Chicken Tacos and Cilantro-Lime Rice

For the first year and a half of our marriage I worked full-time. So it follows that my crock pot became a lifesaver. Just throw in a few key ingredients before heading off to work, and presto! A delicious meal is waiting for you when you get home!

My friend Janet gave me this simple recipe and it quickly became one of our favorites.

CHICKEN TACOS
(serves 4)

Ingredients
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup prepared tomato salsa
1 tbsp. chili powder (I use half chili powder and half mexican seasoning)
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. ground pepper

Directions
1. In crock pot or slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours, or low, 8 hours.
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2. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and shred.

You can serve the chicken on tacos (obviously), tortillas, over lettuce, by itself…but our favorite accompaniment is cilantro-lime rice.

CILANTRO-LIME RICE

Ingredients
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove
Coarse salt

Directions
1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.
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2. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water; blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice, and fluff with a fork.

Serve the chicken and rice with shredded cheese, sour cream, and a few extra slices of lime, and enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup…and how I got here.

When my fiance asked if I liked to cook, my sister snorted. “The only thing she knows how to make is macaroni.” It was true. But don’t worry, he still married me.

I’m a type A, perfectionist kind of girl. Just spell out all the directions for me and I’ll be fine. But tell me to add a pinch of this, a spot of that and my palms start sweating. Before I got married, cooking wasn’t exciting to me, it was downright intimidating.

But having another mouth to feed puts a new perspective on things you thought were impossible, and so the week I got back from my honeymoon I attempted my first real meal. It wasn’t too impressive (although my new husband praised me up and down – he knew better than to do otherwise), but it wasn’t macaroni! And it gave me the courage to keep trying and to get better.

Learning how to cook has been an adventure for me and continues to be with each new recipe I try. This blog is a journal of sorts, a way of documenting my adventures and sharing them with others.

I’m starting out with one of my husband’s favorites: Tomato Soup. It’s simple, creamy, and best of all, salty! Just throw in some baked asparagus and toasted sourdough bread, and you’re bound to love it as much as we do.

CREAMY TOMATO SOUP

Ingredients
2 tbsp. butter
1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves
2 (14 oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions
1. Melt butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring constantly, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
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2. Add tomatoes, their juices, and water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
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3. Working in batches, transfer tomato mixture to a blender, food processor, or food mill. Puree tomato mixture.
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4. Return soup to a clean pot and set over low heat. Whisk in cream; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.