I have a new love in my life. This lover makes my life easier. Feeds me when I’m hungry. Is super low maintenance. Meet my Crock-Pot. I’m so in love. I didn’t grow up in a Crock-Pot home, so this form of cooking is all new to me. I was given a Crock-Pot as a gift. Little did I know when I pulled this foreign object out of the box that it would enrich my family’s life. A whole new cooking world opened to me. At first I just experimented with the mini sauce Crock-Pot that came with it. This was much less intimidating. I made my favorite party dip in it and was able to keep it warm all party long. Magic.
But then I took the step up to the big papa, The Big Crock. I experimented with chili and stews galore. It was so much fun dumping whatever was in the fridge into the pot—and at the end of the day, presto, there was dinner.
Recently my friend Ann Yoo gave me a fun cookbook called Hungry Girl. Inside is a fabulous recipe for shredded BBQ chicken. I had no idea making shredded chicken was so easy. For weeks I had a batch in the fridge ready to go at all times. One day I ran out of the ingredients, and so I got creative. What I came up with, I looooove. I call it Mediterranean Chicken a la Crock-Pot:
1. Throw in half a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce. (I like Classico Traditional Sweet Basil.)
2. Then I toss in all my fridge staples from Costco. I don’t measure anything. Just toss in what looks like a good amount to your eye. If you like to measure, there are some approximate quantities below:
o 2 chicken breasts (frozen is okay)
o 1/2 large onion
o 2 tbs brown sugar
o 1/2 cup capers
o 1 1/2 cups kalamata olives
o 1 tbs minced garlic
o 1 1/2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
o 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
o 1 cup fresh chopped tomato
o 5/8 tsp red pepper flakes. If you like spice, add extra—and shake it baby, shake it!
o 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3. Throw it in the pot on high at lunch and it will be ready to shred and serve for dinner. Or put it on low in the morning, and it should be ready by dinnertime.
I have served this up many ways. Here are a few for you to enjoy. For the carb fraidy cats, you can serve it over quinoa, with big lettuce leaves, or just plain. For the carb lovers like me, over pasta or open-faced on toasted French bread. My personal favorite is served like this: put it in an English muffin, add cheese, and put it on the panini maker—and hello, Sloppy Joe!
If you aren’t a fan of all my fixins, I would absolutely buy the Hungry Girl book and give her recipe a try. It truly is earth-shatteringly great.