Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

We’ve been using our crockpot quite a bit lately. We’ve also discovered the wonderful boneless skinless chicken thighs from one of our favorite grocery stores (or go-see store as our toddler calls them). The benefit of cooking the thighs in the crockpot is they dry out less and are more flavorful than the traditional chicken breasts. Cooking Light’s crockpot recipes have become a go-to source. I did not expect this recipe to be as good as it was. Even the toddler ate some of it!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/2 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (we ended up using dried)
1/4 cup drained capers
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (we left this out because the toddler was eating with us)
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28-oz.) container diced tomatoes (such as Pomì) (I accidentally used only the 14.5 ounce can)
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cremini mushrooms, quartered (the grocery store was out of these, so we just left them out)
8 (6-oz.) bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (about 3 lb.) (we only had three boneless ones left, it worked fine)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half
5 ounces baby spinach
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:
Combine 1/2 cup water and flour in your favorite crockpot, stirring with a whisk. (Note: You can also use corn starch, which we will do next time.) Stir in stock and next 8 ingredients (through mushrooms). Add chicken thighs to the stock mixture; submerge in liquid. Cover and cook on LOW 7 1/2 hours (ours cooked about 9). Remove chicken. Leave whole or chop if using boneless skinless. If using bone-in, wait for them to cool, then remove bones.
Add oil and pasta to slow cooker sauce; cover and cook on HIGH 15 minutes or until pasta is done to your liking. (It took a little longer than 15 minutes for us.) Stir in spinach until wilted. Divide pasta mixture and top evenly with chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

My opinion:
I didn’t expect the capers to add so much to the dish. It was the right amount of salt and sweet from the tomatoes. The pasta cooked perfectly. Next time, I will use the corn starch and reduce the amount of liquid a little for the initial cooking phase. If we need more to cook the pasta, I’ll add more at that time. All in all a good, flavorful dish that is perfect for a weeknight.

Advertisements

Emeril Lagasse’s Steen’s Cane Vinaigrette

Steen’s Cane Vinaigrette

One of the ingredients we brought back from our New Orleans trip was Steen’s Cane Vinegar. We’ve used it in a few dishes and it makes a huge flavor difference from any other vinegar. This is the salad dressing that converted me from dry rabbit food to a salad with dressing.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Steen’s cane vinegar
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil (we used olive oil)

Directions:
In a medium nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, shallot, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes, then little by little whisk in the canola oil until completely incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

My opinion:
This dressing is just the right amount sweet and tangy. It’s lovely on a chicken breast and a bacon salad. There’s almost always a jar of this in our refrigerator.

Steen’s Cane Vinaigrette

Quick Yellow Shrimp Curry

Easy Yellow Shrimp Curry Sometimes I really want a good curry, but I don’t have time to toast the spices or wait for it to come together. This super simple curry from Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen is even quicker with our favorite Penzey’s Curry spice blend. Plus the best part is you can add any vegetables you have. I’ve used carrots, zucchini, broccoli and peppers with just as delicious results.

Ingredients
Bag of frozen shrimp, medium shelled and deveined works best.
1/2 cup frozen peas
1l can coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil (or any oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Penzey’s Curry Spice mix*
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
//www.chicoryapp.com/widget_v2/?%20location=below-ingredient

Instructions:
In a frying pan, sautee the onions over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they become transparent.
IMG_1026
Add the spices and garlic and cook for a further 1 minute.
IMG_1027
Add the shrimp and lemon juice. Stir to coat in with the spices, then pour in the coconut milk.
IMG_1028
Add the peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
IMG_1029
Mix in the chopped parsley just before serving. Serve with rice, couscous or quinoa

My opinion:
This takes less than 15 minutes, 20 if your vegetables aren’t already chopped. It’s simple, delicious and extremely delicious. I only wish there was a little more leftover for lunch the next day, there never is enough!

*If you don’t have the Penzey’s Curry spice mix, the original recipe called for: 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon coriander and optional 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.

p.s. even our toddler loves this dish!

Weeknight Spicy Chicken Soup

Spicy Chicken Soup
As the weather cools, we start eating more and more soups. I would never have tried this without the urging of J. It doesn’t sound delicious.  Plus when he told me it was a Bon Appétit recipe, I thought it would be way too complicated and complex. Turns out, it’s super simple and  does taste delicious. It’s definitely a new favorite.

We’ve used leftover turkey and rotisserie chicken and both have been wonderful. The recipe says it serves four, but it can stretched to serve more, or cooked down longer to serve less.

Ingredients:
1 prepared rotisserie chicken (we’ve occasionally just used the rotisserie chicken breasts with good luck)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (we use yellow)
1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (or sliced button if your local grocer is out of shiitake)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1″ piece ginger, peeled, chopped (we LOVE using the already minced ginger in the jar!)
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (a little goes a long way in this dish)
2 cups baby spinach
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Lime wedges (for serving) (or you can use about a teaspoon or more lime juice once you’ve ladled the soup into bowls)

Directions:
Pick meat from chicken, shred, and place in a small bowl (you should have about 4 cups); discard skin and bones. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add shredded chicken, broth and cayenne and bring to a boil. Add spinach and divide soup among bowls. Top with scallions and serve lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.

My opinion:
That’s it, really. It takes a total of between 15 and 20 minutes to prep everything and about 40 minutes to cook per the recipe.  This recipe is easy enough to be a weeknight dinner. If you let it cook down longer or reheat it for lunch the next day, the flavors intensify and meld together even more. If I am planning to eat it the next day, I leave the spinach out and add it in right before eating.  I adore this dish!

Best Gazpacho

Gazpacho
I know I said this was the best gazpacho recipe and I promise I still really like that one. This one is a teensy bit better and reminds me of a bowl of gazpacho from a restaurant in my hometown that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s the perfect HOT summer dinner. We found this gem hidden in a Mexican cookbook that we bought years ago:
Perfect Mexican
Ingredients:
1 cucumber (the original recipe says small, we just got an average size one) peeled and chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves (we really like garlic so we used about two tablespoons minced garlic)
1 fresh basil sprig (we have this growing in the kitchen and used about a quarter cup of leaves)
2 1/2 cups strained tomatoes (we had a heck of a time finding strained tomatoes in our Mid-Missouri town, so we used tomato puree)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (splurge and use the good stuff. We have some wonderful EVOO from C’s trip to Spain!)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (splurge and use the good stuff)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (splurge and use the good stuff)
1 and 1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Now the serving suggestions include:
Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 3.00.04 PMBut truthfully, we don’t bother because the model didn’t include the garnishes and it’s just as good.

Directions:
Put the cucumber, bell peppers, garlic and basil into your food processor (don’t try this with a regular blender, I promise it just makes a mess!). Process until the consistency of salsa. Add the strained or pureed tomatoes, olive oil and both kinds of vinegar and blend until smooth. (You might have to do this in two batches, we do!)
Pour in the vegetable stock and lemon juice and stir. (If you’d rather just pulse the food processor a few more times, we find it helps it to blend together a bit better.)
Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (or a lid!) and refrigerate for at least two hours.

My opinion:
Some people keep this extra chilly by serving an ice cube at the bottom.
Best Gazpacho
Instead of crusty bread (because I’m still limited in my wheat and gluten intake) we served it with corn quesadillas! Delicious!
Enjoy!
Corn Quesadillas

p.s. Summer 2016 update: even our toddler loves this gazpacho, which she calls “sauca!” She’s been practicing using a spoon on her own and if we keep this a bit on the chunkier side, she’s 90 percent successful!