Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili Tacos

Chicken Chili Tacos

A couple years ago I went to my friend Nancy’s Super Bowl party. We spent the weekend coming up with all kinds of delicious ideas. She decided to make one of the day’s main bites to eat (BBQ pulled pork sandwiches) in the crock pot and just let people serve themselves whenever they wanted. Genius! I don’t eat pork like that, so I didn’t try any, but I liked the idea. I easily could have done BBQ chicken sandwiches here, but tacos are more my style. It would be really easy to prep a taco bar with all the fixings before the big game and allow your and your guests to eat at leisure.

I totally had delicious salsa to put on the tacos, but I totally got distracted by the amazing guacamole. The avocados in these parts are pretty phenomenal at the moment (that and I make delicious guac). Fear not, the salsa will find a home in the leftovers, if it doesn’t meet some tortilla chips first.

Another slow cooker recipe that would be perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, or any day really, I would also recommend my Tri-Tip tacos! They are delicious.

If a taco bar seems like a bit too much work, this recipe could easily be turned into an real chili recipe. You would just have add some more tomatoes/salsa. I would recommend a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (look for fire-roasted or chiles) and their juice and a second can of pinto beans (also drained and rinsed).

Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili Tacos
Loosely inspired by Martha Stewart.

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or a mix)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounce jar prepared tomato salsa, plus more for serving
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1-16 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 Tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
  • 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Chipotle powder
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • hard corn taco shells
  • Cilantro, shredded cheese, guacamole, lime wedges, and sour cream, for serving (optional)
  1. In slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, onion, chiles, pinto beans, chili/chipotle powder, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours (or on low, 6 hours).
  2. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, and shred, using two forks. Return shredded chicken to crock pot and stir with juices. Serve in taco shells, with toppings, if desired.

Lentil Tacos

lentil tacos

Yum. I am so into these tacos. They are so simple and so tasty. The possibilities with this recipe are really endless. You can stick to taco shells, but soft tacos, burritos, nachos, burrito bowl, all kinds of options. And depending what type of salsa you add in, you can really adjust the whole thing to your spice leve. I added in some spinach and mushrooms to make use of some use it or lose it veggies. They were definitely a great addition. I also really liked this recipe because I had so many leftovers, which always makes for an easy/lazy lunch or dinner the next day. It’s also a nice vegan addition to your usual, fairly meaty Mexican fare (I added cheese to mine, so it was not vegan in the end, but the lentil base definitely is without any of the extra taco toppings).

 Lentil Tacos
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1+ garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • baby spinach (optional)
  • sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • taco shells
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • Additional/optional toppings: chopped fresh tomato, cheese, sour cream, green onions, salsa, hot sauce
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly.
  2. Stir in salsa remove lentils to large serving bowl. Add in baby spinach and mushrooms into skillet and sauté until cooked.
  3. Spoon mushrooms and spinach into taco shells (if using). Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream, etc. if desired.

Slow Cooker Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

So this might be one of the most sacrilegious things I have ever done in the kitchen. I apologize in advance to all tri-tip purists. Tri-tip goes on the barbecue, it’s just a fact. That’s how it’s done. Well, when I decided to cook my tri tip, it was raining out and as much as I love my barbecue, there was no way I was going to stand out in the rain trying to cook this thing. Luckily, I’m an oddly early riser, so I had enough time to improvise and experiment. I figured if people make brisket and corned beef in the crockpot, I could stick a tri tip in there. So I did just that and crossed my fingers.
Tri-tip is a big deal around these parts. I grew up with it so I never knew it wasn’t a thing in other parts of America. It’s from the bottom of a sirloin cut and looks like kind of like a triangle. It’s normally just rubbed with garlic, salt and pepper, then cooked slow and low over the barbecue. You serve it with garlic bread, green salad, sometimes salsa and beans. It’s pretty simple and super delicious. I guess I can thank the rain for forcing me to break the rules on this one and I’m pretty glad I did.

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Now on to the salsa! This fresh tomato salsa can be found at pretty much any taco shop around here. It’s so simple, yet full of flavor and it goes with just about any Mexican meal. One, note about the jalapeños… Make sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water for like 20 minutes (just kidding, not really…) after touching them and definitely do not touch your eyes and face for a couple hours. Trust me, it’s all fun and games until someone gets jalapeño in the eye. The salsa recipe will make a lot. You will definitely have leftovers, which is great because you can use it on just about anything. Serve it with chips, tortillas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, nachos, eggs, pinto or black beans, eat it with a spoon out of the bowl, go wild.

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos
  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 pound. tri-tip roast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if tri-tip is already seasoned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (4 oz.) mild green chilies
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • corn tortillas
  • optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, diced fresh tomatoes, dollop sour cream, lettuce, salsa, lime wedges

Fresh Tomato Salsa

  • 3 large sized fresh tomatoes, stems removed, finely diced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 jalapeño chili peppers (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop the tomatoes. Prepare the chilies (be careful while handling these hot peppers!).  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. If you like hot salsa, save few of the seeds to add in for heat.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to combine. This salsa gets better with time, so let it marinate a bit.

Gluten-Free Fish Tacos and some Caesar Salad too!

Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!

It’s no secret I LOVE Mexican food. Today when I was at the grocery store there was some really nice looking snapper on sale (you would think that 13 years of Catholic school would have clued me into the fact that it’s Lent, but since I’m a little slow on the uptake and majorly lapsed on the Catholic part, I totally didn’t get why all the fish was so cheap). I originally intended to a nice civilized meal of the snapper with polenta and asparagus, but that quickly went out the window courtesy of a friend’s facebook status. She made fish tacos for dinner, why couldn’t I make fish tacos for dinner!?

I rinsed the fish and let it marinade for about 40 minutes in a really, really simple marinade. I really wanted to grill it, but I was hungry and wanted to eat before 10pm, so I was not in the mood to clean off the grill (it hasn’t been used yet this year… sad.), so I cooked it up in the pan. I also crisped up some corn tortillas in a tiny bit of vegetable oil in another pan. I made them flat more like tostadas than taco shells, let them drain and cool for a few minutes on a paper towel and then I topped them with the fish, salsa, cheese, lettuce and some other good fixin’s. I also made a delicious ‘southwestern’ casear salad with tomato and green onion. SUCH a good meal. This will definitely be entering the regular rotation.

Fish Taco Marinade

  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 4 generous shakes of chili or chipotle powder
  • 1 generous shake of smoked paprika
  • Goya Adobo seasoning*

Mix lime, lemon oil and spices and mix with prepared fish. Cover with cling wrap and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes. Cook on grill or in pan. Serve and enjoy!

* – Goya Adobo seasoning is a relatively new discovery for me and I’m obsessed with it. It’s basically garlic salt with some more Mexican flavorings. I’ve been using it instead of salt that’s called for in a lot of recipes and it’s great on roasted corn or popcorn as well.

Southwest Caesar Salad Dressing

Inspired by this All Recipes Caesar Salad Supreme Recipe

  • 6-10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 c. mayo
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chipotle or chili powder
  • black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients either in small food processor or tupperware box (I put them all in a small tupperware box and just shake, shake, shake) and then refrigerate until ready to use.