Last week, I posted on my Facebook page that I tried this recipe from CrockPot Girls. It is apparently pretty common on the web since I found the same recipe lots of other places and they admitted that someone had given it to them; they did not develop it. So, I don’t really know who to “give credit” to for the basic recipe. I changed a few things, so made it my own anyway.
What I like most about it is that it can be made in the crockpot, so you throw everything in and come back 3-6 hours later to find a meal ready. But, there are lots of crock-pot recipes that are made with suspect foods such as “cream of… soup” so that is not enough for us to add it to our menu. More importantly, this recipe uses real food such as chicken, tomatoes, onions, and vinegar. It is your choice what to serve it with and we chose 100% whole wheat angel hair pasta. But, brown rice or even whole wheat couscous would be good.
I was a little confused by the quantity of chicken specified in the original recipe as it said “4-6 boneless breasts”. Sometimes, more so recently, people use “breast” to mean half of the chicken’s breast, sometimes called breast halves, or split breasts, meaning that each chicken has two of them. But, I think traditionally, when recipes specified a “breast” they meant the entire breast, meaning a chicken only has one. When I read this recipe, I thought the 4-6 breasts referred to split breasts. I had a package with 9 split breast in it, so I had assumed I would be doubling everything. But, that was way to much liquid for just the 9 split breasts, so I ended up not using as much of the tomatoes, etc.
The original recipe called for four different dried spices, but I have been using the Tone’s Italian Seasoning you can get at Sam’s Club which is a blend of oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary and sage and it has no salt or MSG in it. So, unlike the original recipe, mine did have some sage in it. The other thing I changed was adding the olives and capers. I recommend the Lindsay “Naturals” olives, as they only have a few ingredients: olives, water, and sea salt. The canned tomatoes I chose to use were the Muir Glen fire-roasted ones; they add something to any dish you make with them. Last thing is that you can put the garlic cloves in whole after peeling if you want to, but I chose to smash mine. Actually, that is the result of how I peel them. 🙂
Crockpot Balsamic Chicken
(make 8-16 servings depending on number of adults, kids, dieters, etc.)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 8-10 boneless, skinless, split chicken breasts halves (about 3.5 lbs total of chicken)
- ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp of salt-free “Italian seasonings” (or 2 tsp each: dried oregano,basil, and rosemary and 1 tsp dried thyme)
- 6-8 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 14.5 oz cans diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup black or green pitted olives, drained and coarsely chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp capers, drained
Pour the olive oil on bottom of a 5-7 quart crock pot. Salt and pepper each chicken breast and then place the chicken breasts in crock pot. Put sliced onion on top of chicken. Then put in all the dried herbs and garlic cloves. Pour in vinegar and top with tomatoes, olives, and capers. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4 – 6 hours. Serve over pasta or rice.
The kids all liked this and so did Mike. We tried putting the leftovers in their lunchbox cold and it was not as big a hit, so it is better served hot. If you are trying to eliminate/reduce grains, gluten, or carbs from your diet, you could serve it without the pasta or rice. You just wouldn’t have anything to “sop up” the sauce, so you might want to serve it in a bowl.
UPDATED TO ADD: Just thought I would mention that I used an onion similar to a Vidalia in this dish and that combined with the balsamic vinegar gave it almost a sweet flavor. This dish is not at all spicy and should appeal to most kids because of that.