Updated: Jan 30
TWO delicious and completely healthy meals out of one crockpot?
How can this be so?
Well, because you are learning to "Do the 180°" where we uncomplicate being able to get and STAY fit for the rest of your life. Having healthy meals available does not need to be time-consuming, hard or unappetizing. It just needs to be done the "180°" way.
This meal is a perfect example. One "base" recipe, made in the crockpot with little fuss is then easily turned into two completely different meals with no extra time!
Base Recipe: 180° Cajun Chicken Base © Adjust amounts of ingredients based on the size of your family. This makes both meals for my family of 4.
36 oz/approx 6-7 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast -- Frozen or Thawed. The cook time is dependant on this.
1 1/2 Whole White or Yellow Onion -- Jullienne Cut
2 Bell Peppers (I like to do one red and one green, but two green is fine as well. -- Julienne Cut
1 lb Raw Zucchini -- Sliced
4-6 Garlic Cloves -- Minced
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
1 Tsp Chipotle Chili Pepper (to taste)
2 Tsp Mexican Oregano-- I rub the flakes until they are a finer powder, it enhances the flavor blend.
1/2 - 3/4 Tsp Black Pepper
1/2 - 3/4 Tsp (to taste, you may need to add more)
Base Meal Instructions:
Chicken and veggies will be cooked for different lengths of time so that the veggies are tender-crisp, and not mushy when served.
Place frozen or thawed breast in the crockpot -- I prefer frozen as it keeps the breasts more moist as it cooks. But if you are not sure your crockpot will cook from frozen in the amount of time you have to cook it, use thawed until you can be home to test it and make needed adjustments when you cook it.
Mix the dry spices together and cover the chicken breasts evenly with the mix.
If your breasts are thawed I would add a bit of water, maybe an additional 1/4 - 1/3 C water to the bottom of the crockpot. With it being boneless, skinless breasts it will not have a lot of fat juices in the bottom when cooked.
Set Crockpot to Low if you will be gone all day, or Med - High if you will be able to check it in a few hours.
When chicken juices are still slightly pink add in the sliced veggies to the crockpot. Note: Chicken that is cooked in a crockpot often has the same "froth" the water from a boiled chicken gets. If yours does, simply skim it off the meat before you add the veggies in.
Allow the meal to continue to cook until the chicken juices run clear and veggies are your preferred tenderness.
Meal 1: 180° Crockpot Cajun Chicken and Veggies © -- Additional Steps for Full Meal
When the chicken and veggies are finished cooking remove breasts, slice into strips, place back into the crockpot and mix back in with veggies.
Ther is actually not much extra to do with this dish other than to serve it with your side. You and your family would likely eat the meal exactly the same. Though, if you wanted you could put out white flour tortillas for them.
Serve with your choice of side! It's that easy
Side suggestions: For All: Rice, baked potato, baked sweet potato, served on a sweet potato Tortilla or wrapped in a whole grain flatbread. Of course, your family may love these as sides or may want the meal wrapped in a tortilla with fajita type toppings.
When you clean up dinner, then you will put the remaining meat sauce in a freezer bag and freeze it for the 2nd meal at a later time, or if you'll use it soon, just store in the refrigerator.
Meal 2: Southwestern Chicken and Veggie Soup -- Additional Ingredients for Full Meal
Mexican Blend Cheese
You could also add into the soup rice or beans if you want it to go farther. Keep in mind these will add a significant amount of calories and carbs, depending on how much you add. So, based on your caloric needs at the end of the day, if you add it into their soup, you may want to pull your serving out first.
Tortilla Chip Replacement": Sweet Potato "Tortilla Chips" (see recipe here, just make the "toast" smaller in size)
Or, if your meal plan allows it, have it with the above rice suggestion (but you'd likely need to skip the "chips".)
Sour Cream Replacement: Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
Cheese Replacement: Avocado. Of course, you can use cheese or sour cream sparingly if it fits your meal plan/calories/macros. In general, it won't though, and it's better to replace them with this healthy fat as it is a delicious alternative.
Place the frozen or refrigerated Cajun Chicken Base meal into a soup pot.
Add Broth. I personally always use Butchers Organic Chicken Bone Broth (this is the only brand I can stand, so this is the only one I can suggest.) Or, you can make broth with water and bullion cubes (as instructed on the jar) or pre-made low sodium, fat-free chicken broth can just be dumped in the pot. Either way, you'll want approximately 1 cup per person you are serving.
Heat to temperature for serving
Serve with above-suggested toppings or sides
Don't have a meal plan? Not sure what your calories or macros should be? Click here to share the info needed and I will create a personalized calorie and macro plan for you FREE!