Tex-Mex Slowcooker Stew (Soup)

February 29, 2012 · 9 comments

in chicken/poultry,crockpot,healthy,mexican/tex-mex,soups and stews

 

Last week, I started a new job. Although the hours are the same as my previous one, the commute is a little longer, so I’ve been getting home about 15 minutes before our normal dinnertime. Not cool.

It’s been really hard for me to think of meals that can be made in a minimal amount of time. One thing I’ve started doing is prepping as  much as I can in advance, whether that means trimming and pounding chicken at 6am, forming burger patties as my morning eggs cook, or assembling a baked pasta dish the night before that my husband can pop into the oven when he gets home.

And then, of course, there’s the slowcooker. So many people swear by them and, while I’m definitely using mine more frequently and finding more meals I enjoy from it, it’s still a struggle. It’s not just about finding a recipe that doesn’t use processed ingredients, but finding one that won’t dry up or turn into a pile of mush by the time you get home.

This recipe is a winner on so many levels. At the most basic – everyone in our family loved it. Always a huge success. The other great thing is there is no rice or pasta or really anything that has the potential of overcooking. While the original recipe calls for cooking the chicken on low for 4-6 hours, let’s be real. Most people can’t do that, and I’m one of them. Since the only thing really cooking all day is chicken, it’s not an issue to let this go the entire time you’re at work. Using chicken thighs, which have a much lower tendency to dry out than chicken breasts, really helps, too.

My stew is thinner and also redder than Josie’s, and that’s because I used tomato sauce in place of the diced tomatoes. You know how you always just assume you have staples around? Yeah, well, I definitely thought I had diced tomatoes and chicken broth and of course I realized at about 9:30pm the night before I made this that I had neither. I ended up subbing tomato sauce and Better Than Bouillon, which worked out fine, but the tomato sauce obviously made this more of a soup than a stew (which we were okay with).

The original recipe calls for microwaving the vegetables but I opted for sauteing them since it’s not much more difficult. I actually cooked them the night prior so that in the morning all I needed to do was dump everything into the slowcooker and turn it on.

I’m always SO happy when I find a slowcooker recipe that tastes great and is enjoyed by the whole family. I’m definitely glad to have this recipe in my back pocket!

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

ErinsFoodFiles February 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I know this isn’t really commenting on the recipe, so I hope you don’t find this rude, but if you’re looking for a new slow cooker dish to try, I recently made this Slow Cooker Thai Style Peanut Pork from my friend’s blog: http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/03/thai-style-peanut-pork.html And it cooks for 8 hours. I’m notoriously running late in the morning, yet I managed to get this prepped before work! Just thought you might be interested! :)

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elly March 1, 2012 at 7:29 am

Thanks, Erin!

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Joanne March 1, 2012 at 5:31 am

I definitely have days where I come home at 8:30 from the gym and kick myself for not having planned ahead with a slow cooker meal or having done prep work the night before. Finding good slow cooker meals is hard work but this sounds delicious! so many bold flavors and really, you can’t go wrong with tex-mex.

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Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} March 1, 2012 at 6:18 am

I agree with your comment about dried out mush by the time you get home. I also struggle with loving my slow cooker. Thanks for posting a good one that works, because when it actually works, it’s awesome!

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Kelsey March 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Love your notes on keeping things from drying out. I’m always afraid to use my slow cooker on work days because it’s 12 hours between when I leave and when I eat!

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Ivy March 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

You reminded me of the years I used to work which were more or less about the same as yours. I also used to prepare a few meals during the weekend which freeze well and also used a pressure cooker. I’ve never used a slow cooker before but sounds like a great idea and your tex-mex soup sounds delicious.

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Claudie March 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

I’ve never tried cooking with a slow cooker, but I guess it’s probably time. The idea of having dinner ready after a long busy day sounds pretty nice :-)

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Kerstin March 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Love all the layers of flavor in your stew!

And congrats on your new job! I almost never cook something new before eating dinner – it’s always way too late and I’m starving so we eat leftovers and then after dinner, I’ll cook something for the next night. :)

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Platanos, Mangoes and Me! March 22, 2012 at 9:32 am

Congrats and like this recipe..will keep it.

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