Okay, so technically, the easiest dinner is to call for pizza. Or chinese. Or put a frozen meal in the oven.
But if you want to serve a hot dinner that is super easy, economical, tastes really good, AND makes two meals in one, then you will want to make this.
Black Bean Crock Pot Chicken - TWO DINNERS IN ONE
8 frozen chicken breasts
1 15 oz. jar of salsa (any flavor/brand)
1 15.5 oz. can of black beans (drained)
1 15 oz. can of corn (drained)
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
Place frozen (yes, frozen) chicken breasts in the crockpot.
Add the salsa, black beans, and corn.
Cook on HIGH for 4 - 5 hours or LOW for 6 - 8.
One half hour before cooking, toss brick of cream cheese on top and let melt in. Stir before serving.
Night One: Serve chicken breasts whole with the sauce over steamed rice, with cornbread on the side.
Night Two: Using two forks, shred chicken and mix with remaining sauce. Place in plastic baggie to either freeze or refrigerate for another meal where you can use the meat as a filling for tacos or burritos (I used mine for enchiladas).
*Here are the adjustments that I made:
I added just a dash (probably 1/8th tsp. or less) of garlic salt before I put the lid on the first time.
I also didn't like how "runny" the sauce was, so I did add a TBS. of cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons room temp water. I stirred that in about ten minutes before I added the cream cheese and it thickened it up nicely.
I only used half of the package of cream cheese and used light (not non-fat). I thought it was creamy enough and might have been "too" creamy if I had used the whole thing.
I also used frozen corn instead of canned and it worked great.
This is the cornbread recipe that I used. I thought it was better than the usual "box" mix by itself, but I still prefer making it from scratch. This was a ton easier, though, which is the name of the game with a busy toddler running around.
Will and M both enjoyed this. The chicken was very tender and it wasn't too spicy because I used a medium salsa and the beans, corn, and cream cheese tempered it. You could definitely use a spicier salsa and I might even add a dash or two of cayenne pepper if I wasn't serving a toddler. Olives might be a nice touch, too, or some diced mild green chiles. If you don't like spicy at all, use a mild salsa and you'll be just fine!
Also, to make serving this even easier, I make large batches of rice and then freeze the extra in quart sized freezer bags. I put a 1/2 tsp of olive oil in the bag and then shake before freezing. This helps the rice when you thaw it out to be moist instead of dry. It took me less than five minutes (including getting out the crockpot and all ingredients) to put this meal together and it was a definite hit!
Please share any of your latest favorites! I am especially fond of quick, easy, and inexpensive, but I also don't mind putting in extra time and effort for an especially good meal. Speaking of which, remind me to share my favorite boneless BBQ rib recipe with you soon. Time consuming, but easy, and so good.