Drippin’ Delicious Chicken Tacos

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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.

 

Ingredients:

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*

 

 

Directions:

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.

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Now dump a container of your favorite fresh salsa over the top of the chicken.

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I know, pretty difficult, huh?

Now, add all of your spices right on top. You still with me?

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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? FullSizeRender (8)

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.

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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!

Drippin' Delicious Chicken Tacos

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 14-oz container of fresh salsa

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 1/2 tsp coriander

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place frozen chicken in the crockpot.
  2. Add salsa and spices.
  3. Cook on high for 1 hour then separate chicken breasts and thighs.  Cook for an additional 5-6 hours until chicken is tender enough to be shredded easily.  (You can also just place the chicken in the crockpot and cook on low for 8-9 hours if you are going to be gone).
  4. Remove chicken from crockpot and shred.  Remove any fat pieces from chicken thighs.  Add back to juices in crock pot.
  5. Squeeze chicken with tongs to drain some of the juice before placing it in lettuce leaves (for Whole 30/Paleo/GF) or tortillas.
  6. Top with avocado, salsa, and cilantro (and cheese and sour cream if your not trying to stay Whole 30 compliant).

Fall-Off-The-Bone Crock Pot Ham

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I can almost guarantee that once you try this ham recipe, you will never go back to preparing your ham any other way.  Not only does this recipe completely free up your oven during the holidays for your turkey or dinner rolls or whatever else you may need it for, but the end result will leave you feeling like the king/queen of the kitchen because chances are, it will be the talk of the dinner table.  The ham is so tender; it falls apart and is so full of flavor.  We make this ham year round in our house because my family absolutely loves it and it enables us to have so many awesome options for quick meals with the leftovers.   You will want to eat the entire thing yourself.  You may find yourself limiting your guests to a small helping of ham because you are going to want those leftovers! 🙂

Ingredients:

1 Bone-in Ham

Here’s a little lesson on ham…At a regular grocery store, you will most likely have the option of a “Butt End/Portion” (the upper portion of the leg) or a “Shank End/Portion” (the lower portion of the leg). The “Butt ” cut generally has more meat than the “Shank ” cut, but also contains more fat and bone. The “Shank ” cut only has one large bone so it is a great choice if you will be carving your ham.  We won’t be doing much carving folks; it’s going to be falling apart on its own. If you are curious what the difference between the “End” and the “Portion” cuts are, I will enlighten you.  Have you ever bought the “Center Ham Slices” from the store? They are more like a ham steak, usually less than 1” thick.  This is the prime cut from the ham that is sliced from between the “Butt” and the “Shank” portions of the ham.  If you buy a ham labeled “Butt or Shank End,” you are buying a ham that still has that center slice attached.  If you buy the “Butt or Shank Portion,” that center slice has been removed.   

As far as our ham goes, I recommend the “Butt Portion” as our goal for this recipe in the crock pot is to find the shortest ham you can. We are good with bones and fat in a crock pot recipe because they are going to give us a ton of flavor.  Also a note on spirals… they will work just fine but tend to dry out a little more and don’t give you the delicious chunks of shredded ham.  You will just have a whole lot of tiny little pieces.    Whew! Let’s move on!

3 cups light brown sugar (I never measure, so this is just an approximate amount).

Directions:

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Use about 1 and ½ cups of the brown sugar, or enough to cover the bottom of the crock pot in a ¼ inch layer.

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Cut open your ham packaging and remove the plastic circle that is most likely covering the bone on the bottom side of the ham.

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Place your ham face down on top of the brown sugar.

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Coat the top of the ham in a thick layer of brown sugar.

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Replace lid.  If your ham is too tall to fit the lid on top, cover with a few pieces of foil.  Try to get as tight a seal as possible.

Cook over high heat for 6-7 hours or low heat for 8-10 hours. I like to flip the ham at least once during the last hour or two of cooking to ensure the entire ham gets to soak in all the yummy juices.

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You know the ham is done when you can poke in a fork and easily shred the ham.  The hams are already pre-cooked before they are packaged so if you happen to run short on time and have to pull it out before it starts falling apart, it will still be ok to eat. 

Remove from crock pot and serve in chunks.

Don’t worry about cleaning off the bone too much because you can save the bone and scraps for a split pea and ham soup or ham and navy bean soup. 

I usually save some of the ham chunks for leftovers and sandwiches but the rest I cube up and freeze for convenient additions to other meals.  Use a handful for omelets, breakfast burritos, biscuits and ham gravy, baked macaroni and cheese with ham, etc. This is primarily why I make ham year-round.  I love the convenience of having it in the freezer for go-to meals. 

Stay tuned as I will be using some of my left-overs in other recipes.

Fall Off The Bone Crockpot Ham

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1 butt-portion ham (approx. 6-9 lbs)

3 cups light brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Remove ham from plastic wrap, also remove plastic circle that is covering the bone.
  2. Cover the bottom of the crockpot with a  good layer of brown sugar.
  3. Place the ham face (flat side) down in the crockpot.
  4. Cover the top of the ham with the remaining brown sugar.
  5. Cover with lid (or foil if lid doesn’t fit).
  6. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for  6-8 hours.
  7. Flip ham in the last hour or two to ensure that the top of the ham is allowed time to soak in the juices.
  8. Remove ham from crockpot when ham easily falls apart.  Pull ham apart (being careful not to burn your fingers) to separate the meat from the fat and bone.
  9. Serve on a platter.