How Not to Begin a New Year of Cooking…

IMG_0107To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.
Reba McEntire

And so it begins another year of cooking adventures in my kitchen…I broke an ankle a few days ago and think that I can still do anything, but I quickly learn the extra time and effort is just not worth it while I can sit and do some things, reaching and standing at this point is for limited amounts of time in my big boot and on my little knee wheeler.  Certainly a lot better than crutches, but still I am labeled as handicapped.  Beginning Monday I will start a new menu plan that will be easier than normal and opt for a lot of prepared fresh ingredients most of the time if need be.

Our first dinner Thursday after the necessary medical appointments was pretty simple grilled filets, a  big salad and garlic bread, Mike grilled the steaks and I made the salad and bread all sit down jobs.  I tried to remember what all is in the freezer and figure that most nights will be pot luck, but for tonight I had to use a rather large chicken breast and decided the slow cooker was the best way to go.  Pasta it is in one pot!

Start with a big chicken breast or at least 3/4 pound of chicken breasts, bone in skin on, brown it nicely on both sides and add to your slow cooker.  Finely dice 1 red pepper, 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, 4 cloves garlic, and set aside.  I used a stick blender to crush a 28 ounce can of tomatoes (in an appropriately sized bowl) add 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, a few crushed red pepper flakes, and chiffonade a few leaves of fresh basil  for the tomatoes, save more for garnish.  You may choose to use a favorite Italian seasoning if you have some on hand or go all fresh herbs.

I have a Ninja slow cooker so I could sauté the chicken and veggies in one pot before turning to high to cook otherwise sauté the chicken in veggies in a separate pan and deglazed with 1/4 cup red wine and add to the slow cooker.  Season with pepper to taste.  Add 2 small containers of Knorr concentrated chicken stock and 4 cups of water (you will need more water later so reserve an additional 2 cups).  Toss in about 1/4 cup shredded pecorino Romano and a good-sized parmigiano Reggiano rind 1/2 inch thick by two inches wide.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Take the chicken out of the pot, remove skin and bones, shred, toss the skin and bones, and shredded chicken add back to pot and stir in to incorporate throughout the sauce.

I used fusilli pasta any cut pasta should work fine, but rigatoni might be too large.  I used 1/2 a box because I wanted leftovers…I added more water to the pot since the sauce had thickened considerably and brought back up to heat before adding 1/2 box of pasta cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes or until pasta is al dente.  Serve piping hot with grated parmesan and more chiffonade of fresh basil leaves.

It should be an interesting couple of months in my kitchen, but I have one or two posts from last week that I’ll post…should have done the drumsticks for game time treats!

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