Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

An easy way to up the nutrition on this dish is to use high fibre or whole wheat pasta instead of regular. If you don’t have fresh basil, you can used dried instead. The rule of thumb when converting is to use ⅓ of the amount dried that you would fresh. So this recipe calls for ½ a cup of fresh, so you would use 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of dried. This recipe will serve 6.

Ingredients:

12 chicken thighs, skin and fat removed
Olive oil spray or enough oil to coat a pan
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
½ cup chicken broth, more if needed*
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups cooked (12 oz. uncooked) pasta

Directions:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray with cooking oil. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on each side for about 3-4 minutes. Add all other ingredients to the slow cooker, except the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms in the last hour, mushrooms can be omitted if you are not around to toss them in. Cook on low for 6 hours. In the last hour add the mushrooms. Serve over pasta. If you are preparing this ahead of time, complete the steps above, however after browning the chicken, allow to cool and then add all of the ingredients, minus the mushrooms and pasta into a gallon sized freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and store in your freezer. On the day you wish to make your Cacciatore, allow it to cook on low for 8 hours. Again, add the mushrooms in at the last hour and then serve over pasta. *Depending on your crock pot you may need to add more liquid.

Crock Pot Week Day 4 – Tips for Cleaning Your Crock Pot

Burnt Crock Pot

As Crock Pot week starts to wind up you’re starting to realize that yes, the prep may be a cinch, but there is still the clean-up! And of course, like me, you left the pot sitting a little too long after dinner, and now you have a stubborn stuck-on mess to get rid of. So here are some tips to help you get back your shiny clean pot so you can make another recipe!

**Warning**
These instructions are for cleaning the stoneware crock part of your crock pot. Never submerge the base of your crock pot (the part you plug-in) in water. To clean that part just use a squirt of household cleaner and a damp rag or sponge.

Method 1Throw it in the dishwasher

If your crock pot is dishwasher safe and the mess inside is only a little stuck on you might be just fine by tossing the crock in the dishwasher. Pretty simple.

Method 2Soak it in hot soapy water

Put your crock pot in the sink, squirt in some dish-soap and fill with the hottest tap water you can. Let it soak for 1 to 2 hours and wash as usual.

Method 3Baking soda

If soaking your crock pot didn’t work, pour out all the water from the crock and sprinkle liberally with baking soda and scrub. The baking soda acts as a scouring powder that is safe to use on almost all surfaces. This usually does the trick. But… if scrubbing with baking soda doesn’t work then dump about ¼ cup of baking soda into the crock, fill it will water to cover all the burnt areas, squirt a dollop of dish soap and put the crock into the heating base of your crock pot. Cover and “cook” on high for 2-4 hours. The combination of heat, baking soda and detergent should do the trick.

Method 4Oven cleaner (The Last Resort!)

Oven cleaner…. it is toxic, the fumes are horrible to breathe in and it’s just some really nasty stuff. But as the last resort dry your crock off as much as possible and spray some oven cleaner on the burnt areas and let it sit a few hours to overnight. Repeat as necessary.

Method 5Prevention (The Best One!)

Here a three tips for preventing a mess.

  • Use a crock pot liner. These are heat safe plastic liners that you can cook in. Much like an oven bag.
  • Spray your crock with non-stick cooking spray. This will not help you from burning your dish but it usually helps release anything from the sides and bottom of your crock should you burn it.
  • Follow the recipe and cook for the listed length of time. If a recipe has a time range, such as 4-6 hours. Cook for 4 hours and then check it to see if it is done yet. If not cook longer. Time ranges are given in many recipes because different crock pots cook slower or faster than others. If your dish is done at the lowest time range turn it off or if your crock pot has a “warm” setting put it on warm to keep it till time to serve.