Crock-pot Chicken with Veggies (and homemade broth made with the juices)

Well I guess it’s pretty much officially fall. I know this not only because of the temperatures, which are getting oh so chilly, but also because we pulled out the crock-pot this weekend. Oh goodness gracious, what a depressing yet lovely sight. Lovely because of all the good things that will come out of it, but depressing because that means winter will pretty soon be rearing its ugly unwelcome head. Winter comes on so fast, just like summer leaves so fast. One day it’s 90 degrees and the next is 70 degrees. One day it is a pretty pleasant 50 degrees and the next is 30 degrees. Oh the weather of the northeast…

For our first of the season crock-pot dinner, all’s we did a simple whole chicken with veggies and then let the pot do it’s thing for 8 hours while we went out to surf (in icky conditions might I add). When we came back, the whole apartment smelled delicious and when I opened the lid, the chicken was just falling off the bones. With the juices, I made fresh broth which I’ll explain below. Here are the directions for the chicken and veggies first.

Ingredients:

1- whole chicken

2- we added carrots, mushrooms, onion, and pepper for our vegetables, but use whatever you want. Slice them into thick chunks.

3- small amount of water or broth

4- herbs such as thyme or basil

5- salt and pepper to season the chicken

Directions:

1- Make sure that nasty little bag of insides is removed from the bird. Then season the bird with the salt and pepper.

2- Add a small amount of broth or water, about an inch. The chicken will create a lot of juices on it’s own.

3- Add the veggies.

4- Set the pot on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

5- Go out then come home to a delicious meal. Once ready, remove all the chicken and vegetables (slowly and carefully because it will fall apart), but leave the bones in the crock-pot, along with the juices in order to make broth, if you want. See directions for broth below. If you do not want to make the broth, just discard the juices once cooled.

Broth:

1- Add about 5 cups water to the crock-pot. Set the pot on high for 2 hours or low for 4.

2- Once the broth is done, let it cool completely then refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, skim the fat from the top of the broth and divide into bags to freeze. Now you have fresh broth without any of those awful additives.

Enjoy your meal!

Chicken Curry

I’m in Urban Outfitters wandering about and drooling over all the dresses and the skirts and the shirts that I just can’t afford (they’re kinda overpriced anyway). I find myself in the home section and I come across the cookbooks. I’m always on the lookout for new cookbooks. I love the pictures! Anyway, I’m perusing this one cookbook wishing that I could buy it. It’s witty, fun, and has great recipes. I was so sure it would be like $30, but when I turn over the book, to my complete surprise, it was on sale for $2! Happiness. I take it and run to the register as if the price would change if I didn’t immediately leave the store. I love unexpected bargains. So this book is called Bite Me and it is written Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat. It’s fresh and fun. I think this book will become a staple, starting with tonight.  I made the Chicken Curry on page 143 and served it with rice. I made some additions and omissions to the recipe and I’ll make note of those, as usual.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

3 tbsp butter

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp ground ginger (I left this out)

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tbsp tomato paste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced thinly

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 19oz can diced tomato, pulsed 2x in food processor

1 3/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I left these out)

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup chopped roasted cashews (I left these out)

1 cup plain yogurt, for topping

I added carrots and scallions because I had them home

Directions:

1- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, toast all of the spices until they become fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Remove and set aside.

2- In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender and golden. (At this point I added the carrots and scallions and let them cook for a few mins).

3- Add garlic, ginger, salt, tomato paste and spices. Stir to combine.

4- Increase heat to high, add sliced chicken and stir to coat with spice mixture. Add the chicken broth, processed tomoatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let chicken cook and sauce thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.

5- Add chickpeas, peas and cream, cooking on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until heated through.

6- Serve over rice. Garnish with yogurt and cashews.

