As much as I like food, I just wish I had a personal chef to cook for me so I could enjoy the food without all the work. That's not too much to ask, right? Ha!
Since that's not my reality and I'm too budget- and health-conscious to eat out all the time, the meals I fix at home need to be quick and simple. With the boys needing help with homework and Lorelai needing my undivided attention, I just don't have the time to stand over a stove for any length of time.
And here's where we get to the easiest meal I've probably ever made (legit meal--frozen pizza and chicken nuggets don't count). The fact that it's inexpensive, doesn't require a trip to the store for fresh ingredients (yay cans!), is pretty darn healthy and my kids love it is just icing on the cake.
Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
(originally from the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook, with my modifications added in)
(yikes, clearly my food photography skills need work...It's yummy, I promise!)
- 4 chicken breast halves (I've cut back to 3 to save some money on meat and I don't miss the extra one at all since it's all shredded and mixed up at the end anyway)
- 2 15-oz. cans black beans, undrained
- 2 15-oz. cans Mexican stewed tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes (I usually use southwestern style diced tomatoes)
- 1 cup salsa (any heat you prefer, I use mild)
- 4-oz can chopped green chilies (I don't like spicy things at all and have never bought green chilies in my life so I omit this)
- 14 1/2-oz. can tomato sauce (I've used pasta sauce when I didn't have enough tomato sauce, nbd)
- Corn, eyeball it I guess? (I keep meaning to add this, but always forget since it's not in the original recipe. Can't vouch for it, but I'm guessing it probably doesn't suck if you like corn! But I obviously think it's great without the corn, too.)
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
Literally all you have to do is put your chicken breasts in your large crockpot, dump in everything except the cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips and cook on low for about 8 hours. I put frozen chicken breasts in my pot with all the ingredients and then into the fridge the night before so the chicken thaws a bit, and then start it before I leave for work. Most times it ends up cooking for closer to 9 hours, but since you're shredding the chicken anyway, cooking it a little longer doesn't matter.
When you get home, enjoy the amazing smell as you walk in the door (a very important step). Go outside and come back in, if you want. Then just before serving, shred the chicken with a fork and mix it up. Let it sit a little longer (or don't, it's probably good to go) and serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream. Bon appetit!
The recipe says this makes 6-8 servings. In my experience, it's enough for 2 generous adult portions (large bowl), 2 boy-sized portions (medium bowl) and one baby portion (small bowl) with probably about 3-4 servings left over. It freezes well, and you can do tacos/burritos or even a spin on enchiladas with the leftovers as well.
I'd love to hear any more super easy recipes you have! I'm clearly stuck in a food rut and need some help out before my family turns into frozen pizza and chicken nuggets :) (Ok, it's not that bad, but still...)
Linking up with Megan and Heather.