Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crock Pot Success!

I asked for (and got) a crockpot for Christmas! This is the one I got - its a 4-qt model, which is perfect for me, and I'd estimate you can feed up to four comfortably with this model.  Its also red, which I love!  So far I've made two meals in it, and both have been super delicious.  The first one is from the  Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Bible, which I would highly recommend! One thing I noticed after browsing through several slow cooker cookbooks is they all have tons of soup recipes -which is fine if you want to eat a lot of soup, which I don't. 
Of course, now that I've said that, I'm going to tell you about the first recipe I made - Thai-Style Chicken and Pumpkin Soup. The recipe I used is identical, except for one thing - mine didn't call for water, and I didn't use any.  I don't think it needed it, as I quite liked the consistency.  The ingredient list is a little daunting, for sure, but I think most people who cook regularly probably have the majority of things on hand. This is a great dish for the winter, very hearty and filling.  I shared this recipe with my mom and dad and they had it the other day and loved it as well!
Other than not adding the water, I have a couple other serving suggestions:
  • If you like things spicy, add a little red curry paste.  I added it at the end, but I'm sure you could throw it in with everything else.  I used probably 1/2 tsp because I was worried it would be too hot, but next time I'll use at least 1 tsp. 
  • Drizzle a tiny bit of sesame oil over the top.  I'm talking like...5 drops.  Makes a huge difference and just makes everything extra delicious.  

The next recipe I made was courtesy of my friend Faith.  She is a vegetarian, but her hubby and kids aren't, so this is a super easy recipe that she can make for them and she doesn't even have to touch the chicken.  Perfect!  In direct contrast to the other recipe, this one only has 5 ingredients. 
You will need:
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used a 1.25 lb package of chicken breast tenderloins that I'd had in the freezer for forever)
  • 1-15 oz. jar of salsa (I found a Pineapple Peach Chipotle salsa at my Super Walmart - YUM)
  • 1-15 oz. can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1-15.5 oz. can of black beans, drained
  • 1-8oz. package of cream cheese (I used the low-fat neufchatel cheese with good results)
Directions: Place chicken in crock-pot.  Add beans, corn, and salsa.  Cook for 4-5 hours on high.  Add cream cheese, and let sit for about 1/2 hour.  Mix well and enjoy!
Here are some notes and other ideas for this recipe:
  • My jar of salsa happened to be 26 oz.  Since the recipe called for a 15 oz jar, I figured I'd use about 2 cups because that's 16 oz, right? Well it ended up being practically the whole jar.  I was confused about this, but it was too late to do anything.  I haven't made it with the 15 oz jar so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I thought it was just fine this way.  
  • I added a little bit of Dinosaur Barbecue's Cajun Foreplay seasoning, cuz I'm like that :-p
  • I wasn't sure how to serve this, and I had a little extra rice from the day before (probably about 1/2 cup, not a whole lot).  I just mixed them together and it was great.  
  • My mom and I were talking, and she suggested that this would be a great filling for enchiladas.  I couldn't agree more.  Just roll some up in corn or flour tortillas, place in a pan, add some enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese over the top and bake until it melts.  
  • I also think a great way to serve this would be as a dip.  Before you add the cream cheese, take out the chicken and shred it, and add it back to the pot.  Add the cream cheese and once it's melted, serve with tortilla chips! You would probably want to use the bigger jar of salsa if you were going to serve it like this - and maybe even more than that.  
Hope you guys enjoyed these recipe ideas, sorry I don't really have any pics for you - the only ones I took were on my phone and I don't know if that would make them more or less appealing!  Let me know if you try either of these recipes, and what you thought!

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