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home-made chicken stock 

good morning, friends!

It’s a rainy Sunday morning here in Denver, and I’m starting my day by sipping on  a giant mug of chicken broth.

Its a perfect combo 🙂

Last week I was chatting with y’all about BROTH BOWLS and the health benefits of bone broth. (Stock)

Making stock is really quite easy.. And inexpensive ( bonus!)

A few months back, I started saving all of my veggie scraps ( onion tops and skins, carrot tops and shaving, parsley stems, pea pods, potato skins, celery leaves and ends… Basically anything except for peppers or cauliflower)

I save them in a Tupperware dish and when it’s full, I make broth

For veggie broth, simply add all of your scraps to a pot, fill with cold water, a few pepper corns, sea salt  and a bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour.  Once liquid is cool enough, drain through a colander ( into a bowl ) and voila! Free veggie broth!

Chicken stock is quite similar, but there are a few more steps.

Start with a ROAST CHICKEN.  Pull off and discard any excess skin.  Remove as much of the meat as possible and reserve for another dish.  Add bones to a large stockpot and add vegetable scraps

( if you don’t have scraps, use one onion, chopped ( don’t bother peeling) a carrot or two, a few ribs of celery )

Add ice cold water … This is very important,  you need the cold water to properly extract the minerals from the bones

add either some white wine, lemon juice or vinegar. ( healthy splash ) it also helps extract the minerals

Add a bay leaf or two, some peppercorns, sea salt and place pot on  medium high heat and slowly bring to a boil. If any foam should arise, skim off and discard .

Once pot reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and allow stock to simmer for 2-3 hours.

When stock is cool enough, drain first through a colondar ( into a bowl…. Once I forgot the bowl and poured the soup right down the drain. )

Pure.

Genius.

Not.

Once stock reaches room temp, refrigerate until fully chilled.  The fat should float to the top.

Strain again, this time through a fine mesh strainer to remove excess fat.

Test for salt and pepper and voila! Enjoy as is or use in your favorite recipe!

Click for more soup recipes

Basic beef stock 

 

Creamy roasted tomato and garlic soup

Crock pot potato cheese soup

Chilled cucumber soup 

Autumn mushroom soup with cognac

Kale soup

Creamy curried butternut soup 

Veggie chili

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one pot roast chicken with vermouth sauce 

hiya friends! 

I’ve been roasting chickens for what feels like my whole life…..  It’s such a homey meal and I’m positively addicted to Making bone broth with the leftover bones.

But the mess after roasting a chicken. Oiy. Vey. The cleanup was never something that I look forward to. 

For about the last year, I’ve been roasting a tad differently, and it’s worked great for me, cleanup is almost nothing, and well, it’s just awesome 

ONE POT ROAST CHICKEN WITH VERMOUTH SAUCE 

1- 4-5 pound chicken, giblets removed

1/2 onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots ( no need to peel) rough chop 

1 celery stock, rough chopped ( I didn’t use in this recipe, but I usually do ) 

Sea salt and pepper 

Flour ( I like brown rice flour ) 

1/2 cup dry vermouth 

1/4-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth 

Meat thermometer ( under 10 at most stores) 

**Cast iron skillet 

Start by preheating over to 425 degrees.   

Salt and pepper both inside and outside of chicken 

Place all veggies in cast iron skillet 

  I’ve thrown in a few over ripe tomatoes here….  Not necessary, but added another layer of flavor. 

That’s the fun part of this recipe.. Use what you have, make it your own.   You can add fennel bulb, parsnips, lemon, Potatoes..  Herbs..  Have fun with it! 

Place seasoned chicken on top of chopped veggies, strategically placing so that there is a little bit of space underneath 

  

Place in preheated oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until crust looks brown and crispy.   Turn temp down to 325 and continue to roast until thermometer inserted in deepest part of thigh ( without touching the bone ) reads 165. ..  

( juices Should run clear, not pink,from where you insert thermometer) 

Using potholders, remove pan from oven.  

