One of our local organic grocery stores ran a deal last month for free boneless, skinless chicken breasts so I made the trip and bought the meat. I brought it home and stuck it in the freezer and the pretty brown paper has been staring at me every day since then. You’ve read in my other posts that I’m not a huge fan of plain chicken breasts, but it was such a good deal, I couldn’t pass it up.
Living in North Carolina, barbecue here is done two different ways– sloppy, smokey and sweet OR vinegar-based and tart. I’m more a fan of the first, so it’s easy to go out and buy a barbecue dinner, but even more difficult to find a good bottled sauce to use at home. I’ve tried A BUNCH of store-bought sauces and have found a few favorites.
My #1 choice above all else is Montgomery Inn Barbecue Sauce, from Cincinnati, Ohio. It isn’t distributed everywhere, but you can buy it online. It’s smokey and just the right thickness and I love it on the meat on the grill or in the crock pot.
I also recently discovered Budweiser’s Sweet Barbecue Sauce. It’s sweet and sticky, but great flavor for pulled chicken sandwiches. I added some additional flavors in today’s meal, but this sauce was delicious.
Make this recipe and then serve it on warmed sesame buns or in a wrap with some shredded cheddar cheese. You can vary the flavors by switching out what kind of beer and what kind of barbecue sauce you choose to use. Enjoy!
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 c. caramelized onions
6 oz. beer (your choice!)
1 bottle barbecue sauce (your choice again!)
Put chicken in crock pot and pour beer over meat. Add caramelized onions on top of meat. Cook on low for 6 hours. Use a baster and remove the excess liquid from the pot and then shred the meat with a couple of forks. If cooked properly, the meat should fall apart very easily. Pour enough barbecue sauce over the meat that it coats it well but isn’t soupy. (You can always add more, you can’t really get it back out!) Cook on low for one additional hour.
Did anyone else just do a double take to the title of this recipe? It’s funny to read Pot Pot and not giggle… but this pot pie is indeed made in your CROCK pot. I guess I could just call it crock pot pie, but then it makes me think of ooey gooey apple filling and flaky, buttery crusts and sorry fans… that is not this recipe. I will, however, promise that this recipe is for a new favorite for your whole family. It has meat, dairy, vegetable and carb and if you serve it with a side of fruit (maybe cranberry sauce??), you’ve fulfilled every food group. Except dessert… and I’m ok with that still being it’s own food group.
I will probably repost this recipe around Thanksgiving, because it’s the PERFECT thing to do with leftover turkey. I actually roasted a whole turkey this past weekend and have enjoyed easy meals all week from all the leftover meat. You can also do this dish just as easily with a rotisserie chicken that you pick up at the grocery store though.
Here’s another worthwhile note: I use a pancake mix that is entirely egg-free because my son has allergies… so I just made pancake mix according to the directions on the box for 12-14 pancakes (2 cups mix, 1.5 cups water). I would recommend that you follow the directions on YOUR box, so if it asks for eggs, you should probably include it.
Also- please be cautious when you put the crock pot (removed from the heating unit) into the oven and then taking it out. I scalded my arm nicely on this one because I wasn’t paying attention. Ahhh, the things I’m willing to do for great cooking and blogging… yeah, you’re welcome. Enjoy!
1-1.5 lbs cooked turkey or chicken, skin and bones removed, then meat cut into bite-sized pieces Read more
The morning is half over and my whole family is still wearing pajamas. Yay for snow days! But since it’s dreadful and cold outside, I need something hot and satisfying to fill our bellies. I decided that we should head south of the border tonight and enjoy some Mexican fare, so today I am sharing my recipe for chicken tortilla soup. This recipe is simple and easy (and note– it freezes well, too!) and you can definitely vary the spiciness of the dish, depending how much heat your mouth can withstand.
I am sharing my basic recipe for this soup, but feel free to add any of the following to the pot for additional spice. I would recommend only picking one or two of these things as each one packs a punch:
1/2 t. cayenne pepper OR
1 chopped jalapeno pepper OR
1 t. Tabasco sauce
You can also decorate your chicken tortilla soup in a variety of ways. Try sprinkling some fresh, chopped cilantro on top, or a few slices of avocado. If the spice is more than you anticipated, cut it with Read more
One of my favorite new indulgences is Thai food. I started a few years ago with Pad Thai. It’s like the thai version of lomein, which is really just a step above the college-grade ramen noodle. But it started to introduce me to new flavors. Then, I moved up and through a few of the curry dishes; I quickly learned my ridiculously low capabilities for spicy food. I like my thai dishes with either chicken, tofu or shrimp– I just think think that these proteins absorb the most flavor from everything else it’s cooked in.
