I have always loved cooking and baking. After becoming disabled, however, it became extremely difficult to the point that I basically had to re-teach myself. I can’t tell you how many times I burned meals because I became too ill in the middle of cooking, unable to get up off the couch to stir the pots or whatever needed to be done to finish the meal. Whether it was the heat in the kitchen, standing for longer than my body could handle, prepping the food, cleaning, you name it… I was constantly fighting tooth and nail just to get a simple meal made.
I have been working to try to create delicious, (and hopefully) healthy meals because, 1) I want to see what this contraption can really do, and 2) it gives me an opportunity to make my family tasty meals again when I can, despite the fact that my body is constantly trying to stop me–I pray often that I find enough “spoons” that day… Sometimes I get them, other days I end up running out completely (Check out the link to learn more about “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino).
Bon Appétit! (Heh, I always wanted to say that!)
P.S. If you make the recipes, please tell me your thoughts in the comments below… Thanks!
(Slow Cooker) Chronic Chicken & Dumplings
Prep time depends on your physical abilities—for me about it was about 30-40 minutes, start to finish… so I assume about 15 minutes for people without physical limitations. I HIGHLY recommend using CrockPot® Liners (also made by Reynolds®) before adding your ingredients… They are a LIFE-SAVER when it comes to after dinner cleanup!
Important Note: Keep the lid of your crockpot CLOSED for as long as possible during the entire cooking process. Leaving the lid off (while adding ingredients or even stirring) will quickly begin to slow the cooking process, thereby adding more cooking time for your meal.
- 6 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 large White Onion, diced
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 cans Cream of Celery Soup
- 2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Knorr Tomato Bouillon w/Chicken Flavoring
- 1/2 tsp Rubbed Sage
- 1/2 tsp Accent (optional)
- 1 cup Fiesta Blend Shredded Cheese
- 1 cup each Frozen Carrots, Peas & Corn
- 2/3 stick Butter, cubed
- 4 Whole Bay Leaves
- 1 can Buttermilk Biscuits (flakey recommended)
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley (optional)
Cooking time: 4 hours, plus 1 hour 15 minutes = Approximately 5 hours 15 minutes Total
Prepare the following and allow to sit overnight, covered, in the refrigerator to marinate (Note: Cooking right after prepping the mix is fine–It’s just a matter of preference–plus for me, it’s usually helps save a bit of energy):
In a large bowl, add Broth, Soups, Pepper, Salt, Bouillon, Sage & Accent. Mix until well blended.
(Open the crockpot liner completely and carefully place it inside of the slow cooker. Hang the excess edges evenly over the pot so that the liner doesn’t slip during cooking.)
Dice the onion and spread them evenly along the entire bottom of the slow cooker. Take the boneless chicken place them on top of the onions, without overlapping the meat as much as possible. Next, sprinkle the cheese evenly over the chicken. Then sprinkle the frozen vegetables evenly over the cheese. Slowly pour the liquid mixture over the vegetables, cheese, chicken & onions. Submerge bay leaves into mix, and evenly space the butter cubes on top. Cover and refrigerate (or begin cooking right away, if you prefer). Set the cooker on High for 4 hours. (Suggestion: Set a timer for 3 hours and 50 minutes to remind you when the next step needs to be started)
*About ten minutes before the 4 hours are up, start prepping the biscuits to get them ready to place on the soup mixture. Take the biscuits, place a little flour on a cutting board and rolling pin so they don’t stick, then roll each biscuit approximately 1/4 inch thick. Slice them into about 1 1/2 inch pieces (bite-sized). Open the crockpot and quickly spread the biscuit pieces on top, covering the entire mixture; then replace the lid to cook for another 60 minutes (*add 10 more minutes if you feel the dumplings need a little more cooking time).
Once the dumplings are done, carefully tear into the mix and shred the chicken inside of the pot with two forks (be very careful not to burn yourself) — don’t worry about tearing apart the dumplings or submerging them… it’s perfectly normal. Make sure to shred the chicken as much as possible so that it’s distributed evenly in the pot. Allow to cook about 10-15 more minutes, then remove Bay Leaves.
Add Fresh Parsley for a little color. (optional)
Makes about 6 quarts of deliciously yummy comfort food (Feeds 4-6 people heartily). Serve alone, or with a fresh green salad.
(Slow Cooker) Chile Relleno (style) Enchilada Casserole
This dish is densely layered. (You’re probably not going to use all of the ingredients in their entirety, so expect some left overs). Cooking time takes 5-6 hours—or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees throughout. Prep time can be lengthy depending on abilities, so make sure you plan ahead. This meal tastes better the next day. Serve with a delicious fresh green salad or a lite, delicious soup. I highly recommend using Crockpot Liners before cooking; it makes clean up a breeze!
Important Note: Keep the lid of your crockpot CLOSED for as long as possible during the entire cooking process. Leaving the lid off for any length of time will quickly begin to slow the cooking process, thereby adding more cooking time for your meal.
- Corn Tortillas (approx. 100)
- Supremo Queso Chihuahua Rallado (cheese) (2 lb)
- Fiesta Blend Cheese (2 lb)
- Cacique Oaxaca Skim Milk Cheese (10 oz)
- Goya Black Beans (29 oz)
- Whole Kernel Corn (Fresh or Frozen) (32 oz)
- Ortega Fire-roasted Diced Green Chiles (14 oz)
- Herdez Verde Salsa (45 oz)
- Sliced Black Olives (1 can)
- Boneless Chicken Breast (2.5 lb) cut in thin, bite-sized pieces
- Salt & Pepper
Insert crockpot liner, then layer as follows: Start with a thin layer of Verde salsa at the base. Tear up tortillas into quarters and layer the bottom of the crockpot completely, leaving no holes (I highly recommend two layers of tortillas for each layer of ingredients). Place a thin layer of chicken evenly over the tortillas, making sure none touch or overlap. Add a layer of beans and corn on top of (and around) the chicken. Add layers of cheeses as follows: Chihuahua, Fiesta, Oaxaca. Then add a (generous) layer of green chiles and verde salsa, and spread some sliced black olives evenly across the top. Repeat until you reach the top. On the final layer, add everything but chicken (tortillas, beans, corn, salsa, chili & salsa, cheeses and olives). Salt and pepper to season.
Set the crockpot for six hours. Make sure that the temperature reaches 165 degrees in the center because of the raw chicken—because it’s cut thin and bite-sized, it will cook thoroughly as long as the meal reaches the proper temperature.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chives and a green salad. This meal serves 4-6 with tasty leftovers for the next day.