Meals in a hurry… Isn’t that what we all wish for? I know I do. I’m tired when I get home from work and the last question that I want to try an answer is what are we having for dinner. Nevermind trying to create something from nothing on the days that I forgot to plan ahead. Welcome the working/busy folks best friend, the crock pot. We’ve posted before about much easier life can be with the use of your crock pot and I’m here to sing its praises again. But let me back up a little.
C (my son) hates to eat veggies, and has become a world-class picky eater. Because of this Chris gave me the opportunity to try out some of the recipes in our new giveaway book, No Whine with Dinner by The Meal Makeover Moms. This cookbook is designed to get kids eating a balanced diet. So it was perfect fit for C and our new dinner time challenges. I immediately gravitated towards the chapter (yup, I said chapter) on Slow Cooker Creations. As you all know this is an incredibly hectic time of year and I knew that the only way I was going to make a couple of these recipes was going to be to let the crock pot do the cooking.
The first night I made the Pulled Pork Primavera and the Cranberry Coleslaw from the book. I regret that I didn’t take pictures. The veggies were shredded and diced very small so that they were camouflaged in the barbeque sauce. As we were eating C took a break to say “Mom this is derishous.” Score one for Mom. I can also safely add that the grownups in the house enjoyed the meal as well. I knew we had to try more. In fact we’re ordering a copy of the book for our house because we’ve enjoyed it so much!
When faced with what to post for Meals in Busytown this week, this cookbook played right into my plans. I had already decided that we were going to try another crock pot meal from the book – Greek Chicken and Chickpea Stew. This was another total gamble for us, but I figured it was worth a go.
(One of the awesome retro slow cookers I got from my Grandma’s collection)
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into pieces
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 small onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped kalamata or black olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces dried orzo pasta
6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1 – Add the chicken, chickpeas, tomato sauce, onion, olives, oregano, garlic, and pepper to a 5-6 quart slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender, about 4 hours.
2 – A few minutes before the stew is done, cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3 – Serve the stew over the orzo and top each serving with feta cheese.
I’ll admit here that I did make some changes. All we had for chicken in the house were chicken halves. I used two and then when it was done cooking, I took them out carefully removing the bones from the stew. We also don’t have “pasta sauce” in the house. I canned loads of tomatoes this summer so I used 1 quart of canned tomato halves and a small can of tomato paste to thicken it up a bit. Lastly we didn’t have any orzo pasta so I used elbows. That’s what we had on hand. Lastly, I started this when I left the house at 8 am and we didn’t eat until about 5:30. It was on for many more than 4 hours but with it being turned all the way down, it was totally fine.
Again, I can say that C loved the meal and took leftovers for his lunch the next day. He loves olives & cheese so it was easy to convince him to just give it a try. Once he did, he was hooked. It was easy-peasy and I had almost no work to do other than cooking the pasta when I got home from work. I love walking through the door, knowing that dinner is waiting for you! It’s fantastic. And so is this book!!