Dinner for the next two nights:)

Breaded Chicken with Peppers and Onions in a Balsamic Sauce

We haven’t had plain breaded chicken in awhile, I think, because breaded chicken, to me, has always seemed plain, bland, and boring. But with the use of homemade breadcrumbs and an easy pepper and onion side dish and a few additional minutes in the kitchen, a plain meal was fancied up a bit. Of course homemade bread crumbs are unnecessary, but if you have stale bread laying around, homemade crumbs add an extra dimension of taste and crunch.

For this recipe, all quantities really depend on much chicken you are going to make. I chose about a 1 lb of chicken tenders and will give quantities for that amount.

Ingredients:

1- chicken

2- one egg and one egg white, slightly whipped

3- breadcrumbs

4- 1 pepper

5- 1 small onion

6- 2 cloves garlic

7- balsamic vinegar

8- salt and pepper

9- 1 tbs sugar

10- olive oil

To Prep Ahead:

1- Cut the pepper into strips.

2- Cut the onion.

3- Dice the garlic.

Set all aside.

Directions:

1- Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non stick spray.

2- Have the egg in one bowl and breadcrumbs in another. Bread the chicken by covering it with egg and then breadcrumbs. Place on the baking sheet for now (You will start the chicken in the pan, then move it to the oven).

3- Once all the chicken is breaded, sautee the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side over medium high heat. Let it get a nice crisp. Return the chicken to the baking sheet and finish in the pre heated oven. Depending on thickness, it should take about 15-20 minutes.

4- While the chicken is in the oven, wipe out the pan used for the chicken. Put some more olive oil in the pan (about 1.5 turns of the pan) and heat the pan on low to moderate heat. Once the pan is heated, add the peppers and the onions and cook until soft (don’t let them burn). Once you see they are starting to soften, add the garlic. After about a minute, add some salt and pepper to taste and the sugar. Also add the balsamic vinegar. You want to add enough to coat the peppers and onions plus a little extra. You want it to be able to simmer and thicken. Don’t add too much though because you will be there forever as it simmers down. Stir to combine and allow it a fews mins to thicken.

5- At this point, the chicken should be about done. Remove the chicken and serve with the peppers and onions.

And to drink:

We had this with Samuel Adams East-West Kolsch. With its citrusy undertones, however, we found it to be a bit light.

Chicken and Pork Paella

The school year is starting soon, which means I will be back to work and won’t be able to make as many meals that don’t leave leftovers. For the next few weeks, I’ll be testing out some recipes that create leftovers. This is the first recipe in that series. This is an easy recipe that is also easy on the budget. We ate about half the first night and will finish it tonight.

This recipe is from a cookbook I got for next to nothing during my local Borders bookstore closing sale. It’s called Tastes of the Mediterranean and has lots of fun recipes. This is the first I’ve tried from that book.

Ingredients:

1- 1/4 cup olive oil

2- 1 lb chicken thighs cut into cubes (I used two boneless chicken breasts)

3- 7 oz chorizo sausage cut into pieces (I used Nature’s Promise chicken and apple sausage)

4- 7 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced

5- 3 garlic cloves, crushed

6- 1 lb tomatoes, chopped

7- 7 oz green beans, cut in half

8- 2 tbs parsley, chopped

9- 1/4 saffron threads dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water

10- 2 cups short grain rice (My supermarket didn’t have short grain, so I subbed in medium grain)

11- 3 cups chicken broth (I used 2.5)

12- lemon wedges

Directions:

1- Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan or paella pan over medium heat (all ingredients will eventually go in this pan, so use a big one or use an oval Dutch oven, as I did). Add the peppers and cook until soft, about 10 mins. Remove after cooked and set aside.

2- Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 10 mins. Add the sausage and cook for 5 mins or until golden on all sides.

3- Add the mushrooms and garlic and let cook over medium heat for 5 mins.

4- Stir in the tomato and pepper and cook another 5 mins, or until the tomato is soft.

5- Add the beans, parsley, saffron mixture, and rice. Stir together, then add the stock. Do not stir anymore. Set the timer for 30 mins and leave the mixture be. You want a crust to form on the bottom of the paella. After 30 mins, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 mins. Serve with lemon wedges.

Enjoy:)