There are some particular seasonings for Thai food, though, and I just don’t keep these things in my kitchen yet. So while I’d love to have lemongrass and keffir lime leaves abundantly available or even know where to buy some galangal, I’m replacing some of these flavors with some easier go-to foods that you can find at your regular grocery store.
My crock pot Thai chicken soup is an interpretation of a traditional Thai tom kha soup. It still has the coconut milk, chicken and mushrooms, but I use ginger instead of galangal and lime juice for Read more
Tonight is open house at my son’s school and the timing makes dinner as a family tough. So, it is going to be date night instead— but eating out is expensive, so I’ll feed the kids early and then us parents can eat when we get home (and the kids are sleeping!). But since I’m not sure what time we’ll get home from the school, I’m going to start the crock pot late this afternoon so that dinner is ready when we get back.
One of my favorite appetizers is those amazing sauced up thai chicken wraps that you can get at fancy Asian-inspired restaurants. The unfortunate part is that the lettuce is totally an illusion making you think this is a healthy choice. The typical sauce is usually full of really salty, sugary, high calorie ingredients that I totally don’t want to indulge in tonight. So I’ve come up with a healthier way to enjoy this treat, using the crock pot to get the most out of all the flavors and then whipping up a quick sauce in a pan to coat the whole mixture.
Most restaurants serve this dish with iceberg lettuce because it is crisp, but you can also use leaves of romaine lettuce or even tortillas. I hope you get to enjoy this at your next date night at home, too!
2 stalks celery, chopped Read more
Happy birthday to my husband. He is an amazing man, father, lover and friend. And he loves my cooking. So for tonight, I wanted to make him a nice dinner. But of course, I still have the kids to take care of today, a house to clean before company and a dog that is begging to go out, so my options for fine dining were a little limited. I decided to start a crock pot of food at lunchtime instead of at breakfast— our dinner will be done right as the kids are going to bed… so we can eat a meal as adults and maybe even partake in a glass of wine.
I had totally planned on doing chicken fajitas for dinner tonight or some sort of hearty “man” food, but my hubby went out with his coworkers for lunch at a Mexican restaurant, so I needed to reroute my dinner plans. Since I already had the chicken, I decided to make chicken cacciatore (pronounced catch-ahh-toe-ree) instead. It’s robust and filling, but an easy one pot meal.
Cacciatore is usually served over a thin pasta like angel hair, but it can also be served over rice, if you prefer. I like to top mine with grated Parmesan cheese instead of putting the cheese in when it’s cooking. You can also add other vegetables if you’d like– many cacciatore recipes add mushrooms and/or fresh basil leaves.
You don’t need a celebration to dine on this great chicken dish. Enjoy!
4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
1/2 yellow pepper, sliced thin
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 c. spaghetti sauce
1 T. parsley flakes
1 t. basil flakes
1 t. oregano flakes
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
Combine vegetables in crock pot, top with all seasonings and stir together. Pour in tomatoes and sauce and stir again. Place frozen chicken breasts on top of mixture. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. Serve over thin pasta or rice.
I opened up my weekly CSA delivery and was so excited to see the ripe, fragrant produce. One thing in particular caught my attention– OKRA. The first thing I thought of was some hot, spicy gumbo. I think half of what I unpacked is going to end up in the gumbo— okra, tomatoes, basil, corn, green pepper… now if only I stopped at a farm for some chicken and then headed to the coast for some shrimp, but I guess I’ll have to buy those at the grocery store.
Gumbo is a perfect recipe for the crock pot because it needs to simmer for a long time to fuse all those flavors together. Cut your veggies into small pieces so you can have a bit of each morsel in your mouth! This soup would also freeze really well, so make the gumbo for dinner this week and then enjoy all these fresh treats again later this fall when they aren’t so available.
