My mom does not cook with a crockpot. There is no commentary in that, it’s just a statement of fact, by way of explaining that I don’t know how to use a crockpot. Most of my cooking foundation comes from what I grew up with, which I assume is true for a lot of us.
When I got married, he wanted to register for a crockpot, so we did, and we got one. I still didn’t know what to do with it. Amazingly, he did. He would throw some things into it before leaving for work, and when we came home at the end of the day, presto, the house would smell amazing and there was a roast with yummy carrots and potatoes. Like magic! During the treaty discussions of The Great War I certainly never made a play for the crockpot; clearly it belonged with him, when he could wrest such deliciousness from it and I had yet to unlock its mysterious charms.
Jump to Thanksgiving night a few years ago. I was chilling on the couch in jammies (duh) flipping through the Black Friday ads just to see what the popular deals were that year. I am not a Black Friday shopper. I don’t get up at four in the morning for anything, certainly not to stand in line at Big Box Nation to get a good deal on something electronic. I used to joke that Black Friday discriminates against night owls – I wouldn’t get up early to shop, but I might stay up late to shop, if there were any reason to. And then lo and behold, I discovered that Walmart (I know, I know – trust me, I only shop there about once every two years) had midnight deals. Nothing too exciting, just something to keep people occupied and in the store till the actual deals kicked in. Including a crockpot for $9.99. Also a coffeepot for $9.99, something else I didn’t have (or have much need for, because coffee is foul, but sometimes I have company). So I decided what the hell, pulled on clothes (even I don’t wear jammies to Walmart), and ventured out. They were handing out maps showing where in the store to find the deals – crockpots, for example, were on a pallet in the middle of women’s clothing – wha ha? Maybe this is a typical Black Friday tactic to confuse and make people move throughout the store? Whatevs, map in hand, I found the pots, coffee and crock. I picked up a baby crock for another $3.99 – what the hay. I was back in jammies on my couch by 1. Not too shabby.
Fast forward again to 2013. My lovely crockpots are sitting in the basement, still waiting for some action. I have used the big once or twice to warm up things like cocktail meatballs for a party, but that doesn’t count. I want the magic of food that makes itself! Conveniently, one of the recipe enewsletters I subscribe to sent me a recipe for a magical self-making chicken taco soup that sounded like a good first adventure. And guess what – it worked! I threw a bunch of stuff into the crockpot, I left it alone all day, and poof! it made dinner! It was not too shabby, either. A little spicier than I like my food, but I’m a wuss. I don’t eat sour cream (gack!) but I can understand how it would go with this. I froze a large bowl for another day, and took to some over to a friend’s house too. (Finding crockpot recipes for one might be a challenge – any suggestions?) But I like sharing food so I can roll with it.
The recipe comes from allrecipes.com, but here it is for your lazy bastards who can’t do your own internet searches. 😉 In case you want it.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Soup
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
- 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
- 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
- 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
- sour cream (optional)
- crushed tortilla chips (optional)
- Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
- Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.
Next time I make it I’ll try some modifications. No chili beans. Maybe some additional black beans, or another bean. Maybe tomatoes without the chilies – I like my food flavorful, but unspicy. 🙂
If you have any favorite crockpot recipes, please share!!
Oh, and ps, the $10-coffeepot was shit, at least according to the people who were served its coffee. My coffee-fiend father had a spare which now lives at my house. I don’t know how to use it, but it’s here if you want coffee. 😀