My husband and I recently completed 30 days of eating all whole, non-processed foods (on the Whole 30 plan). I have never eaten so many vegetables, eggs and meat in my life, but surprisingly, we loved every single meal I made from the” Whole 30″ cookbook, the “Paleo Nom Nom” cookbook and the one that this recipe originated from “Against All Grain”.
I wanted to highlight one of my very favorite recipes that has now become a staple in our family – originally named “Crock Pot Chicken Tacos” in the cookbook, now named Drippin’ Delicious Chicken Tacos” by myself :). I like to keep with the healthy theme and eat the tacos in a “lettuce tortilla” but my boys and husband now (post Whole 30) opt for the street taco feel with the little corn tortillas. Either way, it will be one of those meals that you savor every single bite as the juice literally runs down your arm.
One of the reasons this recipe ranks at the top of my favorites list is because it is SO SO EASY! You literally throw the frozen chicken, salsa and spices in a crock-pot, turn it on, go about your day. BOOM! You have a meal. I know we all appreciate being able to eat healthy and not have to slave in the kitchen all day.
The recipe calls for 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts as well as one pound of boneless, skinless thighs (which have become one of my favorite meats to cook with in the crock pot). I had gotten a crazy deal on organic vacuum sealed BS thighs at one of our natural grocers so I bought about 20 lbs of it. After using the first pack for stir fry one night, I was a little put off by the amount of fat that I had to cut through so the rest sat in my freezer for a couple of months until I tried this recipe. Crock pot is the way to go for this inexpensive cut of meat! It just melts the fat away and makes really tender juicy chicken. If you cannot find the thighs, feel free to just use all breast.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (these can be difficult to find so use all breasts if you need to)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 14-oz container of fresh salsa (For Whole 30 purposes, check the ingredients to ensure there is no sugar or preservatives)
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp sea salt (I absolutely love the Pure Himalayan Sea Salt – the pink stuff)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
*note – the original recipe called for 3 cups diced tomatoes in juices, 1 small yellow onion, diced, 4 garlic cloves, minced, 2 Serrano chilies, seeded and chopped and 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro but since almost all of these things are in a good fresh salsa, I just subbed the container of salsa with fantastic results*
Place the frozen (or defrosted) chicken in the crock pot. I did not trim any of the fat because most of it will melt away anyways, then I find it much easier to pull off the larger chunks while I am shredding it.
Now dump a container of your favorite fresh salsa over the top of the chicken.
I know, pretty difficult, huh?
Now, add all of your spices right on top. You still with me?
So many spices!!! Soooo much flavor!
Okay, plug in your crock pot if you haven’t already (I only put this little reminder in here because mine sat out on the counter for about 45 minutes today before I realized it was unplugged – HA!) Crank that baby up to high heat and walk away. About 2 hrs into the cooking process, I usually break up the chicken from the giant frozen clumps as it will be mostly defrosted by now. Is your mouth watering yet?
Let that baby sit for another 3-4 hours then shred. If you are using defrosted meat, obviously your cooking time will diminish significantly (I would lessen the cooking time by 1.5 hrs). If you are throwing this on before work, and plan to be gone for longer than 5 hours, place on low and cook for 8-9 hours.
Once the chicken is tender enough to shred, pull out the thighs (if you are using them), and shred, removing any small bits of fat remaining. Shred the breasts and place it all back into the pot of juices. Use tongs to squeeze the chicken out before placing in your lettuce boat or tortilla. Top with avocado, salsa, cilantro. If you are not interested in keeping it Whole 30, add some shredded cheese and sour cream. Be sure to eat this over a plate as you will have a little pool of savory juices when you are through. Makes great leftovers! Also, try it on some greens as a salad. So good!