Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

So before I begin to talk about this recipe, I have to share with all of you that I finally got the fancy camera I’ve been longing for!  You have no idea how excited I am!  Now I can finally start taking some respectable pictures of my recipes…now I just need to figure out how to work the fancy camera.  🙂  A big thank you to Mom and Dad for helping to make my dreams come true with an early birthday gift!

Anyway, on to the topic at hand.  Everyone loves crock pot recipes…what’s not to love?  Nothing is better than throwing a few items into a crock pot in the morning before you go to work, and knowing that you will have an effort-free meal waiting for you when you get home.  Crock pot recipes also seem to be one of the most popular recipes on my blog, and since Pinterest is loaded with tons of great recipes, I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration for new crock pot recipes.

I found this recipe on Pinterest (have I mentioned lately how much I love Pinterest?  It has literally changed my life!), and changed it up just a bit because I like to use my own spices, rather than taco seasoning.  It turned out super tasty and made great leftovers too!

Wanna see the picture I took with my fancy new camera?  I’m obviously still learning the ins and outs of the camera as well as general photography techniques, but it’s a heck of a lot better than my point and shoot digital.  Wow!  What a difference it makes!

What do you think?? Not too bad huh?

Anyway, enough about the camera and onto the recipe.  The best thing about this one is that you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now!  Here’s the recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Tacos:

Inspired by the recipe Crock Pot Chicken Tacos by Chocolate Therapy

6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 16 Oz jar of salsa, whatever kind you like

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 Tablespoon cumin

1 Teaspoon garlic powder

1 Teaspoon onion powder

1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 Teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning the chicken

Salt, to taste

Heat a large skillet  with one tablespoon of olive oil (about one turn of the pan)over medium-high heat until the pan is super hot and the oil is smoking.  While the skillet heats, season the chicken with salt and pepper.  When the pan is hot enough, add the chicken to the skillet and brown on both sides; this shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes per side.  You aren’t cooking the chicken through, just cooking enough to brown.  You don’t necessarily need to do this step if you’re short on time-you can just throw everything in the crock pot and be on your way, but I like to brown meat first when I’m making crock pot recipes; I find that the meat comes out more flavorful and tender (rather than mushy) when I brown it first.

Once the chicken is browned, place it in the crock pot and add the remaining ingredients.  Cook the chicken in the crock pot for 5-6 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high.  Once you’re ready to serve the chicken, remove it from the crock pot and shred it with two forks; the meat will be very tender so it won’t require much effort.

You can serve these tacos with just about anything, and they’re great with either corn or flour tortillas.  When I made them, I served them with lettuce, tomato, cheese, green onion, cilantro, and sour cream.  I also served these with Spicy Spanish Rice.

I’m off to take more photos now…I think I’m going to have to make every recipe on my blog again so I can take new photos.  🙂

Enjoy!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

Due to the popularity of my last crock pot recipe for Italian Beef Sandwiches, I’ve decided to post another new slow cooker recipe I found, and to share a fantastic blog.  Crock Pot Girls is a blog dedicated ENTIRELY to slow cooker recipes!  And let me tell you, there’s some good ones!  I’m a big fan of slow cooker recipes, especially during the winter months.  There’s so many good things you can make in a slow cooker; stews, chili, soup, you name it.  Plus, it’s sooo easy to cook with a slow cooker!  Just throw the ingredients in, and when you come home after a long day of work…and as Chef PickyKid says, “VOILA! It’s ready!!’

This is a slightly modified recipe from Crock Pot Girls for Beef Stroganoff.  When I cook with a slow cooker, I like to brown the meat a little first; it just seems to add a little more texture.  I couldn’t find cream of onion soup as the original recipe called for, so I just used two cans of cream of mushroom soup and added a little onion powder.  I also used light cream cheese and sour cream so I could save on calories, and it tasted fantastic!

The original recipe calls for canned mushrooms, but my husband is not a big fan of mushrooms, so I didn’t use them (I know mushrooms are kind of a staple of beef stroganoff, but I didn’t want to watch him pick all the mushrooms out!).  If I were to make this for a non-mushroom hater, I would probably add a container of fresh cremini mushrooms to the recipe.

Here’s my recipe for Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff:

1-2 pounds beef for stew-I used top round steak that wasn’t already cut up because it’s much less expensive, but you could buy pre-cut stew meat to save on time.  You could also use london broil.

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and Pepper

2 cans cream of mushroom soup-I used the low fat option.

1 cup beef stock or broth

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese-I used light cream cheese.

1 8 oz container sour cream-I also used light sour cream.

Egg noodles or rice, cooked according to package directions.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season the beef with salt and pepper, and brown in the heated skillet for about 5 minutes on each side or until browned on each side.  If you’re using pre-cut meat, you’ll only need to brown for a few minutes-just until the meat begins to brown.

Remove the meat from the pan and allow to cool enough to handle and cut into bite sized chunks. Place the meat into a crock pot and add the soup, beef stock or broth, onion, garlic, and another 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and cook in the crock pot on low for 8-10 hour or until the beef is tender.

Prepare egg noodles or rice according to package directions.  While the noodles or rice are cooking, add the cream cheese to the beef mixture and stir until it’s melted.  Add the sour cream and stir to combine.  Serve the beef stroganoff over the egg noodles or rice.

