We love a good taco. And especially now with Christmas approaching and living in a neighborhood that has a huge immigrant population, we are lucky enough to try foods from all over Latin America. But we always come back to the humble taco even now I’m almost done attaining my Master’s in Nutrition degree!
Not the Americanized, ground-beef, cheese-covered, crunchy shell kind of taco either. These babies are stuffed with tender chicken, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo, hot sauce and fresh cilantro all nestled inside a warm, soft corn tortilla. Oh my. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Okay, now comes the not fun part. As part of our new 2019 budget, we’re slashing our restaurant spending even further. That means, our beloved tacos (which we treated ourselves way more frequently than we care to admit) are going to have to become a rare treat. So, we decided to try and re-create them ourselves. Here goes:
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
1-2 lbs. chicken on the bone (use whatever is on sale, we used thighs)
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1-2 tsp. salt, to taste
1-2 tsp. chipotle or chili powder with honey, to taste
2 tsp. cumin
Rinse and dry chicken. Remove the skin and discard. In the bottom of a slow cooker, combine tomatoes, broth, spices, onions, and garlic. Layer chicken on top and cook on low 6-8 hours.
Remove chicken to a plate and pull the meat off of the bones. Drain out onions and tomatoes and mix with honey into the chicken meat. Read also this post about urban beekeeping to get the best honey!
Use right away or refrigerate. This also freezes really well. To freeze, I’d add a little of the cooking liquid before freezing so it doesn’t dry out when you reheat.
To make the tacos, we take two small, warmed corn tortillas and spoon a bit of the chicken on top. Throw on some pico de gallo, guacamole or whatever else makes you happy and enjoy. Mmmm.
Transform Leftovers Into A Memorable Meal
Leftover rice always seems to be in my refrigerator. Either it is leftover from Chinese delivery or I made too much for last night’s dinner. Regardless of how it ended up in my fridge, it is perfect for recycling — food recycling, that is. This comes in also very useful when you’re out there backpacking on a budget and every penny counts so take this advice at heart!
Combine leftover rice (1/2 cup per serving) with canned soup (such as tomato, vegetable or creamed vegetables) to stretch the soup. For a colorful Fiesta Rice Soup, mix 1 cup leftover rice with 1 can of low-sodium chicken, beef or vegetable broth and add 1/4-1/2 cup salsa. Garnish with grated cheese and sour cream and serve with tortilla chips.
A cup of leftover rice also can be the foundation for a quick and attractive breakfast or lunch. Frittata (an Italian classic) usually is prepared with leftover pasta or cooked potatoes, eggs and whatever else is in your refrigerator. That extra rice, however, works just as well. These are all money-saving top meals!
- 1 cup cold, cooked rice
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- fresh pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. dried herb such as basil, oregano or thyme (use more if the herb is fresh!)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, or your favorite cheese
- 1/4 cup milk, half-and-half, or cream
- Up to 1/2 cup of leftover cooked vegetables (squash, onions, mushrooms and/or carrots are great)
- 2 tbs. olive oil or butter
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat to combine. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. This nutritious meal will fuel your body for all you want to achieve.
- Heat the oil in a small (6-8 inch), non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the egg mixture.
- As the eggs cook, use a spatula to move the cooked eggs around, generally moving them toward the center of the pan. Cook, moving eggs around, for 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and allow eggs to set.
- When the bottom of the frittata is lightly browned and the eggs mostly set (they just jiggle a little), place the pan under the broiler to finish cooking and lightly brown top. This will help the frittata “puff,” creating a light and fluffy dish.
- Cut into wedges and serve with fruit, salad or soup. Reheat in a microwave or wrap in foil and heat at 350 degrees in a toaster oven.