Growing up, my mother let me watch every time she cooked. She got me involved in much of the prep work too. Even before that though, I remember sitting in the hallway just outside the kitchen with my play food set “grilling” up some plastic burgers or chicken with those fake grill marks that appeared with luke-warm water. I loved that stuff. I had practically every piece (I still do I believe). A plastic microwave that chimed after about 15 seconds, a grill that when you turned a crank, it made sizzling sounds. I mean who doesn’t love that plastic teapot where you lifted up the handle and once you let go, it began to whistle? That was my life.
I had so much more but these were my life growing up. I even started looking at other pictures and reminiscing about all the things I had. If you had them too, google image: fisher price teapot and see all the others…now I want to harass mom to find them!
So there’s a reason why I put “Italian” in those quotes. In fact, I can actually see in my mind a few friends doing the old air quotes because in reality, its not really Italian, it tastes more mexican.
I mentioned my mother and me cooking alongside her earlier for a reason. This recipe flat out reminds me of my mother. You know how Italian salad dressing has all those different ingredients in it? Peppers, onions, olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, and other yummy things; well my mother uses that dressing in practically everything. Tortellini salad, pasta salad, to marinate steak or chicken in, I know I’m forgetting something else; but she uses it for a great deal of her cooking. In reality, truly thinking about it, its actually a pretty good dressing/marinade for a lot of food; and it’s been passed on to me.
I came across the recipe and immediately fell in love. I think it might’ve been because of the use of the Italian dressing or because it reminded me of my childhood, who knows? I did though adapt it a bit.
“Italian” (Mexican) Chicken
4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 packet of Ranch dressing powdered mix
1/2 bottle of Italian Dressing (I tend to stick to Wishbone brand)
1 cup water
About 1 tsp of crushed garlic
About 1/8 cup of dried onions (real onions work but I tend to use these when I don’t want that ‘over-powering’ onion flavor)
About 1tbsp of Mrs. Dash Table Blend (my seasoning obsession) -optional
About 1tsp of ground red pepper (cayenne) -optional
1 small bag of frozen corn -optional
1 8oz. can of black beans (drained) -optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
This is what you’ll need.
I halved the chicken, salted and peppered each side, and placed it in the crockpot.
Then, I mixed all the other ingredients together and covered the chicken in the crockpot with the mixture. Set it on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.
The smell in the place coming home from work is one of my favorites!
When there was about 1/2 hour-45 minutes left of cooking, I shred the chicken and like to add in the small bag of frozen corn and the can (drained) of black beans. I’ll then re-cover and let it cook.
This is the result (sans corn and beans). Sadly, I didn’t take the “after” shot since we apparently jumped right into eating! (That tends to happen in the house.)
I’ll typically serve this as tacos with some lettuce, cheese, sour cream (any other fixin’s), and then it refrigerates well and I have it over salads for work the next few days.
Here’s the somewhat adapted recipe (you’ll have to scroll down a bit):