Getting together with friends and family at a good restaurant or at someone else’s house is always a nice way to spend an evening, but when the hustly bustleness of the holidays starts to make your head explode, consider a crockpot dinner and maybe even a board game. Hey, it could happen.
Crockpots are a mainstay of Granny’s kitchen, but we’ve come light years since the two heat settings of high and low and the two speeds of off and on. Today’s crockpot cooking is one of the most convenient ways to have dinner hot and ready when you are, provided you remember to get things going well ahead of time. It also makes for a fabulous melding of flavors, and it allows you to stretch a little of one thing into a lot of blended things. Stews, soups and chilis are great, but the door is wide open for a creative dinner one night and savory leftovers the next.
Here’s a list of 10 good reasons why you should bust that baby out.
And here is a chicken recipe you’ll want to bookmark.
Prep: 30 minutes
Crock cooking: 4 or 8 hours
8 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbs light brown sugar
2 tbs fish sauce
10 whole star anise
6 whole cloves
1 2-in piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed, trimmed
6 oz wide rice noodles
6 c chopped bok choy
2 c mung bean sprouts
2 c fresh basil leaves
1 c fresh mint leaves
1 c fresh cilantro leaves
1 fresh Thai chile or serrano, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Combine broth, brown sugar, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon stick in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add chicken breasts, meat-side down. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours (or on Low for 8 hours).
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Remove spices and discard. Add noodles and bok choy to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the bone and shred with two forks. When the noodles are tender, stir in the shredded chicken. Serve bowls of soup with bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro, sliced chile and lime wedges on the side so everyone can add their own toppings.
To prep ahead: Combine seasonings with broth; prep chicken; cover and refrigerate separately for up to 1 day. |
This next link takes you to Jambalaya, a zydeco symphony of taste.
One thing we firmly believe is that regardless of what we eat, and so we segue into: