Slow Cooked Moroccan Chicken

So I’ve always really loved my slow cooker.  Always.  But now, I really, really, really love my slow cooker.  Without it, we would be eating cereal, ice cream, and peppermint patties for dinner.  Which was ok while I was pregnant (I DID throw in some prenatal vitamins, ok?) but not so much anymore.  At some point, I’d like not to LOOK pregnant anymore.

This dish is a 7AM, pre-work, post-feeding baby creation.  As in, what do we already have that I can throw in the slow cooker, get dressed, get baby ready, go to work, come home, feed baby, and then feed Husband and me?  This, is turns out.

 Moroccan Chicken

  • 2 breasts chicken, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 jalapeno, partially de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I liked using the ones with a bit of diced chili pepper)
  • splash chicken stock
  • about a teaspoon salt
  • about a teaspoon pepper
  • handful cumin
  • about a teaspoon turmeric
  • about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • to serve:
    • couscous, cilantro, sour cream/Greek yogurt
  1. Dump everything in the crockpot.  That’s right.  No pre-seasong, no pre-searing, just straight into the crockpot.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Serve over couscous (takes less than 2 minutes to cook! amazing!).

The Verdict:

I was surprised by how delicious this was, given the haphazard way it came together.  Hence, why I’m sharing it here with you.  Huge bonus: it makes enough so that you don’t have to worry about dinner the following night.

It does make me wonder, though – what do normal, non-cereal eating working-outside-of-the-house people make for dinner!?  Please (please) enlighten me.

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Slow Cooked Coconut Curry Chicken

While I grant that it’s totally odd to be eating heavy slow cooker dishes when the temperature outside is approaching 100 degrees F and every time we step outside I melt into a small puddle that incidentally seems to attract all the mosquitoes in the DMV area, the slow cooker seems to be one of the few ways I actually get dinner to the table these days.  Just another reason for my love affair with the crock pot: dinner can basically be done by the time baby goes down for and then wakes up from his first nap.  And I can spend the rest of the day feeling like at least I accomplished one thing.

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Slow Cooked Coconut Curry Chicken

  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut oil
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • a big heap fresh basil
  • a big handful yellow curry powder
  • a handful chili powder
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • a big squeeze chili paste or 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • to serve:
    • cooked rice or barley
    • cilantro
    • more basil
    • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add a little bit of coconut oil.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Add them to the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan!) and get a nice brown sear on each side.  Remove to a plate while you assemble the slow cooker ingredients.
  3. In the slow cooker, combine coconut milk, basil, about 2 teaspoons salt and a teaspoon pepper, curry powder, and chili powder. Stir to combine and then add the red onions, garlic, and chili paste/jalapeno.  Place the seared chicken on top.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours and then remove the chicken; let it cool for a few minutes so you can shred it.
  5. As chicken cools, add the ginger to the slow cooker.  Combine a little bit of cornstarch or flour with about a tablespoon cold water and give it a quick stir – add this to the slow cooker to help thicken the sauce a bit.
  6. Shred the chicken, removing the bones, and then return it to the crock pot.  Cook on low for another ten minutes or so.
  7. Serve on rice (we used barley – oh so good), topped with cilantro.

The Verdict:

Of all the dishes in slow cooker land, this is the one I’ve heard the most rave reviews from my husband about.    In fact, I was pretty sure I shouldn’t be posting this recipe, with the 100 degree heat and all, but then Husband asked: “but what if you forget how you made it?!”  I won’t, because I basically just adapted to our taste from this fabulous lady, but your wish is my  command, honey.

Slow Cooked Chicken Coconut Curry

On March 7, the Capital Weather Gang – the coolest (ha!) gang around – declared winter in DC to be officially over.

The CWG is a really big deal around here.  Like when they say tomorrow is a Four Domes day  (– that’s four Capitol domes to you, non-DC native) – you KNOW you’re sleeping in late tomorrow, and at the very best, you’ll be “teleworking.” Hello, federal government.

So when they said winter was over, and spring was here, and that there’d be no more snow, and that only sunshine and puppies and rainbows were ahead, we BELIEVED them.  The whole CITY believed them.  There were discounts at coffee shops and consignment stores to celebrate the arrival of spring.

In other words, I live in Washington, DC, ok?  I shouldn’t be waddling to work in my down coat on April 13th.  CWG, next time, knock on wood when you make declarative statements like “pronouncing winter over now is really, really safe.”

The only saving grace is that it’s totally acceptable to make really heavy, spicy, ridiculously easy winter curries in our crock pot.