This soup can also be made vegetarian if you leave out the chicken, sausage and shrimp. I’d amp up the amount of veggies though and maybe get a little more okra, so that this tastes more robust and unique than just vegetarian vegetable soup. You can also use Morningstar Farms chicken strips (fake meat) if you’d like to add some protein. Enjoy!
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 lb. okra, sliced
1 c. of corn (cut off of fresh ears)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
3-4 ripe, sweet tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 stalks celery, sliced
4-6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. chili powder
1 T. parsley
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. Tabasco sauce
2 c. water
3 pork sausages, cooked and sliced
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned
2 c. cooked white rice
Combine all vegetables in crock pot. Add liquid ingredients. Sprinkle with all seasonings. Place chicken pieces on top of mixture next. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Add shrimp, sausage and cooked white rice and cook for an additional 1 hour on low.
The word “chimichurri” might make you think of that silly little ditty from Mary Poppin’s chimney sweep friend, but I assure you, there is nothing dirty or British about this recipe (not that the two are synonymous!). I think of chimichurri sauce as an Argentinian version of pesto, but with parsley instead of basil. I love it as a marinade, but it can also be used as a garnish or a dipping sauce for pretty much any meat. I challenge you to try this on as many grilled meats as possible this summer and to find any single one that it doesn’t complement.
But since I don’t feel like firing up the grill and cinging my eyebrows, I’m going to cook my beef in the crock pot. Chimichurri is often served with steak, so I am using a flank steak and I sliced it into half inch sections before cooking it. I think this will help really get all the flavors into the steak. I marinated the meat overnight in the refrigerator, but that isn’t necessary. I would recommend marinating it for at least four hours, just to give it enough time to fester.
I don’t have enough fresh produce on hand to make this with the real ingredients, but if you do— use 1 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley and some fresh oregano, too. I assure you this will taste good with the dried stuff, but even more amazing with fresh herbs.
I’m serving my chimichurri steak with some steamed veggies (at least I know my kids will eat those things!), but you can also try roasting some potatoes with the meat or serving it on a nice bed of salad. Enjoy!
Meat: 2 lbs. beef (flank steak, skirt steak, London Broil, flat iron steak…. if you don’t love beef, use chicken)
1/2 c. white wine
1/3. c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3-4 cloves garlic, minced Read more
4 chicken breasts (can be frozen)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can yellow corn niblets, drained
1 can black beans, washed and drained
1 jar of picante sauce (mild, medium or hot)
1 pkg. plain cream cheese (8 ounces)
Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of a crockpot. Layer all ingredients EXCEPT for the cream cheese. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Ten minutes before you serve, stir in cream cheese. Serve over rice. Or– make it a day ahead and just add the cream cheese when you reheat!
(recipe originally provided by Preferred Childcare, Inc., Greensboro, NC)
It’s Friday! I work hard all week waiting for today. Tonight we get to start our weekend. I can’t think of a better way to welcome the weekly 2-day vacation than to have a family meal together at home. To make it more special, we are having guests this evening as well. Ok crock pot, it’s time to do your thing and make dinner tonight taste like it was hard to make (but really it’s only noon o’clock and it’s already done).
The most challenging part of this recipe is making sure that your meat will fit in the crock pot. If you have a round and more vertical design of a crock pot, you might have to use a cornish hen instead of a chicken if you want it to fit! This recipe really works best in a 5-6 qt. crockpot that is oval shaped. I just thought you should know this before you start trying to shove everything in and then being disappointed when it doesn’t fit. (check out my next post about buying a new crock pot!)
If you have leftover chicken after tonight, I’d recommend making curried chicken salad tomorrow. Add a stalk of fresh, chopped celery (not a cooked one from the pot), add a small can of diced water chestnuts, 1/2 c. quartered red grapes and then enough mayo to make it a good consistency. Then, add curry powder, a little salt and pepper— I can’t tell you how much because I don’t know how much chicken you have left, but remember that curry powder becomes more potent after it gets a chance to fester. Make this salad up and then put it in the fridge for a couple hours– when it turns a darker copper color (from the curry), it’s ready to eat!
Well there you go, I guess it’s a two recipe day. You have one for today and one for tomorrow!
Now for to the roasted chicken recipe:
1 3-4 lb. fresh chicken, thawed, rinsed and patted dry
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped Read more