

How to Host a Chili Cook-Off

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Posted in Chicken, Cooking, Diet Tips, Fill Your Plate, Food, Healthy Eating, In Season, In the Kitchen, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make Jam for Beginners

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

One of my favorite treats is my dad’s warm homemade bread, right out of the oven, smothered with my mom’s homemade jam. Over the years she has made raspberry, peach, apricot, strawberry and blackberry jam as well as orange marmalade. I love jam because it adds a delicious sweet flavor to pancakes, toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crepes, thumbprint cookies, and so many more foods.

The recipe is the same for almost all varieties of jams. The key to making jam is Fruit Pectin. It can be purchased at most grocery stores. It always comes with a paper inside that has a guide of jam recipes for a variety of fruits, as well as for jellies.

These delicious, fruity jams are a staple in any family’s house. Instead of buying them from the store, learn how to make fresh jam in your very own kitchen. This is also a great family activity so get your kids involved! They will love wearing their own apron and helping smash up the fruit. It takes a few hours so it will keep them entertained for a while. And instead of just wasting time watching tv or playing video games, they will have a finished product at the end to show for the time they put in.

First, get your mason jars and other equipment (listed below). These are usually next to the pectin at the store so you can pick them all up together. Next, buy your fruit. Sometimes places like Costco will have bulk fruit like strawberries for a good deal, but why go to a busy store when you can get fruit fresh off the farm? Use Fill Your Plate’s Find a Farm Product search feature to find a farm close to you that has the fruit you’re looking for.

The Pioneer Woman blog has a great article about the basic steps of canning, called “Canning 101 and Strawberry Jam (Part 1)”. Here’s an excerpt from it of the grocery list of supplies that you will need!

To begin, you need:

  • Strawberries (or any other desired fruit)
  • Powdered Fruit Pectin (this is sold in the canning aisle of supermarkets)
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Small mason jars with lids
  • Large canning pot
  • Rack to fit inside pot (the pot and rack are usually sold together. Wal-Mart’s a good place)
  • Jar lifter (to lift hot jars out of the water)
  • Large tongs
  • Magnetic wand (optional; to remove lids from simmering water)

Enjoy your jam making day and don’t forget to look up recipes for your meals this week on Fill Your Plate!

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12 Fun Facts about Potatoes

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

Potatoes are a common staple around the world, the United States, and even Arizona. We make them roasted, baked, mashed, and fried. They are a part of more American meals than we think. Dave DeWalt, the State Statistician for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, gives us the statistics on the potato crop here in Arizona.

“Arizona was taken out of the potato annual estimating program after the 2015 season. Arizona had been in the program every year since 1899. So, the latest Arizona potato statistics we have are from the 2017 Census of Ag with 3,401 acres harvested. No production nor values are established in Census of Ag.

Arizona had been in the 3,400 – 4,300 acre range since 2005 and the production was valued in the $10 – $16M range from 2005 – 2010. Arizona was unable to publish value of production after the 2010 season due to disclosure rules.  Arizona highest acreage for potatoes was in 1969 at 12,800 acres. The highest valued production was in 2001 at $34M from 8,200 acres.”

Arizona has several places rich with the history of growing potatoes. One place is the Frito-Lays potato chip factory in Casa Grande. It opened for business in 1984 and today it gives jobs to about 325 individuals. It is unique because it is one of the first environmentally friendly factories in the country. Ak-Chin Farms is just one of the potato farms surrounding the area that contributes potatoes to the factory. According to Food Processing Technology’s website, “[It] mainly produces potato, corn and tortilla chips. It turns about 500,000 potatoes into potato chips every day.”

The Potato Barn is another one of those places. “Located at 3545 E. Williams Field Rd. is a barn that was built in 1966 to store potatoes bound for the adjacent railroad. In 2002, it was transitioned into an iconic local home furnishings showroom,” says David McGlothlin of AZ Big Media. “Today, the Smith’s, a third-generation Arizona family, are developing adaptive-reuse plans to restore and refurbish the potato barn into The Higley Barns.”

Now that you know all about the value of Arizona’s potato crop, here are some fun facts about potatoes and their nutrition.

  1. Today potatoes are grown in all 50 states of the USA and in about 125 countries throughout the world.
  2. The sweet potato belongs in the same family as morning glories while the white potato belongs to the same group as tomatoes, tobacco, chile pepper, eggplant and the petunia.
  3. The potato is about 80% water and 20% solids.
  4. An 8 ounce baked or boiled potato has only about 100 calories.
  5. The average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year while Germans eat about twice as much.
  6. In 1974, an Englishman named Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of potatoes from one plant.
  7. Thomas Jefferson gets the credit for introducing “french fries” to America when he served them at a White House dinner.
  8. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest potato grown was 7 pounds 1 ounce by J. East (1953) and J. Busby (1982) of Great Britain.
  9. The world’s largest potato chip crisp (on exhibit at the Potato Museum) was produced by the Pringle’s Company in Jackson, TN, in 1990. It measures 23″ x 14.5″.
  10. In October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.
  11. Potato blossoms used to be a big hit in royal fashion. Potatoes first became fashionable when Marie Antoinette paraded through the French countryside wearing potato blossoms in her hair.
  12. The potatoes that are grown in Arizona are harvested in spring and early summer.