 

* here’s a napkin for you * 😉 

Let rest for a few minutes, then carefully transfer chicken to cutting board, allowing it to rest longer. 

Making the sauce…….  

Using a slotted spoon, remove veggies and set aside. 

Drain all but about 1-2 tablespoons of accumulated fat. Add flour and using a fork or whisk,  mix flour and fat together until it looks crumbly.  Stir mixture continuously for about a minute, 

Turn heat off, add vermouth slowly mixing the whole time, then turn heat back on to medium, and allow to thicken. Add broth a little bit at a time, until desired thickeness. 

  

(Ps… You are  Cleaning the pan as you go!) 

You can serve the sauce like this, but for a smoother sauce, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, using a spatula to get out every last bit . 

  

Cut the chicken breast off each side In one pieces, then slice vertically.   Remove wings and legs. 

Serve with sauce and veggies! 

Finished photo here

Simply rinse your cast iron skillet under warm water, using a brush to remove any last bits, wipe down with a pair towel and brush with a little bit of oil.   

Cleanup done! 

***. Cast iron skillets…  

Ove my years I have used many different kinds of cookware,   In my opinion, there is none superior to the same thing our grandparents used, cast iron. 

They are inexpensive, ( under 20 at your local hardware store) 

They do need to be seasoned, but this is easy and once you do it properly, you should rarely have to do it again 

You can also find them at yard sales ( I would love to have know this magic earlier, because I would have treasured a cast iron skillet from either mine or my husbands’ grandparents ) 

Don’t let rust on a pan at a sale  scare you! You can easily scrub it off, and re season.  A cast iron skillet should last forever! 

Never ever, ever use soap on the skillet.  This is so important . 

Seriously….  This might be the best 20 bucks you’ll spend in your kitchen! 

Save all of your bones and scraps… Next up.. Fail-proof stock! 

baked spaghetti squash… via true food kitchen

friends. If you are connected with me on my  Facebook page , then you’ve had a sneak peak at what’s cooking in my kitchen

Get yerself a sketti squash, because trust me, you will want to make this!

I mentioned in my massaged kale salad post how I am obsessed with True Food Kitchen

I’ve eaten here many times and have tried many things on the menu. ALL fabulous.

Twice now, I’ve had friends order the spaghetti squash casserole, and both have raved about how good it was.

( truth be told, both friends offered me a bite, of which I accepted  and wow! I just knew I had to make it at home)

I did a little research * puffy heart google* and voila! found the recipe!

click the link for complete recipe

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheesenow since I’m home with a healing pup, I had to improvise the recipe just a littleI did not have the peppers, but I did find a sad little jalepeno in my crisper drawer, and we like it hot 😉 so I used that in place of the red and yellow peppers. 

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Start by cooking the squash. The recipe says to add entire squash into a big pot of water, bring to a boil for 50 minutes.

 

check on pup 

Now, I usually cook squash in the oven but I was intrigued to try this method. So I did.

My only comment would be that cooking it in the oven it was easier to separate the seeds from the flesh, but over, I would cook the squash either way.

while the squash is cooking ( whichever way your little heart desired) Chop up your veggies

Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan ( I’m a die hard believer in cast iron.. I’ll explain why if ya wants to know 😉  )

 

add the onions and carrots to hot oil, season with a bit of salt and cook for 5 min

 

check on pup 

next, I  added the the pepper and celery with a dash of red pepper flakes

 

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allow to saute for about 10 minutes, until veggies were soft. Taste for salt, if it needs a little more, go ahead and knock your self out 😉

* I kept adding little bits of water throughout so that the veggies didn’t dry out and stick while softening.. maybe 2 tablespoons at a time each time I stirred it ? )

 

check on pup 

The recipe called to squeeze the garlic in, but I rid myself of my garlic press years ago, as it only had that one purpose, and its easy enough to smash garlic with the side of a chef’s knife. garlic smash

If you have a press, by all means use it

add the crushed tomatoes m sprinkle of allspice (the secret ingredient, we discovered) , the garlic.

now you may have noticed the dish of roasted tomatoes.  I had some maters that were to ripe to eat raw, so I roasted them like I did when I made my

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Garlic soup

I  added these sweet babies  in addition to the crushed tomatoes

I also added a sprig of rosemary.

