Slow Cooker Sunday: Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew

So, I personally think that one of the best things to make in a slow cooker is soup / stew. I consider them to be more or less one in the same. And this week I am bringing you a Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew that is the ideal Slow Cooker Meal. The only prep is some dicing, chopping and cutting. No sautéing veggies or heating the aromatics to develop the flavors. You control the level of spice with a jar of salsa. I got this recipe in the cookbook I mentioned last week… Slow Cooker Family Favorites. I’m 2 for 2 with the recipes in this book… Yay!

I began by stirring together salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in the bowl in my slow cooker.

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I then added in diced potatoes, frozen corn, cut celery & carrots, a diced onion and minced garlic.

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I gave everything a few good stirs to make sure the vegetables were coated by the salsa mixture.

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And finally, I placed 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and poured in a can of chicken broth.

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So, according to the directions the stew was to be cooked on high for 4 hours, or until the chicken was cooked through and the vegetable were tender. After 4 hours the chicken was cooked through, so I removed it from the slow cooker and shredded it using two forks. But, my vegetables were still a bit undercooked, so I returned the chicken to the slow cooker and cooked everything for about another 2 hours.

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Which I think was the best thing. The end result were vegetables that were perfectly tender, but, better yet, the chicken was really able to absorb the flavors of the stew. YUM!

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I packed a bowl for lunch the following day and I must say it was even better then and each subsequent day!

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Spicy Chicken Mexican Stew

Ingredients:

1 16-oz jar spicy salsa*

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes**

1 16 ounce package frozen corn***

2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs****

1 14.5-oz chicken broth (approximately 2 cups)

 

*I used Chi-Chi’s Medium Thick & Chunky Salsa

**I used 2 medium sized potatoes and 1 small one

**The package I used was 12 oz.

****About 1 3/4 pounds of chicken

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a slow cooker stir together the salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper.

Add the potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Toss everything to coat the vegetables.

Place the chicken on top and then pour in the chicken broth.

Set to cook on high for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Once chicken is cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Season for taste.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Pot Roast

Usually when I make pot roast I make it in the oven and top it with beef broth and an array of vegetables – potatoes, carrots, onions, & green beans. Invariably though while the gravy turns out delicious, the meat is on the dry side. Enter my slow cooker. The answer to juicy fall of the bone meat every time.

To begin, I sprinkled a 4 pound chuck roast with a generous amount of Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I then coated it with flour and browned it in an oil-coated skillet over medium-high heat. Next I transferred it to the inset of my slow cooker and topped it with carrots, celery, onions and mashed garlic.

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In the same skillet I used to brown the meat I made gravy using tomato paste, beef broth, red wine, bay leaves, fresh thyme, allspice, salt and pepper.

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Once the gravy had thickened slightly I poured it over the meat and vegetables and set the slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours.

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After 8 hours I removed the roast from the slow cooker and placed it in a pan.

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And I mixed the gravy and vegetables with some chopped parsley.

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The meat was so tender that instead of slicing it it was better to shred it using two forks. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures as I was too eager to dig in and enjoy it. But, take my word; it was DELISH and incredibly tender.

 

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Ingredients:

1 4lb beef chuck roast

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup flour, plus more for coating

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

3 stalk celery, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges

3 garlic cloves, mashed

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup red wine

3 cups low-sodium beef broth

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped

Directions:

Sprinkle the roast with 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the roast and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes Turning as needed. Transfer the roast to the insert of a slow cooker, along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick – there may be some lumps. Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.

Pour the gravy into the slow cooker over the roast and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours – the roast and vegetable should be tender.

Remove the roast and let rest for a few minutes. Discard the thyme stems and strain the vegetables, reserving the gravy. Toss the vegetables with half the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir the remaining parsley into the gravy and season with salt and pepper. Slice the roast against the grain. If the meat is too tender you can opt to shred it using two forks. You can serve the meat and vegetables on a platter, moistening them with some of the gravy and serve the remaining gravy on the side.

Recipe from The Food Network

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed With Caprese Salad

While browsing through my Instagram feed last week I came across a picture that made me stop and double-tap immediately! If you’re on Instagram and you’re not following Foodgawker you should definitely go check them out and start following them. They post amazing pictures of food that you can get the recipes to by visiting their website. And most of the recipes are ones that you can easily make in your home kitchen – which we can all agree is very important! If you love quick recipes, mushrooms, tomatoes and mozzarella this is the recipe for you! And if mushrooms are not your thing – I think it’s something that people either love or hate – but if you love Caprese salad, you may want to think about roasting the mozzarella and tomatoes next time you make it – it really enhances the flavors.

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I began by cleaning out the gills of the mushrooms and wiping them with a damp paper towel. To remove the gills I used a small spoon to scoop them out. Now, I know there are some people who opt not to clean out the gills, and I did a little research (a quick Google search) as to which is the proper way to eat Portobello’s and it really comes down to personal preference. For me, I prefer them gone because sand could be trapped within the gills and the sand is not going to come out when you cook them and I just think they look “cleaner” when the gills are gone.

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Next, I melted butter with two cloves of crushed garlic in the microwave and brushed the garlic butter on the bottom of each of the mushrooms.

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Once the mushrooms were prepped I sliced grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella into thin slices and placed them inside of the mushrooms.

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With the broil set to high I placed the mushrooms in the oven and broiled them for about ten minutes, until the cheese was melted and beginning to brown.

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While the mushrooms were in the oven I made a balsamic glaze to drizzle over them. I combined balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan and brought it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until it was reduced by half. Once the mushrooms were done I took them out of the oven and transferred them to a platter and top them with torn basil leaves and the balsamic glaze.

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These mushrooms were absolutely delicious!  Caprese Salad is delicious on its own, but once you roast the tomatoes and bring out some of their sweetness and the mozzarella is melted it’s just a whole other level of delectableness. And the heartiness of the mushroom to go along with it makes this a great main dish with other vegetable or as a quick side.

 

Caprese Stuffed Garlic Butter Portobellos

Ingredients:

Garlic Butter:

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mushrooms:

6 large Portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, wiped clean with a damp paper towel

1 cup grape tomatoes, each tomato sliced into thirds

Fresh mozzarella*, thinly sliced

Fresh basil, torn into pieces

Balsamic Glaze**:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsps. brown sugar

 

*I used about half of a 12oz. pre-sliced log, cutting each piece into strips

**You could also use store bought

 

Directions:

1. Arrange oven rack to middle of oven and preheat the oven to broil on the high setting.

2. Combine the garlic and butter and melt the butter in the microwave or in small saucepan on medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant. Brush the bottoms of the mushrooms and place them, buttered side down, on a rimmed cookie sheet.

3. Fill each mushroom with tomatoes and mozzarella and place them in the oven, broiling them until the cheese has melted and begun to brown (about 8 – 10 minutes.)

4. Transfer the mushrooms to a serving dish and top with the basil and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

To make the Balsamic Glaze:

Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat to bring to a boil. Reduce the heat allowing the mixture to simmer until the mixture has thickened and reduced to a glaze, 5 – 8 minutes.