Never Enough Time [Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Santa Fe]

by Maris Callahan on January 24, 2012

I’ve talked before about the wonders of the crock pot. Or, the slow cooker. Whatever you call it, it’s damn convenient because you can pile all of your ingredients into what is essentially a giant bowl, press a few buttons, set a timer and forget it is there until you’re ready to eat or store it. This comes in handy for me because though I currently work from home, I find myself with a bit of a time management issue.

You know the expression, “the grass is always greener?” Well. Ha. Let’s talk about that. When I worked in a cubicle, I fantasized about working from a home office, where I could clean in between conference calls, start dinner at four pm if it would take an especially long time to cook and make the six o’clock classes at my gym since I wouldn’t have to slog through an hour commute when I was finished working for the day.

Let me preface this by saying that I love working from home. Though at times I long for the structure of a work day and an environment where there are, you know, other people to talk to, I consider myself quite lucky to set my own schedule and manage my own workload. However, the working-from-home fantasy that I derived when I worked in an office? Not so accurate.

When I worked at an office, I enjoyed my job but I felt that there were never enough hours in the day. I was constantly leaving things uncrossed on my personal to-do lists because I’d had to work later than I’d planned and no matter how hard I tried to cram everything in, I was falling asleep working on a freelance article or I was promising myself to volunteer for an organization I cared about knowing deep inside that I would never have time to fulfill my commitment. I thought that when I worked from home, the two hours I was no longer spending commuting would avail me of all the time in the world to keep my apartment spotless, my laundry folded, my good deeds done and that I would be able to fall asleep each night dreaming of my own productivity.

Not so much.

Those two extra hours from the non-existent commute? I don’t know exactly where they go each day. Sure, there are days when I’m focused on a writing project or media outreach for a client and the hours fly. No matter how hard I work though, I never feel like I’ve done enough. I never feel like I’m ready to sign off at 5, 6 or 7pm to close my computer for the night and enjoy a relaxing evening. I have a fervent need to be connected to the internet constantly, always in fear that if I disconnect, I’ll miss something important. What exactly? I don’t know.

Though a lot of people are comfortable leaving their crock pot on all day, my lack of renters insurance leaves me a little too paranoid to leave the appliance plugged in if I’m away for more than a quick errand or meeting. For homebound days, this is my favorite recipe to throw together. If you’re like me and the thought of leaving the house with a plugged in heat source on your counter for ten hours makes you anxious, make this in the evening so it cooks overnight and then pop it in the fridge in the morning before you leave work – just reheat in the microwave or stovetop when you’re ready to eat dinner. Bonus: it’s generally pretty healthy too, unless of course you add cheese, sour cream and avocado as I like to do.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Serves 6-8

What You Need:

14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
15 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
Salt to taste
24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast

How-To

Place chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the slow cooker. Place chicken breast on top and cover.Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.

Thirty minutes prior to serving, remove chicken and shred into bite size pieces (the same way you would shred pulled pork). Return chicken to slow cooker and stir until chicken is combined with the rest of the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with corn tortillas (pictured) or rice.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly January 24, 2012 at 7:16 am

Looks delicious. I enjoy using my crock pot for many recipes, although it is hard because many recipes would require me to start it at lunchtime, and would overcook if I start in the morning.

A word of advice: renter’s insurance is inexpensive and 100% worth it. Ask my friend Heath, who lost everything in a fire and no insurance to back it up.

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Alexis @ There She Goesa January 24, 2012 at 7:23 am

working for yourself= never shutting the computer off!

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leslie January 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

I hear you! I feel like I never get enough done. I totally need to set a time to shut off the computer. At night, its a sad sight, my husband and I sitting on the couch with our laptops on our laps till we go to bed. Ugggggg.

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Kay January 24, 2012 at 8:28 am

I hope you find a good balance of when you can take some time for yourself!

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Amanda January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

That looks delicious!

I can’t imagine working from home. I don’t think I’d be able to get anything accomplished.

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Sarah January 24, 2012 at 9:11 am

I hear ya! I expect my house to be fantastically clean since I’m here all the day long. But NOPE.

This recipe is right up my alley. My family loves dishes like this.
Thank you.

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amy @ fearless homemaker January 24, 2012 at 9:28 am

i hear ya – i worked in an office for 5 years, then have been working from home for the last 3ish years since then. i much prefer working from home from all sorts of reasons, but i will admit that i work much longer hours than i used to. come 10 PM, i’m still checking my email, responding to work questions, taking calls on saturday mornings, etc. but it means i get to wear yoga pants to work everyday, which definitely does not suck. =)

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Lindsay @ biking before bed January 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

I would love to work from home but I’m sure that those saved hours do just magically disappear! I am always looking for new Mexican type recipes to throw into tortillas!

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The Teacher Cooks January 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

I love my slow cooker even though I am at home by 12:00. It is a lifesaver!

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5 Star Foodie January 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

I so need to get a crockpot or a slow cooker! This looks terrific and such a time saver!

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Erica January 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

Such a great idea and simple recipe! Love love love! And I work from home and totally agree!

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Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray January 24, 2012 at 10:55 am

I am so glad I’m not the only one who’s scared to leave her crockpot on when she leaves her apartment to go to work. People keep telling me I’m nuts.

