I am finding the comments on the Things to Pour Over Chicken post SO HELPFUL. The individual recipes are helpful, but even more so is the general impression I can get from reading a number of similar recipes in a row. For example, I noticed about half a dozen recipes that had a sort of shreddy-taco-chicken-in-the-crockpot theme, so I mixed and matched a little:
A Shreddy Taco Chicken Crockpot Type of Recipe
I put two pounds of raw thawed chicken into the crockpot (I didn’t cut it up, even though two pounds managed to be only three giant chicken breasts), and then I put in two cans of Rotel (which I’d never heard of before: I figured out from context that it would probably be in the same section as salsa, and it was), and a small can of chilis, and a can of drained/rinsed black beans, and a pour of medium salsa (three-fourths cup to a cup), and a packet of taco seasoning, and I cooked it on low starting about 5 and a half hours before dinner. Right before dinner, I fished (chickened) the cooked chicken breasts out of the crockpot, put them in the stand mixer and shredded them, and then mixed them back into the Rotel/bean/salsa stuff. I made soft tacos out of it, and it was very good. The leftovers were very good, too.
Next time I would put in less/no taco seasoning, because that flavor seemed too prominent. If I were making it for myself, I might also put in a second can of beans (either another can of black or a can of chickpeas); but for the kids, one can was just right.
[Updated: Here’s how I make it now: about 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1/4 cup (or one packet) taco seasoning, 1 can Rotel, about 3/4 cup medium salsa, one can drained/rinsed black beans.]
Another nice thing about having an assortment of similar recipes is that some people are measurers and some people are not, so if I see one recipe that sounds delicious but reminds me of my late mother-in-law’s cinnamon roll recipe (“Put in butter and brown sugar”—no quantities at all), I can usually get an idea of the approximate quantities (are we talking a tablespoon or a cup?) from another recipe.
There was a batch of ones that were like “layer of rice and water, layer of chicken, layer of cream soup” types. I didn’t see any that had rice/water quantities, but a couple implied that it would be the same proportions as cooking the rice on its own, so that’s what I did with the amount of rice I would normally have made in the rice cooker:
A Rice Chicken Cream-Soup Baking-Dish Type of Recipe
I put about a cup and a half of uncooked white rice and about the same amount of water into a 9×13 glass baking dish. Then I added a layer of about a pound and a half of raw, thawed chicken breasts, cut into tenders-sized pieces. I put a pound bag of partially-thawed (“sat on the counter for half an hour”) frozen broccoli florets over that. I mixed a can of cheese soup with a can of cream of broccoli soup and about a quarter-cup of milk, and I spooned THAT over everything. I covered the dish with foil and baked it for an hour at 350F. Then I put on a couple of handfuls of shredded cheese, and then a mixture of 2 T. melted butter and 1/4 c. panko crumbs, and baked it another 15 minutes uncovered at 375F.
It was…okay. I think it’ll be a lot better the second time I attempt it. This time the rice still wasn’t cooked all the way even after an hour and a quarter, so it was kind of wet and solidly clumped, and also had parts that were like eating uncooked rice (I was going to say “crunchy,” but that sounds overcooked and a little yummy; this was starchy and like eating undercooked rice). I wonder if the rice recipe I was following (from my rice cooker) was not the same as what would be done on the stove-top, and maybe that was the problem. Or it’s possible the rice had some brown rice in it: it was Paul’s jar of rice, and he could have made a blend without me knowing it. The broccoli was a little overcooked, and looked icky wherever no sauce had covered it. The cream of broccoli soup smelled TERRIBLE; like, four times as bad as the usual post-broccoli smell in a house, as soon as I’d opened the can. This morning the house still smells bad, and so do my HANDS even though I’ve SHOWERED.
I think next time I’d use cream of chicken soup instead and count on the added bag of broccoli to do the smelling-terrible part. I think I’d also add more milk to the soup—probably half a cup instead of a quarter; it seemed too thick. The chicken was good though: a child even remarked upon it (though in a not-exactly-complimentary way: “Is this DIFFERENT chicken? Usually chicken is so hard to chew, but this is easy”).