Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: It's time to drag out the slow cooker
This past weekend, I decided I can't avoid it any more — fall is here and I need to adjust my life accordingly.
I started with collecting the beach towels and bathing suits still hanging over the deck railing and threw them in the washing machine. The pool was covered two weeks ago, so even if I am inclined to go swimming in 60-degree (at best) water, it's out of the question.
After shivering in bed one night, I stripped the bed and replaced the cotton sheets with heavy-duty flannel ones and added a blanket underneath the comforter for good measure. I tossed my summer nightshirt down the laundry chute and dug out the sweat pants and shirts I wear to bed during the winter.
I made sure all the windows were closed tight and locked, and pulled the storm window up on the front door. I reset the thermostats from 50 degrees (as low as they go) to a more pleasant 60. When the furnace does start running, I'll bump them up another five degrees.
With the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer — Lord, I hate getting up when it's still dark out! — I put the timer on the light in the living room so the dog won't be in the dark if I'm late coming home from work.
My final task was to dust off my Crockpot. I haven't used it since late spring, opting for salads and foods cooked on the grill all summer. But cooler weather is here, and that calls for comfort food. With my crazy work schedule, comfort food means something slow cooked all day. Nothing beats the smell of a ready-to-be-served supper when you unlock the door after a long day at work!
I fired it up Sunday and made an old favorite — chicken cacciatore. I used 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half, because I'm not a fan of dark meat chicken and because I only had a can of crushed tomatoes in the pantry, I used it instead of stewed tomatoes. I served it over rigatoni pasta, but any other shaped pasta works; noodles or rice are good, too.
Chicken cacciatore in the crockpot
6 to 8 skinless chicken thighs — can be boneless or with a bone
1 medium onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 8-ounce package of mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
1 large can of stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 can tomato paste
3 tablespoons of chicken stock
Chop onion and slice peppers into thin strips. Slice mushrooms and mince garlic.
Place everything except chicken into crock pot and stir. Place chicken on top of liquid and push down until covered with tomato mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
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