Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

As you have probably figured out by now, I love to be able to throw something in the slow cooker and forget about it… I also love Mexican (or really Tex-Mex) type foods. A friend posted this one (one of those 30-second videos) on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and I have been salivating about it ever since.

When I finally sat down and looked at the recipe, really it was all kinds of wrong. It had no building blocks of flavor. No onions (WHAT?)… chicken, cans of sauce, cheese and olives. Also, it had the chicken cooking for an insane amount of time. Unnecessary.

So when I went to the store to buy the ingredients, I stood in the Ethnic aisle and pondered. I decided to stick with the cans of enchilada sauce and I also picked up cans of green chiles (I opted for mild for the first go-round). I also grabbed an onion and went for 2 kinds of cheese. I nabbed some green onions and sour cream for garnish and decided that this would jazz this dish up to a whole other level.

Trust me, my friends (one in particular) will tell you that I am a suck for these videos but that even I will break my rule of following the recipe the first time when I know it is all wrong. Every great chef will tell you that you need the basics in any dish – and wether it is the French, the Spanish, the Mexican or even the Russians (okay maybe a bad example), pretty much everyone uses onions as a starting point. Take the time and give that dish some depth. This dish was still incredibly simple.

9servedYields 6 to 8 servings
Adapted From somewhere on the interwebs

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless
38 Ounce(wt)s enchilada sauce
1 Medium onion, white chopped
9 Ounce(wt)s chiles, green canned drained
11 Ounce(wt)s tortilla, corn, small cut into thick strips
1 Cup cheese, cheddar sharp grated divided
4 1/2 Ounce(wt)s olives, black sliced, drained, divided
2 Cups cheese, Mexican, grated
1/2 Cup sour cream for garnish
1 Bunch onion, green diced

Tools Needed:
Crock-Pot 6.5-Quart, Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker
ZYLISS Lock N’ Lift Can Opener

Directions:
Put the chicken breasts, onion, green chiles and the enchilada sauce in your slow cooker.
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2withsauce

Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

Remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks and put the shredded meat back into the sauce.
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Cut the tortillas into strips and then cut the strips in half.
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Add the tortillas to chicken and sauce.
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Stir.  Add cheddar cheese and half the olives into the sauce and chicken mixture. Stir again until well combined.
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Flatten the mixture slightly. Add the Mexican cheese (2 cups) and the other half of the olives on top.
7topped

Cook on low for about 40 to 60 minutes longer.
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Scoop into bowls and serve with sour cream and diced green onions on top.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

IMG_2544Yields 4 to 5 servings
From Tasty.com

Ingredients:
1 Large bell pepper, red sliced
1 Large bell pepper, yellow sliced
1 Large bell pepper, green sliced
1 Large onion, white sliced
2 Pounds chicken breast, boneless, skinless cut in half
2 Tbls seasoning, taco
6 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1 Each lime
10 Ounce(wt)s tomatoes, diced, with green chiles drained (Rotel)
12 Each tortilla, flour, 8 inch
1 Cup cheese, Mexican blend
1/2 Cup sour cream

Directions:
Add half of the sliced peppers and onions to your slow cooker.

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Next, layer the chicken and coat all sides with taco seasoning. Top with garlic, tomatoes (be sure to drain) and the juice from one lime.
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Add the remaining peppers and onions, cover, and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
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Remove chicken and cut/shred into slices (chicken left longer will tend to shred more – cook to your preference).
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Return the sliced chicken to the slow cooker to marinate in the juices for about 10 more minutes (on LOW) until ready to serve.
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If you find that there is too much liquid, you can remove till there is a desired amount before serving. Assemble Fajitas to your liking – we recommend topping with cheese, sour cream, and guacamole! Enjoy!
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Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos

Remember that time I agreed to cook ALL my meals. Yeah, about that…

So breakfast is the biggest challenge as I tend to skip it. So I needed make ahead meals that were super easy to heat up and would keep a few days in the fridge. Also, that I would not tire of. This really hit the spot and I love them. Tater tots are the perfect way to get the carb and make you think this has hashbrowns in it. The eggs I cooked lightly and did not over scramble. I opted for sage sausage (maple would have been great in here too) and the tomato gives it that bit of freshness.

Once I rolled them up – I think a 10- or 12-inch tortilla would have been better as these were bursting out of their shells a bit. But they still managed to roll up and were delicious each morning. Frankly, I’m a little sad to have polished them off and know I will have to make them again.

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Yields 8 servings
From somewhere out there (thru Pinterest)

Ingredients:
2 Cups Tater Tots
2 Tbls oil, olive
1 Pound sausage, I use Jimmy Dean’s Sage
8 Large egg, whole lightly beaten
1/3 Cup half and half
1 to taste salt and pepper
16 Ounce(wt)s beans, refried
8 Each tortilla, flour, 8 inch
2 Cups cheese, Mexican blend
2 Each tomato, plum diced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

Cook tater tots according to package instructions; set aside.
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Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks.
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Drain excess fat, reserving 1 tablespoon in the skillet. I use a colander in the sink and leave a little fat behind in the skillet.
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Whisk half and half, salt and pepper into eggs. Add eggs to the skillet and cook, whisking, until they just begin to set.
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Continue cooking until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, about 3 to 5 minutes; set aside.

Spread beans down centers of tortillas; top with tater tots, sausage, eggs, cheeses, and tomatoes.
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Fold in opposite sides of each tortilla, then roll up, burrito-style. Place, seam-sides down, onto preparing baking sheet; cover.

