Monday, April 5, 2010

Crockpot Tex-Mex Chicken

This taco changed my life.  OK. Maybe not.  But it was pretty darn awesome.  What it did do was transport me back to a time when I lived in downtown Los Angeles.  There was a lovely little tacqueria next to my apartment building.  On nights when I didn't feel like cooking, I would go downstairs to the lovely hole-in-the-wall establishment and get a chicken combo plate.  The chicken was juicy pieces of shredded chicken in a zesty sauce.  Each plate would come with rice, refried beans, warmed corn tortillas, a lovely chopped mixture of cilantro and green onion, and as many wedges of lime as I desired.  It was a beautiful thing.  I would take the plate back up to my apartment, sit on the floor and build my own soft tacos.  Glorious. 

Recently, I put a call out on Facebook for crockpot chicken recipes, and my friend Meg responded with this one.  She originally got the recipe from a Prevention Slow Cooker cookbook.  I've changed it just a tiny bit because that's what I usually do. 

Let me extol the virtues of this chicken dish by telling you it has many lives:  
  • You can use it as taco meat. 
  • You can make nachos with it.  
  • You can freeze it for use later.  
  • You can make tortilla/taco soup by adding some chicken stock or broth to it. 
  • You can put this over baked potatoes and melt some jack cheese over top. 
This is my kind of recipe.  Lots of options! 
Crockpot Tex-Mex Chicken
Serves: LOTS!
Serving size:  1/2 cup
Points per serving:  approximately 4 (This is a complete guestimate on my part.)

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) whole kernel corn, drained (I used frozen, and a little bit less, because that's all I had)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar (16 oz) chunky salsa (I used 20 oz)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen ones and added them to the crockpot still in their frozen state)
  • 1 can diced green chilis (my own addition)
  • Serving options for soft tacos:  low fat sour cream, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, lime wedges (ESSENTIAL!), salsa, 6-in corn tortillas
  1. Combine corn, beans, and 1/2 cup of salsa in the bottom of the crockpot.
  2. Lay frozen chicken breasts on top of corn and beans.
  3. Pour the rest of salsa and green chilis over the chicken.
  4. Cover. 
  5. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.  Mine was done before that, so check on the chicken after about 5 hours.  (Don't worry if it looks like there's too much liquid.  The chicken, once shredded, will soak up a lot of the liquid.) 
  6. Transfer cooked chicken breasts to a large cutting board or plate.  Shred chicken using two forks and return to salsa-liquid. 
  7. Stir shredded chicken back into salsa-liquid.
  8. Serve in tacos, on top of baked potatoes, on top of nachos, or make into tortilla soup by adding extra chicken broth or stock.  The options are endless!
This photo, while not as pretty as the first, lets you see what the finished shredded chicken dish looks like before all the lovely adornments.  It's simple, but can morph into many different dishes.  That's my kind of meat!

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