I don't know about the rest of you, but the start of school makes me feel like I'm caught in a pinball machine. I'm sure most of you can relate. Feeling pulled in multiple directions is commonplace for adults on most days, but something about saying goodbye to the lazy days of summer make an autumn schedule seem all the more intimidating.
Busy school mornings give way to long work days and in a flash your day dissolves into carpooling to soccer games and ballet classes. And just when you finally make it home it's time for the kiddos to break out the text books and get busy on their homework. Somewhere in the middle of all this nuttiness someone is supposed to step up and cook a nutritious and delicious dinner. Phew!
On some days it feels impossible to find the time to prep a meal even if you've managed to find the time to go to the grocery store. Thankfully a little forward thinking can make surviving the back-to-school shuffle a wee bit easier. A batch of my chicken tacos comes together in a snap if you take a moment to do a little prep the night before and put your slow cooker to good use in the morning.
These family-friendly tacos feature shredded chicken and assorted peppers. Mixing up a quick sauce containing tomatoes, smoky chilies and an array of spices takes all but a few moments and it can be refrigerated overnight. While you're at it, get the peppers and onions ready to go and toss them in the fridge until morning.
Marry the sweet and spicy sauce, colorful veggies and some chicken breasts in a slow cooker when you wake up and confidently walk out the door. Allow the mixture to simmer the day away and you'll come home to delightful smells. Toss in some black beans and corn before shredding the chicken and serving up these simple tacos. My survival chicken tacos are the perfect way to take control of a busy day.
SURVIVAL CHICKEN TACOS
This makes a generous amount of taco filling, but it freezes beautifully! Make a bunch and freeze it in smaller containers for another easy dinner later on.
For the sauce:
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons crushed canned chipotle chilies
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the filling:
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Spanish onion, halved and sliced
2 red peppers, cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 orange pepper, cut into strips
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen roasted corn
1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
Corn and/or flour tortillas (I used "street size" tortillas)
Crumbled queso fresco cheese
Combine the tomatoes, chipotle chilies, garlic, sugar and spiced in a small bowl and mix well. Spray the inside of your 6-8 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray. Pour 1/2 the sauce into the crock pot and top with the chicken breasts. Toss the sliced onions and peppers on top of the chicken and pour the remaining sauce over the veggies. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Add the roasted corn and black beans to the pot. Continue cooking for 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the crock pot and shred it with 2 forks. Remove the tomatoes, corn and beans from the pot using a slotted spoon and mix it with the shredded chicken. Serve the chicken and peppers on warmed tortillas with a generous squeeze of lime. Garnish the tacos with crumbled cheese, scallions, cilantro and sour cream if desired.