I’m kind of obsessed with my crock pot. I hoard slow-cooker recipes and collect cookbooks dedicated to the subject. I’m always looking for ways to improve on the already simple method of slow-cooking.
The other day I was flipping through “Make It Fast, Cook It Slow” by Stephanie O’Dea. One of her recipes is Lazy Chicken, which calls for dumping some frozen boneless chicken and pasta sauce into the crock pot and cooking until done, shredding the chicken and serving over cooked pasta.
I’ve made gallons (no; seriously… GALLONS) of pesto over the past six weeks, and it’s all cubed up and sitting in my freezer in Ziploc bags. Since I’m trying to ‘eat what we have’ this month and shop minimally, I had an epiphany (or, as Smee says in “Hook”, ‘an epiffy-what?’).
Slow Cooker Chicken Pesto
4-6 chicken breasts or tenderloins, frozen
3/4 cup to 1 cup pesto, frozen
1/2 lb short pasta, cooked according to directions
1/2 cup pasta cooking water, reserved
Toss chicken and frozen pesto cubes into slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or until done. Shred chicken and mix well with pesto.
Cook pasta according to directions, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking water. Add by the tablespoon to the pesto/chicken mixture if it needs thinned.
Drain pasta. Serve with chicken pesto mixture. Garnish with Parmesan cheese or sliced cherry tomatoes.
You can add frozen vegetables to the cooking water about 4-5 minutes before the pasta finishes cooking (I usually serve broccoli with chicken pesto).
VERDICT: Good! The kids love pesto, and aren’t turned off by green food, so this was a hit. My oldest didn’t care for the consistency of shredded chicken — he prefers to have it sliced — but ate it just the same. Everyone else agreed it’s a definite keeper!