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Pulled chicken tacos, skate stew are great spring repasts


This winter was long, cold and snowy. I went into total hibernation mode, getting cozy at home and cooking long-simmering soups, sauces and chilis.

What’s awesome is putting a one-pot meal on the burner and walking away. Nourishing home cooking + accomplishing little tasks at home = one fulfilled Riverdale girl.

However, as the weather begins to warm, lighter foods that’ll do anything but stick to your bones are totally possible with little work or clean up.

Here are two examples I’ve been cooking up this week. I like to use flavorful, bright, store-bought salsas and Latin cooking bases to make an otherwise bland piece of chicken awfully tasty. Pulled chicken tacos and skate stew are what’s on the menu this week. While I love the tender, sweet flavor of skate, you can also use fish like grouper, cod or monkfish.  With this chicken dish, dark meat rules the roost, but you can totally pull off a great meal by cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Enjoy, from my kitchen to yours!

Pulled chicken stew
Serves 4

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs*

1 cup salsa verde or ½ jar sazon cilantro cooking base

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cilantro stems, rinsed and drained for simmering

Cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried, for serving

8 corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the thighs in a dutch oven. Add salsa or cooking base and one cup of water. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with cilantro stems, bring to a boil, cover and place in oven.

Cook for three hours. Remove from oven. Discard stems. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use a fork to gently pull the meat apart.  

Turn four burners on medium heat. Using a pair of tongs, toast the tortillas right over the burners for about 10 to 15 seconds on each side until toasty.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Serve chicken with broth in individual bowls garnished with fresh cilantro and two tacos.

Skate Stew
Serves 4

3 cups prepared pico de gallo**

5 skate filets, deboned and cut into large pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cilantro leaves, for serving

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