Happy Tuesday mamas!
Today I have a few tips and a recipe for you. Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more moms talk about the dinner dilemma. Everybody wants a quick, healthy, and delicious dinner that’s super easy to prepare. I feel the same way. Isn’t that what we all want? I spend so much time buying food, prepping meals, cooking the meals, and then telling the kids to eat the food. Really, I just don’t understand why they all have to eat at least three times a day!! Don’t even get me started on snacks. Oy vey.
I’m a stay-at-home-mom and I’m proud to be one. I love this job and I actually love to cook. I’ve taken classes and learned from the best (my mom, my mother-in-law, other moms, and family members). So you would think I’ve got this handled, but no…I don’t. Meal time is still always an issue for me. I definitely don’t have all the answers yet, but I do have a few. Here is my go-to slow cooker recipe for nights when you just need dinner to basically prepare itself.
Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken
The cast of characters:
Salsa (use your favorite, I used Pace because it’s what I had.)
frozen corn (I prefer the Trader Joe’s smoked corn it adds a great hint of smoke)
canned green chilies (I usually use a bell pepper (any color), but I realized I forgot to pick one up at the grocery store.)
chicken thighs (Use whatever cut you prefer and use whatever meat you prefer.)
taco seasoning (I like to make my own, but you can use a packet too.)
First, you need to make the taco seasoning. Unless you are using a packet. Then more power to you!
Taco Seasoning Recipe
1 tablespoon hot Mexican chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Next, lets chop our onion. Have you ever struggled with exactly how to tackle the onion? Well today’s your lucky day! First, cut it in half, woody stem to butt (or tail). When you are done each half should have a woody stem on one end and a tail on the other. Cut off the tail and peel back to outer layer.
Now, cut from woody stem to where the tail was.
Narrow cuts all the way through the layers, but not through the stem. Just really close.
Now cut a few cuts parallel to your cutting board. About three total. I start at the bottom and work my way up. I think the onion is easier to handle this way.
Now chop from the top of the onion down to the cutting board, perpendicular to the aforementioned parallel cuts. Uhhh, obvi somebody needs a manicure….
See, lookie there. Lovely, somewhat the same size (except that jerk in the bottom middle of the pic), diced onion.
Throw em in the crockpot.
Followed by your taco seasoning…
The canned chillies, the frozen smoked corn, and the salsa.
Before you throw your chicken in the pot, pat it dry. Or tuck it into bed…whatever is going on in the above picture.
Mix all the goodies together. And place your chicken in the pot.
I like to try to put some of the sauce mix on top.
I’m cooking on high for four hours. But you can do low for six or eight hours if you like. Set your timer and put the lid on.
A mere four hours later the house smelled amazing and dinner was ready!
So this is all fine and good, right? Well, at this point this recipe can go so many different ways, like a choose your own adventure book! You could add a few cups of chicken broth and let it warm for another twenty minutes for some southwest chicken soup. You could shred the chicken (shown below), add a ton of cheese, black beans, and a side of chips and have a warm and gooey chicken nacho dip. Or you can choose the straight forward way and serve this over rice. Whichever you fancy…Nancy!
However, if you choose to go the straightforward option…you should know there are some people who feel that crockpot meals lack a little…texture and freshness. I mean, c’mon! I cooked dinner, it delicious, and tender! What more do you want from me?? Hater’s gonna hate…
Well, for those people I have a solution. A little toppings bar! Mmmhmm…mama knows best! So I cut up some cilantro.
Another tip for you: yep, those are kitchen scissors. I gave it a hair cut. I prefer this to chopping with a knife because you don’t dirty up a cutting board and you don’t have to chase the leaves around the cutting board. Plus you get much thinner pieces. You can eat the stems too, so chop chop mamas! Cilantro is totally optional…some people think it tastes soapy I think it tastes delicious.
My toppings bar includes avocado, cheese, cilantro, chips, and sour cream. Now let’s put it all together!
The chicken was so tender it was falling apart when I got it out of the pot. Perfection.
Shred your chicken. When I worked in a restaurant, many years ago, I would see the prep chefs shredding chicken. They would put the chicken in big bowls and use two forks; pierce the chicken with the forks and pull them away from each other repeatedly. Do this to all pieces. It works perfect every time with any meat.
I put chips (crunched up a bit) first, then avocado. Followed by cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. Yum!
Pretty as a picture! My husband always says this is his favorite meal. You can’t see that it’s sitting on top of a cozy bed of rice. By the way, this meal freezes perfectly. And, if you’re really ahead of the game, you would have used one of those crockpot liners. They are a lifesaver, but I didn’t have any on hand. So I scrubbed my crockpot…
This is our dinner! What’s yours?