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cara @ City Girl Chicago January 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I can very much relate… I also work from home and have discovered a certain amount of guilt comes with this ~ as in, I feel guilty if I do stop to fold the laundry, even though when I was working in an office, did I stop and take breaks? Of course. It’s a strange balance and hard to get used to. I do love using my slow cooker though, it’s great to not have to peel myself away from the computer in the evening to cook! :)

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Sawsan@chef in disguise January 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I really need to get a crockpot but I will surely cook overnight, the ida of leaving a heat source on while I am not in the house scares me too

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natalie (the sweets life) January 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

crockpot meals are my FAVORITE! this sounds like a similar one i’ve tried–i’ll have to try this version sometime (i have no qualms about leaving it on all day…shame on me?)

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Marsha @ The Harried Cook January 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Wow… I know exactly what you mean! All I wanted when I was in an office was to be working from home! And now that I do work from home, I don’t seem to be able to get much done – work-wise or home-wise. It could be the 2-year old constantly tugging at my sleeve :) This recipe sounds so easy and delicious! I so need to get myself a crockpot! Thanks for sharing :)

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Nami | Just One Cookbook January 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I normally don’t use black bean but I bought one can for making something and I forgot about it. I kept seeing in my cupboard but wasn’t sure what to do. Thanks to your recipe here, I decided to make this one. I need to get chicken first, but I’m excited to make this soon! I don’t have crockpot so I have to cook in cast iron for a long time.

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Terra January 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I think working from home rocks, the independence alone is what makes it perfect. I love not having the different personalities, and how they clash. What a lovely recipe! So perfect on a cold day:-) Beautiful, Hugs, Terra

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Maureen January 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

All I can say is Yum with about 5 syllables. I love recipes I can put in the slow cooker pot and forget til dinner. I seem to get a lot more done on days I use it. Maybe I don’t but it seems that way.

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Lisa January 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm

My BF has discovered the wonders of the crockpot (slow-cooker – tomato – tomahto) and can’t stop whipping up slow cooked goodies on weekends. I just sent him the link to this. I can’t wait for him to make it ;)

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Juliana January 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Maris, I feel the same way, no matter what I need more than 24 hours a day…never enough time to do everything that I’d like to.
Your chicken using crockpot looks delicious, I need to learn to take advantage of the crockpot :)

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Kelly January 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Girl get yourself some renters insurance. It’s not that expensive (I promise) and so worth it to keep the crock pot on at will. :-)

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Joanne January 26, 2012 at 6:03 am

I always like to think I’d be more efficient if I worked at home…but that’s incredibly untrue. And I know that deep down in my soul.

I love waking up to the smell of a good crockpot meal! This sounds excellent!

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Roz@weightingfor50 January 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I’ve often fantasized about working from home, but I’m not sure if I’d be disciplined enough to get things done without distraction. And I think I’d miss some interactions. Not all, but most… :) Wonderful looking recipe Maris. I LOVE the crock pot and REALLY should use it more often than I do. Have a great Thursday.

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Cate O'Malley January 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

I don’t think people realize how much discipline it takes to work from home, and how quickly the time flies some days! I was working from home in the afternoons, but am now back in the office until 3 pm. The slow cooker is a total lifesaver when I can plan ahead enough to use it. This chicken looks like the perfect dinner!

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Betty January 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I love my crockpot but I’m the same way- I hate to leave the house while it’s on! This looks really good. :)

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Alana D January 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

This reminds me of something I recently made in my crockpot! It’s those midwestern winter meals!

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Geni January 28, 2012 at 5:50 am

I love my crockpot and this chicken dish is right up my alley…especially with cheese and avocado. Although my new go-to sour cream is nonfat Greek yogurt. I am impressed you can stay so focussed on your writing all day. I would be drawn to distraction all day.

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Susan January 28, 2012 at 10:12 am

There are never enough hours in the day no matter where you work or what you do! This looks great, Maris! I don’t use my slow cooker as often as I should.

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AikoVenus January 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Let me tell you – I am so happy that I have a crockpot in the house. I eat a lot of dried beans so being able to just sort through them, wash and then place into a crockpot at night to simmer and awakening to the lovely smell of cooked beans is absolutely wonderful. I understand you with the time though – there are never enough hours in the day, it seems. ^^

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Autumn@Good Eats Girl January 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

This looks amazing…and I’m like you…I only use my crock pot when I am at home. I’m so paranoid to leave it on while I’m gone all day long!

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EA-The Spicy RD January 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

I can absolutely relate to your working at home story, although, my (productive) work day often comes to an end at 2:30 when I pick up my kids from school. I’ve used my new crockpot a couple of times so far, and love how easy it is to put dinner together on those days. This looks delicious, and added bonus, I think my kids would love it too!

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Erika - The Teenage Taste January 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

I hear you about being short on time! Now that school is in full swing I barely have time to make homemade dinners during the week! The crockpot and I are BFFs!

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Baking Serendipity January 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I love the simplicity of crockpot meals :) I haven’t made one in way too long…clearly this needs to change. Starting here.

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Kitchen Belleicious January 30, 2012 at 6:56 am

my motto is never enough time now that I have a new baby and a toddler! I am loving this recipe and don’t be surprised to see it on my menu this week! YUM!

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Liz January 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Your chicken looks amazing…and all your delicious toppings are a must :)

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Shannon January 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm

i can definitely see how working from home would present its own issues to deal with! but this is definitely a great, quick meal!

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Greg February 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

I’m on a taco tear. These look wonderful!

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Julie @ This Gal cooks January 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm

This looks so darn good! I love using my crockpot on those days that I’m super busy! Thanks so much for submitting this link to my post in the Food Bloggers Roundup FB group. I’ll be using this in my roundup that will be on the blog soon!

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Maris Callahan January 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Julie! Look forward to your post.

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