Heading to university for the first time was an adventure for many reasons. Not only did I join the throngs of college newbies who had never lived away from home, but I made what seemed a very long journey from Vancouver, Canada to Greeley, Colorado to be a part of the University of Northern Colorado’s music program. With my flute clutched in one hand, my alto sax slung over my shoulder and many of my worldly possessions packed into boxes, I moved into a dorm room that could only be described as undersized and worn-out. To me, however, it was independence at its finest. A few pink throw pillows later, it looked as homey as any eighteen-year-old girl could hope for.
Then there was the cafeteria. With legends of the “freshman fifteen” echoing through my head, I walked into the place where I was scheduled to eat all of my meals for the next 10 months. I will spare you the details of the cafeteria’s offerings and just say that I was elated when, halfway through the year, they added a make-your-own-sandwich bar, complete with whole wheat bread, sliced turkey and veggies. I have never been so happy to see a fresh tomato in my life.
In those days, I wasn’t much of a cook and equipping myself with a slow cooker didn’t even occur to me. The closest I came to “cooking” that year was pouring boiling water from my electric kettle into a Cup-O-Noodles. Awesome. These days, however, it seems as though college students are a little more culinarily savvy. With a stash of basic kitchen utensils, a fridge to store ingredients and a crockpot, they are able to pull together healthy meals that are ready by the time they arrive home from a long day of classes.
Now that I am a mum of two boys, I also see the benefit in pulling out the crockpot. Throw the ingredients in and, eight hours later, you have a meal for your family. On meatless nights, we may turn to this Crockpot Chickpea Stew with Balsamic Caramelized Onions. Other times we rely on soups, such as this chicken tortilla soup, packed with black beans, corn and brown rice.
The brown rice will fall apart somewhat during cooking, which acts as a thickener for the broth. If you prefer larger grains of rice, cook the rice separately and stir it into the soup immediately before serving.
The recipe was included in The Slow Cooker Challenge, hosted by The Naptime Chef & Big Girls Small Kitchen. Head to their sites for some great slow cooker recipe ideas, plus to enter your name for a chance to win a new slow cooker.
Place chopped onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, ground cumin and chipotle pepper into the bottom of a crockpot.
Cover this mixture with brown rice and boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Pour diced tomatoes, with juices, and chicken broth over the chicken breasts. Turn the crockpot to Low and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 hours.
Remove the chicken breasts from the crockpot and, using two forks, shred the chicken.
Return the chicken to the crockpot, along with the black beans and frozen corn. Cook on Low for an additional 30 to 60 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve with chopped avocado, tortilla chips and sour cream, if desired.
Other crockpot dinner recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Crockpot Chickpea Stew with Balsamic Caramelized Onions
My Baking Addiction’s Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork
Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Crockpot Sausage, Peppers & Cannellini Bean Stew
Steamy Kitchen’s Crockpot Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 chipotle pepper, seeds removed, minced (sold in cans, in adobo sauce)
- 2/3 cup brown rice
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 5 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chopped avocado (if desired)
- Tortilla chips (if desired)
- Sour cream (if desired)
- Place chopped onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, ground cumin and chipotle pepper into the bottom of a crockpot.
- Cover this mixture with brown rice and boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Pour diced tomatoes, with juices, and chicken broth over the chicken breasts.
- Turn the crockpot to Low and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 hours.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the crockpot and, using two forks, shred the chicken. Return the chicken to the crockpot, along with the black beans and frozen corn.
- Cook on Low for an additional 30 to 60 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with chopped avocado, tortilla chips and sour cream, if desired.