Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crock-pot Zucchini Chicken with Orzo

Another day, another crock-pot meal! I’m beginning to think even once I have my own kitchen I’ll still be cooking out of the crock-pot pretty consistently. It’s so simple! I threw this one-pot meal together last week, and I’m still loving the leftovers! (Mmmm zucchini! J) Plus, this recipe is super healthy, coming in at just 140 Calories per cup.

There are a lot of misconceptions (or, at least, I would consider them misconceptions) about what can and cannot be cooked in a crock-pot. I don't have as long-ranging experience as many people, but from that short experience I can definitely refute a few of them.

-YES, you can cook pasta in a slow-cooker. In fact, I think it turns out less sticky and more flavorful, since you are kind of "marinating" it in its sauce.
-YES, you can cook chicken in a slow-cooker. Just make sure you don't cook them for too long (not too much over 6 hours) to prevent them from drying out too much. Fattier meats cook better in crock-pots, I'm told, but I don't really like fattier meats, so I'm stickin' with chickin'!

If you don't believe me, try this recipe and you'll see!

Crock-pot Zucchini Chicken with Orzo

3 (4-oz) small boneless skinless chicken breasts (I cheated and used Perdue Italian Style Perfect Portions, due to my aversion to touching raw meat... Plus, they are pre-marinated.)
 ½ large onion
2 small zucchini
1 (14.5-oz) can stewed tomatoes (again, I like using Italian style)
½-¾ (15-oz) can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
½ cup orzo pasta
3 cups fresh spinach
2 Tablespoons low-fat cream cheese

1.      Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the pot. Cover with tomato sauce, onions, stewed tomatoes, zucchini, and spices. You may need to add more tomato sauce to ensure the chicken is completely covered, depending on the sizes of your chicken breasts.
2.      Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
3.      Shred chicken (I did this in the crock-pot to save the mess), then add orzo and spinach. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and stir them in as well to melt.
4.      Cover and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the orzo is tender.
5.      Stir again to evenly distribute the melted cream cheese.
6.      Be sure to let it set for a few minutes before digging in!

You can see (in the picture above) mine was runny the first night because I put in a whole can of tomato sauce. Obviously, after being in the fridge awhile, it wasn't as runny (and also not as photogenic), so I served it with a warm pita the next night. Yum! I really like this sauce. I might have liked it so much that I cleaned my plate really well. I won’t go into any more detail than that. No one was here to witness either way.

[Yield] about 8 cups (serves 4-6 people, or one person for a week!)
[Calorie count] 140 Calories per cup

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Jedd says I should try this. Also, your dishes are pretty. :)