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One crockpot.  One afternoon.  Dinner for half a week...

Dinner Saturday Night: Crockpot Chicken Piccata

At about 2pm, later than it should have been, I started dinner and threw into the crockpot:

5 big frozen chicken breasts (in hindsight, should have done 6.  They cook down a LOT.)
half a pound of pre-sliced baby bella mushrooms (though ordinary white would have been fine too), and
a jar of Trader Joe Piccata Sauce.

I turned it on high. I went to work, letting it cook for about 4 hours.

At 5:45 my husband put the big pot of brown rice on to cook.  At 6:30 we sat down to dinner: He and I had lovely chicken-and-mushroom piccata over brown rice, and the kids had brown rice with butter and salt. (My daughter always adds parmesan, or "sprinkle cheese" as she calls it.) We put away the leftovers.

Doing Chicken Piccata this way won't give you what you'd get  if you ordered it in the finer restaurants; there's a lot of liquid, way more sauce than chicken, and in fact any self-respecting Italian cook would probably curse at me for putting that name on it. So I'll be clear: I call it Chicken Piccata because it uses chicken and a jar of Piccata sauce, not because it's particularly "authentic."  Sometimes I thicken the sauce at the end with a little flour-and-water mixture stirred in.  It's very saucy, but the sauce is wonderful for this meal's later incarnations...

(Sunday we had relatives in, so we ate out.  Normally I'd take a break from Whatever it was, if it would keep, anyhow...)

Dinner Monday Night: Crockpot Chicken Piccata redux, Part Deux

Reprise, only this time we each have a chicken breast and piccata sauce over pasta.  The kids have pasta with butter and salt.  And sprinkle cheese.  Raw carrots on the side. Their repertoire is still sorely limited.

Dinner Tuesday night: : Chicken and rice soup with spinach and mushrooms

At this point there is one chicken breast and a bunch of sauce and mushrooms left.  Enough for one person, or ...since it's a dreary rainy night, I opted for soup. Here's what I did:

Saute 1 cut up onion in a little oil till soft.  Maybe add a little crushed garlic too.
Add 2 cups chicken broth
Add leftover Chicken Piccata, meat shredded or cut up into small pieces (1 breast and maybe 3/4 cup of sauce?); stir til hot
Add about a cup (or more, or less, it's up to you) leftover cooked rice from the first night's dinner; stir til hot
Add a handful or two or four chopped frozen spinach; stir til hot
Serve in bowls with a little ground pepper and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan (optional)

And believe it or not, there's leftover soup now, if not enough for two adults for dinner, certainly a couple of lunches worth.

The kids had naan pizzas.  That's where you take a piece of naan flatbread, put a little cheese on it, and melt it in the toaster oven. Raw carrots on the side.  Sigh.  We're trying. They don't much like the brown rice with butter and salt thing, though they'll eat it when that's all there is.

I think I've mentioned before the Wonderful Ease involved with throwing chicken breasts, some vegetables, and a jar of Some Sauce From Your Pantry (or salsa, or pasta sauce, or whatever) into the crockpot and cooking for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  This stretch-the-end-and-make-soup method works for pretty much every one of those, too.   The Crockpot Green Chili recipe ( with broth and some extra veggies and beans and corn and stuff works like a charm.

Frozen cooked spinach is wonderful in soup.  Wait till the last 5 minutes and throw a handful into almost anything; I have yet to meet a soup (okay, except for some schmantzy bisques, which I don't cook anyway) that couldn't benefit from a handful of chopped spinach. 

I love getting domesticity points with very little effort put in. :-)
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December 2012

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