Place into oven and bake until heated through, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

TO FREEZE: Cover each burrito tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. To reheat, (1) microwave for 4 to 6 minutes, turning halfway, or (2) bake at 400 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until completely cooked through.

If simply making ahead and reheating each day (storing in the fridge), store in an airtight container. Each day, nuke one on high for 30 seconds. Then heat in a skillet with non-stick spray about 30 seconds per side. You’ll get the tortilla crispy and brown and we all know brown food tastes good!

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Turkey Taco Bowls

Challenge proposed:

Cook every meal for 30 days: Breakfast!, lunch and dinner. Do not eat out, do not cheat and buy breakfast pastries, Lean Cuisines, etc. Cook. Every. Meal. #cook90challenge

Ummmmm, ok. Sure. This seems easy enough. Until I look at my work schedule and realize that I tend to work 10+ hours a day. Sure, I work from home and my office is nicely ensconced in my 2nd bedroom (which doesn’t have a bed in it) and is right upstairs from my kitchen. Easy pisy, right? Nope.

So I’ll do this modified. Twice a week, I’ll cook. I’ll meal plan, prep and cook 4 meals worth of breakfast (hello, when do I actually make time to eat breakfast… my cold brew coffee does NOT count), lunch AND dinner. I will make healthy versions of these things and I will not order take out when it turns out I have been head down configuring, data migrating or in BPRS for 6 hours straight (sorry Jimmy John’s, Door Dash, etc.). No eating out. Sorry Starbucks. No eating out. (Sorry to my bartenders, too). Sorry Yelp. Well, at least I can catch up on my backlog of reviews?

So here was my first lunch attempt. Even I was skeptical. I figured I would get bored of the same thing every day. No way – not with this one. Now, I did modify it from the original. A) Made is spicier and B) No where could I find only 1 pound of ground turkey. So I went a little crazy and ended up with 5 servings. More for me! This gets better every day as the flavors get more intense. And, this is a keeper!

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Yields 4 servings
From somewhere out there on the interweb

Ingredients:
1 Cup rice, brown
1 1/3  Pound turkey, white ground
3 Tbls seasoning, taco
1 Pint tomatoes, cherry quartered
1 Each pepper, jalapeño minced
1/4 onion, red minced
1/2 Each lime juiced
1/4 tsp salt, Kosher
12 Ounce(wt)s corn, canned drained and rinsed
1/2 Cup cheese, Mexican, grated
1 to taste taco sauce
1 Cup corn chips, yellow (optional)
Plastic containers with lids

Directions:
Cook brown rice according to package directions, adding the lime zest (of you can juice the other half of the lime) and salt to the cooking water.

Cook turkey over medium heat, tossing in the taco seasoning and breaking it up as you cook. Cook for 10 or so minutes, until cooked through.

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Add about 1/4 water and let it cook off. This helps cook in the flavor of the seasoning.
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Combine tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, juice from the lime and salt and toss together. Set aside – this is your salsa.
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To assemble lunch bowls:
-1/4 portion of cooked rice
-1/2 cup corn kernels
-1/2 cup cooked taco meat
-1/4 portion of salsa
-1/4 portion of cheese
Top with a drizzle of taco sauce (I use Taco Bell available in a bottle at the grocery)

Store in the fridge until ready to heat and eat – about 1 to 2 minutes in a microwave. Top with a little sour cream (if desired) and extra taco sauce. Serve with chips on the side.
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Healthy Turkey Chili

Cold weather means it’s time for soups, stews and most importantly, chili! I love all things chili and was thrilled when the temperature dropped enough to be able to start trying new chili recipes.

This one was good, but needed quite a bit of adjustments (all reflected below). It needed more tomatoes and less beans for the ratio of meat and spices. Also, the amount of garlic is asked for was laughable. And depending on how liquidy or chunky you like your chili, you can just add more chicken stock. Personally, it needed to cook longer. Chili needs to simmer an hour to get all those flavors to meld into the meat.

The garnishes are also optional and adjustable – so if you prefer to have cornbread with your chili, skip the chips and make some. Also, for my cilantro-haters – this is just a garnish. You can skip it, or replace with parsley!

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Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 tsp oil, olive
1 Medium onion, yellow chopped
8 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1 Medium bell pepper, red chopped
1 Pound turkey, white ground
3 or 4 Tbls chili powder (spice this to your liking)
2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp oregano, fresh
1/4 tsp pepper, cayenne
1/2 tsp salt, Kosher
42 Ounce(wt)s tomatoes, diced
2 1/2 Cups broth, low-sodium chicken
15 Ounce(wt)s beans, kidney, canned drained and rinsed (dark red)
15 Ounce(wt)s corn, canned drained and rinsed
1 Cup cheese, Mexican, grated
1 Large avocado chopped
1 Cup tortilla chips
1 Tbls cilantro finely chopped for garnish
1/4 Cup sour cream for garnish

Tools Needed:
Kuhn Rikon Stainless Steel Epicurean Garlic Press
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 4-Quart Saucepan
Norpro 7656 10-Inch Bamboo Spoon

Directions:
Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat.

Add in onion, garlic and red pepper and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
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Next add in ground turkey and break up the meat using a wooden spoon; cooking until no longer pink.
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Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt; stir for about 20 seconds.

Add in tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45  to 60 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together.

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Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary.
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Garnish with cheese, avocado, cilantro (or parsley), sour cream and tortilla chips.