Slow Cooker Chicken Azteca

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Azteca

Chicken Azteca is a satisfying dish in which chicken breasts are covered with traditional Southwestern-style ingredients such as salsa, corn, black beans, green chilies, garlic and cumin. About thirty minutes prior to serving, cubes of cream cheese are added to the sauce and allowed to melt, forming a deliciously creamy sauce. Chicken Azteca may be served over rice and topped off with shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast, a good way to keep the heat down in the kitchen in the summertime is to utilize a slow cooker or Crock Pot. This week in Charlotte has been exceedingly hot, in fact it feels like a blow dryer on high heat when I walk out the door, so I was grateful to have this recipe in my file box to pull out and prepare for supper one night.

Cream cheese just adds a wonderful creaminess to any dish! If you are watching your fat intake, you may substitute reduced-fat cream cheese in this recipe. The green chilies I used were “mild” but feel free to kick the heat up a notch if you so desire. (I’m a wimp when it comes to “spicy hot” food!) I used fresh corn in this recipe because I had some on hand but you could use frozen or even canned corn with successful results.

I always rinse and drain black beans before adding them to any recipe. Salsa is mixed with the vegetables and placed in the slow cooker, then the chicken breasts are added and additional salsa spooned over the top of the chicken. This recipe specified chopping the chicken before serving  but I preferred to leave the chicken breasts intact to be able to serve an entire chicken breast to each person. This is a nice option though in case an additional person showed up for supper the chicken could be chopped up to make it go further!

Chicken Azteca – The Recipe

Chicken Azteca
Serves 5
Chicken breasts covered with a creamy sauce containing cream cheese, black beans, corn, salsa, garlic and cumin. Serve over rice and top with Cheddar cheese.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained
  2. 2 cups corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  5. 1-2 cups salsa, divided
  6. 1 4-oz. can mild diced green chilies
  7. 5 boneless chicken breasts
  8. 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, cubed (may use reduced-fat version)
  9. Cooked Rice
  10. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine beans, corn, garlic, cumin, green chilies and half of salsa in slow cooker.
  2. Arrange chicken breasts over top. Pour remaining salsa over top of chicken.
  3. Cover. Cook on high 2-3 hours or low 4-6 hours.
  4. Remove chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return to cooker.
  5. Stir in cream cheese. Cook on high until cream cheese melts.
  6. Spoon chicken and sauce over cooked rice. Top with shredded cheese, if desired.
Notes
  1. Chicken breasts may be left whole instead of chopping them up - your choice.
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

 Black Beans

Just a few words about black beans are in order. Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health. Black beans are a good source of fiber and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. With a low glycemic index, black beans have about 114 calories per 1/2 cup serving. Black beans are also called turtle beans and are a staple in the cuisines of Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.


Another great fact about black beans is that there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned black beans and those that you cook yourself from the dried state. If canned black beans are more convenient then use them.

Try this recipe soon – I know you’ll enjoy the creamy sauce with the Southwestern flavors with chicken!

Beat the heat by using your slow cooker this summer!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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Greek Classic Chicken Souvlaki

Greek Classic Chicken Souvlaki

Greek Classic Chicken Souvlaki is grilled chicken, onions and tomatoes served on pita bread with tzatziki, a yogurt and cucumber sauce. When ordered at a Greek restaurant Chicken Souvlaki is often served with everything rolled up in a pita wrapped in foil and served with tzatziki sauce on the chicken mixture or in a small container on the side. For me it’s a bit difficult to eat this way – there’s no way to avoid spilling part or most of it out of the foil wrapping and onto my plate! I like serving Chicken Souvlaki on a platter (see above photo) with the pita cut into wedges.

My best friend Janice Carlton and I used to go to a small Greek restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina often and I always ordered Chicken Souvlaki. This dish brings back nice memories for me!

The Recipe for Chicken Souvlaki:

Chicken Souvlaki
Serves 4
Grilled chicken on pita with tomatoes, onions, black olives and tzatziki, a cucumber and yogurt sauce.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  2. 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, peeled, seeded and grated
  3. 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. Fresh ground black pepper
  6. 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  7. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  9. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  10. 4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
  11. 4 pitas
  12. 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  13. 2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  14. 1/3 cup black olives, halved & pitted
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber with 1 teaspoon of the salt; let sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze the cucumber to remove the liquid. Combine the cucumber with the yogurt, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and the dill.
  2. Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, oregano, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss the chicken cubes in the oil mixture and thread them onto skewers.
  3. Grill the chicken over high heat or broil, turning once, until done. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  4. Wrap the pitas in foil and grill until heated and golden. Cut into quarters.
  5. To serve, put the pitas on plates and top with the onion, tomatoes and chicken skewers. Serve with the tzatziki and olives.
Notes
  1. If using wooden skewers be sure to soak them in water for at least 10 minutes to prevent smoking while cooking the chicken.
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Tasty Tips

When making tzatziki, the yogurt and cucumber sauce, it’s important to get rid of as much of the cucumber liquid as possible. I did this by grating the cucumber, then putting it on a coffee filter in a strainer and letting it sit until most of the liquid had dripped through the strainer. I used the coffee filter to contain the grated cucumber while I squeezed out the rest of the liquid.


The tzatziki sauce adds a distinctive freshness to the Chicken Souvlaki. This delicious sauce could be thinned with the addition of a little milk and be used as salad dressing, too!

I used metal skewers to grill the chicken for this recipe. If you use wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 10 minutes to prevent smoking when you place them on the grill.

Raw onions are the normal accompaniment to this dish but if you really want to add some delicious flavor, try caramelizing the onions before serving time. To caramelize the onion in this recipe I cooked them in a skillet with some butter and a sprinkling of sugar. (You can also accomplish this by using half butter and half olive oil.)  Cooking time will be 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Caramelized onions take time, but the end result is well worth it!

Chicken Souvlaki is a satisfying meal for warm weather or anytime of year! Greek cuisine is Mediterranean cuisine which is thought to confer good health benefits. Chicken Souvlaki contains tomato, olives, cucumber, onion, yogurt and lemon juice – all components of the Mediterranean diet.

If you enjoy Greek food be sure to check out my post on Pastitsio – Greek Comfort Food, which is another Greek classic! I hope you’ll try at least one of these recipes soon!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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