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Catastrophe Kitchen | Tex-Mexy Tingas

By Salongo Wendland

TINGAS! That just sounds like a good time, doesn’t it? And it is, really. Smoky, spicy, juicy chicken you can use for tacos, quesadillas, salads, breakfast burritos, tamales, and more. OR do what I did and make a heinous tamale/taquito hybrid that only a mother could love (not recommended). It also makes TONS, so you can do this for a party, or a potluck, or freeze half and have even less work to do next time!

This throw-together version isn’t 100% authentic, but it is a delicious, tex-mexy gift for single working mamas like me—it does its thing in the crockpot while I’m at work, then BAM, dinner is served when I get home! Slow cookers:  the poor (wo)man’s personal chef. This is actually so easy that you could probably train a dog to make it. Probably.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • 3 T taco seasoning
  • 1 small can diced green chilis
  • 1 can beans (black or pinto)
  • 1 can corn (or 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 12 oz. jar of chipotle salsa (or regular salsa plus 2 chipotles, chopped, from a can)
  • Tortillas
  • Taco toppers (guac, sour cream, pico, hot sauce, onion, tomato, cilantro, whatever floats your boat)

Haul out your slow cooker. Dust off the lid, scrape off that tiny spot of crusted bean dip from last year’s Superbowl party, and get it fired up. If you’re going to be gone for a full workday (7-9hrs), set it to low. If you’re hoping for dinner sooner (5-6 hrs), put it on high. If you work seemingly ungodly hours like me, and want to stretch it to 10-11 hours, start with frozen chicken breasts.

Throw the chicken breasts in the bottom of the pot. Then sprinkle taco seasoning and green chilis (with the chili juices) on top.

Dump the beans, corn, and salsa on top of that. If you don’t have chipotle salsa, I’d recommend throwing a chopped chipotle or two in there, too.

Put the lid back on and WALK AWAY!

So depending on your timing, you’ll come back in 5-11 hours. The chicken should shred apart when you pull on it with a fork. If it doesn’t, it needs more time. I actually just take a wooden spoon and stir the whole pot. It shreds all the chicken up perfectly, it just takes a little elbow grease.

When your chicken looks like this, it is ready to eat. Serve in whatever preparation you like. I used half for tacos, like a civilized person, then I tried to make the rest into baked taquitos.

YUGE

MISTAKE

Honestly, I think it is definitely POSSIBLE to make these into taquitos. It’s just that I filled my taquitos way too full—like ¼ cup of meat instead of a few tablespoons, which is all the little corn tortillas can bear.

After they’d been in the oven a half hour at 425F, they split like a rising loaf of bread, tingas coming out the top.

My frankenquitos were delicious but thank GOD they were not a company-is-coming type of experiment. My son’s faint look of disgust before he tasted one (and devoured two more) was enough for me. JUST when I thought the Catastrophes were behind me, the Tingas kept me in my place.

And I salvaged four from the multitude of gorditos taquitos to get the instashot. Like a pro.

Juicy, tasty, relatively healthy, and easier than going out for fast food! Go make yourself some tacos, or quesadillas, or maybe taquitos that aren’t as greedy as mine.

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