Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taco-Choco Chicken for Easy Crock Pot Cooking January 24, 2012

Convertible Cooking without a functioning kitchen requires lots of simple, satisfying meals. Construction and renovations on two properties rule our lives and meals have needed to be altered, skipped, ordered in or take-out. Ugh! One job site has an oven and the other a range-top, so our conversion meals have been painfully absent. Sorry, please accept our apologies; however this is our offering to beg forgiveness … 
For starters- this meal is Crock pot friendly. We hope you’ll try this modified entry if you’re constructing, renovating, working, studying, doing your taxes, or tied to a project in anyway, as the results are so satisfying we just had to put down our tools and tell everyone about it.  
          This terrific dish was originally made with a 2 ½ lb. pork butt or shoulder roast. Lately however, Noelle struggles with gallbladder issues after eating pork, so we tried it with chicken legs and thighs first at her house for meal No.1. Crock Pot cooking times were largely ignored while construction of a new window wall was being built, distracted only by the wonderful smell of this magical sauce simmering away. Then before the crock pot had cooled and the memories of a satisfying meal were still fresh, she brought me the sauce and I added 3 frozen bone-in chicken breasts for meal No.2.
          Every now and then the chicken was checked for done-ness and when cooked fully, everything was allowed to cool in the sauce overnight in the refrigerator. The next day I pulled the meat from the bones in large shreds, added it back into the sauce before reheating everything on the Crock Pot’s high setting, while deconstruction of an old suspended ceiling took place in my husband’s office.
          Instead of serving this on corn tortillas as recommended in the original Real Simple Magazine’s “Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Tacos” recipe,, I served it on a mixed bed of baby greens and some “American Blend” salad stuff with shredded carrots and purple cabbage I had on hand. Too weary to even pour some wine in my glass, I managed to top it with fresh avocado slices and a dollop of sour cream. I cooked off some white russet potatoes in the microwave to round out the meal and crashed happily into a comfortable chair to admire our construction results and enjoy every bite and delicious drop of this converted recipe.
          My family prefers dark meat chicken, so finding ways to sauce up the less fatty white breast meat to keep it moist and flavorful is always worth trying at my house, especially when there is no-fuss about it. The bagged lettuces kept it easy and slimmer too, so the indulgent guilt-factor was reduced enough to serve a lot.
          Satisfying and rich, the sauce is flavor packed and well blended rather than Mexican spicy which suits me just fine after a hard day working. To “punch-it-up” spicy, hot salsa might add more kick than mild but I wouldn’t recommend it. The sauce with the cocoa powder makes it more “comfort food” memorable because it’s so simple, tastes so good, and because it is ready when you are. Leftovers a-plenty too … for the freezer; perhaps a meal No.3? Hmmmm … Maybe this recipe would be better named “Progressive Construction Taco-Choco Chicken” as we get back to work. Give it a try as it is pretty hard to beat a combination this good if you ask me!

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