Thursday, February 16, 2012

What you don't have a personal cook?

I do, it's my crock-pot! Sometimes my life is crazy busy!!! One way I ease my workload is by using my crock-pot and sometimes I will use two at once.

Using a crock-pot is simple and almost effortless. I think the two biggest deterrents for me are remembering to defrost the meat early enough and prepping my ingredients early enough in the day. For me this can be avoided by using my planner and reviewing the next days needs before going to bed. I also have been trying to wake up before my children do so that I have a minimum of an hour to get the day started and remain uninterrupted (unless they wake up early).

A few days ago I defrosted a large package of chicken breast (7 breasts) I had purchased on sale and frozen before I had a chance to split them into smaller portions. 2 breasts went into the first crock-pot for my Creamy Chicken & Black Bean Taco Soup (long name, see bottom for recipe) and the remaining 5 went into the second crock-pot with a cup of chicken broth for meals at a later time. This worked very well for me as I divided the 5 chicken breasts up into meals sized portions and placed them in my freezer. Now I have pre-cooked chicken ready for an easy meal prep, I didn't waste any of the chicken (we couldn't have eaten 7 breasts at once), and I got 2 cups of chicken broth into my freezer for use in later recipes. All around a win-win situation!

I try to use my crock-pot at least once a week. I would like to encourage you to pull yours out and dust it off; it really can be a huge help!

Creamy Chicken & Black Bean Taco Soup (recipe originally seen in the title portion of a picture on Pinterest with no link or credit )

2 chicken breasts (1 probably would have been enough as these were very large)
1 8oz block of cream cheese
1 can of rotel
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 packet taco seasoning or homemade equivalent
1 packet ranch dressing mix or homemade equivalent
1 cup chicken broth

Mix and cook on low for 6-8 hours (you will need to stir this more often toward the end) and shred or chop chicken before serving. We have also made this with leftover grilled chicken (chopped up) or pre-cooked chicken and chorizo from cooking a double batch of meat for paella. With the addition of pre-cooked meat it would not need to cook as long and I would recommend adding another 1/2 cup of broth.

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