Monday, January 17, 2011

Simple Crockpot Chicken Stew

First some business matters. I'm going to be changing the look of things shortly, so keep an eye out. Also, I'm starting to label dishes with key words. Eventually the goal is to add some videos.

Sorry about not posting this last week, things got a bit crazy and the thought of actually sitting down to plug in the camera, etc. was one too many things to do. It happens, life happens. So it goes. I did remember to document one of my standard crockpot chicken recipes.

Start with:

Chicken (I used 5 chicken thighs)
Diced tomatoes
Green and Red Bell Peppers
Frozen Green Beans
Italian Seasoning and
Chicken Stock

/begin rant/

Now here's the thing about stock and broth, I don't make my own. Yeah, it's probably easy and there are times when I have, but why make extra work for yourself when you don't have to? I'm also one of those annoying people with a calculator in the supermarket comparing labels by like measurements. Seriously, who calculates liquids by the pound? Pound is a dry measurement so you compare quarts to quarts, not pounds to quarts. Yes I do the math and it's amazing how many of your pennies go into the market's pocket instead of yours.

Why should you care? If you are losing, on average, a buck a trip to the market then that's $50 a year. That's a nice dinner out, a bleacher seat and a dog at Fenway or a whole host of other things. Here's the thing, if 1,000 people a day lose a buck a trip to the market, that's 7k a week for the market. Since they aren't passing the savings onto you, you're helping to pay someone's bonus. Seriously people, you need to care.

/end rant/

This is pretty basic, you chop up your peppers and onions. I usually cut them into slices rather than dice them up when I use green beans because I like how the pieces all feel uniform to me. In the crockpot, layer the beans on the bottom with your veggies. Sprinkle a palm full of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper over them and lay your chicken thighs on top. Then pour your diced tomatoes over the top and then pour in a couple of cups of chicken stock.

It looks pretty in the pot:

I like low and slow for 10-12 hours, stirring it about halfway through to make sure everything mixes well. The chicken will break up nicely when you go to serve it and it works nicely over brown rice or with potatoes.

This ends up being 3 points plus per serving plus your sides, not bad for a filling dinner that gives you some good veggies and protein for the day. Plus it reheats well the next day for lunch.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dinner and a Breakfast

Sleep over took me before I posted last night, so let's post a bonus breakfast.

Dinner last night was Mac & Cheese. The sauce was different than what I usually do, in this case

I used:

1 can fat free evaporated milk
5 oz asiago cheese (shredded)
5 oz cheddar cheese (2% milk fat, shredded)
teaspoon of mustard
1 egg
caramelized onions

Preheat oven to 350* F

Slice one onion and caramelize in a pot. I usually spray the pan with some olive oil and sweat them out over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil up a box of pasta in a separate pot, drain.

When the onions are done, take them out and put aside. In the pot pour the evaporated milk and heat through (a couple of minutes). Take off heat and whisk in egg and mustard. Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Add to pasta and stir until sauce thickens. Pour in a greased 9x9 baking dish, top with onions and bake about 15 minutes.

The sauce itself is 20 points. When poured over the pasta and split up, it ends up about 4 points a serving.

Now onto breakfast!

A few friends tell me to do "egg in a cup." It's easy in that it's an egg in a cup, scrambled with salt and pepper and then break up a wedge of laughing cow cheese and nuke for one minute. It makes a bit of a souffle. Because salt and pepper aren't enough, I also added a pinch of Herbs de Provence. I normally don't nuke eggs, it makes them too tough, but the creaminess of the cheese balances that out nicely for filling 3 point breakfast:

It's not the most beautiful of food, but it is filling and tasty. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicken with Blackberry Sauce

Again, I hit the WW new cookbook for this one. I needed:

60z container of blackberries
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

In a small sauce pan, combine the blackberries (reserve a few for presentation at the end), vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the berries are soft, about 5 minutes:

Place a sieve over a small bowl and pour the sauce in. Using the back of a spoon, press the fruit so the juice flows through the sieve but the pulp and seeds remain in the strainer. Throw out seeds and pulp and whisk in the mustard and a dash of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Season chicken with salt and thyme:

Place in a hot frying pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and cook about 4 minutes either side until the outside is golden brown and inside is no longer pink. Move to a plate and keep warm.

Toss the bowl of sauce in the frying pan to scrape up any brown bits and then pour over the chicken, garnish with black berries and serve. In this case, I served it with brown rice and green beens. Yummy! I like this one a lot and it will now be a go-to sauce. I may try it with different fruit as it's in season: citrus, raspberries, blueberries... you name it. It's a good base to play with for 1 point per serving (4 points total with it serving 4 people). Very delicious, filling dinner for just a few points.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I tried a different marinade from the new WW Points Plus cookbook with my brisket. I needed:

1 cup white wine
1/4 cup brown sugar
bay leaves

Mix them together:

Pour the marinade into a ziploc bag with the brisket and let it sit for 8 hours or overnight. I then sliced an onion:

Then placed the meat into the crockpot with some beef stock:

Until it was done (10-12 hours on low 4-6 on high... I prefer "low and slow" for 12 hours otherwise meat tends to be a bit tough):

The marinade itself is 13 points plus which you can divide out over the number of servings. About 3 oz of brisket is 9 points plus, so figure about 12 points for 3 oz. The marinade was OK, but I think I'll stick with my usual "clean out the fridge" method in the future. Next time I make it, I'll post it. In the meantime, brisket with some garlic mashed potatoes and green peas was a nice meal on a cold winter night.

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