Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
This was a Runner's World recipe Thomas requested, as he loves chicken wings and we never have them. I even resist all attempts to go to Buffalo Wild Wings and the like. But crock pot + lettuce wraps won me over and I agreed to make them.
You may think crock pot means 'easy,' but I don't mind labor intensive recipes. For me, crock pot mainly means make ahead. This recipe took over an hour to prep, but I got to do it while the kids were eating lunch instead of during the witching hour. I try to always make as much of dinner as possible during lunch time, actually. The kids are out of my hair and their requests for 'more this!' or 'more that' or 'I need a DRINK' don't bother me as much if I'm already up and moving around the kitchen.
Of course, looking at this recipe it doesn't SEEM like it should take an hour, so maybe they had more requests than normal? Also, during that hour I portioned a huge pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs into freezer bags. (They were on a great sale, so I used some of them in this recipe instead of the chicken breasts and froze the rest in 1 lb bags.)
I also took the 'way more work than necessary' path with the carrots, buying them whole and lugging out my huge food processor instead of just buying shredded carrots. That thing takes FOREVER to wash and I include washing dishes in my prep time.
But! THIS WAS REALLY YUMMY. I halved the hot sauce, because the kids and I don't love things hot, and wow, was I glad I did. They were still really spicy. So spicy I quickly threw together the next day's dinner so I was sure the kids had something to eat. Of course, saying "this is spicy, you might not like it" was apparently code for "eat as much as you can to prove mom wrong." Much like saying "this is yummy, you should try it" means your kids won't touch it with a ten foot pole.
When I said "quickly threw together" I meant it. This was really fast and easy. I had it in the oven in 15 minutes. We all liked it, but I found it a little bland/boring. Maybe I'm just used to all the other recipes I've been gravitating toward that involve at least 8 spices each. I also didn't get a cheeseburger feel from it, but that could be because I don't like pickles so I left them off my portion.
I think we'll be making it again, though. It involves basically all the same ingredients as spaghetti and I'm really sick of spaghetti. A remix is nice. It's a good kid-friendly meal.
Chicken Tortilla Crock Pot Soup
I've been using dried black beans instead of canned lately and the first time I made this, I had a slight issue with them (didn't cook long enough) so I ended up having to put the soup on the stove and boil the heck out of it so as to not have raw beans.
This week my beans were fine, so we used the crock pot only and ended up really disappointed. The soup was WAY better when the sauce/broth reduced on the stove for awhile. I think I'll be making this on the stove in the future instead of the crock pot.
Also, I don't separately cook the chicken. I just put it in the crock pot with everything else at the beginning and shred it right before serving.