Friday, April 5, 2013

Clean Chicken Taco Dinner

Over the years, my mom continuously told me to buy a whole chicken and cook it in the Crockpot. You can get so many meals out of a chicken, she would tell me. I'm sure that's the case, Mom, but I don't have time for that. I was a working mom with a knack for Hamburger Helper. 

Well, now that things have changed, I finally bought an organic whole chicken a few months ago because it was hugely on sale. I did learn all the things you can do with it; cook it in the crockpot, stew the carcass to make broth, pick off every last bit of meat for chicken soup, etc. A couple weeks ago I had some left over chicken in the fridge and a short amount of time to throw dinner together, so I made this up. It's not revolutionary, but it's clean, easy and tasted really good! 

First I grabbed some onion and green pepper, which I have pretty much learned to always have on hand. You can add those to ANYTHING!

Then I shredded the leftover chicken, double checking for any little bones that might have sneaked by me the first time. 

Next, I threw it all in a skillet with a couple Tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning. The seasoning is clean, it's made with spices you have at home. It's much better than the packets you buy at the store, it tastes better, and is less greasy and drippy. We LOVE it. I'll post the recipe at the bottom. 

Add some water to the skillet and then cook them like you do normal tacos. Bring it to a boil and then simmer until you think it's ready. For my stove, it's about 15 minutes.

While my tacos are simmering, I cut up some olives (We are HUGE olive fans here) and tomatoes, rinsed some canned black beans, and shredded some cheese. I just used whatever I had on hand. 

Warm up a tortilla in the microwave, spoon in your chicken mixture, add your toppings and you are good to go! 

If you want this to be a truly clean meal, then you would either use homemade tortillas (which I have NOT ventured into yet) or a clean store-bought tortilla. We discovered Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas and we really like them. You can find them in the freezer section. In this picture, however, we only had some whole wheat tortillas so that's what we had to use that night. One of the difficulties that I've found with eating clean is that living in a small town, your local grocery stores don't carry much of what you need. So when you run out of tortillas, you have to make due with something else. And I'm okay with that, we can't be perfect 100% of the times, right?? Remember what Jill Savage said??

I served the tacos with a side dish my clean-eating-guru friend told me about. She is quite possibly a genius. Cook brown rice in your homemade chicken broth and add black beans to it. Normally we eat brown rice cooked plain, but by making it this way the broth adds flavor, the beans add protein, and it all adds nutrition! The rice dish alone probably has a full serving of protein for one meal. 

I would say for a throw-together meal, this one turned out pretty good! It is really nice to have some recipes on hand that I know are easy and quick to put together for those days I have to work or have spent all day in the kitchen baking and the last thing I want to do is make dinner. This one has been added to my rotation, and the best part for me is that I didn't have to consult a cookbook every 2 minutes. I have to say, that was pretty fun!

Here are the recipes for the tacos, the taco seasoning, and guidelines for the brown rice.

Leftover Chicken Tacos
  • Leftover chicken from your crockpot meal, shredded and de-boned
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Pour the olive oil in a large skillet and heat on medium. Add onion and green pepper and cook until softened. 

Add the shredded chicken to the skillet and stir. Then add in taco season and water. Turn heat to high, bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While chicken is cooking, prep your toppings:tomatoes, lettuce, olives, beans, cheese, etc.

When chicken mixture is fully cooked, place in a tortilla, top with toppings, and enjoy!

Clean Taco Seasoning
I found this recipe on Pinterest. I think the credit goes to Rachel Ray, but HERE is the website I printed it off of.

  • 1 part Chili Powder
  • 1 part Ground Cumin
  • 1 part Garlic Powder
  • 1 part Onion Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 part crushed red pepper 
You can basically make this in any amount you want. I made a lot and then stored it in a container in my spice drawer and then I had it when I needed it. It had been great!

Brown Rice Side Dish
  • Brown Rice
  • Black Beans, canned (no salt added)
  • homemade Chicken Broth
This is extremely easy. Cook the rice according the directions on the box, but replace the water with either half broth/half water or all broth. Then add in as many black beans as you desire and cook. 

That's it!

There is your totally clean Mexican Dinner made from things you have around the kitchen. 

Now, back away from the Hamburger Helper....just back away....

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