Friday, September 26, 2014

Lightened-Up Slow Cooker Creamy Mexican Chicken

You all already know how much I love my crock pot. Even more so now that fall is here because who doesn't love coming home to a warm, cooked meal after a long day of work. I am always looking for new recipes and ways to lighten them up, even just a little bit. I recently came across this creamy Mexican chicken recipe, but you probably think the same thing when I see the word, "creamy". Creamy = high calorie (but boy does it probably taste good!). It doesn't have to be though. You know I wouldn't lead you down the wrong path here. At least I hope you know that by now. 

The original creamy Mexican chicken recipe called for chicken thighs and cream cheese - these are the two highest fat and calorie items of them all. There's also some black beans, corn, and salsa in there (we'll get to all that in a minute), but let's step back to the chicken and creamy goodness. I never used to like chicken thighs (I am a white meat girl), but over the past year or so, I have grown to love them both in crock pot meals and on the grill. Don't ask me why I suddenly changed my mind. I just did. Nevertheless, I still love chicken breast. So, to lighten up this dish in anyway I could, I decided to use chicken breasts. Now, you can use thighs if you want, but chicken breasts in this recipe are just as good. It's up to you though. Now comes the cream cheese. Of course, this is what makes the dish so creamy and I thought, what other ways could I lighten it up. Light sour cream first came to mind, but sometimes that breaks up and doesn't blend well into hot dishes. Cream and half and half came to mind too, but those are even worse than cream cheese. No such luck there. Then it came to me - light cream cheese. Why have I never noticed this in the store before? Maybe it's because I try to stay away from it (I am a former bagel and cream cheese addict). The best part of it is that it has 33% less fat and you'd really never know the difference. If you put them side by side, you may notice that the regular cream cheese is just a bit richer. But honestly, you'd never know that unless I told you. 

This creamy Mexican chicken could not be easier to throw together and all you need is chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, a can of corn, a can of beans, a couple of tablespoons of ranch seasoning, a dash of garlic powder (optional) and a package of light cream cheese. You literally place the chicken on the bottom of the crock pot and dump everything else in - just don't add the cream cheese yet! Close the lid and let everything cook for about five hours or so. It may take longer or shorter depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Once the chicken is cooked and can shred easily, take the chicken out and shred it up. Place the chicken back in the crock pot and place the block of cream cheese right on top. Don't mix. Just leave it there. Close the lid and let it sit for about 30 minutes. After you've patiently waited for half an hour, stir the cream cheese around. It will be perfectly soft and gooey and will blend just wonderfully into the chicken and saucy goodness. 

Now it's up to you to choose how you want to enjoy this creamy Mexican chicken. You can enjoy it over rice, in burritos or tacos, make homemade baked taquitos or even in a big salad. No matter which way you choose to enjoy it, I am sure you and your family, friends or whoever you serve it to, will love it. 

PS. This also freezes well for a quick freezer meal for those nights when you have no idea what to cook!

just throw it all in... just a few hours, add the cream cheese


Lightened-Up Slow Cooker Creamy Mexican Chicken (adapted from

4-5 chicken breasts

1 (15 1/2 ounce) can black beans (or any bean of your choice), drained
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
1 (15 ounce) jar of your favorite salsa
3 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder (optional)
1 (8oz) package of light cream cheese

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray and place chicken breasts in the bottom. Then place all of the remaining ingredients (mins the cream cheese) into the crock pot and cover with the lid. Cook on slow for 5-6 hours or until your chicken breasts are cooked. 

Once the breasts are fully cooked, remove and shred the chicken. Then, place back into the crock pot and place the block of cream cheese on the top. Do not stir in. Place the lid back on the crock pot and cook for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the cream cheese will be softened and warm. Stir in to combine and enjoy!

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