Salsa Verde Chicken and Gumption | #NaBloPoMo

One of the first things I cooked after Gus was born – after weeks of nearly sleepless nights, and scrutinizing his eating, and doing anything – my God, anything – to stop colicky crying, was salsa verde chicken from Skinnytaste. 

I had lost my groove, you see, so I needed a slow cooker recipe, something easy, but something fresh too. Flavorful. But above all, simple. 

I suffer from chronic optimism, especially where projects are concerned. I see a complicated recipe, an intricate quilting pattern, an ambitious home improvement project, and I think, Of course I can!

When I was in college, I took a musical theatre class. The professor asked what musical numbers we intended to do for the final performance project, and without a moment’s hesitation, I said the “Moses Supposes” number from Singin’ in the Rain. 

My professor wanted to know if I knew how to tap dance. 

Well, no. I didn’t. I intended to learn in the two months ahead. 

Thankfully, he pushed me in a more reasonable direction, but I tell this story because it points to my affliction:  I just assume the thing can be done. 

This seems like a superpower I should harness and use for the greater good. But since having a baby, it has been my undoing. I think I can do the laundry and clean and keep the baby happy and write and make cookies and run to the store – sure!!

No. Just, no. 

So I turned to Skinnytaste, and I dumped a few boneless skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker. I sprinkled oregano and cumin and garlic powder and salt over top. I poured in a jar of salsa verde (per the recipe, I used Target Archer Farms brand). And I let it cook two hours. 

I made 90 second rice in a pouch. My only ambitious moment came in slicing bell peppers and an onion, sautéing them in my cast-iron skillet with a little cumin and salt until soft and sweet. 

Rice, chicken, peppers and onions – in a bowl. Squeeze a lime wedge over it all if you want a little brightness. 

(Chronically optimistic people with outsized ambitions tend to like a little brightness.)

It was delicious, fresh, bright. Salty and sweet, savory with just a small kick of spice. And the sense of accomplishment I had? It was like I had taught myself to tap dance in two months!

About that:  I finally did learn a little tap. I took classes for three months (sadly I had nowhere to practice, so I was fated to keep taking the same intro class again and again). I learned to shuffle, ball-change, I learned to make my steps travel across the floor. And I thought back on college me:  I had to laugh at my unrealistic expectations, but I also had to admire my own gumption. 

I’m putting a lot of value on gumption these days. In the fake it till you make it operation that is new motherhood; in learning to be a more open and honest writer, a more responsible citizen, a more authentic human in the world – gumption gets me there. 

As it happens, it also gets dinner on the table. 

4 thoughts on “Salsa Verde Chicken and Gumption | #NaBloPoMo

    1. I say give it a try, but watch for moisture loss. I’ve never tried it on the cooktop, but I’m a fan of anything that cooks long and low on the stove. If you try it, let me know how it works!

  1. My cooktop low setting is ridiculously low. At first I was excited to have it, but so far have not found it to be that useful. But maybe it’s a slow cooker in disguise! I have not wanted to buy an actual slow cooker because I have no place to put it…..

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