Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Easiest Dinner. Ever.

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.


Abc said...

That looks really good!

Anonymous said...

That sounds great! My mom wouldn't eat beans if her life depended on it though, so I'm going to have to wait until she decides to go out.

I make a great roast in the crock pot, and you can make two dinners out of it, usually with leftovers of both. You can get any cut of beef or pork, because it tenderizes while cooking. If you want to leave out the wine for the toddlers and pregnant among you, however, you might need a slightly higher quality cut of meat.

Two pound beef or pork roast
1 pound baby carrots
Half a yellow onion, chopped
Four celery stalks, chopped
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tomato, diced
1 pound broccoli (I use frozen to avoid prep work.)
1 can corn (Draining is optional. You can use the liquid in the recipe if you want to.)
Half a bottle red wine
One packet beef stew seasoning mix
1 Tbsp garlic powder (but I really, really like garlic!)
2 tsp Montreal steak seasoning (or substitute black pepper)

Put the wine in the crock pot and mix the seasonings into it.

Place the roast in the seasoned wine and add the vegetables in around it. Add water to cover vegetables.

Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, occasionally pressing the vegetables back into the liquid as necessary. I usually check it every 2 hours.

Night One: Serve roast and vegetables with dinner rolls.

Night Two: Shred the remaining meat into the liquid. Add water as necessary to make a soup. I've found it freezes well in individual portions in Tupperware. This goes great with garlic bread, or if you're taking it out for a lunch on the go, you can just pack some crackers.

Joy@WDDCH said...

Sounds delish except I don't like black beans so I'd probably do a pinto bean or kidney bean.

I made BBQ boneless country ribs in the crockpot tonight. Just pour in the BBQ sauce of your choice with your ribs and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Served it with homemade french fries (cut potatoes and mix with EVOO and spices, bake at 450F for an hour) and canned peas.

Debby said...

one of my favorites that is super easy and simple is chicken cornbread casserole

1 can corn - drained
2 cups cooked chicken breast
1 can cream of chicken soup
Mix above ingredients in casserole dish or 9" pie plate

1 box jiffy corn muffin mix
3/4 cup mile (i use skim)
1 egg
Mix last 3 ingredients and pour over chicken mix

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 30 min or until golden

Super easy, yummy, CHEAP and not so bad for you.

I love recipes so please do keep sharing. I love to cook - everything from super simple meals to ones that take 2 hours.

Amanda said...

That sounds soooooo yummy!!! I'm going to have to try it soon!

Stacy Woodruff said...

Thanks so much for the recipe. I just got a crockpot, and have been looking for good recipes for it. This sounds like it's right up my alley. Keep em coming!