Thursday, October 16, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Vegetable Chowder

I love my crockpot, especially now that the weather is getting cooler. I just throw stuff in it in the morning, turn it on, and when I get home from work - voila! Dinner! Hot soup, creamy chowder, melt in your mouth makes coming home all the sweeter.

I especially like it when I can make something healthy in it that everybody in the family likes. And by "family" I mean the hubs because he's a meat and potatoes man who makes a face like this when I say we're having chicken:

So it's a pain in the ass challenge to make something healthy that he'll actually eat...and like.

But this he will eat.

Maybe part of the reason he likes my Crockpot Chicken Vegetable Chowder is because it's delicious with warm, crispy french rolls or breadsticks and he does like his bread. If I pair stuff he doesn't like with stuff he likes, sometimes he'll eat it.

He once told me, "You know how much of the stuff I don't like to put in the stuff I like to make me like it." 

So there you have it.

Back to the recipe. What I like about it is that it's easy. There's no browning or pre-sauteeing. Just dump everything in the crockpot and let it cook. Easy peasy.

Start by cutting up 1 pound of chicken breasts into about 1 inch pieces and throw those in the crockpot.

Then cut up the vegetables. This chowder is loaded with veggies - carrots, broccoli, mushroom, corn - it's another reason I like it. Good and healthy. 

I have to go easy on the mushrooms though because the hubs doesn't like them but I do. So I cut them in large slices and pick them out of his bowl when I serve it. Yeah, I'm nice like that.

After the chicken and veggies, you dump in a can of cream of potato soup, some chicken broth, minced garlic, thyme, salt, and fresh ground black pepper, and give it all a good stir.

If you don't like to use processed foods, you can peel and boil a couple potatoes and throw them in your food processor or blender with a little chicken broth and salt. Then pulse it till it's a similar consistency to cream of potato soup and use that instead.

Then put the lid on, turn 'er on, and you're good to go.

It's important to cook this on low because the broccoli can get pretty mushy if it cooks on high or cooks too long. About 5 hours on low is good.

Taste the broth after a few hours and see if it needs more salt, pepper or thyme. It wasn't until after I married my first husband I realized I needed to taste as I cooked. I have to admit, some of my earlier meals were pretty bland. Bland meals + critical husband = unhappy wife.

But I digress.

Once the chicken and veggies are cooked, add some milk or half-and-half and turn on high for about 15 minutes until it's heated through. This is what gives it the creamy chowder consistency. The recipe calls for half-and-half, but I've used low-fat milk and it comes out just fine. 

It's important to add the milk at the end because if you add it at the beginning it will curdle and although it will taste fine, it won't look very good. (See disclaimer at end of post.)

Creamy = appetizing; Curdley = hubby or kids that probably won't eat it.

At this point, you can add some cheese if you like and turn it into Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Chowder. Cheese tends to make everything more palatable for picky husbands and kids, doesn't it?

I made this last weekend again and it was delish! My sister-in-law said it was the best soup she's had in a long time.

Here's the full recipe:

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth
1 can (10 and 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of potato soup (See above for alternative)
10 ounces fresh or frozen cut up broccoli
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup whole kernel corn (fresh or frozen)
4 and 1/2 ounces sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/3 cup half-and-half (or milk - 2% works fine too)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (optional)

Combine all ingredients except half-and-half or milk in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 5 hours or until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink.Stir in milk or half-and-half. Turn to HIGH. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until heated through.

If you try this, let me know how it comes out for you in the comments. Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe?

Linking up to Mama Kat's "What's Cooking in your Slow Cooker" writing prompt this week. Hop over to her site and check out what's cooking!

Mama’s Losin’ It

P.S. I doubt I'll ever make it as a  food blogger because it's probably in poor taste to put a GIF of a guy making a disgusting face in the same post as your recipe. Who does that? Me, apparently.

P.S.S. I have to confess that although I've made this a few times now, this last time I forgot and put the milk in at the beginning. So the result was delicious-but-not-picture-worthy-curdley-chowder. I had to use a different picture and in the interest of full disclosure I should tell you that. The pretty picture of the chowder in the bowl looks just like the recipe chowder does though, really it does. (Pic Source)

Honestly Yours,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Sisters

My younger daughter (on the left) is a recovering addict. We saw very little of her during her 18th year, while she was in the clutches of her disease. This picture was taken about 6 months after she began her recovery journey. Everytime I look at it I'm filled with gratitude and hope.

Linking up with Mrs. Tee for Wordless Wednesday this week. (Well, almost wordless).
Happy Wednesday!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Friday Fragment Time!

Friday, Friday, how I do love thee!

Friday happy dance by Chan and Tucker

Share your weekly fragments in a post on fridays and link up with Mrs. 444 at Half-Past Kissin' Time!

I'm keeping them short and sweet this week because I really want to read something enlightening clean spend quality time with my family go catch up on some shows I DVR'd.

Frag #1
Ebola in the U.S. Did we ever think that would happen? The "experts" are telling us it's spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person...and through surfaces that have those fluids on them, like sheets, clothing, etc.

So my questions long does the virus live on these surfaces? The Texas deputy who they suspect is sick with it now, had gone into the apartment where the first infected guy had lived. And now he's showing symptoms. The test results are supposed to come back Friday night.

Scary stuff. I think we have a false sense of security here in the U.S., like the diseases that plague third world countries won't find us. But one certainly has now. Maybe more resources should have been put towards finding an antibody for Ebola.

And what if it mutates and goes airborne? It's the stuff movies are made of, isn't it?

I just hope it doesn't happen on a Friday cause that would totally harsh my weekend.

Frag #2
Shameless plug time. I get really happy when I post 3 or more times in one week because, well, it's hard when you work full time, am I right?

My daughter Sis, the one who is in Hawaii, had her 23rd birthday last week. I posted a quick Happy Birthday post for her which she won't see for another 2 weeks. She's hiked back into the remote beach on Kauai that has come to be her home now. There is no phone or internet service there. She's coming home to me October 29th, finally!

Last Thursday I shared what happens When Good Girls Go to 'N Sync Concerts. It involves cops.

Tuesday I participated in a new (to me anyway) blog meme from Airing My Dirty Laundry called It's Okay Tuesday where you say some goofy things you did and declare them okay.

And yesterday I shared some funny texts between me and the hubby for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Whew, blogging is tiring! Ok, I'm done shameless plugging.

Frag #3
Ever wonder what it would look like if Spike TV took over the Food Network Channel? Wonder no more:

Frag #4
Lastly, just had to share these fun Halloween treat ideas from Pinterest. Oreo Eyeball pops, which are oreos dipped in white chocolate with life savers as the eyes and Monster Caramel corn with candy googly eyes in them. They'd be cute to hand out at a Halloween party. Sharing them at the end of the post because of my HTML coding ineptness.

Happy Friday, All!

Still Plugging Away,

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