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Game Day (or Any Day) Taco Sliders

20091205__PANTHERS-BRONCOSI have a special place in my heart for the Denver Broncos. When I was a kid, this city didn’t have the Colorado Avalanche or the Rockies or Coors Field — or much else for that matter. We had Lyle Alzado and Randy Gradishar and the barrel man. In sixth grade, I wore my Orange Crush t-shirt to school for a week straight.

So, saying the Broncos having Peyton Manning and going to the Super Bowl are huge around here is um, an understatement (Yes, I know they’ve been the AFC Champions before, ahem, quite a lot.) The day after the Broncos dispatched with the Patriots, we had to make a special shopping trip for Broncos gear (something I would never do if I didn’t have a 12-year-old son), which was shockingly expensive and flying off the ad hoc displays at Sports Authority as fast as the workers could put it out. We bought a Broncos flag. And of course, I immediately started thinking about the Super Bowl Menu.

The best thing about feeding people during a Big Game is that they will eat just about anything you put in front of them. Throw down a few bowls of pretzels or Chex Mix, and they’ll be empty in minutes. Aside from the mindless munching, however, people will eventually get hungry for real food. Burgers are great, but they involve someone actually getting up from the couch to grill them. There’s always chili, but for some reason, I’m not feeling that (we’ve had a lot of chili lately). I wanted to make something at least mildly healthy (I mean watching football is not that strenuous) and something that a slightly nervous and distracted cook wouldn’t have to worry about, and when I stumbled upon these Chicken Tacos, I knew they would be just the thing.

In addition to being delicious and practically cooking themselves, these tacos — like all tacos — can be endlessly customized, so they’re easy to feed to a group. Just set out the meat, tortillas, and bowls of fixin’s, and hope for a break in the action (notice I didn’t say “wait for a commercial break,” because yo definitely don’t want to miss those), during which time people can assemble their own tacos.

The chicken for these tacos is made in the slow cooker — a woefully underused appliance in our house. As I usually do with slow cooker recipes, I had my doubts. While I love (love!) the idea of throwing a bunch of cold foods into a pot in the morning, turning it on, forgetting about it, and having a delicious dinner awaiting for us at 6 p.m., my experience with the slow cooker has too often been serving up a dried-out-and-dusty pile of unrecognizable and semi-tasteless food, at which my (admittedly picky and spoiled) family sneers. But I made this chicken for dinner last night, and it turned out perfectly — juicy, flavorful, and easy to pull apart. Nobody sneered.

So, even if you aren’t feeding hungry football fans on Sunday, or even if you’re not a Broncos (or, egads, Seahawks) fan, make these for dinner. Soon.

chicken taco Easy Pulled Chicken Taco Sliders
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (My husband suggested using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which I’m sure would be incredible, but I can’t vouch for it because I haven’t tried it yet. If you do substitute thighs, you can cook it a bit longer.)
1/4 cup jarred salsa (You can use any kind for this, but if you’re buying salsa to serve as a topping, too, I like Arriba Fire-Roasted.)
1/8 cup taco seasoning (I use the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company’s all-natural, salt-free version, which you can buy online; while you’re at it, stock up on their amazing Green Salsa.)
Pinch kosher salt (Skip this if your taco seasoning contains salt.)

Taco Fixin’s
Mini four or corn tortillas (Try Mi Rancho’s Organic Corn Taco Sliders; they’re really tasty and don’t fall apart.)
Shredded Monterrey Jack and/or cheddar cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Avocado slices
Shredded lettuce
Salsa or hot sauce
Whatever else you like on tacos (Last night, I sauteed some zucchini slices in olive oil and piled them on my taco, yum)

Rinse chicken breasts and place in bottocutting chickenm of slow cooker. Turn it on to Low. Add salsa, taco seasoning, and salt (if using). Don’t stir, just dump the stuff on top of the chicken. Leave it alone for 5 hours. Check for done-ness; when the chicken is done, it will pull apart easily with a fork. Put your toppings in bowls and set out. Heat the tortillas in the microwave (wrap in a slightly damp dishtowel and heat for 1-2 mins.). Set out tortillas. Remove chicken breasts from slow cooker one at a time and shred using two forks (like in the picture, left). Repeat with remaining chicken. Place shredded meat in a bowl or back in slow cooker. Wait for #18 to throw a touchdown pass. Assemble tacos and eat.

 If you love the idea of easy yet delicious dinners you can make for any occasion — including, you know, just dinner — my next class, Re-Boot Your Family’s Eating Habits, provides recipes, inspiration, and lots of tips for making dinner happen without driving you crazy. It’s NEXT Thursday, Feb. 6, and space is still available! To sign up, click here! Or contact me for more information: moc.suoiciledefillaernull@niveb


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