Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Recipe Connection: Slow Cooker Chicken, Lentil and Rice {Mexican or Italian Versions!}

October 14th, 2010 · 33 Comments · Recipes

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Dish Recipe

The first time I made this original recipe, it was a total disaster.

That really inspires confidence and makes you want the recipe, right?

Never fear, I’ve not only added tomato sauce, chicken, stock, and cheese, but I’ve also upped the spices considerably and offer both Mexican and Italian versions, PLUS I adapted it for the slow cooker. It was originally a simple pauper’s meal, low on the budget but also on flavor, and now it’s even simpler to put together but gets accolades whenever I serve it to the family.

Don’t Let Disasters Get in the Way of Good Food

The first time I tried the baked version, the rice and lentils didn’t get cooked, and I had to decide between crunchy rice or a very, very late dinner. We ended up with both, as I baked the dish twice as long as it called for and still had underdone rice.

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken, Lentil and Rice

I’m not sure what made me try it again, but the remix has become a staple in the rotation, perhaps because it’s so easy and uses a lot of ingredients I often have on hand. I’m always trying to think of ways to use up my shredded chicken from the whole chickens I buy to make homemade chicken stock…which of course wasn’t even in the original uber-simple recipe. For an easy meatless meal, you could certainly omit the chicken.

Find this recipe, updated and perfected and with even more frugal tips and transformation options, along with 29 other bean recipes and a ton of information on cooking dry beans, the health benefits of beans, and ideas for bean haters in The Everything Beans Book, available now at Kitchen Stewardship!

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken, Lentil and Rice

In keeping with the “Keep it Simple” theme for this week, I’m happy to share this simple slow cooker meal with you. I think it will be the first one I make when we introduce rice after the grain-free experiment. I was tempted to jump into that this weekend, but I’m sure we should have more than one week with the legumes brought back in before foraying into “real” grains. We’ve already introduced lentils – here’s how I use lentils and some other recipes.

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Dish

Slow Cooker Chicken, Lentil & Rice {Mexican or Italian}
Recipe Type: Meatless Entrees
Author: Katie Kimball
  • 3/4 c. dry green lentils
  • 1/2 c. brown rice
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 1/2 c. homemade chicken stock
  • 1 c. tomato sauce (8 oz. can) or 1 6-oz. can tomato paste + and extra ½ c. stock
  • 3/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. of chopped green or red pepper
  • 1 grated or finely chopped carrot
  • 2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
  • optional: other vegetables like spinach, broccoli
  • 3 tsp. Italian seasoning or taco seasoning
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 c. grated cheese ( I prefer sharp cheddar, but Mexican blend with the taco seasoning or mozzarella with the Italian is also great)
  1. Combine rice, lentils, and water in the slow cooker following this rice soaking method.
  2. Allow to soak overnight with the machine turned off.
  3. Drain the water off (save some for next time; see method), then add all the other ingredients except the cheese to the slow cooker and mix well (use a non-metal spoon for most ceramic slow cookers).
  4. Set slow cooker to high for four hours or low for 8 hours, adding cheese about a half hour from the end of the time.
  5. Serve with salsa and sliced avocados for the Mexican version, and optional warmed spaghetti sauce with the Italian is great.

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken, Lentil and Rice

Recipe inspired by Cents to get Debt Free, where almost everyone loves her recipe. I must have been a fluke! But I’m glad for the disaster because it pushed me to make it much, much better in my humble opinion.

Do you think we could make other flavor versions? If you try any new spices, be sure to let me know in the comments!


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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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