After all the chocolates, cookies and lemon treats this weekend, not to mention some amazing ham (seriously people, check out this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe if you've ever wished there was something you could actually do to ham besides glazing the outside and warming it up.) this dish is just what I needed in my life this week. Something a little healthier, low fat, packed with protein and easy to make. Oh, and tasty to boot.
If you haven't heard all about quinoa and why you should be eating it, do a quick google search. It's one of the darlings of the food world right now, and unlike some of the other current fad foods, I think quinoa lives up to its hype. I love its mild flavor and fluffy texture and cook with it on a regular basis. (Incidentally, if you want to see my 10 month old's reaction to quinoa's texture, see my Google+ page)
What I love about this recipe is that it is made in the slow cooker and the hands-on time is minimal. The quinoa is added at the end so it soaks up the juices from the slow cooker, making it packed with flavor. It's also a one-pot meal, which is always great when it comes to clean up time. Between the chicken breasts, the black beans and quinoa, it's a protein powerhouse so it's also very filling. There is just enough heat for my tastes, but you can easily adjust the amount of heat to your tastebuds by using hot salsa or adding more cayenne pepper. Whether you indulged a little too much this weekend or just want a delicious, easy, healthy meal, this one is great.
Slow Cooker Southwestern Chicken and QuinoaPublished 04/02/2013
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 2 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs; can be frozen)
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed*
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- crushed tortilla chips
- Place corn in an even layer on the bottom of a 5-6 quart slow cooker, then layer chicken breasts, black beans and salsa on top.
- Stir cumin, garlic, oregano and cayenne and chicken broth into diced tomatoes, then pour mixture over black beans and salsa in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Remove chicken from slow cooker and turn slow cooker up to high. Stir in quinoa and replace lid. Shred chicken and return to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30-40 minutes, or until quinoa has cooked and soaked up remaining liquid in the slow cooker. (Some salsas are more liquidy than others, so if you are finding that after 25 minutes or so that the mixture still looks very wet, take the top off the slow cooker and stir a few times while it finishes cooking so that some of the moisture can evaporate.)
- Serve warm with tortilla chips, cilantro and avocado.
*Make sure you rinse your quinoa before using it. Your package may say that it is pre-washed but I've had packages of pre-washed quinoa that were very bitter unless I rinsed it myself.
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook time: 7 hours
Recipe Source: HeatOvenTo350, inspired by several sources including Mel's Kitchen Cafe, Taste of Home and the Fagor 3 -in-1 Electric Multicooker Recipe Book