I hate to follow directions 😉

 

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and btw~ this smelled heavenly 

Next I used a pair of tongs to remove squash from boiling water ( CAREFULLY) and place on a cutting board until cool enough to cut

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scoop out seeds ( if you cooked it in the oven, you’ve already done this. great job, you overachiever, you  😉 ) spaghetti squash filling

 

add to tomato mixture and stir

 

check on pup 

Now full disclosure… since I was cooking this for just Scott and myself, I spooned out half of the tomato mixture and reserved for another recipe ( veggie chili, perhaps? ) and only used half of the spaghetti squash itself.   Had I known I could have halved the recipe, but being my first time making it, I wasn’t thinking.

IMG_3846I mean just look at this! Incredible.

 

next, layer 1/2  the squash mixture in baking dishes , add 1/2 the cheese, the rest of the squash mixture, and top with remaining cheese

baked spaghetti squash

guess which one was mine 😉

 

As far as the cheese goes, I used shredded because I had it and on Sunday when I played around with

SMOKED TOFU, I smoked a few mozzarella balls as well ( just curious how it would come out) so I cut those up and topped  our dishes with a bit of that crazy cheese flavor.

I baked it in a 350 over for about 20 minutes, topped with shredded basil and a tiny drizzle of olive oil

Baked Spaghetti Squash

do I have your attention yet?

 

baked Spaghetti squash

yeeeeeaaah…  this was pretty awesome.  and healthy? CRAZY healthy!

If you would like to make this vegan, substitute Daiya cheese. simple!

My friend, Cindy stopped by yesterday to visit with me and brought me lunch. From where? True food of course!

I had the edamame dumplings and they were incredible. Together we disected the taste and came up with what we think would be a good recipe.

 

I have my next challenge!true food edamame dumplings

 

 

Thank you, Cindy, for lunch and the company 😉

My next immediate project is making Frozen Pup treats or Home made Peanut butter biscuits  With all of the treats I’ve been given Fen, I’m starting to run low and need to last until the weekend when Scott is home

 

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My sweet girl ❤

Congrats, friends.. you’ve almost made it through humpday!

 

oxox

 

simple refrigerator pickles

simple. that is the key here.

have a cutting board?

have a knife?

have a pretty jar?

cool. Then let’s GO!

IMG_0561start by washing your jar with hot soapy water and air dry.

On a stove top, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar to 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp Kosher salt. Bring to a boil and whisk until sugar is dissolved.

let cool.

Start slicing your veggies.

place a layer of cucumbers in your jar,  layer a big slice of red onion, a hot pepper sliced ( poke seeds out of center to make ‘rings’)

sprinkle some kosher salt, a few black peppercorns, a few mustard seeds, peeled garlic cloves, and dill sprigs.
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Repeat.

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make as many layers as you’d like.. I went with 3.

Add 2 cups of white vinegar to water/ sugar mixture and pour over veggies.

using the bottom of a wooden spoon push veggie layers into liquid.

I had about 1/2 inch of veggies that would not submerge, but with in a few hours the veggies softened and I was able to submerge all of them. If you have more room than that, add a little more vinegar.

Cover and refrigerate.

that’t it!

these are simple and tasty and are PERFECT to make ahead . I made these for Ali’s graduation party and they were a hit. ( more recipes from the party coming soon! )

and since we moved less that 5 days later, I sent the leftovers home with 2 of my good friends and rumor has it that they are STILL snacking on them!

so you should make these. and impress yourself.

I did 🙂

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want more cucumber recipes?

check out chilled cucumber soup

and cucumber salad

and panzanella salad

and cucumber martinis

hmm… that last one just gave me an excellent  idea 😉

‘night friends 🙂

stuffed peppers with raisins and pine nuts

good afternoon, friends!  I apologize for those whose email I blew up this morning by re-posting links from my weebly site.

