Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Organic Mexican Fiesta Chicken in the Slow Cooker

All of my kids are in sports, my daughter is currently playing both soccer and softball... and my husband decided it was time for him to get back into rec sports in addition to attending class one evening a week. Well, as you might imagine, this makes for pretty busy weeknights and dinner hour has become less of a priority over the last couple of months. Oh, my husband is also the coach for one of my son's soccer team and I'm team mom... there's so much commitment to all of these things that something got pushed off our plate. Dinner. Not that we've ever been really great at planning ahead for dinner, but now we're always leaving it to last minute and grabbing more of the less than desirable box meals, or eating fast food. Really not a match for my nutrition standards. I've been pinning meal ideas for nearly 2 years. It was time to start making some of these meals!

This is the first of five recipes I prepared the other night. It was my first time ever doing this, so I did not worry myself with trying to be quick. Instead, once we find a few meals we love, I will make extras of those and that will make the process quicker.

My family loves Mexican food, so when I started looking for slow cooker freezer meals I thought this one over at Graciously Saved would work well for us. I've made some adaptations to fit our family, feel free to try it my way or add your own fiesta flavors!

Perks of this particular freezer meal, only 7 ingredients and no pre-cooking needed. There are a lot of ways to serve this meal, over rice, in a tortilla bowl, atop corn tortilla chips as a taco salad or in a burrito. Easy to double up your freezer meal planning. Because of the beans and corn it really is a hearty meal. It cooks in 4-5 hours so it is perfect for those days your morning routine goes awry and you don't think about starting a crock pot meal.

4 organic chicken breasts
1 pkg of taco seasoning
2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
1 cup organic frozen corn
1 can (14 oz) black beans rinsed and drained 

I was going to use organic black beans but did not plan adequately to prepare them the day before - so canned it was. The original recipe called for rice or barley which I omitted because I'm not a fan of those for my made at home Mexican meals.

Toppings and Extras:
Organic salsa 
Shredded cheddar 
Diced organic avocado 
Flour tortillas to make tortilla bowls for the kids
Organic corn chips for the adults to scoop

1. Label your bag before you get started.
2. Add rinsed chicken breasts to the freezer bag followed by the other 7 ingredients. Seal the bag, getting out as much air as possible. Give the bag a good shake and mix ingredients by using hands on outside of the bag to massage ingredients around. I spend a minute or two doing this so everything is evenly distributed and the meat can marinate in the sauce/spices.
3. Lie flat to freeze
4. Defrost by pulling item out of freezer the night before and putting in the fridge, or leave on counter one hour, or run under warm water for a minute or two. It does not need to be defrosted completely, just enough to open bag and dump ingredients easily into the slow cooker.
5. Grease the inside of the slow cooker. I use Nutiva coconut oil.
6. Cook on low 4-5 hours. 
7. Shred chicken. Give a final stir. Serve.

Kitchen Tools:

Ziploc freezer bag
Sharpie - label freezer bag 
Can opener
Box grater
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Kitchen scissors - cutting open packages
Colander - to rinse the black beans
2 medium mixing bowls - one for putting rinsed chicken in & one to collect trash as you go
a square or rectangular plastic food container - this works well to stand your freezer bag in


This meal was an overall winner! I took a bite without the salsa topping first so I could get a sense of the taste of the dish on it's own merit and was pleased, not thrilled, but that's because we think it needed more spice. I especially enjoyed it when I ate it with these sweet chile corn tortilla chips. I discovered them at ShiftCon. Let me warn you that they are "way better" and perhaps addictive.
Check them Way Better Snacks and tell me if you agree!

Recipe Rating: 1 to 5 stars

Joann - 4 stars, would like to have more spice. Would like to add to our rotation every few weeks.

Cory - 4 stars, needs a little more kick. Would like to add this every couple of weeks.

Amberly - 4.5 stars. Twice a month

Kyle - 3 stars. Once a month

Owen - 1 star. Never. He's been picky about chicken in general lately. 

There was PLENTY of leftovers. My husband had seconds and there's enough for two people to have lunch - which one of those people will be me.

This is an easy freezer meal to double for your meal planning day. I had a gut feeling this was going to be a winner so I doubled it my first time making it. Since I have one more in the freezer I'm going to add an extra pkg of seasoning to the slow cooker and see how it turns out. Because there are such a variety of ways to serve this dish I am going to make 4 next time, since they can keep fro 3 months that will be just right. I think I will even try one with organic chicken thighs. 

So what do you think? Will you give this a try?