Santa Fe Chicken Bowls combine chicken breasts with a few tex-mex flavors and ingredients that are slow cooked to perfection, served over rice, and topped with your favorite toppings! It’s the perfect recipe for busy weeknights!
Happy Halloween! It’s snowing in Michigan, yep. It was a chilly, wet, cold, nasty Halloween…but the kids are happy! We opted for leftovers before heading out into the elements and I, for one, am always happy for a fridge full of leftovers. For those who don’t love leftovers, I don’t understand you! I choose meals to make based on what WILL reheat well and can be repurposed through the days ahead. These Santa Fe Bowls are just that – a fun, delicious Tex-Mex chicken mixture that has endless uses for the leftovers. No two meals will look alike and yet you exert no extra effort. Genius, I tell you!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Tex-Mex Fans: Black beans and corn are classic Tex-Mex ingredients that are pantry staples or freezer-stocked.
- Leftover Masters: Freeze or repurpose leftovers of this recipe throughout the week to keep your busy days stress-free, while being delicious and healthy! This meal is perfect for those who love to meal prep and can easily be
- Weeknight Warriors: Dump it in and off you go, it’ll slow cook to perfection while you go about your day! The prep is truly 1-2 minutes and with little-to-no clean up!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts work great (fresh or frozen), or you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Taco Seasoning: I love to use a packet of taco seasoning for the convenience, however any combination of chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to your liking is great!
- Green Chiles: I like to add a small can of green chilies for a bit of heat, however you can used fresh diced jalapenos or serranos for something spicy, use jarred (pickled) jalapenos, or omit altogether.
- Beans: Black beans are classic to Tex-Mex and Santa Fe flavors, however pinto beans or any other bean will work!
- Salsa: Use hot, medium, mild, or even red enchilada sauce in place of salsa – you choose! Even spicy salsa doesn’t give off too much heat – promise! In a pinch, you can swap in chicken broth.
- Corn: Frozen corn is a bit lower in sodium and tends to hold up a bit better with the extended cooking time, however canned corn is fine, as are fresh corn kernels!
- Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese is classic, however, monterey jack, colby jack, or a Mexican blend work great. You can also omit!
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- To meal prep, store leftovers as individual entrees in separate single-serve containers. Heat and add toppings afterwards to your liking.
- If you want to add additional veggies to the crock pot, consider adding diced red bell pepper or diced sweet onion as both hold up well in the slow cooker.
- To make a creamy chicken mixture and most delicious sauce, add 4-6 ounces of cream cheese in the final hour of slow cooking.
Dark meat chicken has more flavor than chicken breasts, should I use those instead?
As you prefer! White meat chicken is a bit healthier (lower in saturated fat and total fat and therefore lower in calories) and it slow cooks to perfection in the low and slow, moist heat cooking of the slow cooker so it won’t dry out.
Can this recipe be made in the Instant Pot?
Yes, it most certainly can. Spray the Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray and then follow the same order of ingredient additions to the pot. Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Note: The Instant Pot will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure and will need another 2-3 minutes to perform a quick release, allowing the lid suction to release and allow for removal.
Does this recipe have to be served over rice?
No way! A white rice or brown rice base may be traditional, however quinoa or a base of salad greens (romaine lettuce or iceberg lettuces chopped up) is delicious! You can also serve this recipe up as a quesadilla, over tortilla chips in the form of nachos, as a wrap, or as-is for a lower carbohydrate option.
What toppings do you recommend on these Santa Fe Chicken Bowls?
Anything goes! I love a dollop of salsa and sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), along with some colorful optons: diced avocado, diced red onion, diced tomatoes, pico de gallo, fresh jalapeños, and some chopped fresh cilantro. Other options could include lime wedges for a squeeze of fresh lime juice, guacamole, or sliced green onions.
- These delicious Santa Fe chicken mixture is naturally gluten-free (check the taco seasoning), and can easily be made dairy-free by omitting the cheese
- This meal is rich in lean protein, offering over 36 grams per serving.
- With 4.5 grams of fiber per serving, this meal is rich in fiber
- 2 1/4 lbs (36 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breaksts
- 1 pkt taco seasoning
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
- Place chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker and sprinkle with the taco seasoning.
- Top with green chiles, black beans, salsa, and corn.
- Place lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred between two forks; return to the slow cooker and mix to combine.
- Serve hot and served with shredded cheese over rice* or as preferred.
*rice not accounted for in nutrition information
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 recipe (about 1 cup)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 8.3gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 780mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4.4gSugar: 2.6gProtein: 36.9g
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