 

I tried very hard to import all of the posts over to here with no success 😦  Someday I will hire someone to do it for me ( I really want everything in one place, for many reasons) and the issues that I was previously having with wordpress seem to have been resolved.

 

on the bright side, I  set up and instagram account 🙂

 

I know… blah, blah, blah. we want FOOD!

 

Kewl..  here’s what i have for you today…. you all know about my infatuation with Hatch peppers that I wrote about earlier this week.  It turns out that it’s kind of a regional thing.  My friends from facebook knew all about them. Apparently they are a big deal, and I just happened to stumble across them!

more on regional foods soon…. today I give you my stuffed pepper recipe

Growing up my mom made stuffed peppers alot. yum!  My recipe is a bit different than hers, because I basically cook everything first, then just heat before serving.

 

3-6 peppers

1 pound lean ground pork

1 can of tomatoes

1/4 cup of tomato sauce

1 large onion

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup raisins ( I used golden)

1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground cumin

About a cup of chicken broth

1-2 cups of cooked rice, or other grain

1/2 cup cheese of your choice

 

 

I also use it as a way to clean out the fridge!

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Start by sauteeing about a pound of ground pork ( I used extra- lean) . Season with salt and pepper. Remove pork form pan and set aside.

 

 

Add a drizzle of oil oil and add 1 onion, chopped  over medium heat.  When onions are translucent, add 2 garlic cloves, smashed. Stir and add a can of tomatoes ( I used Fire- roasted, use what you like.  )

IMG_0504The add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a teaspoon of  ground cumin, a dash ( or more if you like) of chipotle seasoning.

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Mix the pork back in and add about a cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer while flavors develop.

 

Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. shake continuously. ( Nuts can burn in a nano-second.. trust me on this)

 

toss with Raisins

 

Here is where cleaning out the fridge comes in handy.  I had some leftover lentils ( which I LOVE) and some leftover rice. So I made 2 different peppers.

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half the batch   with lentils

 

 

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and half the batch  with rice

Toss in some cheese ( I used ricotta salata, use what you have 🙂

 

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set aside

 

Next, rinse and halve your peppers ( use rubber glove if they are hot) and scoop out membranes & seeds

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place in a baking dish with a little bit  of reserved tomato sauce

 

and start filling dem peppers!

 

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top with a little bit of cheese ( and sauce if you have any left) and bake at 350 until peppers are warm and cheese is melted.

 

IMG_0512serve with sauce on the side.

 

now I know these look kinda messy.. but that’s because I was trying to fill tiny peppers.  If you use a bigger pepper, say a red bell, or green bell, it will  be much neater.

 

Regardless of how it looks, it’s tasted great.

 

Don’t let the idea of the raisins & cinnamon deter you from making this recipe. The flavor combo is amazing.

 

have fun in the kitchen!

 

Have I made you hungry yet ??

 

oxox

summer cucumber salad

summer cucumber salad

 

click link for recipe 🙂

Ethiopian spiced coconut-tofu

When I was a young girl, I used to pray nightly for the children in Ethiopia

Truth is…. I had no idea where Ethiopia was, nor why I prayed for them.. But somewhere along the line I heard that they needed help and so each and every night right before I’d fall asleep, I’d ask God to do so. ( I also prayed for the children in Cambodia and the hostages in Iran — I remember Easter morning watching the tv waiting for my grandparents to arrive ,watching some of the hostages being released… And crying thinking that prayers are sometimes answered)

Ok… I’ve never told anyone that story. And yet I just shared it with the world 🙂

I haven’t thought of Ethiopia in a very long time.. Then last week , I bought an ‘Ethiopian ‘ blend coffee..

And I’ve seen Ethiopian restaurants ( not that I’ve tried any..) must-change-this

And when I was in Denverat a yummy sandwich shop (ironically where I bumped into Scott with his co-workers) I saw an Ethiopian spice blend .. And despite the 10 dollar price tag.. I bought it.

