Monday, September 6, 2010

No Fool Back to School Meals: A Linky Party

{Photo borrowed from Vintage Victuals. Her Salsa Chicken recipe looks delish!}


Happy Labor Day y'all! I hope this day finds you all not laboring too much...which brings us to this post.

As much as I love food and actually enjoying cooking, it's the repetition that gets me. I wish I could just cook when I felt like it. And I wish I could leisurely sauté and sashay around my kitchen, serving up romantic meals like they feature on the cover of
Food & Wine.

But when real life comes calling about 6:00 every evening, I am faced with the task of feeding a family of 5 for the third time that day...and I am seriously uninspired.

So let's inspire each other with some easy meals that we can throw together in the crock-pot each morning or effortlessly assemble later in the day.

For the back-story of this post, click here.

I'll go first.

Salsa Chicken has been my go-to meal for years now. If you have a baby and need a meal, I'll probably bring you this with all the fixins. If you come to my house for dinner, I'll probably serve this meal. My kids love it and it's so easy they can actually make it. And once you add all the yummy toppings, it's tasty and interesting enough for refined grown-up palettes.

Here's the "recipe":

* Desired amount of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
* Desired amount of jarred salsa
* Optional: canned diced tomatoes and/or black beans to supplement salsa

(Example ratio: I use a 2.5 - 3.0 lb bag of breasts or tenderloins, combined with 2 jars of salsa, 24 oz. or so, a can of diced tomatoes, & a can of black beans.) Dump ingredients in a crock pot or just a large saucepan on the stove. Cook chicken until done. Shred chicken.

Serve chicken mixture over rice with toppings of choice: cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado. You can also roll it up in a burrito or serve it over tortilla chips.

Definitely make plenty of this! It's great leftover and you can even make two totally new meals from it. It's fantastic as quesadilla filling. Or, if you're in the mood for a yummy Mexican soup, try this: Take leftover chicken mixture, add some chicken broth or part broth / water depending on how much you have. Sprinkle in fresh cilantro, avocado, lime juice {if you have it} and a big scoop of leftover rice. You will have an amazing soup identical to the one my favorite local Mexican restaurant serves. Top soup with crunched up tortilla chips, shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, etc.

And there you have it: One ridiculously easy dish served four different ways!

This is the first time I've done a linky party. If you have a blog and want to link us to a recipe post or you want to do a post for this occasion, great! Link up. Just click on that little blue Cookie Monster looking icon at the bottom of the post and it will walk you through the steps. It takes 5 seconds. Make sure you link to the complete url address of your post, not to your general blog address.

If you don't have a blog, just leave your recipe for us in the comment section. And if you've never commented, now's your chance to de-lurk and introduce yourself {and your recipe.} It's easy. Just set up an account with blogger. All you need is a username and password.

My hope is that we can all get a few new tried and true recipes from real families that we can work into our own rotation of meals.

Here's a couple of recent resources I've found that are worth checking into:

Bon Appétit!


  1. I can't wait to get some more recipes to add to my repertoire! I enjoy cooking, but I get so weary of coming up with meal choices that I end up cooking the same 5-6 recipes over and over. It's time to add a few new ones!

    Chicken Stroganoff

    18 ounces bonless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
    1 packet Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix (I like the extra zesty version)
    8 ounces sliced mushrooms
    8 ounces sour cream, light (or 8 ounces of low-fat plain yogurt)
    5 ounces whole wheat noodles, cooked

    1. Mix together the soup and salad dressing mix.
    2. Put chicken breasts in crock pot. Pour soup/salad dressing mix over top.
    3. Cook on low for approx. 6 hours.
    4. Remove chicken breasts and shred. Return to crock pot.
    5. Add mushrooms and sour cream (or yogurt). Mix well and allow to heat.
    6. Serve over noodles.

  2. Tortilla Soup

    12 oz can chix broth
    1 can cream of chix soup
    2 cans cream of potato soup
    3 tsp minced garlic
    1/2 can mild rotel tomatoes (drained)
    1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
    1 can pinto beans
    2-3 chicken breast browned in skillet and chopped into cubes
    cumin/chili powder to taste
    shredded cheese and sour cream (topping)

    Throw all together in pot on stove and cook until heated well. Can also cook in the crock pot on low for 2hrs or until nice and warm.

    Serve with tortilla chips! YUM!

    Amy Smith

  3. Hey Scooper! This is going to be a great party. I'm probably going to link up tomorrow. Today I'm being so lazy! But I'll be back--and I'm really eager to get some REAL recipes!

  4. I make that chicken too but I always add a cup or two (whatever I have) of frozen corn. YUM. We like it best over nachos, with cheese and sour cream. :)

  5. i've always wondered how to do this. i am SO going to make this (with the black beans). i have a question. is 4 hours on low in the crock pot too long?

  6. Scooper,
    When I think about dinner earlier in the day, this is the what I put in the slow cooker. This is especially good to use in the summer when I don't want to heat up the kitchen. I put the slow cooker and rice steamer on the laundry porch. The porch is an unheated mud room of sorts.

    Neither of these ideas is hard, just simply good food.

    Place frozen chicken breasts (the kind that come in the bag from the Teeter or Food Lion or Aldi) in the slow cooker. Add seasonings, I like Adobo with Cumin, and about 1/2 cup water. Turn on low for 8-10 hours. About an hour before dinner, put the brown rice into the rice cooker. We also open a can, or two, of black beans and 'nuke' them. We have chicken, rice, beans and salsa along with a salad. Yummo!

    Another meal is a chuck roast in the slow cooker. I place it frozen in the cooker, too. I add one onion sliced on top, some red wine and cook 8-10 hours on low. We have brown rice and a salad along with some fruit with this meal.

    I know that thawed meat is best in the slow cooker, but I forgot to thaw a roast once and tried it in the cooker. It came out much better than normal and this is what I've done since then.

    Hope these are helpful?

  7. My go to? I have several. Fried egg sandwiches with a slice of cheese, taco soup (many recipes on internet), vegetable beef soup (good with any frozen bag of veggies if you don't have time to chop fresh ones. I add cabbage to mine and barley), spinach quiche (have to post recipe when I have the recipe which is in SC) but it makes two and i freeze one. My kids think they're having pie for dinner.

  8. Great idea! I often think that if I could get all of my friends to give me their one "go-to" recipe, we'd all be set ... and much less bored. Since our blog is private, I'll just post here.

    Angel Chicken
    4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    1 block cream cheese (low fat works fine)
    1 can Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup
    1/2 cup white wine, apple juice, chx. broth, water, whatever!
    cooked angel hair pasta
    green onions

    Combine cream cheese, soup, & liquid and microwave or heat on stove until melted. Place chicken in crock pot, pour cheese/soup mixture over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours, shred chicken, and serve chicken & sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.

    If I'm not together enough to get dinner going early in the day, hummus & salad wraps are one of our favorite quick dinners. A couple chicken breasts bake in the oven from frozen in about 30 minutes (sprinkle with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic salt for "pretend Greek"). While they're cooking, I make hummus and toss a salad. Then I chop up the chicken and we throw it all together in tortillas.

  9. Italian Chicken
    6-8 boneless/ skinless chicken breasts
    1 bottle Italian dressing

    Cook on low all day, or on high for 3-4 hours.
    Add 4 oz cream cheese, cook 30 min or so longer.
    Serve over rice.
    Kristen Walker

  10. I linked up! I have been meaning to post this recipe forever. Thanks for the motivation!!! Blessings!

  11. Some really great stuff there... WOW.. What a wonderful post.


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