A couple weeks ago (or so) I mentioned on Facebook how I swoon over my crock pot when it creates 2 affordable organic dinners, which have very little to do with yours truly. Gotta love the crock pot. Most people think of the crock pot as a winter time-saver, but I use mine more in the summer. I don't know about your oven, but mine really heats up the kitchen—a fact that I love in the winter, and hate in the summer.
Here is an example of how quickly and affordably you can make 2 or 3 dinners in your crock pot.
Slow Roasted Carrots & Chicken Thighs
8 (or more) chicken thighs
2 handfuls (or more) carrots, scrubbed, tops removed
pinch of sea salt
pinch of onion powder
dash of balsamic vinegar
1) Lay the chicken in the crock pot and sprinkle with sea salt and onion powder.
2) Turn the crock pot on to 4 hours high.
3) After 3 hours lay the carrots on top of the chicken and sprinkle them with sea salt and onion powder.
Note: These are skinny carrots. If your carrots are thick, then they will need 2 or 3 hours to cook.
4) When the last hour has passed remove the carrots and transfer the chicken to a broiler pan.
5) Use your broiler to brown the tops of the chicken skin. This only takes a minute or so. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
6) I like to spoon some of the fat from the bottom of the crock pot over the chicken and carrots on each plate. (Just writing this makes my mouth water.) A dash more of balsamic on each plate is also delish.
7) Serve with salad or another side.
Keep the chicken bones for the following recipes.
Use those leftover bones to make broth! Throw them back into the crock pot. Add half of an onion, some peeled cloves of garlic, some parsley, and some salt, then fill the crock pot about 2/3 full with water. Set it to 10 hours low. In the morning strain the broth.
Now that you have your broth you can make soup!
Thai Basil Chicken Soup
1 (13 oz) can coconut milk
about 1 inch fresh peeled ginger (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons packed fresh Thai basil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 & 1/2 cups packed fresh washed spinach
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped carrots (about 3 whole carrots)
about 2 cups, cabbage, finely chopped
4 cups chicken stock (recipe above)
about 2 pounds chicken breast
Note: This makes enough for leftovers. You can cut it in half if you prefer (or if you have a small crock pot).
1) Blend the coconut milk, ginger, basil, salt, and spinach until smooth. Set aside.
2) Add the rest of the ingredients (onion, pepper, carrots, cabbage, broth, and chicken) to the crock pot.
3) Pour the puree from the blender in with the rest of the ingredients in the crock pot, and set it to 4 hours high.
4) After 2 hours remove the lid so that it can reduce slightly for the rest of the time.
5) When another 2 hours have passed turn the crock pot off, shred the chicken, and serve the soup.
We ate our soup with a side of butternut squash that, yes... I cooked in the crock pot :-)
To cook butternut squash in the crock pot, place the whole squash inside. Don't cut or poke it. Add 2 cups of water and set to 4 hours high. Then, let the squash cool until you can handle it. Remove the skin and seeds. I like to let it sit in a strainer over a bowl to remove some of the moisture. You can also squeeze it in a clean dry kitchen towel. To see how I sometimes top my butternut squash click HERE. SERIOUS yum.
So there you have it—a few typical days of summer eats at our house :-) I hope you enjoy these recipes!