Sunday Supper: Crock Pot Chicken and Corn Chowder

In an attempt to continue to expand my culinary horizons, I’m challenging myself to try a new recipe each week.
I’ll relate my triumphs and failures here, just in time for your Sunday supper. food collage

This chowder might just be easier than my go-to chili recipe, and that’s saying something. Which is good— today I need all the easy I can get. 

books.10.16.11I’m spending the day at my the kitchen table, cranking out annotations for my Victorian Ghosties bibliography. It’s due Tuesday. And I don’t get to leave the table until my homework is done.

My self-imposed imprisonment is being aided and abetted by the chowder that is currently simmering in the crockpot. If I didn’t have to be in the kitchen, I’d probably be in here anyway, just sniffing the air.

Whenever I think about posting a recipe, especially one this easy, I have a totally self-conscious moment in which I imagine someone else reading this, in a magazine-perfect kitchen complete with granite counters and one of those multi-functional islands that always have kid sitting on them in the advertisements, shaking her head and thinking The poor dear. That’s not cooking! That’s just opening cans! Anyone could do that! And then she turns back to the stove to snip some fresh herbs into whatever smells so delicious in that pot on the stove.

And then I give myself a mental slap, tell myself to snap out of it, and chill.

But she’s right—whoever this judgey cook-person is—anyone could do this. And that’s kind of the point. I do a lot of fumbling in the kitchen. I’m still figuring out the best and easiest way to crush garlic, to debone a chicken, to sear a steak. But I’m learning. And if I don’t know what I’m doing, then chances are good that some of you don’t either. Or maybe you are spectacularly brilliant in the kitchen, but are as busy as the rest of us, and could really use a few really simple recipes to alleviate some of the stress. I bet even Miz Stepford in my head could use a little less stress.

So, without further ado, Crock Pot Chicken and Corn Chowder (because I have it on good authority that you don’t get to call it chowdah unless you’re from a somewhat more chilly geographic region.)

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cans of condensed cream-of soup, 1 chicken, 1 whatever (chicken, onion, mushroom, celery… let the pantry decide)
  • 2 cans of corn, 1 creamed and 1 whole kernel (drain the water out of the whole kernel)
  • 2 big cans (10 oz) chunk chicken, drained (or 2-2 1/2 cups of chopped cooked chicken)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper (or 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper)
  • salt, pepper, thyme
  • 1 1/2 cup milk

Here’s what you do:

  • Combine everything except the milk in your crock pot
  • Cook on low for 4-5 hours
  • Add milk and cook another half hour or so, until it’s hot.

And voila! Supper’s done. And it was super quick, super easy, and holy mother is it super good. 

ETA- two months later, I just thawed and ate the last serving of this soup. Seriously delicious. It kept getting chosen before other (more complicated and definitely more time-consuming) things in the kitchen. While I thought this was a one-off, just to use up all that corn in the pantry, this is definitely making it into permanent rotation. Can I say again that it’s delicious? Don’t skip the roasted red bell pepper, adds a great kick. 

 

Creamy Orange Chicken

I’ve been fighting some sort of head/sinus pressure situation the past few days–I love the weather changes but they sometimes lay me low, as my grannie would say.  So I’ve been taking it easy, watching Kingdom Hospital from my cocoon on the couch and trying to ignore the thumping in my skull.

Since I really don’t have time for all of this lackadaisical malingering, (lordy, lordy, end of the semester) I’ve been taking meds, imbibing orange juice like it was vodka, and working on kicking whatever this nastiness is with some healthy food.

This creamy orange chicken recipe, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens: Slow Cooker Recipes for 2, 4 or More is pretty much perfect for the job. Everything it requires was already in my kitchen (or can be subbed for something I have), it doesn’t take all day to cook, and it requires very little prep. So I can get back to my cocoon more quickly.

