Running late for work, I was determined to get something in the crockpot before I left the house. I went to my freezer and pulled out baggies filled with the following: boneless skinless chicken breasts and chicken thighs, homemade black beans, chopped celery and chopped onions. I dumped all of this into my trusty little crockpot, frozen and all. Added a large can of enchilada sauce and a can of fire roasted tomatoes. The only prep work I had to do was chop up a poblano pepper I added in at the last minute. Set the crockpot on low for 8 hours and I had the most amazing dinner ready when I got home.
All of this because of some prep work done days before. I have been reading some blogs about cooking once a month and bulk cooking. I don't think I could ever do that but I am doing my variation on the concept. I got out my food processer one Sunday afternoon and chopped up a lot of onions, celery and carrots. I put them in baggies and put them in the freezer. I also cooked up 2 pounds of dried black beans and put them in baggies with about 2 cups in each baggy. This is close to how much would be in a can of beans. I got about 7 or 8 baggies out of $2 of dried black beans...can't beat that! My next cook-ahead recipe is going to be this homemade enchilada sauce at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.
This recipe was definitely inspired by a recipe I made a while back, Chicken Enchilada Chili. Actually, the two are almost identical, but I wanted to share the process of how this meal came to be more than anything.
I love this idea of doing a lot of the prep work ahead of time. It makes meal preparation so much easier when time is short. Not having to use a lot of processed food is another big bonus. I seriously had this meal in the crockpot in less than 10 minutes. It would have been faster if the poblano pepper had been chopped and frozen, also. The food in the pot didn't look like much when I left for work, but when I got home it was like magic had taken place in my kitchen. I LOVE IT!
1-1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken (breasts, thighs, whatever you have)
1 can black beans
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup onions, chopped
1 large can enchilada sauce (not sure about exact size)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
Combine all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with tortilla chips and cheese on top if desired.