Sunday, April 1, 2012

Creation Sunday: Easy Tex/Mex dinner

Today Hillary is going to share a quick and easy slow cooker meal with a tex mex flare!

A few weeks ago, we had a concert to go to at 8 on a Tuesday night and I was trying to figure out how to handle dinner because going out would have been difficult, but cooking something involved would leave me pressed for time, especially if I wanted to "get ready" for the show.  As it turns out, that morning a friend of mine posted a recipe to his facebook page that was perfect, Crock Pot Santa Fe chicken: It was easy, flavorful and wouldn't require much supervision or "fuss" throughout the day.

I made a few modification to the recipe based on the tastes in our household:
Instead of a can of chile tomatoes and adding the garlic, etc, separately, I used about half a can of Chile tomatoes and half a can of the garlic flavored tomatoes.  I added no spices other than, salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne.  I will note that a pinch was not enough cayenne, but a whole teaspoon would have left me with a fiery mouth and an empty tummy (although, I'm sure my husband would have been quite happy). 

I also used my awesome separated insert for my crock pot and cooked the vegetables and chicken separately, because my husband is not generally a fan of vegetables being mixed in and he is definitely not a fan of black beans. Instead of what's called for, I used a can of corn, and 2 cans of black beans, with a little of the leftover halves of the aforementioned tomatoes and some salt pepper and cayenne.
The last modification I made was to cook it 8 hrs on low.  I have cooked chicken in the crock pot before and, at least in my crock pot, it is inevitably done before the longest cook time runs out and often burns or gets overcooked when on high. Also, when I put the food in the crock pot, I only had 8 hours and I didn't want burned chicken so...  Luckily, my estimate was right and the chicken was perfectly done at 8 hours (I did shred it a few minutes out like the recipe suggests and I think that that is a big help to making sure all the chicken is all the way done).

Since this recipe is very tex mex, I thought that corn bread would be the perfect accompaniment.  Being the picky, lazy gir... I mean... champion of convenience and variety that I am, I decided to go for a modified mix recipe.  I had heard of people used canned creamed corn in their cornbread so I found this Jiffy Corn Mix Hack.  I followed the recipe to a T including the part about heating up the cast iron and swirling the butter. 

If you don't have a cast iron pan... Well,  you should.  It's an amazing and versatile kitchen tool and sometimes, nothing else will do.  But if you want to make this cornbread RIGHT NOW and don't have a cast iron pan, I would go for a CERAMIC pie plate (or cake pan) if you have one.  If not, glass might work.  I would follow the same directions, but the heating time for glass might need to be a little less (it will also lose heat quicker, so you need to work fast once it comes out of the oven).

Anyways, I digress.  In addition to the sante fe chicken/vegetables and corn bread, I prepared a bag of boil-in-bag rice.  Sure, non-instant rice is more nutritious and, sure, I have a steamer that cooks rice beautifully, but some days, you don't want to be hassled.

Dinner was tremendously good and got a major thumbs up from hubby, even though he didn't get the benefit of the extra flavor of the vegetables and even though I thought he might consider it decidedly mild for his taste. Leftovers have been even more delicious because the flavors have melded even more.  Personally, I am a big fan of putting a little of everything (except cornbread) in a bowl, putting a little "shredded mexican cheese" on top and melting it, but it's totally not necessary.

This is great for a weeknight "put something on and forget about it" dinner and it's extremely tasty.

We hope you enjoy the recipe! Stay tuned for more interviews, recipes, jewelry, and otherwise awesome updates.

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