Chicken Taco Bowl

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From start to finish, this dish couldn’t be easier. My crockpot cooks at odd temperatures, so you may not want to follow my cooking time. The original recipe calls for the dish to be cooked on low for 8 hours. My pot cooked this dish in under two hours on the low setting. BudgetBytes always offers up delicious and wallet friendly dishes!

Ingredients
1½ lbs. chicken breasts
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
½ lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp cumin
½ Tbsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
to taste cracked pepper
2 cups dry rice
8 oz. shredded cheddar
½ bunch cilantro (optional)

Directions
Add everything except the rice, cheese, and cilantro to the slow cooker along with ¼ cup of water (for good measure). Give everything a good stir and make sure the chicken is covered in the mixture.

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Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs. Near the end of the cooking time, cook the two cups of rice according to the package directions.
After 8 hours, or however long your crockpot normally takes to cook chicken, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Using two forks shred the chicken (it should be super tender and will shred easily). Build the taco bowls by placing rice on the bottom, then the taco chicken mix, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.

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Enjoy! Thanks again, Budget Bytes!

Chicken & Rice

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I randomly buy mushrooms to incorporate into dinner recipes.  I’m not a fan of the fungus, but my husband is.  I purchased a package of sliced baby bella mushrooms at the grocery the other day, with no set plan in mind on how I was going to use them.  I had half a bunch of asparagus that were on their last day of holding on to whatever life was left in them, a small yellow onion that needed to be used, along with an orange pepper (pepper was an after thought).  I figured I would cook some chicken in the crock pot, while Reagan and I went to the park and then saute the onion, mushroom and orange pepper, bake the asparagus and cook the rice when we got home.  Sounds good, right?

Something is quirky with my crock pot…Reagan and I were gone for less than an hour and when we got home, the chicken, which was cooking on low, was over cooked.  So on to another plan.  I chopped the chicken into small pieces and put together a stirfryish dish using some soy sauce.  I wasn’t convinced that the basil dressing that I cooked the chicken in would be the best match with the soy sauce, but I gave it a try anyway.  Overall a quick and easy meal…that Reagan wouldn’t touch (NOT A SURPRISE), but that Ryan and I enjoyed.

The amount of ingredients included below were enough to feed Ryan and I with no leftovers.  The pictures could have been better, but we were flying by the seat of our pants. Not everything that was incorporated in the dish  is included in the pictures.
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Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

basil vinaigrette dressing

1 bell pepper

1 small yellow onion

1/3 of an 8 oz package of baby bella mushrooms

1/2 a bunch of asparagus spears

4 servings of instant rice

salt

pepper

olive oil

soy sauce

Directions:

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Cover bottom of crock pot with dressing.  Add in chicken, top with dressing and cover.  Cook time depends on your crockpot.  My chicken was over cooked within an hour.

IMG_8295Begin to prepare your asparagus by turning your oven to 375 degrees.  Snap the ends off of the asparagus and place on a baking sheet.  Lightly cover asparagus with olive oil (roll around so completely covered) and sprinkle with salt.  The asparagus will bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  I don’t like my asparagus crispy, if you do, I would suggest additional cooking time.

Cut mushrooms lengthwise and then in half. Chop onion and thinly slice pepper.  The pepper was an afterthought, so it isn’t included until the final picture.  Heat olive oil in pan until hot.  Add in mushrooms, onion and pepper. Cook, while continuously stirring for approximately 10 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.

At this point, I would begin the Instant Rice by following the directions on the box.

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Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and add into pan.  Add 1/3 cup, or more, of soy sauce to your chicken and veggie mixture.  I just continually added more and more soy sauce until I had the desired amount. Add pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes while occasionally stirring.

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Place a large spoonful of rice on a plate and top with chicken mixture.  Serve with a side of asparagus.

Rice Play for Toddlers

I had some serious pot cleaning to do today, so I set Reagan up on a towel in the kitchen with an activity that she LOVES…playing with rice! I provide Reagan with various ‘tools’, such as spoons, forks, measuring cups, bowls, pots, pans and muffin tins. The cream colored circle thingy in the picture came with the Baby Bullet- it was used to freeze pureed foods. I don’t give her all of the ‘tools’ at once, by adding things as she plays, it allows for longer play time.

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We have been doing this activity for several months now. When I first introduced rice play, a fantastic sensory activity to Reagan; I would sit on the floor with her and guide her in how to use the ‘tools’ that I provided her with. I began with only two bowls and a spoon until Reagan got the hang of scooping the rice from one bowl to the next. As Reagan masters the ‘tools’ that are provided, I add more ‘tools’ for her to explore with; showing her first a couple of ways to use them, before allowing her to explore independently. It’s amazing how her fine motor skills have progressed and she is able to use a table spoon to scoop rice from a bowl into 12 individual muffin tin spots.

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The first several times that I did this activity with Reagan, we used Uncle Ben’s White Rice, because that’s what I had in the house. While cleaning out the cupboards one day I found an unopened bag of Lunderg’s Brown Basmati, which I believe Erin, my sister, gave to me to ground to feed to Reagan when she was just beginning to eat solids. Anyway, I continue to use Lunderg’s Brown Basmati because I find that it is smoother than the Uncle Ben’s White Rice but it’s totally a personal preference. FYI- we have been using the same bag of rice for 3 months now.

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I will warn you that this activity is a bit of a mess until your child begins to figure out the ‘tools’ that they are given. At the beginning stages, I turned the messy cleanup into something fun for Reagan. She loves using the mini vacuum, so after she finished play, I would pick up the towel and the ‘tools’ and let her vacuums up all of the rice! At this stage, Reagan rarely gets any rice off of the towel, so the vacuum doesn’t even need to come out! An easy way to get the rice off of the towel is to lift the sides of the towel and allow the rice to roll to the middle. It’s so much easier to clean up the rice from one neat pile.

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I keep the rice that we play with in a zip locked bag, labeled with her name in sharpie marker. I wouldn’t want to come home to my husband cooking rice that we play with on the floor with the stinky dog. As I said before, we have been using the same bag of rice for about 3 months now.

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Use what you have and have fun with it!