I’ve reached the point in my life that, even though I still love to cook and bake, making dinner in the evening is more of a hassle than anything. There are two very valid reasons for this, and their names are Andrew and Will. My two little boy tornadoes make focusing on dinner preparation completely impossible. They’re either arguing with each other, or playing together too well (meaning, they’re up to mischief). And lots of times, they’re right there in the kitchen with me serving as a distraction: trying to spoon the soap bubbles out of the sink full of dishes, riffling through the refrigerator in search of a pre-dinner drink or snack, or dragging the dining room chairs over so they can “help” me.
Oh yes. Making dinner is far from a peaceful, easy affair in my house.
That’s part of the reason I love my Crock pot so much. I can throw a bunch of ingredients in there the night before, turn it on in the morning before we leave the house, and have dinner waiting for me when we get home. It makes the evenings go much more smoothly, because it allows me to focus more on boy-corralling.
In this particular Crock pot meal, chicken breasts are stewed in beer and Mexican spices, giving them tons of flavor and making them so tender. Black beans and cheddar cheese are stirred in after the chicken is shredded to make a hearty, flavorful filling for tacos. The black beans were my own addition; I didn’t have as much chicken on hand as I thought and wanted to stretch it, so the black beans were the perfect use for that. I loved the way their earthiness paired with the yeasty flavor of the beer. I really just loved everything about this meal, from the way it tasted to how wonderfully hands-off it was to prepare.
Crock Pot Chicken Tacos with Cheddar, Beer, and Black Beans
adapted from Sweet Beginnings
2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup beer
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup freshly-grated cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas, sour cream and avocado for serving
1. Mix chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic, onion, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk the beer into the seasoning mixture, until well combined.
2. Place the chicken in the Crock pot and pour the beer mixture over it. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.
3. Shred the chicken with two forks (don’t drain the liquid). Add the black beans and cheese and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until heated through.
4. Spread the chicken mixture over warm tortillas. Top with sour cream and avocado (and any other toppings you like).