I’m-so-glad-that-I-did

Everyone say hi to my blankie… I’m writing this 38,000 ft in the air 🙂

It is a mixture of
Fenugreek
Cardamom
Cloves
Paprika
Cinnamon
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder

Near as I can tell it was equal parts of everything except for them paprika and chili powder. Those packets had a little more than twice as much. (Maybe 2 teaspoons of everything and a tablespoon of the paprika and chili powder

I simply mixed it all together then stored it in a jar .

So while I was putting my laundry away yesterday ( for the first time in 2 months— like tell me you’ve never done that)

I got hungry . And I remembered that I wanted to try this. And I remembered that I had half a block of pressed tofu to use . And I walked away from the laundry. And into the kitchen

Which by the way is why my laundry never gets put away… I can’t stay out of the kitchen.. *le sigh*

And in less than 10 minutes I had the MOST delicious little lunch.

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Ethiopian spiced coconut tofu

1 tablespoon spice mix

1/2 block pressed tofu ( I use a tofu press. If you eat tofu ..it’s the best investment you can make.. You’ll pay for it in saved paper towel money in under a month;)

1 tablespoon coconut oil ( this stuff rocks! It should be on your shopping list)

1/4 red onion, chopped

About 1/3-1/2 cup light coconut milk ( I like trader joes the best)

1/4 bunch cilantro , rinsed and chopped ** optional — see note below

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile cut tofu into cubes and toss it with spice mixture . Add to heated oil and let tofu crisp and get a light crust .. Turning occasionally . Add chopped onion and stir . Add 1/3 cup of coconut milk, and scrape up the bits from the pan

Once coconut milk is heated , stir in cilantro, transfer to serving dish and squeeze a wedge of lime on top.

You can thank me later …

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If you don’t eat tofu.. I’m sure this would be good with boneless chicken breast.. Just make sure your internal temp of the chicken ta-tas is 165 degrees before eating 🙂

** cilantro note… I’ve mentioned this before but I’m throwing it out there again.. Some folks don’t like cilantro .. They think it tastes like soap. And guess what? To them it DOES! It’s a chemical In Their bodies ( that is hereditary ) that makes cilantro taste like soap. ( or cat pee as a friend once told me, but I’m pretty sure she never tasted cat pee so I’m going with the soap 🙂

If you are one of these people.. Then I am sorry. Because cilantro is truly a wonderful herb.. But I ‘get’ it… Just sub out fresh parsley instead ( if you don’t like parsley, then I can’t help you today .. Check back tomorrow 🙂

And I just read the spice package and it was 7.99 not 9.99 ..

Don’t have those spices on hand? No worries.. I’ve got your back .. Did you know that in most health food stores you there is a section that you can buy herbs in bulk ??? It’s true! You can buy just a teaspoon of something by putting it in a Baggie with the code on the box:). It’s soo much cheaper than buying a whole bottle And you won’t end up with jars of unused spices..(which go bad fairly quickly. If you’ve had it for over a year.. There is dust mixed in.. Yuck. Unless of course you like dusty- soup )

Maybe I’ll try that some time..

Eh… Maybe not.

Honestly… as I end this post it has me thinking about how long it has been since I recited those particular prayers nightly.. life kind of happened and my prayers started to become more personal.. still are in fact .. when i think back to my innocence and how big my heart was despite how little I was.. it kind of makes me smile :).

and makes me want to shout out a silent prayer to the whole wide world 🙂

Gotta run… Snack time :).

(What us it about getting so excited for snack time on an airplane????)

a lentil story..

this is a true story.  and it happened today.

I had to help a friend this morning, so I was out and about running errands; unfortunatley, my purse was not… it was at home on the counter…

classic michelle.

soo I headed home to get my purse.. debated just waiting until tomorrow to go to the store.. but I had lentils on the brain.

(doesn’t everyone?)  I-needed-to-eat-lentils-ASAP

back to the store I went….. straight to the isle with the lentils.. and headed home ( actually I made a detour, but you get the idea 😉

I set into the kitchen sans recipe.. just an idea. Lentils, spinach, goat cheese. The rest I just pieced together and I loved it!  I’m so glad that I decided to take pictures of it so that I could share it with all of you!

