Chicken Ropa Vieja

So I have this brilliant idea that I’m going to lose some weight this summer. I made a plan to work out and eat right. By my self-imposed deadline of September, I’ll totally be skinny. Well… Not skinny exactly. Let’s be reasonable. “Less fat” is the more realistic goal.

I’ve broken out my Biggest Loser DVDs. I’ve looked up strength exercises online. I bought weights. I vowed to stop eating crap from the café at work and cook healthy meals instead. (Saving money and calories!) But that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. Plans. Nothing more than plans. And one healthy-ish meal.

Honest truth—I can stand in the kitchen all day long and bake up a storm. But when it comes to cooking dinner, I lack patience. I just want something to eat right now. I don’t want to stand around chopping and stirring and flipping, all for a meal that’ll take me less than 5 minutes to eat. It just doesn’t seem worth the effort. Which is why I find myself eating PB&J way too often.

But this was a recipe I could actually manage. Nothing too taxing. Nothing too time consuming (because the crockpot does all the hard work). Nothing too far out of my comfort zone, or my skill set. I got this! Piece of cake! Err. Chicken!

Chicken gets tender in the crockpot with some homemade stock (bonus! Strain it and save it for tomorrow’s dinner.) It gets shredded in the stand mixer. (Seriously. 20 seconds = perfectly shredded chicken with no fuss.) Then it gets thrown together with the broth, tomato sauce, some veggies, and seasonings. Boom. You’ve got yourself a flavorful dinner that won’t break the bank or your waistline.

I thought the chicken was delicious on it's own, but my tastebuds wanted a little more of a kick. So I added a little sriracha, and it immediately went from yum to heck yeah. If you're not a spice fan, leave it out--no harm done. I served it over rice, but have since eaten some of the leftovers as tacos, which was equally delicious! Now if only I could motivate myself to actually workout, we might be in business.

PS - I just Google translated the name of this dish and apparently "ropa vieja" means old clothes? Um. What? I'm confused.

Chicken Ropa Vieja
Adapted from Skinnytaste
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 halves)
1 small onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup tomato sauce
2 cups reserved broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Dash of hot pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
Cooked rice

1. Combine onion, tomato, carrot, garlic, and thyme in a crock pot. Nestle chicken on top and add enough water to cover (I used about 6 cups, but it will vary depending on the size of your crock pot). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is tender, about 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low.
2. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred with two forks.* Reserve the liquid from the crock pot, discarding the solids.
3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, 2 cups of reserved broth, cumin, garlic powder, corn, and chicken. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce (if using) to taste. Lower heat and cover, allowing to simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid has reduced.
4. Serve over cooked rice.

*Note: Use your stand mixer for a quick, no-fuss way to shred chicken. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. Throw the whole cooked chicken breast in the bowl and turn the mixer on low. 20 seconds later--perfectly shredded chicken.
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Jo and Sue said...

I totally get the whole "being willing to spend all day in the kitchen for baking but not more than 5 minutes for dinner". What is up with that? My brain apparently just wants me to spend more time on treats. *sigh* Good luck with your eating healthier this summer... I'm attempting the same thing. :) This recipe looks delicious btw!

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

lol right?? Maybe it's because dinner stands in the way of the treats. Gotta eat that before you can get to dessert, so make dinner as quick as possible!

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