Over the past year, we have both enjoyed learning what types of foods and combinations work well in the crock pot, and have had a few less-than-stellar learning experiences in the meantime, too. Lean meat = a no no, cream of anything soups are amazing transformers of even the blandest ingredients, and I am still amazed at how great just onions and carrots and celery can be when cooked for 10 hours. When we walk in the door late each evening, dinner is just there and waiting. Amazing.
The learning curve has paid off. Yesterday's creation (read: I made it all up) was a pure WINNER. The best part was that I threw it together in only five minutes before running out the door to work. The meat was frozen, and all I had to do was peel and chop a few carrots. All of that "effort" later, and we had an inexpensive, healthy, gourmet meal just like Mom used to make. I have included the recipe below for you to try out in your own crock pot, if you please. The chicken shreds down and almost just melts in your mouth, and the resulting sauce is rich but healthy.
The other thing I wanted to tell you about were the noodles we served this chicken and carrots casserole over. I picked up a bag of Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli from Trader Joe's on a whim - gluten and wheat free, cholesterol free and sodium free, made totally from brown rice and water. Since I am a Northern-born gal, I love me some traditional pasta, but I am also willing to try out healthier and lighter options here and there.
My take: This stuff was great! I couldn't tell at all that it was not regular pasta. Granted, I wasn't eating it plain, but I still think this pasta would be fantastic under a red sauce or tossed with cheese and oil, too.
Ok, time for the recipe! Enjoy it, all!
Chicken and Carrot Slow Cooker Casserole
Serves 4-5, WW points = 6 + pasta
1 lb. frozen chicken breasts
4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Penzey's Forward seasoning (or your own creation of paprika, etc.)
1 cup frozen green peas
Layer chicken, carrots, soups and seasonings in crock pot. Cover and cook on Low 10-12 hours. Stir in green peas during last 10-20 minutes while pasta cooks. Serve over pasta of choice.