Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the crockpot

You won't see me posting recipes very often.  I am not exactly known as a good cook.  It isn't that I can't cook, it is simply my limiting belief that a dish should not take longer to make than it does to eat... say, 15 minutes?  Maybe we eat fast around here.

When I first got married and felt the responsibility of making meals for someone else, I went around asking friends for quick and easy recipes they recommended.  Everyone told me I needed a crock-pot. They would say, "A crock-pot is perfect because you just throw everything in, and then you have a tasty meal that takes hardly any prep time."  Sign me up!

The first time I tried to use my crock-pot, I knew very little about cooking.  It was a day when I came home late from a long day of teaching high school students, exhausted and starving.  Drawing a blank on my dinner plans, I remembered the crock-pot.  Everyone says this is so easy, I thought, I will just look through this crock-pot recipe book (that some soul had thoughtfully given me) and find one with ingredients that I have on hand (which is really the only way I cook anyway, with whatever happens to be in the pantry.)  Every recipe I found required a cooking time of 3, 4, 6, 8 HOURS!!  I was horrified!  Despite all of the great advice I had been given, no one told me that the other name for crock-pot is "slow cooker".

Needless to say, I didn't use the crock-pot that night because I wanted dinner to be ready before 11pm.  However, I did not give up on the idea of throwing some ingredients into a pot and ending up with a tasty meal.  Truly, I have come to love using a crock-pot... I just have to remember to plan about 6 hours ahead.

Since I must be getting my appetite back after 3 months of feeling lousy (1st trimester of pregnancy), today I felt excited to throw one of my favorite crock-pot meals together.  If I ever post another recipe (not making any promises), my recipe motto will be:  If I can cook it, so can you!

Cream Cheese Chicken in the Crock-Pot

You will need these ingredients:
2-3 lbs chicken (4-6 breasts)
1 onion, chopped into bite-size squares
Italian dressing in a bottle
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 10oz can cream of chicken soup
1 bag of pasta
(notice there are not very many ingredients, and, true to form, these are mostly ingredients I keep on hand.)

Part 1:
1) Lay the chicken breasts and onions in the crock-pot
2) Pour Italian dressing over the chicken so that it is mostly covered
3) Turn crock-pot on low setting for 4-6 hours, until chicken is fully cooked. (The time may vary for your crock-pot.  I am often in a hurry, so cook the chicken on high until I think it is done)

Part 2:
4) About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, and after the chicken is cooked, drain about half of the liquid that is left around the chicken.  This is not an exact science, but the more you drain, the creamier your sauce will be.   
5) Add the package of cream cheese, and the can of cream of chicken soup.
6) OPTIONAL: Add other yummy ingredients that go with creamy chicken pasta recipes.  Some ideas: sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, olives, etc.  I usually add sundried tomatoes.  This time I did not have any of the above mentioned, so I added sun-dried tomato pesto (that is why my sauce came out orange instead of white.)
7) Let the ingredients continue to cook and melt together for the next 30 min - 1 hour, and the chicken sauce is ready!

Part 3:
8) Boil your pasta of choice, drain, and serve the chicken crock-pot sauce on top.
OPTIONAL: Top your pasta sauce with cooked bacon (we like turkey bacon around here), and Parmesan cheese.

Hope you find it as yummy as we do!  My 2 1/2 year old devours it, but she does take after her father who will eat almost anything - now didn't God choose well for me by giving me a man who likes anything I cook?  Remember that if I can cook it, so can you!

Note from the cook:
The original recipe can be found on food.com at http://www.food.com/recipe/crock-pot-cream-cheese-chicken-12458  I changed it to fit my cupboard.  I also don't believe in making extra pots or pans dirty, so I eliminated the step where you saute everything in a pan first.  If you wanted to do that, then why would you use a crock-pot??

1 comment:

  1. LOOKS DELISH! I, too, love my crockpot! One dish cooking is the best!!

    ReplyDelete

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