cooking: ease of use

I'm not a cook who values a dish for the intricacy involved in its creation, but entirely based on the end result.  My favorite recipes are 'bang for buck' types, where small investments of time and energy deliver massive flavor and enjoyment.  The crock pot (I eschew the fashionable re-branding slow cooker) is terrific at these kinds of things, and the heavyweight champion thus far is the Salsa Chicken I've mentioned previously.
Throw in some chicken, dump jarred salsa of some sort on top, cook for three hours, BANG!

So last night I made a promising Rick Bayless recipe, Pork Tinga substituting chicken, because that's what I had.  It turned out fine, but when I asked myself the question "is it better than Salsa Chicken?" the answer came back negative.  It's different, with the smokey influence of the chipotles permeating the dish, but it wasn't measurably better.   And while it wasn't complicated it still took maybe 20 minutes of prep time- chopping & seeding the chipotles, slicing the onion, dicing the potatoes, etc.
Compare with minute or so to trim the chicken and open the packages for Salsa Chicken.

Bayless is far and away my favorite purveyor of just authentic enough Mexican food, but in this case I have to side with the star of Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, Salsa Chicken.

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