Thursday, November 7, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner


If you've been reading this blog for a while you know I've been sick now for more than three weeks. I keep almost getting well and then I get worse again. I was feeling a lot better on Tuesday until we went to see the band's performance just for parents, outside in the cold rain. On Wednesday I woke up with no voice again. The younger children have also caught the bug, but not as bad. They have runny noses and sore throats. Jerry said this morning he thinks my breath is rattling less than it was when I'm sleeping. I'm trying to be careful because the year I caught pneumonia in college started the exact same way. My allergies had been terrible for months and then I got really worn down working too hard at my studies. Improper sleep and nutrition were just the last straw.

Luckily, this time I have Jerry to come home from work early and make me go to bed and rest. Today he came home to help me clean the house for guests since about half my family will be visiting us. We cleaned all day and the house is looking much better. Before lunch I decided to put something in the crock pot for supper so I wouldn't have to worry about it in the afternoon when I'm busy with homework and driving and stuff and since I'm always tired in the evening, especially when I'm sick. This recipe turned out to be a winner, so I thought I'd share it.

I adapted a recipe on my Pinterest recipes board that's just called "Crock Pot Chicken". I've been craving a casserole my grandmother used to make called Park Avenue Casserole, which has bacon, cream of mushroom soup, hamburger, and egg noodles. Since we're doing the low-carb diet the noodles are out. The recipe from Pinterest also called for a ton of canned cream of chicken soup. I don't use that stuff because it's terrible for you and also isn't low carb. So, here's my version; a low carb chicken dinner you don't even have to thaw. Just throw everything in the Crock Pot and forget it.

Jerry gave it a "thumbs up".


Low Carb Creamy Crock Pot Chicken
Serves 8
 
Family Pack (2-3 pounds) frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 or 7 slices bacon
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
chicken broth reserved from Crock Pot
3 cups cooked broccoli, tossed with butter and salt and pepper
 
Place half the frozen chicken thighs in the Crock Pot and top with bacon. Layer the other half of the chicken on top and place bacon over this. Cook 4-6 hours on low, stirring occasionally. The chicken and bacon will create a broth as they cook. When the chicken and bacon are completely cooked, remove the broth with a ladle and reserve. The meat should just be falling apart; if not, shred the meat so it's the consistency of canned chicken or tuna. Add the cream. I just dumped cream in without measuring, so I'm not exactly sure how much it was. Add a half cup and see if the chicken is creamy enough. If not add more. Add the reserved broth one ladle (about 1/3 cup) at a time and stir until the mixture is slightly thinner than cold chicken salad. Add the shredded cheese and continue cooking until it melts. While the cheese melts, cook the broccoli. I just used a family pack of frozen broccoli and heated it in the microwave. Then I tossed it with butter, salt, and pepper to taste. When the cheese has melted, stir the chicken thoroughly. Plate the broccoli for each person and top with the chicken mixture.

This is yummy! It's sort of like chicken divan, but so much simpler. When I was layering the chicken and bacon, Jerry said it looked like a bacon matrix. Then, as we were eating he said the bacon flavor just went all through the chicken and sauce and it is so good. I told him that's because of the bacon matrix! So, Jerry told a story about his Calculus professor, "Dr. Satan" (not his real name, but his actual nickname) and how he would always tell students, "Always trust the matrices; matrices are good." So, now we know it works with bacon as well as Calculus. Jerry said he should call Dr. Satan and tell him!

You could really personalize this recipe to suit your taste as well. You could use spicy pepper jack cheese and replace the cream with salsa and substitute peppers for broccoli for a southwestern flavor or use mayonnaise and lemon juice and just top with cheddar for a real chicken divan flavor, or maybe substitute marinara for the cream and top with mozzarella for Italian chicken.

The low-carb "cycling" diet, where we have a carb night and eat all the junk we've been craving for a few hours every fourth day is producing mixed results. So far, I gain back everything I've lost and then some on carb night. I may have to just have a carb "moment" every once in a while! I do think Atkins and other low-carb diets really reduce weight around your middle, which is my trouble spot. I think my stomach looks a lot flatter. My friend Tammy has been doing the low-carb thing for about a month now and she looks fantastic.

Anyway, I haven't done anything but nap and clean and lie around pinning things on Pinterest for the past few days, but I did manage to create a great new recipe. It's easy and healthy and low carb. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
 

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