I’ve been on a mission to post out some no effort Instant Pot recipes that I think my daughter and her fam will love, and I hope you might, too. See, my daughter was married recently, and her blended family consists of seven children ranging from toddler to teenager! I’m still a bit boggled by it all, but Southwestern Chicken Instant Pot Bowls are the kind of recipe I think almost anyone will love. The prep is nominal, the cook time short, clean up is a breeze and the results? Delish. These bowls are perfect for summer – or anytime.
And even though written as stated, this is a marvelous family meal, what’s great about these bowls is how easy they are to customize. You can add any or all of your fave taco/burrito accouterments, and let your littles do the same. That’s a sure-fire way to generate interest in a meal and satisfy everyone.
About Southwestern Chicken Instant Pot Bowls:
What we have here is a one-pot meal and there’s chicken (in chunks because some of my grandbabies don’t like it shredded) corn, black beans, and salsa along with some rice. Salsa not only adds a few more veggies to the mix, but it also transforms that rice into something that tastes a lot like Spanish Rice.
Southwestern Chicken Instant Pot Bowls are just packed with good stuff, flavor, and protein. They’re perfect as a “bowl” and a complete meal in themselves, but would make a great burrito or taco filling, too. And you can serve this with some tortillas or chips on the side, too, if you’d like.
I’m all about adding freshness to any meal, especially summer meals, so my Southwestern Chicken Instant Pot Bowls were served with lime to brighten it, salsa, avocado and sour cream on the side and sprinkled with green onions and cilantro. And I’m kicking myself for forgetting the cheese, which was still on the counter after I made, photographed and ate (maybe more than I should have, lol!) because cheese just makes everything better, especially if you’re feeding children. So picture these bowls with ooey gooey cheese sprinkled and melted over the top. Or picture them however you like them.
Making Southwestern Chicken Instant Pot Bowls:
There’s nothing to this recipe, really. You’ll want to make sure you follow the directions precisely to avoid the possibility of a “burn notice” which can happen if you leave residue on the bottom of the pot after sauteeing the onions and adding in the spices or if you don’t layer in the correct order or if you stir when you shouldn’t.
Pay attention to how you cut the chicken – it should be in 1″ chunks, just the right size to cook through and still remain juicy. In recipes like this, sometimes the chicken thighs or breasts are tossed in whole and then shredded. I haven’t tried this just because I wanted the chicken in chunks. Let me know if you do!
Where you do have some latitude is with the heat level. It’s flavorful and family-friendly with 1 tablespoon of chili powder and a medium-heat salsa. Since the salsa flavors the whole dish, the heat level is pretty much nil. Go hotter if you’d like and add your fave chili powders or hot sauce and a hotter salsa if you want. I specifically chose a tomato-y type salsa, like the basic grocery store salsas, so the rice would turn out like Mexican or Spanish rice. Go green if you want.
I’ve given you a shortcut version if you want to use it. Instead of sauteing your onion and adding spices, use your fave taco seasoning. Ya can’t go wrong with that!
Saving Money on Southwestern Chicken Instant Pot Bowls:
For this recipe, boneless chicken thighs on sale are always less than the breast, but if you stock up on deep sales, neither will break the bank. Rice is always cheaper in the larger bags and keeps indefinitely. Any pantry staples like canned beans or corn (or freezer staples like corn) are best bought on sale. Generally, in the summer our corn goes on sale for 20 to 26 cents an ear and an ear gives about 1 1/2 cups of kernels, about the same as a can. Of course, cooking your own dried beans from scratch will save a few pennies per serving – and you’ll avoid any additives. A pound is roughly the equivalent of three cans, and an extra can be put in a Ziploc and frozen for another recipe.
I stock up on most of my condiments for the year during the summer sales, especially around the summer holidays and I look for great prices on salsa during Cinco de Mayo, too. Sales on condiments are sporadic right before the Superbowl, and this year, I noticed a few around March Madness, but they don’t beat out the summer prices.
What really can vary in price are all the “upgrades” to the recipe. The cheese and sour cream I buy on deep special. Sour cream, I store upside down and it stays fresher, longer. Green onions I regrow, herbs come from my garden and are bought in during the winter to use until spring…if I can keep them alive! Watch for specials on the limes and avocados, though. Last week avocados were two for a dollar, this week they were $2.00 a piece!
Southwestern Chicken Instant Pot Bowls
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth, divided (or same amount of alternative like boxed or homemade)
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken, boneless thighs or breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed
- 1 (15 ounces) can corn, rinsed or equivalent amount of frozen
- 1 cup of a tomato-y jarred salsa, mild or medium for family-friendly
- 1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
- garnishes as desired, cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado, lime, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, tortillas or chips, etc.