Maybe it’s the little storm we had last night…maybe it’s the busy weeknights our family has had since swim team started… Lately, I find myself wanting to come home to a dinner that’s already cooked. Here is my go-to crockpot recipe for nights when you just need dinner to basically prepare itself.
Crockpot Southwest Chicken
- 1 onion
- frozen corn (I prefer the Trader Joe’s frozen smoked corn)
- canned green chilies (or use a bell pepper)
- chicken thighs (Use whatever cut you prefer and use whatever meat you prefer.)
- taco seasoning (I like to make my own, but you can use a packet too. Recipe below.)
Taco Seasoning Recipe
First, you need to make the taco seasoning. Unless you are using a packet, which is great too.
- 1 tablespoon hot Mexican chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Next, lets chop our onion.
Have you ever struggled with exactly how to tackle the onion? Well today’s your lucky day! First, cut it in half, woody stem to butt (or tail). When you are done each half should have a woody stem on one end and a tail on the other. Cut off the tail and peel back to outer layer.
Now, cut from woody stem to where the tail was.
Narrow cuts all the way through the layers, but not through the stem. Just really close.
Now cut a few cuts parallel to your cutting board. About three total. I start at the bottom and work my way up. I think the onion is easier to handle this way.
Now chop from the top of the onion down to the cutting board, perpendicular to the aforementioned parallel cuts. Uhhh, obvi somebody needs a manicure….
See, lookie there. Lovely, somewhat the same size (except that jerk in the bottom middle of the pic), diced onion.
Add that to the crockpot.
Followed by your taco seasoning…
The canned chillies, the frozen smoked corn, and the salsa.
Before you throw your chicken in the pot, pat it dry.
Mix all the goodies together. And place your chicken in the pot.
I like to try to put some of the sauce mix on top.
I’m cooking mine on high for four hours. But you can do low for six or eight hours if you like. Set your timer and put the lid on.
A mere four hours later the house smelled amazing and dinner was ready!
So this is all fine and good, right? Well, at this point this recipe can go so many different ways, like a choose your own adventure book! You could add a few cups of chicken broth and let it warm for another twenty minutes for some southwest chicken soup. You could shred the chicken (shown below), add a ton of cheese, black beans, and a side of chips and have a warm and gooey chicken nacho dip. Or you can choose the straight forward way and serve this over rice.
However, if you choose to go the straightforward option…you should know there are some people who feel that crockpot meals lack a little…texture and freshness. Well, for those people I have a solution. A little toppings bar! First, I cut up some cilantro.
Another tip for you: yep, those are kitchen scissors. I gave it a hair cut. I prefer this to chopping with a knife because you don’t dirty up a cutting board and you don’t have to chase the leaves around the cutting board. You can eat the stems too, so chop chop mamas! Cilantro is totally optional…some people think it tastes soapy I think it tastes delicious.
My toppings bar includes avocado, cheese, cilantro, chips, and sour cream.
The chicken was so tender it was falling apart when I got it out of the crockpot. Perfection.
Shred your chicken. When I worked in a restaurant, many years ago, I would see the prep chefs shredding chicken. They would put a ton of chicken in big bowls and use two forks; pierce the chicken with the forks and pull them away from each other repeatedly. Do this to all pieces. It works perfect every time with any meat. Great way to have cold chicken on hand to add to salads for a quick lunch.
I put chips (crunched up a bit) first, then avocado. Followed by cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. Yum!
Pretty as a picture! My husband always says this is his favorite meal. You can’t see that it’s sitting on top of a cozy bed of rice. By the way, this meal freezes perfectly. I like to double the recipe and freeze half. Enjoy.