 

This isn’t the best picture in the world, but you get the idea.  Man, I really need one of those fancy cameras!! 🙂

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…fall is approaching and magnificent Arizona weather is on its way.  My favorite holidays are just around the corner.  But more important, IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!  For the next 17 weeks, I have an excuse to flop on the couch on any given Sunday, because I’m watching football.

Football is an event in my house.  Sunday is all about football, from the moment we wake up, until the last game ends on Sunday night.  Even Chef PickyKid loves football; she watches the games with us, and can recite our favorite team’s fight song.  And of course,  any great event must include great food.  I like to make easy to prepare recipes on game day, so I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen and away from the games.  That’s why crock pot recipes are perfect for football Sunday!  And, as the weather gets cooler, crock pots are great for making comfort foods (yes, I realize “cooler” for us means 70 degrees, but after two years of living in the desert, 70 degrees feels downright chilly to me).

I got this recipe from a co-worker and added a few ingredients.  I prepared it before kickoff for the morning games, and it was ready by the time the afternoon games were over.  The meat is incredibly tender, very tasty and had just a little bit of spiciness.  Yummmm!!!

Here’s what you’ll need for Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches:

3 Pounds of beef cross rib roast or chuck roast

About 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a few turns of a large pot or dutch oven.

1 Package of Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix

2 1/2  Cups of beef broth or stock

1 Package of Au Jus gravy mix

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

Kosher Salt and Pepper

About 1/2 jar of Mezzetta Pepperoncinis, stems removed and sliced; I used a little more than half the jar, because I like it a little spicier.

1 Yellow onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, divided

Ciabatta bread or sandwich rolls

Muenster cheese

Directions: 

Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Rub the roast with one clove of garlic.  You won’t use the entire clove.  I usually cut the garlic in half, and rub the meat with the cut end of the garlic.  Make sure you rub the garlic over the entire roast.  Season the roast with kosher salt and pepper and brown it in the heated pot.  Be sure the pot is hot when you add the meat so it will get nice and browned on both sides.

While the meat is browning, add the broth, Italian dressing mix, Au Jus mix, Italian seasoning, Pepperoncinis, onion, and one clove of minced garlic to a crock pot.  When the meat is browned, add it to the crock pot and cook on low heat for at least 4-6 hours.

Remove the meat from the crock pot and shred it, but don’t throw away the liquid from the crock pot! The meat will be very tender, so this won’t take a lot of effort.  I just shred it with two forks.  Add the meat back to the crock pot and stir it into the liquid.

Serve the Italian Beef with Ciabatta bread or sandwich rolls and the Muenster cheese.  I was a little hesitant about using Muenster, as it isn’t one of my favorite cheeses, but trust me, it’s delicious!!

Happy Game Day!!

Teriyaki Pulled Chicken

I love cooking with my crock pot.  It’s great for work nights; I can take a few minutes in the morning to put a dish in the crock pot, and when I come home in the evening, I have dinner ready and waiting for me!

Crock pots are also great for cooking for a large group.  I recently made pulled pork in the crock pot for a BBQ with friends.  The pulled pork was easy to make, and I didn’t have to spend time away from my guests while I was cooking.

I created this pulled chicken recipe to accompany the Asian Slaw recipe.  I think the flavors of the pulled chicken really complement the slaw. You’ll also notice that the sauce is similar to the sauce in the Teriyaki Chicken Wings.  I absolutely love this teriyaki sauce, because it’s not too sweet, not too spicy, but has great flavor and a hint of garlic.

My initial thought was to make this a recipe with pulled pork, but when I think teriyaki, I think chicken.  But I’m sure this would still taste great with pork. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs because I like the mixture of light and dark meat in the pulled chicken, and using the skinless chicken makes it a little more figure friendly.  The meat will pull apart easily because it’s extremely tender, so you’ll definitely want to use boneless meat when making it in the crock pot, otherwise you may get bones mixed in with the meat. Trust me, the meat will still be tender with the boneless, skinless meat.

Here’s the recipe for Teriyaki Pulled Chicken:

3-4 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts and Thighs

1 Vidalia or Walla Walla Onion, Chopped

**I like to use these sweeter onions to give a milder flavor to the sauce, but you can use regular yellow onion if you’d prefer.

2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped

1 Cup Soy Sauce

1 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup White Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Teaspoon (a small handful) Garlic Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper (for the teriyaki)

Salt and Pepper to Season the Chicken

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is soft and translucent, about five minutes.  Remove onion and garlic from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a crock pot.

Place the skillet back on the stove over medium high heat.  You might need to add another tablespoon of olive oil if there isn’t much liquid left in the skillet.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the skillet until chicken is golden brown on both sides, about 8-10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking on the skillet, prepare the teriyaki sauce in the crock pot.  To the sauteed onions and garlic, add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, honey, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Stir to combine in the crock pot.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and add to the crock pot.  Cook in the crock pot for at least 6 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.  Remove the chicken from the crock pot and transfer to a cutting board. Don’t throw away the teriyaki, you’ll add the meat back to the sauce.  Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred it by pulling it apart with two forks, or you can even use your hands to shred it.

Once the meat is shredded, return it to the teriyaki and stir the meat in the sauce.

Serve the pulled chicken on good quality kaiser rolls or hamburger buns.  You can top the chicken with the Asian Slaw or even a classic cole slaw.  You can even have it without any toppings because it tastes so good!!