Looking for farm-fresh potatoes? Find the farms that sell them through Fill Your Plate’s Find a Farm Product searchable database!

Facts 1-11 courtesy of The Idaho Potato Museum.

More information about the Potato Barn can be found here.

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Posted in Ag Facts, Arizona, Arizona farmers and ranchers, AZ History, AZ Winter Vegetables, Farm Facts, Fill Your Plate, Focus on Agriculture, Food, Food Facts, Food Production, Fun Food Facts, Grocery, Just For Fun, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast Do’s and Don’ts

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives you the energy you need for your daily activities and gives you a great start to your morning if done right. Here are some tips to make the most of your breakfast.

  1. Add protein and fiber: This gives your meal what it needs to keep you full until lunch. Protein can come from many sources: eggs, greek yogurt, ham, bacon, sausage, beans, etc. Mix up your protein sources each day to give your diet variety. Adults with a 2,000 calorie daily intake should include 25 g of fiber. Fiber can come from many sources, including oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and nuts.


  1. Avoid sugar: One thing to be careful about with breakfast is sugar. Cereals, yogurts, muffins and baked goods, smoothies, and more all have a high content of sugar. If you only eat sugar and carbohydrates first thing in the morning, you will crash within the next hour and feel hungry even though you just ate. Replacing sugar with protein solves this problem.


  1. Check your nutrition labels: I used to love eating Chobani greek yogurt, thinking I was eating so healthy because of the high protein in it. Little did I know it had twice the amount of sugar in it than protein! I now eat Oikos greek yogurt. It has more protein and much less sugar, only 5 g per serving. It’s also the official yogurt of the NFL! If it’s too thick for you, add a little honey to thin it out and add flavor.


  1. Add fresh veggies or fruit: Vegetables for breakfast? Yes please! Some people may think, how do I put veggies in my morning meal? It’s actually pretty easy. Add potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and onions to your omelets or make Huevos Rancheros with beans and pico de gallo. Fruit is another good thing to add. Bananas fill your potassium needs. Fruit gives you antioxidants and gives you something sweet and natural to eat instead of processed sugar.


  1. Eat a balanced breakfast: Don’t eat the same thing every day, and eat a variety of foods in your meal. This ensures you don’t get tired of one food and gives you the most nutrients to fill your daily needs. Additionally, eating all different colors of fruits and vegetables have many benefits. Learn more about this from Fill Your Plate’s article, Why You Should Be Eating The Colors of the Rainbow.


Learn more by typing “breakfast” into Fill Your Plate’s search engine!

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8 Best Places to Hike and Swim in Arizona

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

Hiking and swimming are just a few of the fun activities Arizona has to offer. Since it is so hot right now, I recommend doing the trails with a swimming hole at the end so you can cool off! If you go on a regular hike, make sure to go early in the morning and bring plenty of water. In a few months it will be cool enough to hike later in the morning and evenings! Here are some of my favorite spots as well as a few I’m excited to try. Make sure to check online for their hours before you go, some may be closed due to COVID-19 or wildfires.


  1. Lake Powell: If you’re up for a road trip, Lake Powell is one of the best places to swim, go boating, camp/go houseboating, jet ski, and wakeboard. Enjoy the scenic red rock and blue water as you adventure through hiking spots like Hole in the Rock, Sandy Hill, or Rainbow Bridge.


  1. Bull Pen: This site has hiking options as well as a swimming hole, complete with a rope swing and cliff jumping spots. Bring the whole family or some friends. Bring a picnic and make a day of it!


  1. Fossil Creek: The swimming hole here has beautiful, clear water. It requires a one mile hike to the natural pool. The roads are rough so ensure you have a car able to handle it, and buy a Tonto pass at your local gas station so you will be able to get in.


  1. Saguaro Lake: Our family loves to go boating, wakeboarding and wakesurfing here because it’s close to the valley and has plenty of water to play in. But even without a boat, this is a great place for camping, picnics, swimming, tubing, paddle boarding, fishing and kayaking.


  1. San Tan Regional Park: I like this park because it has a variety of difficulty levels for their trails. There’s the steep Goldmine trail if you’re looking for more of workout, or there’s Dynamite trail, which is mostly flat but is made more for distance. See below for a picture of the view at sunset! It has lots of switchbacks and is a great trail for walking. And did I mention the whole park is dog-friendly? Don’t forget to bring a leash!

  1. Canyon Lake: Canyon Lake is pretty similar to Saguaro Lake, and is a great option for the same activities if it’s closer to where you live or if Saguaro is too busy for you.


  1. Wave Cave Trail: This is a moderate hike; it makes for a good family outing. At the end you can take pictures in the Wave Cave, where it looks like your standing on a wave of rock!


  1. Water Wheel Falls Hiking Trail: Make sure to bring your swimsuit and a towel! This is a mile and a half hike to Ellison Falls Swim Hole. It is moderately difficult and makes a great place to walk, hike, swim, and appreciate nature.

Make sure to check out Fill Your Plate’s blog for more fun summer activities!

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