Slow Cooked Chicken Coconut Curry

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  • 1-2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 can coconut milk (light is fine)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 1 big handful curry powder
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • a big pinch salt
  • 1 big pinch pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • optional – chopped jalapeno (*note – between the sambal oelek and the red pepper flakes, this dish is one hot wollop of a dish)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • for serving:
    • cooked basmati rice
    • chopped cilantro
    • coconut flakes
  1. Put all ingredients from chicken through black pepper in the crock pot and give it a good stir.  Cover and cook on low for four hours.
  2. At the four hour mark, add the bell pepper and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add a bit of cornstarch to thicken up the mixture and cook another 10 minutes or so (don’t let your bell peppers get soggy).
  3. Serve with rice and your desired toppings.  Keep some milk/water nearby because it will light your mouth on fire (in a good way).

The Verdict:

Plentiful, spicy-ful, ridiculously easy, and definitely good for making you think about warmer climates, where there are no down coats and no domes looming in your future.

 

 

 

Chicken Divan*

Clearly I’m the last person in the world to want or think about dieting, or restricting my eating habits in any way, (we all saw what went on over Valentine’s Day at our house) so I don’t even want to put this label out there.  But here goes: this “chicken divan” is paleo.

Let me explain myself for a moment here: this recipe was shared with me by my future SIL, H, who has been on a month-long kick to figure out what has been ailing her stomach.  Turns out, it’s probably dairy.  Turns out, that really, really stinks.  To make up for it, I’m on a mission to consume all the ice cream she can’t.  You’re welcome, H.  Don’t mention it.

Also: this recipe is actually all sorts of delicious.

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Chicken Divan*

(*sort of)

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • olive oil, ghee or, (gasp) butter
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3-4 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • salt, pepper
  • large handful curry powder
  • small handful ground coriander
  1. Soak your cashews – either by placing them in a bowl of water overnight (which takes forethought and planning, which I didn’t have) or by placing them in a sauce pan with about 3 cups of water, bringing to a boil, and then turning off the heat, leaving them to soak for about an water.
  2. Heat a deep skillet, add olive oil or butter to the pan.  Season your chicken liberally with salt and pepper and then add it to the pan and cook until it turns golden brown.  Put the broccoli over the chicken and cover the pan, allowing the steam to cook the broccoli.
  3. While all that cooks away, drain the cashews and add them to your food processor, along with the garlic, onion, salt, pepper, coriander, and curry.  Pulse a few times, and then slowly add the chicken stock, turning the food processor on all the way.  Add stock until you achieve your desired consistency.
  4. Pour the cashew sauce over the chicken and broccoli mixture and give it a good toss, making to sure to coat the whole thing.  Give it a moment or two to cook down (the raw garlic, in particular!), and then serve…with couscous.

 

The Verdict:

As you’ll note if you check out the original recipe and what I describe above, I doubled the sauce and the broccoli (not the chicken) and found this is more than enough to feed 2 people, with LOTS of leftovers.  We’re making up for Vday, after all.  Have no fear though: this is actually really good and makes you feel sort of virtuous at the same time.  Pass the couscous, though.

 

 

 

 

Homemade Chicken Salad.

If I ate less chicken salad, I’d probably be wealthier.  If I walk anywhere near a deli counter, or a sandwich shop, or a brunch menu with chicken salad on the menu, it’s game time.  Part of the reason I love going home so much (other than of course seeing my parents, hi M+D) is because my dad always has a container of chicken salad chilling in the fridge.  I. Love. Chicken. Salad.

It’s a bit surprising, then, that I’ve never actually made it myself.  I was in New York a few weeks ago, eating a chicken salad sandwich on a fresh, delicious sesame seed bagel with my sister-in-law, and she mentioned that sometimes she made chicken salad for herself.

This was an earth-shattering revelation.

For some reason, I have always assumed that magical chicken salad makers just lived at the deli/grocery store/farmer’s market, just waiting for their opportunity to hop me up on too much mayo.

But no.  I could make this delicious, addicting, amazingness myself.  So I did.

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Homemade Chicken Salad

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • for the poaching liquid:
    • fresh herbs (I used some thyme)
    • 1/2 onion
    • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
    • salt
    • water
  • 2-3 stalks celery, washed and chopped
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • about 1/2 cup mayo
  • about 1/2 plain Greek yogurt
  • about 2 cups red grapes, sliced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • optional: handful toasted nuts
  1. Add chicken and all poaching liquid ingredients to a pan and bring to a full boil.  Turn down the heat and poach gently for about 10-12 minutes (the chicken should be white all the way through).
  2. While the chicken cooks, prep your veggies and grapes and place in a large-ish bowl.
  3. Remove chicken from the poaching liquid when done; discard liquid + contents.  Let chicken cool a bit, and then cut into little cubes.  Add to the veggies.
  4. Add mayo, yogurt, lemon, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly and taste – add whatever’s missing.
  5. Put your delicious, amazing salad between two pieces of toasted bread, a slice of red onion, and a large Romaine leaf.  Fall in love.

The Verdict:

HOW WAS THIS THE FIRST TIME I MADE THIS!?!?!?!