Monday, May 07, 2012

Rowena's Easy Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Rowena's Easy Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Here I am trying to keep up with my blogging and all my artistic goals at the same time I am a mom who stays at home part of the time and works out of the house part of the time. It's kind of a difficult balancing act, much like being a mom just in general. 

But I have decided to count my cooking and organizing and repurposing and kid activities and photo editing and social networking and researching as part of my creative output, along with my painting, writing and crafting. I need to understand all the various parts of my life as being creative and productive. It makes me feel more productive, which makes me feel stronger and more capable which means I am able to tackle more and more challenging creative endeavors. 

It all goes together. It isn't separate. One of the things I'm trying to do, in addition to keeping to do lists and creative logs, is to plan ahead. Take photos of things as I am doing them and then saving them for when I am ready to post, or editing them, (I used PicMonkey here, due to the demise of Picnic.) Also to make my plans for Monday early, so I can get prepared and not feel overwhelmed when I sit down to do EVERYTHING I want to do on my day off. Unlike most people, my weekends are the height of my work week, and Monday is when I can get my personal work done.

And the truth is, I often devise my own recipes, and then I forget to write them down and think I'll remember the next time I try, and sometimes I don't, so I lose that dish that I liked so much (like that Linguine alla Rowena... black olives, lemon zest, goat cheese? I forget.) So maybe I'll start posting them here, a kind of illustrated extended creative log. 

So here is my crockpot chicken tacos recipe, which I made last week while also painting.... and which is inspired by this post and my own shredded pork tacos recipe that I've been making for years now.  I have a couple of secrets that make it super easy and super tasty.

Rowena's Easy Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Chicken breasts (can be frozen, no defrosting! save time!)
1 large can diced tomatoes (this time I used tomatoes with chiles, which is great, but you can use plain tomatoes, too.)
One diced onion
Chilpotle in Adobo (diced or food processed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cumin to taste.

Toss your diced onion into the crock pot. Open a can of diced tomatoes, toss that in, too.  Add your chilpotle in adobo. I put in one heaping tablespoon of the food processed mix. That might be two or three chiles diced. Don't forget to add the adobo sauce if you are dicing. Put less in if you like it less spicy and more if you like it HOTT. Put in your frozen chicken breasts. I used 5 here. Again, adjust it to your needs and tastes. Salt and pepper to taste. Cumin to taste. The chilpotle in adobo adds a lot of flavor, but I put in cumin because it is a comforting flavor to me. You could probably skip it if you want. Or add some of your favorite spices and herbs.

Cook it for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Shred with two forks.

Serve with slotted spoon on tortillas with desired toppings. Cheese, Avocado, Jalapenos, Pico De Gallo, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Cilantro, Olives, Sour Cream....really anything that floats your boat. I used Cheese, Avocado, Jalapenos.

Bring a big napkin, it's messy and delicious.

You could use this chicken recipe in many dishes. A quesadilla with this, cheese and salsa verde is delightful. Or burritos or Enchiladas? Yum.

Like I said, I actually adapted this from my pork tacos recipe, and really the only difference is that instead of frozen chicken breasts, I use a big pork roast. Everything else is the same. And it's great with cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and lime.

 But wait. There's more.

Get ready for my two hints.

 Chopped onions are great for cooking. Yes. They are cheap and flavorful and a necessity for many foods and many cuisines.

However, chopping a load of onions while you are watching two rambunctious kids can be dangerous. When my kids were toddlers, I actually chopped off the tip of my finger trying to prep a crockpot meal while my kids were running around. Not only did that meal take longer than necessary to get ready, since I spent quite a while clutching my finger and getting lightheaded at the sight of blood, it also caused a great deal of pain and stress.

Then my mom introduced me to the little bags of pre-diced onions in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Sometimes they come with diced peppers and carrots too. Once I started using those, my prep time could shrink down to almost nil with some dishes (like this one.) Frozen onions aren't good to eat fresh, but if you're cooking them, they lose nothing that I can see. If you want to save money and use up produce, you can also chop your own big batch of onions and freeze them for your own use later. Now instead of dicing onions while I'm trying to toss together a quick meal, I just reach into the freezer and grab a handful or two. Of course, I can still chop them fresh, like I did this time, because I was out, but it's nice to have the option.

TIP #2

Chilpotle in Adobo sauce is an amazing, flavorful addition to many dishes. I use it in Mexican dishes or in anything with a sauce or gravy. I make a great sherry chicken with chilpotle and lime using this. Or you can mix a bit of this with sourcream and lime for a tasty dip. Or just chilpotle with mayo, and you have a spread that makes great sandwiches.  But it can be kind of annoying to chop the chiles as needed for recipes which sometimes mean I won't do it at all.

So I buy a can (found in the Mexican foods section of the grocery store) and just toss the whole thing in the food processor and puree it.  Then I put the puree in a jar and keep it in the fridge for timely and easy flavoring whatever I want to have a smoky, spicy kick. I love my chilpotle in adobo.

I hope you guys like this recipe. It's so easy, especially with the tricks I added, and so tasty. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. In fact, I'm going to dig around in my refrigerator and see if I have some leftovers for a lunch chicken taco.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...