So we are on a clean out our pantry, freezer, and fridge month of meals. I am buying the minimum amount of groceries but also trying to keep us well fed. Our freezer is stocked full of meat so we making do with what we have and trying to maintain without random trips to the grocery store just because we want an extra ingredient that usually ends up with an extra $10-50 spent.
So last night we made salsa verde chicken tacos with a southwest slaw. Both recipes were created as I went based on flavor as I cooked. I tend to cook better this way, rather than following a recipe. I have an idea of how I want dishes to turn out, so its easier for me to add things I know that’ll get me to that final flavor rather than search through recipes until I find one that is close to the flavor I am tryng to obtain. I feel they turned out well, a little bit of spice, crunch from the slaw and sweetness from the carrots.
Almost everyone enjoyed them, two of the three kids at least tried them. Which is a win for me, one horribly picky 6 year old and two threenagers are not an easy crowd to please. They are not liking me right now as I am in the “eat it or eat nothing” phase – as I am not going to become a short order cook.
I used my rock crok from Pampered Chef to do this meal from start to finish. I have to rave here a minute (not an advertisement, I just love this pan!) about this crock. It cooks everything perfectly from soups to crusty french bread, it can go from the stovetop to the oven and I’ve never had anything burn or come out dry.
This recipe really started because Mark and I had a weekend free of kids this past weekend, it was FABULOUS! But we went for Mexican and were totally underwhelmed. We were hoping for a good authentic place, several had recommended this so called place as an authentic place, right here in our city without having to drive all the way in to downtown Minneapolis for tacos. Well it was not authentic, it was not good, even the chips and dip were blahhh. We had high hopes and both left shaking out heads no, no! So to take away the bad taco experience I naturally set to the kitchen to make one that was ten times better. While this is by no means authentic Mexican, it was much better than the greasy, soggy, overly cheesy Mexican from Saturday.
So back to the prep, I used to chicken breasts but you could use thighs here as well and have it turn out just as tasty. I salted and peppered the chicken, then browned it in the hot crock, dumped in some salsa verde, garlic, onions, and chicken broth. I let this simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half.
After the hour and a half mark, I removed all the chicken and shredded it with two forks. I placed it all back into the rockcrok to stay warm until my husband arrived home. I really think that by adding your shredded meat back into the liquid for 20-30 minutes really helps to keep it from drying out.
We have a house divided on how to wrap your tacos while Mark and I prefer the traditional corn tortilla, our kids still prefer flour. There is something about a corn tortilla that reminds me of my trip to Mexico with my family in high school. Actually, I believe it was technically Baja California, but it was my first experience for what REAL tacos taste like. The sound of the ocean, my first taste of a corn tortilla taco, no Ortega seasoning packet, just real flavor from real seasonings, oh and the memory of my mom thinking she was never going to get back into the US (she left her ID at my aunts…but that’s another story)
Tacos are not about hiding the grade of meat in an abundance of herbs and spices, but about simplicity and how to allow ingredients shine in their natural flavors. With that being said I did make a delicious tangy slaw that yes, has a bunch of spices in it.
This slaw was born out of trying to clean out my fridge. I find it cheaper to buy a head of cabbage that’ll last up to two weeks in the fridge than pre-bagged coleslaw mix. The dressing is not traditional, its not anything but a concoction I made from an overabundance of condiments living inside my fridge. I have a bottle of coleslaw dressing that has about 1 tbsp missing from it, not sure why I have it but its there. So I used that as my base for the dressing then added vinegar, cumin, chili powder and paprika to mask that horrible bottle flavor of coleslaw dressing. Again, we are cleaning out the fridge and pantry otherwise I would have just used lime juice to dress this slaw and I would have went to the store to buy cilantro to add but I am forbidden in doing so…no really, I think my husband may divorce me if I do not stay with my budget/plan I devised.
Salsa Verde TacosSalsa Verde Chicken Tacos