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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Meals do not have to be fancy or complicated to be both frugal and delicious.  Simpler meals save on the cost of additional ingredients, they take less prep work and often less clean-up.  They are the perfect go to meals that often become family favourites!

family pack boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Our local grocery store had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale so I bought a family pack.  The chicken breasts were quite large so were a good deal for $7.01.  I mentally calculated a yield of four servings from the package.

I really don't like buying any meat in this type of packaging as none of it can be recycled.  The  foam trays cannot be cleaned well enough to prevent an risk of contamination from the raw meat they held.  I wash the trays well, dry then spray with rubbing alcohol to kill off contaminants.  I reuse these types for applications that will not come into anything edible.

browning the chicken breasts
Most meats cooked in the slow cooker need to be browned first.  This seals in some of the juices while adding flavour.  I used organic coconut oil to lightly brown the chicken.  Normally, I would use olive oil as the sauce was tomato based but I'm experimenting with coconut oil.  Coconut oil is very heat stable making it suitable for searing or browning meats.  It adds a light nutty sweetness.

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils you can use for both culinary and home made beauty products.  It contains lauric acids that aid in digestion while protecting the body from bacterial and fungal infections.  It is a solid at room temperature.  It can be used as a moisturizer on hair and skin as well.  I highly recommend using it on your hair to keep it healthy and shiny.

preparing the slow cooker
Home canned tomato sauces are our number one homemade convenience food.  I make several different, gourmet tomato based sauces each tomato harvest.  They range from plain and smooth to rich and meaty with everything in between.  One of my specialty tomato sauces started off as a roasted tomato sauce that quickly evolved to several versions of fire roasted sauces.  Fire roasting gives a rich depth to the sauces that can't be achieved by simply roasting.

I placed the browned chicken breasts in the slow cooker then poured a 1 L (quart) jar of fire roasted Italian tomato sauce with mushrooms over the chicken.  I set the slow cooker on low for 2 hrs than increased to high for an hour.  This is a newer slow cooker that does operate at higher temperatures than the old one it replaced.

slow cooker chicken cacciatore
I served the chicken breast on a bed of extra broad egg noodles then ladled with sauce, topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and garnished with fresh parsley from my indoor garden.  It was a simple, low cost meal that was easy to prepare.

My home canned tomato sauces cost me nothing more than the canning lid, cooking fuel (fire roasting, processing) and extra ingredients if necessary.  A 1 L jar of sauce without meat or mushrooms averages about 30¢ but I can reduce that cost using a reusable canning lid (glass insert, Tattler, 4ever recap) by 13¢.  Store bought broad egg noodles are quite inexpensive and homemade even less expensive so the only real cost for me with this type of simple slow cooker meal is the meat.  In this case using store bought chicken at the sale price brought the cost per serving to just under $1.80 which is rather frugal.

1 food lovers commented:

Anji said...

That looks interesting. My brother bought himself a slow cooker after his divorce. He could set it to be ready for him when he came home after a hard days work outside during the winter months.

I must look into buying one