Mexican food is arguably my favorite type of food. So buckle up, because you will most likely be seeing a lot of Mexican-inspired dishes on The Slow Cooker Life.
As the first recipe that I’m posting on here, and since I’m trying to get the attention of those of you who think cooking for yourself is too much work, I wanted to start with this little number. A slow cooker shredded chicken taco recipe that was inspired by the instructions on the back of a McCormick Cheesy Taco Seasoning Mix packet.
This packet was meant to prepare ground beef or turkey in a skillet. I’m using that whole concept as a foundation for what I am creating here today. I just gave that recipe a little spin and turned it into something that requires next to no effort, and will end up being healthier than what it was intended to be (because I’m using chicken instead of ground beef.) Next to no effort and healthy. Interested yet?
This is not going to be your typical recipe. Mainly because there really is not that much that goes into this one. But also because I want my first recipe to convey the ease cooking can have. What better way to do that than to present you with a “little of this, little of that” type creation?
Hopefully you took my advice from before and got yo’self a slow cooker. Recipe #1. Here we go!
Slow cook the chicken from frozen.
I slow cook my chicken from frozen pretty much 100% of the time. I do this for the sake of convenience, which means a lot to me you will come to notice. I’m on the run quite a bit, as are most of you these days I’m sure. As is my significant other.
His work schedule is quite opposite of mine (I work evenings, he works early morning-afternoon), so having meals together does not happen that frequently. This is why I rely so heavily on my slow cooker. I can make sure that he has a hot meal ready to eat when he gets home and it can still be warm, but not overcooked, for when I get home much later.
My point is simply, I don’t go out of my way to thaw my chicken. Don’t smite me. My food still turns out pretty tasty. Really all I’m doing is skipping the step of thawing out the chicken, which is not at all labor intensive. I just don’t really plan ahead that often for the meals I just whip up. So by the time I’m ready to throw something together, my chicken is still frozen. Rest assured, if you are not much of a planner, slow cooking chicken from frozen is not going to dry the chicken out and ruin the meal.
Use a taco seasoning packet.
Sure, the back of this one says to use ground beef or turkey. But like I mentioned in my post about misconceptions, recipes are not meant to be set in stone. They are merely guidelines.
I’m going rogue here and using chicken.
I’m also using water in place of the milk the seasoning packet calls for. My reasoning for this is simple: I have never slow cooked with cream or milk, etc. because I’m afraid of it curdling. If you know that this fear is irrational and have proof that the dairy will not curdle, please comment below. I have seen slow cooker recipes calling for dairy; on the other hand, I have read articles explaining that the dairy curdles and cannot stand up to the long periods of low heat that the slow cooker would introduce to it. Let me know! I would be curious to give an easy recipe a go just to test the theory in my own kitchen.
For now, I will be using water for this recipe.
Slow cook the meat with some diced onions too.
Throw in diced onions in with the chicken. You will not be sorry that you did this. First of all, the onions are going to seriously enhance the aroma of tacos in your home. Why would you not want your whole house to smell like Mexican food? Further, the onions are going to really jazz up the flavor of your meat.
Everything else is just cutting up some vegetables.
Some excellent choices for this dish:
Avocado (diced, sliced, whole, or in guacamole, just make sure you get some avocado on there because it is delicious)
Cilantro (I know this isn’t a vegetable, but you know what I mean)
Build your tacos on your choice of tortillas.
Personally, I’m a big corn tortilla fan.
And here is a little trick to make taco night even more special at your place: warm the tortillas up before serving them. Seriously, the smallest thing can really earn you some serious extra brownie points from your diners.
I just heat up a large frying pan on medium heat. I can usually fit 3 corn tortillas in this pan at one time. Let the tortillas warm for about 30 seconds, flip them, and let them warm for 30 more seconds.
Get a little fancy with it.
You can easily take this recipe the extra mile with some rice or beans. I always keep both stocked at my home. In fact, I ten to keep a variation of both rice and beans at my home. For this dish, I just quickly heated up some black beans in a sauce pan.
Here is another trick for you: grab a bag of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice to easily add rice to your meal. Pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds and ta-da! You have rice. I do not currently own a microwave so I always buy instant rice to easily make some on the stove top.
Yes, I know that you are thinking that I’m crazy for not owning a microwave. I’ll just rip the band-aid off now and let you know that I also do not currently own a toaster. And as hard as it is to wrap your head around these concepts, I promise you that I do just fine without either. I would rather have the extra counter space to get my kitchen on than have a microwave and toaster crowding my jam. I eat most of my leftovers cold anyway. And in a pinch, I have a toaster oven.
The old ball and chain cannot wait until we own a microwave.
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Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 7 hours
Makes about 8 tacos.
1 lb. frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 McCormick Cheesy Taco Seasoning packet
1/2 cup water (The seasoning packet calls for 3/4 of a cup. But you will absolutely gain water from the frozen chicken as it starts to thaw. Hence, we use less water.)
1/4 cup dice onions
1 can black beans
1 bag Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice
Taco sized tortillas
1) Put the chicken, seasoning packet, water, and onions into your slow cooker. Cooking times will vary. (I have a Hamilton Beach Crock-Pot that only has 3 settings: keep warm, low, and high. I’m going to cook my chicken on low for 7 hours. If I had gotten a late start, I could put it on high for 3 1/2 hours instead.)
2) Take some time while the chicken is cooking to prepare whatever veggies you want to put on your tacos. I’m using shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced onions, and avocado. You can prepare your veggies at any point while the chicken is cooking. Store them in the fridge to maintain their freshness.
3) Heat up your beans and rice just before the chicken is done to ensure they are served hot.
4) Once the chicken has finished cooking (you can always cut into the thickest part of a breast to make sure the chicken has cooked all the way through), you want to shred the chicken.
5) At this point, I put my tortillas in a pan to warm them up. They do not take long to heat up and lose their heat quickly, so I always make sure to do this step right before I plate my food.
6) Build your tacos!
Have ideas or comments? Leave them below!
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