Wednesday, October 8, 2008

october 8, 2008: frugal feasts crockpot chicken

Crockpot Chicken

You’ll need 2-3 breast halves for each recipe. The cooked chicken makes killer chicken salad mixed with nothing more than mayo, salt and pepper, so don’t be afraid to buy the big package of breasts when they are on sale.

Trim all the fat off boneless skinless breasts and nestle them into the bottom of the Crockpot. Splash on some cream, just enough to moisten the breasts, about ½ cup and put the cover on. Crank the dial to low and leave for 6 hours. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and shred with two forks.

Chicken Enchiladas
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen shoepeg corn, defrosted
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
1 package small sized whole wheat tortillas
1 large can enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream and chopped green onions, optional

In a large bowl, stir together the tomatoes, mushroom soup, milk or cream and the spices. Add the beans, corn, chicken and celery and stir to combine.
Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. With one of the short sides of the dish towards you, lay a tortilla out across the pan. Spread about 2/3 cup chicken mixture onto the tortilla in a line across the middle of the tortilla, to within a half inch of each side. Flip one side of the tortilla over the filling and roll the whole thing up. Slide it towards you to the end of the dish. Repeat filling and rolling the tortillas until the pan is full. Scrunch the filled tortillas towards you to make room in the pan to work. You can also do this on the counter but it can be hard not to drop filling out whe n you transfer it to the dish.
Pour the enchilada sauce down the middle of the pan, making a fairly wide stripe of sauce on top of the enchiladas. Wrap the casserole dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil, sprinkle the cheese on top of the sauce and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with sour cream and chopped green onions, if using.

Chicken Potpie
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
1 stick of butter
½ of a small onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
4 cups of any combination of milk and light cream or half and half, microwaved for 4 minutes to warm
2 packages chicken bouillon mix
3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1 package frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1 package frozen small pearl onions, thawed
1 package premade, rolled pie crusts
1 egg, beaten (optional)

Make the white sauce. In a very large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are cooked but not brown, stirring a few times. Add the flour and stir around making sure that the flour is combined with the butter. Cook for 2 minutes on low heat, stirring constantly. Add the milk/cream mixture all at once and stir vigorously, scraping the bottom of the pan. A whisk is great for this. Add both packages of chicken buillion powder and stir to incorporate thoroughly. Bring this sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken right up. Remove from heat and set aside.
Put the chicken, peas and carrots and onions into a large casserole dish. Stir to make sure that everything is evenly distributed. Pour all of the cream sauce over the dish and using a fork, stir to combine everything together. Unroll the two pie crusts. Wet one edge of one of the crusts with some water, and overlap the two crusts together. Lightly roll with a rolling pin to make the combined crusts big enough to cover your dish. Wet the top edge of the casserole dish with water. Place the crusts on top of the casserole dish and smoosh the edges of the crust into the top edge of the dish, scrunching the cru st to fit along the edges. It’s perfectly okay if the crust is wrinkly or if there are gaps – it just makes it look more homemade. Poke some holes in the crust with a fork.
Brush the crust with the beaten egg if using.
Put the potpie in the oven and immediately turn the temp down to 375 degrees. Cook for 50 minutes, until dish is bubbling and crust is golden. If the crust looks too brown and the filling isn’t yet bubbling, loosely lay a sheet of foil over the top and continue baking until bubbly.

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