And here is the funny thing.. I took the last bite of my lunch and read a message from a different friend  looking for a recipe for dried lentils.

here ya go!!

Lentil-veggie bowl

1/4 cup dried lentils ( I used brown.. you could use green  but I wouldn’t recommend red for this… they might get too mushy)

1/2 -1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil of coice ( I am having a fling with coconut oil right now… I can’t  get enough of it )

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 zucchini, chopped

2 handfuls baby spinach, rough chopped

a few cherry tomatoes ( the last from the barefoot garden ;( )

Goat cheese ( omit if veganizing your diet)

Sea salt & pepper

Chopped parsley ( if desired)

In a small saucepan. place lentils & cover with 1 cup of water. (unsalted)  Bring to a boil then reduce heat , stirring occasionally until lentils  get just past the al dente stage.. usually 15-20 minutes. If the water evaporates and lentils still aren’t done, add water in 1/4 amounts until they are done. Set aside.

Heat a saute pan , add the oil & let come to a shimmer; add the zucchini and onions. season with salt and pepper. once they start to brown add the spinach and stir… ( you want the spinach to wilt here, not burn)

add maters and lentils; season with salt and pepper

 Place in serving bowl and dot with goat cheese. ( I used about 1/8 of a cup)

this is half of what it made. It was soo tasty.. and healthy!  Did you know that lentils are a veggie? yuppers!

confession… I went back for the second half…. and even cold… it was still good! Bonus…. lunch on the go 🙂

I love it when friends are in sync with each other !

Still working on the give away…. hopefully it will be ready by tonight!

ciao bellas…. eat yer veggies!!

crock pot shredded chicken, taco style 

:warning:

a WHOLE lotta chicken ahead.

 

* If you are not a fan then click here for a cookie recipe. (Because who doesn’t like cookies? and if you answer yes to this question. then I don’t think I can help you today)*

But come back tomorrow 🙂

 

Both recipes are beyond easy. No kidding!  the first is a crock pot dish. Now many of you have cooked a chicken dish similar to this, but over the last week I have shared this recipe with 3 different people who had NOT heard of it, so I decided to share it here.

 

If only 1 person learns about it from my blog, then I can sleep with a clean conscience tonight 🙂

 

Crock pot shredded chicken.

I typically make mine with a Mexican inspired theme, but feel free to change the spices around depending on how you want to use the cooked chicken.

In a large crock pot, place boneless chicken breast ( heck, you could used bone -in as well, you’ll just need to remove them later,, also easy 🙂

the chicken can be frozen OR defrosted. That is what is so super cool about this.. you can stick the frozen chicken right in the crock pot in the morning & it will slowly defrost & cook while you go about your busy day. ♥love♥

 

On top of the chicken, I sprinkle about a tablespoon of Cumin, some chipotle chili pepper ( how much you use depend on how hot you want it) Some salt & pepper, a large onion sliced into half moons and if you like it hot, place some hot peppers right on top of the chicken.

 

pour a little water ( about 1/2-3/4 cup right oven chicken ) and cook on low 8-10 hours

when your cooking time is up  remove the peppers( if used). I like to mash mine up with some Greek yogurt for a peppery paste  as a topping.

If you used boned chicken, now is when you would remove the bone. The chicken should fall right off of the bone.

using two forks, shred the chicken right in with the liquid that is still in the crock pot

and there you have a whole bunch of shredded chicken. You cold cool it completely and freeze it at this point, use it in casseroles, top a salad. Use your imagination!

I like to top a corn tortilla with some low fat cheddar cheese, some black beans, chicken mixture & broil until cheese is all melty… Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt ( see my hot pepper paste?) and some fresh cilantro.

oh. yum.

so have fun with this recipe. Find flavors that you want to play with.. then let me know what you used..

 

perhaps lemon, olives & red onions??

perhaps Herbs de provence

maybe lemon & thyme & pepper??

 

Get down with your bad self!!!

 

ciao bellas!

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