Creamy Orange Chicken

Ingredients for Creamy Orange Chicken

 

Ingredients:

  • about 2 cups of frozen vegetables (I used a mix of broccoli and chopped vegetables) *this wasn’t a great choice- see end notes
  • 1/4 cup of onion, sliced thin
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • a bit of black pepper
  • a bit of minced garlic (approx a clove- but I’m using the pre-minced kind. Because it’s that kind of day.)
  • a cup of chicken broth (confession: I’m not actually sure what is pictured is chicken broth. I know it’s broth, but it’s just possible that it is vegetable. Apparently I failed to label a batch of my homemade broth at some point, which is a little gross. But I don’t think it will matter.)
  • 2 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp finely shredded orange peel (the recipe called for lemon peel, but I had this- whatever essence the orange gave to the flavor is so subtle that I can’t detect it- we’ve got onions and garlic here, people. It’s possible the lemon would have added something indefinably delicious, but this was pretty good as is. Oh, and since the source recipe called for lemon peel, it was, logically, called Creamy Lemon Chicken. Just in case you happen to have the same cookbook and try to look it up. The end.)

Instructions:

  1. Combine frozen vegetables, onion, chicken, garlic and onion in your Crock Pot, add broth.
  2. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or high for 2-2 1/2 hrs
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a separate plate, cover to keep warm
  4. To make the sauce, beat cream cheese and orange peel with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Slowly add cooking liquid, beating on low speed until combined.
  5. Spoon liquid over chicken and vegetables.

Picture of finished product coming in… 2 hours. Counting down! right here:

Creamy Orange Chicken

Yum!

As is, I’d give it a 4 out of 5: it was tasty and super easy.

To take it to a five:
Change the veggies. I had the mixed veggies and broccoli in the freezer, so it was convenient- but after 2 1/2 hours in the Crock Pot, the color in the broccoli was kind of leached out. Tasted fine, but the cut green beans that the source recipe called for might have looked a bit better.
Change the sauce. Although this sauce tasted great (it’s made out of cream cheese. I mean, does it get better?), I would have preferred the sauce to be a bit thicker. I think next time I’ll make it into more of a gravy with some cornstarch.

Happy (barely) cooking!

Rainy-day Crock Pot Stew

I absolutely love this time of year. I know, it’s a little odd. It’s drippy and dreary and chilly outside… but  I so enjoy weather that drives you indoors, justifying hours curled up with fat books (current choice: The Children’s Book, which is absolutely freakin’ amazing), flickering candles, snoring pets, and, of course, delicious eats.

So, after completing today’s academic responsibilities, I hurried home through the drips and drops and began cooking.

I wrote yesterday about a recipe for dill bread that I planned to try. Today I picked up the ingredients that I needed for that project (I had everything except yeast and cottage cheese) and decided at the last minute to make some vegetable stew to go along with it.

My stew recipe is an adaptation of Soul Food and Southern Cooking‘s recipe. Theirs used a bit more meat and fewer vegetables- but carrots and celery are cheaper than beef (and better for you) and I’m doing my best these days to be frugal.

Here’s my version:

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Recipe Ingredients:

1 pound cubed beef stew meat
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
6 celery stalks, sliced
3 potatoes, cubed
6-8 carrots, cubed
1 can whole tomatoes can diced tomatoes, largish (14 oz) (I used whole tomatoes, as the source recipe recommended. Makes absolutely no sense in retrospect- who wants a fist-size tomato in their soup bowl? )
1 1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 – tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 – cup all purpose flour
water

Recipe Instructions:

1.) Chop/cube all of the veggies

2.) Rinse the beef stew, pat dry (meat that isn’t dry doesn’t brown. who knew?), coat the meat with the seasoning mix (onion powder, salt and pepper), and then with a light coating of flour

3.) Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet and brown the beef

4.) Put the browned beef and all of the veggies in the crock pot, add the undrained can of tomatoes, cover the ingredients with water

5.) Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 5-6 hours. It’s done when the meat and potatoes are tender


On a side note– I finished the dill bread. My-oh-my.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty much the most delicious thing ever. I’m on my second- ok, third- piece.

I may be full by the time my stew is done. If my stew is ever done (I’m a bit impatient. But a watched Crock Pot never… nevermind. I’m too cool for that. As are you.)