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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Tinga Tostadas

Crockpot Chicken Tinga Tostadas
It's that time of year again. The time when days grow shorter, and activities stretch out longer. School really throws a wrench in things, doesn't it? By the time you've picked up the kids from their various practices, meets, games, and clubs it feels too late...or you feel too start thinking about dinner. Don't you love it when you actually planned ahead a wee bit? Just enough that, even as the kids are strong-arming each other to see who can get in the house first, a glorious scent fills the air in pushes back in greeting.

Yes, I'm talking about the beauty of a crockpot, people. If the welcoming blanket that envelopes the house isn't enough, the thought that dinner is basically done already will be.

I've mentioned plenty of times before that I think a keeping your slow cooker at-the-ready year-round is the way to go. It doesn't heat up the house in the summer, and it's cozy and comforting in cold weather—that's my kind of kitchen "tool" (one that doesn't gather dust). That being said, there is just something about using it when there's a chill in the air that makes using it feel right. It's probably nostalgia, and nostalgia is a powerful emotion.

My point? Well, when Red Gold reached out and asked me if I'd like to join them in encouraging families to have a hot meal waiting after a busy autumn day, I said yes. Not only is that something that I try to do already, I'm also a huge fan of the Indiana-based, family-owned company, and use their products on a regular basis.
Crockpot Chicken Tinga Tostadas
I wanted to cook up something simple and good-for-you that is still packed with flavor. Something that keeps my family (and hopefully yours) coming back for more. You can't really get much easier than Chicken Tinga (aka Tinga de Pollo, or in it's simplest form - Shredded Chicken). Our favorite thing to do with Chicken Tinga is to pile it on a crispy tostada that's been primed with a layer of warm refried beans. Top the whole thing off with something fresh and crisp...some crumbled cheese...maybe a drizzle of salsa, and my family is pleased as punch. Especially me, because all I have to do is break out the extras and scoop on the tender chicken.

You probably know that tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene. It's present in tomatoes no matter what, but cooking helps release that lycopene even more. And since lycopene is fat-soluble, a touch of good fat (olive oil, avocado) helps your body absorb it more easily.

So hey, not only is this meal a simple one, it also has health benefits. There's everything right about that. And since it's bound to be devoured by palates young and old, it makes a little extra. Use it to top a baked sweet potato the next day. Or make tacos or a sandwich. Stir it into pasta, or eat it with roasted veggies.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga (Shredded Chicken)
Cook this savory shredded chicken (tinga) in a slow cooker while you're at work, then pile it on top of a tostada with other goodies for a quick and delicious meal.
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Crockpot Chicken Tinga Tostadas
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker entree nut-free soy-free chicken tomatoes tortillas tomatillos Mexican

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Red Gold crushed tomatoes
  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 chipotle chile en adobo, minced + 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 4 small tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and roughly chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes w/ Garlic & Olive Oil
to serve (to taste, in any combination you like):
  • tostada shells
  • refried pinto or black beans
  • avocado, sliced or diced
  • shredded lettuce
  • queso fresco, crumbled
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • salsa
  • cilantro, ripped
  • lime wedges
Pour the crushed tomatoes into the bottom of your slow cooker insert. Arrange the chicken thighs over the tomato. Sprinkle the salt and seasonings evenly over the chicken. Scatter the onions, garlic, chipotle (with adobo sauce), and tomatillos over the top of everything. Finish by pouring the can of diced tomatoes over the top. Use a large fork to reach in and gently lift and stir things around a bit, being sure that the chicken is completely covered. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Turn slow cooker off. Use two large fork to pull and shred the chicken, then stir in around with everything else in the slow cooker until you have a uniform mixture.
Crockpot Chicken Tinga
to serve:
Spread a layer of refried beans on a tostada, then pile some of the chicken mixture on top of the beans. Scatter with any of the toppings that you like and enjoy while warm.
Crockpot Chicken Tinga Tostadas featuring Red Gold Tomatoes

I received a complimentary Red Gold tomato variety pack, but as always, all opinions stated in this post are my own.