Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken Chili Mac

I love crockpot meals. They're ridiculously simple and require minimal effort (always a plus in my book!), and they're particularly awesome during the hot summer months since a crockpot will never heat up your kitchen the way an oven will. So when I stumbled across an intriguing crockpot recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a try!

This recipe is really interesting because it combines barbeque and Tex-Mex flavors. The result is a delicious, flavorful dish that's basically a kicked up special edition version of classic comfort food.

 photo CrockpotBBQChickenChiliMac_zpswo54wlnr.jpg

I don't think this picture does this meal justice. It may not be the prettiest dinner I've ever made, but it tastes amazing. I already have plans to make it again this week!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken Chili Mac

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on The Recipe Rebel.

Ingredient List:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used very large pieces of chicken, so I'd suggest using at least 3 if your chicken breasts are kind of small.)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (I drained most of the juice, but left about 1/3 of the juice from one of the cans to be poured into the crockpot with the tomatoes.)
  • 2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 box dry macaroni
  • Shredded cheese for serving (I used a cheddar Jack blend.)

1.  Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray.

2.  Add the chicken, red bell pepper, red onion, black beans, tomatoes, green chilies, chicken broth, BBQ sauce, ketchup, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper to the crockpot. 

3.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

4.  When approximately 30 minutes of cook time remain, remove the chicken and place it on a plate or cutting board. Shred the chicken with 2 forks, then return it to the crockpot. Stir a few times to combine.

5.  Add the dry macaroni to the crockpot, turn the heat to high (if it's not on high already), and stir several times to ensure that the pasta is coated with the sauce. Check the pasta after about 15-20 minutes to make sure it has completely cooked through. (Side note: The original recipe suggests allowing the pasta to cook for 25-30 minutes, but my pasta ended up a little mushy. This still tasted amazing, but I wish I would have checked my pasta at around 15 or 20 minutes. This may have been due to the fact that I was cooking my meal on high from the start, but, based on my experience, I'd suggest checking your pasta after about 15-20 minutes. You can always cook it longer if you need to!)

6.  Once the pasta is cooked, dip the chili mac into bowls or plates and top with shredded cheese.

Like I said, my pasta was a little overcooked and mushy, but I think it was because I didn't check it soon enough (and maybe because I was cooking on high from the beginning). I still thought this was worthy of sharing on my blog, though, because the flavors were fantastic! I just need to be more aware of my pasta cook time the next time I make this.

I served this meal with a simple green salad. It's such a filling, protein packed meal that you really don't need a lot on the side.

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