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!
- 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 ounce container diced tomatoes 28-oz., such as Pomì, I accidentally used only the 14.5can
- 1 pkg. cremini mushrooms quartered (the grocery store was out of these, so we just left them out), 8-oz.
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs skinned (about 3 lb.) (we only had three boneless ones left, it worked fine), 6-oz.
- 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)
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).
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.
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.
Updates for Instapot:
Cook the vegetables and first 8 ingredients. Then pressure cook for 6 minutes, quick release, if using chicken remove veggies and cook chicken (favorite way is 7 minutes per pound of breasts with just enough stock or water to cover), remove and drain. Then shred the chicken or leave whole. Readd the veggies and sauce, add the chicken, then the oil and pasta turn to sauté. When it bubbles add the pasta and turn to warm then add the lid. Check after 10 minutes for pasta tenderness.
It’s been a roller coaster of spring-like temperatures and freezing, regular February temperatures around here the last few weeks. That plus the lovely no six diet (no: dairy, wheat,eggs, fish, soy or peanuts) diet I’m on to help baby A’s digestive issues means we’ve had to get very creative with dinners. Luckily for me, J has taken the changes to our culinary repertoire in stride and has come up with a lot of alternatives to our favorite dishes. He found this lovely one from Food and Wine magazine. Since I was baby A wrangling, I only got a picture of the finished product.
Mexican Black Bean Soup with Sausage Recipe
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium white or yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons garlic cloves very finely chopped (we used about 3of minced garlic, but we like garlic a lot)
- 1 teaspoon canned chipotle chile seeded and finely chopped (since we didn't have this on hand, we used 1ground chipotle)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Two 15-ounce cans black beans drained
- 3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 3/4 pound smoky cooked sausage such as andouille or kielbasa, thinly sliced (we just went with two andouille)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus wedges for garnish
- 2 tablespoons very finely chopped cilantro
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Sour cream for serving we left this out because it's dairy
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and the chipotle or ground chipotle, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the black beans and chicken stock and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
Using a potato masher, coarsely crush some of the beans (we skipped this step).
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat.
Add the sausage and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Add the sausage to the beans.
Then add the lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer the soup for 2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, or longer if you'd like!
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the sour cream and lime wedges separately.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this ended up being very filling and just the right amount of heat to warm me from the inside. It’s absolutely a soup we will add to the rotation, even once we (hopefully!) can start adding the no items back to my diet.
One of J’s favorite dishes is his father’s chili. It makes more than enough for three meals and a few lunches for us. Like most of our favorite meals, this one gets better the longer it simmers. It looks complicated, but I promise it’s easy and worth it.
- 1 pounds and 1/2chili or stew beef you can also use ground beef if you want
- 1 pound pork chop cut up or you can use ground pork
- 2-3 green bell peppers chopped
- 1-2 onions chopped
- 1 beer (any kind cheap is particularly good)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons chili powder (REGULAR chili powder not ancho, not super, not hot. Trust me)
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground chipotle we buy them whole and use a coffee grinder for this
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 to 1/2 d cup iced celery
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 can rotel or green chiles
- lime juice as needed
- 1 can rotel or green chiles
- lime juice as needed
Brown the meat.
Add the chopped bell peppers and onions and cook until desired caramelization.
In a separate pot make the sauce by adding the first 11 ingredients and simmering for about 45 minutes until smooth.
Then add the tomatoes and meat and peppers and onions. Simmer one to two hours.
Add 1 to 4 tablespoons massa flour to thicken if needed (most of the time we leave this step out).
My opinion: This is delicious with shredded Monterrey jack cheese, lime juice and tortilla chips. J prefers his with corn bread. It’s perfect for a cold winter’s night.
I’ll be truthful, I prefer simple, clean flavors. I don’t like meat in pasta sauce and I’m not in love with Ricotta cheese. After years of eating my family’s version of lasagna, J couldn’t take it anymore. He had to make his own.
Homemade Lasagna with meat sauce by Dispatches from the Castle
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 14 1/2 ounce cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
- 2 6 ounce cans tomato paste
- 24 ounces cottage cheese or 24 ounces ricotta cheese we used half and half to appease me
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese divided
- 12 -15 lasagna noodles
Brown ground beef, onion and garlic. Add salt and next 5 ingredients; stirring until well mixed. Simmer 1 hour. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside. Combine cottage cheese, eggs, pepper, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of mozzarella cheese; In a lasagna pan, layer noodles, meat sauce, and cheese mixture; repeat. Top off with layer of noodles; sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cheese mixture is thoroughly melted.
I’m not 100 percent sure J followed this recipe exactly, but if he didn’t he followed it pretty close. He modified it from this Food.com recipe. All in all, it was pretty good. I would let him make it again. It was a bit light on the cheese, which is the part of the lasagna I like most. We’ll fix that. I’m sure over time, we can find a good blend of my version of lasagna and his version.
Don’t forget! #cookchat this Thursday, January 20 at noon! Hope to see you there!
Last week J and I challenged ourselves to not go grocery shopping and use up the items in our pantry, freezer and fridge. That experiment led to some pretty creative meals. One of the best was our homemade pasta sauce.
Homemade Pasta Sauce
- small can pasta sauce plain, no seasoning
- tomato paste
- can whole or crushed tomatoes you can also use fresh! 2 cups of fresh equals about 14.5 ounces chopped tomatoes. When we use fresh we don’t peel, but you may want to!
- Italian seasoning we used oregano, basil, marjoram, sage and white pepper. You can use whatever you like!
- Burgundy wine
This was wonderful! Easy and filling. We actually originally used too much Italian seasoning, but by adding the wine and a can of tomato sauce, everything blended very well. In the future, we’ll add onions and maybe some green peppers to add variety as well as some red pepper flakes.
This week’s food posts are brought to you by #cookchat. My co-moderator, Matt LaCasse and I are announcing #cookchat’s triumphant return on Thursday January 20, a noon. CST. Join us for an hour of food filled conversation.