Sunday, November 15, 2009

Be Here Now: Rediscovering the Crock Pot

It's hard to prepare and cook meals when you have fibromyaglia. Between the intense use of my hands to wash, chop and prepare ingredients and needing to stand to access the sink, refrigerator, stove and oven, I've avoided cooking in favor of quick prepare, heat and eat refrigerated and frozen meals from the grocery store for quite some time now. That is until I rediscovered the crock pot, thanks in part to the Sandra Lee series of Semi-Homemade Slow Cooker recipe books.

Last night we enjoyed Tomato-Garlic Chicken, using some of the last zucchinis that are still growing in my garden. The great thing about the Semi-Homemade approach to cooking is that a lot of the prep work is eliminated when you use mostly ready-made foods from the grocery store with some fresh ingredients. A lot of the additional work in traditional crock recipes, like browning the meats and other intermediate steps, are streamlined or eliminated. Literally, all I had to do to make this meal was slice two zucchinis, open a couple of cans and jars, wash, pat dry and season some chicken and layer everything into the crock, turn it on and wait for dinner. Yum!

Here is the recipe, with my own Trader Joe's twist. Let me know if you try it and like it.

a w:slow cooker Oval Crock PotImage via Wikipedia

Tomato-Garlic Chicken

  • 2 zucchinis, sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 cup Trader Joe's chopped sweet onions (refrigerated section)
  • 1 28 ounce can Trader Joe's Organic Tomatoes Diced in Tomato Juice
  • 10 Trader Joe's Premium Peeled Garlic cloves (refrigerated section)
  • 12 pieces of Trader Joe's frozen chicken breast tenderloins, defrosted
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 jar of Trader Giotto's Piccata Simmer Sauce
  • 1 can of Trader Joe's Organic Tomatoes Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 cup of Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade Spread

1. Using a 5 quart crock pot, combine zucchinis, onions, diced tomatoes and garlic.

2. Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces. Season with salt and pepper and place into the crock pot on top of the vegetables.

3. In a bowl, combine the Picatta sauce, tomato paste and olive tapenade. Pour over the chicken.

4. Cover and cook in LOW for 4 1/2 hours. Serve over one of Traders Joe's shelf-stable
90 second microwaveable rice blends or Trader Joe's frozen microwaveable penne.


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