Cilantro Lime Chicken for the Crock Pot

Sometimes my recipe inspiration comes from unlikely sources. In this case, I first saw this recipe from my friend Samantha (not her real name, but her chosen alias. I’ll give you a second to digest the fact she has a need for an alias). Sam is one of my oldest friends, and once upon a time, she was the Lucy to my Ethel. I could (and probably should) write a whole book devoted to Sam, but today I’ll just share this one story.

Sam’s mother wasn’t much of a cook, so she was not trained in the art of Thanksgiving since childhood. I helped talk her through her first Thanksgiving back in 1993 or 1994. I had thought I covered all of my bases. We went over the recipes and the shopping list and the How To’s, and I believed my little birdie was ready to fly. Then around 5:00 pm, while I was entertaining my own guests, the phone rings.

Sam: I don’t understand! The turkey has been cooking FIVE HOURS and it’s still not done. It’s still pink and bloody and not brown like the pictures.

Me: Wait, FIVE HOURS? I thought you had an eight pound bird. That doesn’t sound right. Maybe your oven is broken. Did you set it for 325 or 350?

Sam: Uhhhh. I thought I was supposed to set the oven for 165 degrees. That’s the number you kept saying. Is that not right?

Me: SAAAAMMMM!!!! 165 is the INTERNAL temperature. Remember? I said you needed a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of 165. The OVEN needs to be at 325. No wonder your turkey is raw. I didn’t even know an oven could be set so low.

Sam: I thought internal meant INSIDE THE OVEN, not INSIDE THE TURKEY.

Me: We will laugh about this one day. Enjoy your Thanksgiving pizza!

Perhaps the above illustrates my surprise and delight that my little Sammy has come so far and is now picking out recipes on Pintrest and posting them on Facebook. Hey, it’s a start.

This recipe has all of my winning elements: crock pot, flavorful, easy. Added bonus: My whole family loved it. The only change I made is that I used boneless chicken thighs, as I absolutely hate boneless breasts done in the crock pot. I firmly believe that if you are crockpotting chicken, you either need to go for bone-in breasts or boneless thighs. Not everyone agrees with me, but I feel compelled to share this opinion with you. I served this over rice with a dollop of sour cream, and it was perfect. The author suggests using it for chicken tacos, and I think that’s a brilliant idea.

Cilantro Lime Chicken for the Crockpot (original recipe by Megan from Pip & Ebby here)

In crock pot, mix together:

One 24-ounce jar medium or mild salsa

Juice from one lime

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

One 1.25-oz. package taco seasoning

2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (optional)

2 to 3 pounds of boneless chicken thighs or 3 – 4 bone-in chicken breasts

Directions:

Mix together first five ingredients in crock pot. Cover chicken with mixture. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred chicken with a fork (removing any bones if necessary) and return to the crock pot for at least another 20 minutes. Serve with rice or as a taco filling. Top with more fresh cilantro.

I have a thing for cilantro and try to grow some every year. This should be ready in a few more weeks.

I also have a thing for limes, lemons’ classier green cousins.

Charmoula

Do you have any recipes which you cut out from newspapers or magazines that are so old, so well loved, they are yellowed and food stained and kind of disgusting looking? Behold, this is my recipe for charmoula, a versatile North African sauce that goes well on everything from seafood to vegetables to rice!

Isn’t she a beaut? I can already feel my mother cringing from here.  Sorry, Mom! I will lovingly type it out by my own hand just in case anyone wants a non-disgusting copy of this recipe to print out.

Charmoula

From Mustapha Rouissiya

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon tomato paste

Combine all the ingredients and whisk together or process in a blender or food processor. Can be made in advance and stored several days in the refrigerator or frozen.

We served this tonight atop grilled salmon, along with brown rice and sesame green beans.

Dawn’s Ten Tomato Garden Salsa

Google “salsa recipes” and you will find approximately four million. This is my own spin on classic salsa. Is it unique? Not especially. Is it a good use of ten tomatoes from a garden overrun with tomatoes? Most definitely! It is simple and fresh, with a bit of heat…probably somewhere between medium and hot.

Ingredients:

10 ripe (but not necessarily perfect looking) tomatoes. I used mostly Romas today.

2 jalapeno peppers, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped (not minced)

1/2 red onion, diced

1 Vidalia (or other sweet) onion, diced

1 lime, juiced

1/2 to 1 cup of cilantro, chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for tomatoes, and mix well. Use caution when handling the jalapenos.

Dice tomatoes and add to the bowl. Stir gently. Cover and chill for at least two hours to let the flavors properly develop. You will want to try it sooner, but don’t! It will be worth the wait. This yields a lot of liquid, so use a slotted spoon when placing in serving bowl.

Almost the last of the tomato crop.

Two of the dozens of jalapenos we have growing in our garden.

Just add chips and beer!