If you thought crock pot cooking was limited to soups and stews, think again. Slow-cooker fajitas are a healthy, tasty, economical meal for the whole family. Meal-prep doesn't get much simpler than this. Learn how to make this incredibly easy recipe, and customize it with your favorite ingredients.
When schedules are hectic and there are so many things vying for your attention, it can be difficult to find the time (and the motivation) to cook healthy meals. Too often, it’s easier to go through the drive-thru of the nearest fast-food restaurant or warm up a frozen dinner. But you can make meal-prep a lot easier — and faster — by taking advantage of an invaluable kitchen appliance: the slow cooker.
Most people associate crock pot recipes with soups and stews. These are great, but may not be at the top of your list of favorite meals. If you’re looking for a crockpot meal that’s tasty, healthy, and economical, then this slow cooker fajita recipe may be just what you need to spice up your dinner routine.
With this recipe, you can do most of the preparation in the crockpot, so you essentially have an appliance doing the bulk of the work for you. The cooking tasks that need to be done just before serving the food only take about 20-30 minutes. You can really breeze through this part if you cut up the vegetables in advance. But you don’t have to take our word for it about how awesome this meal is. We’ll give you the recipe so you can try it for yourself.
Here are a few things to keep in mind first. Then, you can start cooking.
An Easily-Customizable Crock Pot Creation
Crockpot fajitas tend to be a family favorite, especially among teenage boys. While it’s generally a crowd-pleaser, it can be adapted to suit more selective eaters. For instance, the recipe calls for peppers and onions, but if you have members of your household that prefer one but not the other, you can cook the veggies separately so everyone can have what they want. Even though you’re preparing food “en masse,” you can customize each fajita according to individual tastes.
This recipe is also easy to adjust depending on how many are at your table and how hearty those appetites are. The recipe below feeds four to six people, but you can easily double it for a crowd, or to set aside leftovers so you can go a couple more days without cooking.
A Tasty, Healthy Meal on a Budget
This meal is also a win-win if you are cooking on a budget. Crockpot fajitas are incredibly economical. You can tweak the recipe to reduce your grocery bill. For example, you can just use half the chicken and add more black beans and/or rice. Beans and rice are a great filler, and they’re nutritious, so you won’t be compromising the quality of the meal if you increase the quantities of these ingredients.
While this recipe calls for fresh veggies, you can use frozen ones too. Sometimes when certain vegetables aren’t in season in your locale, the selection available at the grocery store may not be of the highest quality or may come with a higher price tag. In many cases, you can substitute frozen vegetables, such as onions and peppers, for the fresh variety.
Likewise, if you don’t want to make rice from scratch, you can usually find yellow rice mixes at the grocery store. These pre-made products typically take about 20 minutes to prepare, so you can get your rice going as soon as you start the veggies.
Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas Recipe
And now for the recipe you’ve been waiting for …crockpot chicken fajitas.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes in the morning
Cooking Time: 3-8 hours in the slow cooker, depending on the setting you select, and 20 minutes before serving the meal.
Serves: 4-6 people
For virtually seamless meal-prep, chop up your veggies ahead of time, such as the day before or in the morning while you are getting the slow cooker ready. Cut them into strips, place them in a Zip-Loc bag, and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Meat Mixture for the Crock Pot
- 5-6 chicken tenders
- 1 15-oz. can of black beans
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced into long strips
- 1/2 sweet onion sliced into long strips
- Oil for cooking
- Package of 8 large flour tortillas
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- One package of Zataran’s or Mahatma yellow rice mix
Step 1: Prepare the slow cooker.
In your slow cooker, combine the chicken tenders, black beans, garlic, cumin, paprika, onion, salt, and chili powder. Set your appliance on low to cook for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
Step 2: Start the rice.
When you’re ready for the rest of the fajita-prep, follow the instructions on the package to start cooking the rice. While it’s simmering on the stovetop, you can get everything else done.
Step 3: Shred the chicken.
Lift your crockpot lid and use two forks to shred the chicken, fajita-style. When it’s fully cooked, the chicken should practically fall apart under the utensils. When you are done shredding, replace the lid and turn the slow cooker off.
Step 4: Sautee vegetables.
Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. To see if it’s hot enough, sprinkle a few drops of water over the skillet; they should sizzle. Coat the bottom of the pan with oil by rotating the skillet. Sautee the peppers and onions. The peppers are done when they are lightly browned. Similarly, the onions should be softened and lightly browned. When they’re done, place them in a bowl and set it aside.
Step 5: Once the rice is tender, you can start serving the fajitas. Here’s how to assemble them:
- Set a tortilla on a serving plate and slather it with a teaspoon of sour cream.
- Down the middle of the tortilla, add a few spoonfuls each of rice, chicken and beans, and sauteed vegetables. Top it off with a few spoonfuls of cheese.
- Fold in the sides, and dig in!