1.13.2011

The Crockpot is My Friend

Happy 2011 everyone! Between being the mother of 2 preschoolers AND being in my third trimester of pregnancy, finding the mental energy to post is often beyond my abilities. :-p This morning however, as I was adding ingredients to my crockpot in preparation for tonight's dinner, I realized I had stumbled across an easy blog post.

I love my crockpot - especially in the winter. Why? It allows hot, delicious dinners to be served with minimal cooking effort. AND, the fragrances permeate my house throughout the day. There is nothing quite like a home fragranced with the ingredients of a warm dinner - especially when it is cold outside.

That being said - I got the following recipe from my mom a few years ago and it has become a regular dish in my home year-round. (For the record, I have made a few modifications to the recipe as that is the way I cook and as a result, some of the measurements are not precise... I'm not much of a "follow the recipe meticulously" cook as I am a "dump until it looks/tastes right" cook.)

Creamy Italian Chicken w/ Rice
1 large can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 cans diced tomatoes (you can use Italian Style if you like)
2-4 med-large frozen chicken breasts
2~ T rosemary, or to taste (you can also add or substitute Italian seasoning)
brown rice

Optional Ingredients:
2~ cloves minced garlic, or to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 white onion, chopped
1 small-med zucchini, chopped
shredded cheddar cheese (added when dish is served)

In a large crockpot, add the condensed cream of mushroom soup, 3 cans of tomatoes (I tend to drain a little of the liquid out as I prefer a thicker sauce, but this is not necessary), frozen chicken*, rosemary, garlic and pepper and onion. Cook 6-8 hours. If using zucchini, add in the last 1/2 of the cooking period.

*The chicken will cook fully during this time and it is perfectly safe to add it to the crockpot with the other ingredients raw and frozen.

Once the 6-8 hours is complete, remove the chicken from the sauce and shred with two forks. This should only take a few minutes as the chicken is cooked fully and nearly falls apart. Add chicken back to the sauce.

At some point toward the end of the 6-8 hours, make your rice according to the bag's directions. I use brown rice. You can also serve over whole wheat pasta (I would suggest using rotini, penne or macaroni rather than spaghetti), couscous, barley, etc. This sauce is good over about any grain.

Serve rice, top with sauce and cheese. This is a delicious, filling dinner and should make enough to serve 6-8 adults, maybe more.

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