Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Slow cooker Santa Fe chicken

Turns out I'm not always right.  Please try to bring yourselves out of that state of shock you're currently in.  In fact, I've been wrong about quite a few things, and I'm ready to come clean.

For example, a girl can have too many cardigans.  (Matt and Bryan, don't you dare say a word.)  At the beginning of the year, I cleaned out my closet and counted how many I actually owned -- 22.  Gulp.  But I did toss two into the bag of items to donate to Goodwill.  So, 20.  That sounds much better, right?

And eating four chocolate chip banana muffins right before bed will keep me awake much past my intended bedtime.  I won't sleep soundly and will be groggy the next morning and wind up skipping the early workout I'd originally planned.  Rinse and repeat a few more times, and I'll be concerned about more than just late night hyperactivity.  Coughrealmuffintopcough.

I also had this ridiculous idea that, after weeks of using my slow cooker day in and day out, we'd grow weary of Crock Pot dinners.  Because coming home to a finished and delicious meal is rough.   Because having enough leftovers to feed us lunch for two days is inconvenient.  Because... we are certifiably insane.

Not only did we love this latest slow cooker wonder, but we both agreed it may have been our favorite dish yet -- Santa Fe chicken!

Chicken simmers all day atop beans, corn, onions, tomatoes and chiles, with loads of spices to perfume the entire party.

Just before eating, take a minute to remove the chicken to a plate and shred the daylights out of it.

For the record, I don't actually know whether or not chicken have daylights.  Or night lights.  Perhaps if they saw The Ring at the urging of their college roommates, despite knowing they can't handle horror movies, and ended up being so terrified that they began sleeping with a small light on in their bedroom.  If that were the case, the aforementioned chickens would, indeed, have night lights.

Those chickens may have been wrong about themselves, but this Santa Fe chicken is all things right in the universe!  Easy on the eyes, packed with flavor and even balanced and healthy.  So good that helping yourself to seconds is like doing your body a favor.

Being wrong never tasted so right!

Two years ago: Peanut butter cup crunch brownies
Three years ago: Pear spice muffins

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
(adapted slightly from Skinnytaste)
-makes 6-8 servings

A few notes: Regarding the chicken, I used boneless skinless chicken breasts that were about 50% thawed from the freezer and they cooked well.  You could also use bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts, thighs, or drumsticks, just discard the skin and bones when shredding the chicken.

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces (1 heaping cup) frozen corn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
14.5 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
24 ounces (1 1/2 pounds) chicken breasts
Cooked rice, for serving
Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
1/4 cup chopped green onions, for serving

In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine tomatoes (and juices), beans, corn, cilantro, onion, broth, and spices, stirring until mixed.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides and place chicken breasts on top of mixture.  Cover with lid and cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6.  About 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken breasts, shred, and return chicken to bowl, stirring to combine.  Serve over rice or tortillas with cheese and green onions.  Enjoy!

Soup adaptation: With the last serving of leftovers, I was out of rice so I added a bit of chicken broth and created a Santa Fe chicken soup that was divine!  Give it a try.

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