Every fall, I dig out my big old crock pot, which has slowly receded to the back of my cupboard. The handle to the lid has fallen off and the stainless steel is stained but I love this basic machine because:
It’s the easiest, tastiest method of cooking several different ingredients.
Crock pot recipes are for home, not fancy schmancy guest food, so you don’t have to worry about cutting the ingredients perfectly or adding just the right spices.
It’s a great way to get a hearty dose of nutrients in one bowl because you can throw a mishmash of vegetables and proteins in the pot and everything simmers together wonderfully.
The leftovers taste great.
Below is a ridiculously easy and flavorful recipe, Comfort Chicken and Vegetables. I prefer the richness of thigh meat but you can use chicken breast for less fat. Add in your favorite vegetables! I choose mostly root vegetables because their firm texture holds up well during the 3-5 hours of cooking. This recipe is rich in protein, vitamin A, potassium, iron, and fiber. It also contains the powerful disease-fighting antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin C, and lycopene. The ingredients just about fill my 4-quart crock pot but you can add more vegetables or chicken if you have a bigger pot.
1 large sweet potato
1 large Idaho potato
1 large onion
4 large carrots
1 - 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup water or broth
Your favorite spices (I use poultry seasoning, curry, salt, pepper)
Wash the potatoes and carrots under cool running water and peel.
Roughly chop the potatoes, onion, and carrots. (I like to cube the potatoes, slice the onions, and cut the carrots into 1-inch pieces.) As you finish chopping each vegetable, throw them into the crock pot.
Rinse the chicken and layer pieces on top of vegetables.
Pour can of stewed tomatoes over the chicken and vegetables.
Pour water over the mixture.
Sprinkle any spices you like over the top, cover, and turn heat on high.
Cook for 3 1/2 to 5 hours until potatoes are softened and chicken is no longer pink. Stir mixture once or twice halfway through cooking to redistribute juices over the chicken.
This is a complete meal but you can also serve it over rice or whole-wheat couscous or noodles to extend it. There’s nothing better than a big comforting bowl of this on a chilly night!