11 September 2009

This is the easiest slow cooker recipe I've ever made. It takes all of five minutes to throw into the slow cooker and you end up with a simple, but tasty and filling, dinner.

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that I adapted for the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Poached Chicken and Vegetables

48 oz. chicken broth
½ cup tomato sauce
4 chicken breast cutlets, cut into large chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic
½ cup frozen pearl onions
1 tsp dried thyme (or ½ tsp fresh)
1 cup couscous, uncooked

Place chicken broth in slow cooker. Add tomato sauce and whisk to combine. Add chicken, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.

Add onions and thyme and cook an additional 3 hours. Put couscous into a small bowl. Add 1 cup of cooking liquid from slow cooker. Cover bowl tightly and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a fork.

To serve, place couscous in a bowl. Remove chicken and veggies with a slotted spoon and place on top of the couscous. Spoon some of the broth over it if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

This is the perfect meal for realizing in the morning that you have no plan for dinner that night. The greatest thing about it is that you can put the chicken in frozen. This morning I had no plan for dinner because our plans changed and the meal I had on my meal plan wouldn't work with our plans. So I was wondering what we were going to have. I had no meat thawed. I thought of this meal and got it into the slow cooker within ten minutes. I was able to cut the chicken cutlets while they were still frozen. If yours are too thick to cut frozen, just put them in whole and cut them up later after they have cooked for a while. The other reason this meal is so great for last-minute is that it requires ingredients that I almost always have on hand. The only thing I don't usually have is celery (that's why you won't see it in the picture I took today). The celery isn't necessary, but it's nice to have a bit of green going on with the brown, orange, and white.

The first time I made the original Rachael Ray recipe, I thought it would make a perfect slow cooker dish. And I have made it that way ever since. The mushrooms and pearl onions were my idea. I just really like fresh mushrooms in slow cooker dishes and the pearl onions are so much easier than cutting up an onion. And I keep them in the freezer for dishes just like this. They work really well in slow cooker dishes.

You can either eat this as chicken and veggies on a bed of couscous, or you can make it into a soup. It all depends on how much of the cooking liquid you add to your bowl. I like to add enough to make the couscous really moist, but not so much that it's turned into a soup.

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