Something happened soon after the Fourth of July and all the stores in our area switched everything over to a “back to school” focus seemingly overnight. At first I mostly ignored it because it was still JULY for goodness sake but now here we are in the beginning of August and I’m finding myself caught up in the back to school craziness.
Even though I only have one child who will be attending preschool four mornings a week this year, there’s something about the beginning of the school year that feels like a fresh start. As a kid, I loved opening up a new notebook, unzipping a new Trapper Keeper (hello, ‘90s!) and doodling in a new calendar. As a mom, back to school looks more like a dependable routine and THAT is what makes me happy! I love the carefree summer days and embrace the lack of a schedule for the summer but by the time the school year rolls around, I’m ready for some predictability again.
As we head into the 2019-2020 school year, I’m hoping to resurrect my love of meal planning and food prep. I did a decent job of throwing together a loose meal plan most weeks but this summer I’ve also had more than my fair share of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants weeknight dinners. For me, the key to a successful meal plan and food prep is repurposing leftovers. And that’s where today’s recipe comes in!
This slow cooker cilantro lime salsa chicken lends itself to a myriad of different meals. The chicken is prepared in a slow cooker with simple ingredients – salsa, fresh lime juice, spices and cilantro — and tastes wonderful on its own but I wanted to share three different ways I use this chicken with you guys so you can see just how versatile it is when it comes to incorporating it into weekday lunches or busy weeknight dinners.
Option One: Grain Bowl
This is my favorite way to enjoy this chicken! Choose your favorite grain as a base (I love Seeds of Change organic quinoa and brown rice mix for a quick option — it’s ready in 90 seconds), top with the shredded slow cooker cilantro lime salsa chicken and your favorite toppings. My favorite combination typically includes black or pinto beans, avocado (always!), additional cilantro and sometimes a sprinkle of cotija cheese and diced tomatoes.
Option Two: Chopped Salad
My love for chopped salads runs deep. They’re my favorite kind of salad to make because finely chopped ingredients typically translate to more flavor in every bite. I try to incorporate a variety of textures and flavors in my chopped salads and will typically pair chopped romaine lettuce with the slow cooker cilantro lime salsa chicken, corn, beans, fresh cilantro (adding fresh herbs to a base of leafy greens in a salad is a game-changer!), green onions, a scoop of fresh guacamole and crushed blue corn tortilla chips.
Option Three: Tacos or Quesadillas
Throw the chicken in a tortilla, add shredded lettuce, black beans, cheese and tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a taco! Add extra cheese, fold over the tortilla and cook it up in a skillet until the cheese is melted and a quesadilla is ready and waiting!
As far as making this slow cooker cilantro lime chicken, it truly could not be any easier. The recipe is inspired by the famous crock pot salsa chicken — aka the recipe where you just dump a jar of salsa in a crock pot with a bunch of chicken breasts — but it’s more flavorful and doesn’t require too much extra effort. Adding some additional ingredients greatly kicks up the flavor of the traditional salsa chicken and in our house, there’s no turning back!
I bought everything I needed for this recipe at BJ’s Wholesale Club from the organic salsa and organic chicken to the fresh cilantro, tangy limes and spices. (And remember, you can get all your groceries delivered right to your door with BJ’s same-day grocery delivery!)
I’ve quickly become a huge fan of BJ’s Wellsley Farms® brand (specifically their organic products — proceed with caution around the blue corn tortilla chips because they disappear a little too fast in our house) and I’ve found that the food at BJ’s is consistently some of the most affordable in our area (up to 25% cheaper than other grocers). Throughout the summer I’ve turned to BJ’s to buy bulk sizes of some of the items we go through quickly in our house (maple syrup, salsa, quinoa, grass fed ground beef, etc.) and love that they offer same-day delivery as well. It makes shopping from my phone or computer a breeze and the convenience cannot be beat, especially when it comes to trying to make it to the grocery store with two kids in the mix.
And now, without further ado, here’s the recipe for our family’s favorite slow cooker cilantro lime salsa chicken! If you guys give this one a try, please let me know what you think and how you incorporated it into various meals in your house!
Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Salsa ChickenPrint
A simple throw-everything-in-a-crockpot-meal that lends itself to a myriad of deliciously easy weeknight dinner creations. Prep this chicken once and enjoy it all week!
- 2.5 pounds chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 16 ounces Wellsley Farms organic medium salsa
- juice of 3 limes
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- pinch cayenne (optional)
- Combine all ingredients with the exception of the juice of one of the limes in a slow cooker.
- Cook chicken on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with two forks. Using a spoon, scoop some of the juice from the slow cooker onto the shredded chicken. (You may use as much or as little of the juice as you wish, depending on your preference.) Squeeze the juice of the remaining lime on top of the shredded chicken and stir.
- Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Keywords: slow cooker chicken, cilantro lime salsa chicken, cilantro lime chicken, salsa chicken, slow cooker cilantro lime salsa chicken, crock pot cilantro lime chicken, crock pot cilantro lime chicken, crock pot cilantro lime salsa chicken
P.S. Big thanks to Chase and Ryder for “assisting” with these recipe photos… and stealing the props.