Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS



We're deep in winter and you're probably thinking "Man, she loves comfort food and her Crock-Pot." Yep. It's all that gets me through the week sometimes. I can't remember where I found this recipe, but I make it so much I want to preserve it on my blog so I can find it easily. I don't make the dumplings anymore because they seem to take forever to bake. Instead, I bake frozen or from-scratch biscuits and serve this stew atop them.
 
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces 
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups) I get mine from Davis Bros. Farm.
2 cups whole baby carrots
2 stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 10 3/4 ounce can  Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free) 
1 cup water 
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose baking mix 
2/3 cup milk
  1. Place the chicken, potatoes, carrots and celery into a 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Stir the soup, water, thyme and black pepper in a small bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken and vegetables.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours* or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Stir the baking mix and milk in a medium bowl. Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the chicken mixture. Increase the heat to HIGH. Tilt the lid to vent and cook for 30 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked in the center. *Or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
Serve with spinach salad; baby spinach leaves topped with orange sections, dried cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2-for-1: Chicken Tacos and Tortilla Soup



I love when I find a recipe that makes healthful, hearty, quick meals for a busy weeknight.
Tasty Kitchen had a recipe for Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos and a user of that site posted a recipe that uses leftover chicken from the original recipe to make a Tortilla Soup! Good thing because the original recipe serves about 12 people. And if you aren't feeding a crowd, using the leftovers in a new dish later in the week is a good way to not waste food or get tired of it.


CROCK-POT CHICKEN TACOS
1 envelope taco seasoning (get reduced sodium; I use a healthier mix from an Amish store or make my own)
6 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 16-ounce jar salsa


Dump everything into a Crock-Pot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa. You do not need to add any water to the taco seasoning. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork.

For tacos, serve the chicken with soft flour tortillas, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, reduced-fat shredded cheese and/or fat-free sour cream. 



TORTILLA SOUP
2 cups of the shredded chicken
One 32-ounce box of chicken broth
One can corn, drained
2 handfuls chopped cilantro
One squeezed lime
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes w/ chiles (if you can't find the can get another can of diced tomatoes and a can of diced chiles)
1/2 large yellow onion
One 15-ounce can black beans
2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of chile powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder

Dump everything in a pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Garnish with cheese and crispy tortilla strips.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blueberry & Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

There's no school tomorrow in our district in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you want to treat your children to special breakfast, consider this Blueberry & Raspberry Baked Oatmeal. Back in August, for the first day of school, I made this the night before and popped it into a cold oven while she got ready. My girl, not usually a heavy breakfast eater, ate this. And the leftovers were pretty good the next day too. I think I omitted the banana because we don't care for it. This is a good and easy recipe for a school day or a day off.



BLUEBERRY & RASPBERRY BAKED OATMEAL



makes 6 servings

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used sugar free)
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1 cup blueberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, half of the walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.
3. Spread the sliced bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the berries. Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer. Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.
4. Sprinkle the remaining nuts and berries over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Two ways with Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

I love my slow cooker for meal prep on busy days. I can fix it in the morning and forget it til dinner time and feel like a hero for having a hot meal waiting on my family.

But sometimes I don't plan ahead or I get a late start. It's nice to know there's more than one way to fix this Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup -- it doesn't have to simmer all day.

SLOW COOKER TOMATO BASIL PARMESAN SOUP



2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (or skim milk if you’re trying to cut some calories)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.




Stove-Top Version of Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
If you want to make this recipe on the stove-top you can!  Here is the adjusted recipe:
3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (you can use canned)
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup flour
1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup finely diced onions
4 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (if you want you can use whole milk, evaporated milk instead…or even skim if you want to skinny it up)
1 tsp salt
1.  Heat oil in 4 quart soup pot.  Add celery, onions and carrots.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (15 minutes).
2.  While soup simmers, prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add back into soup pot.
3.  Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken.  Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend.  Stir warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


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