Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nice & Slow

Holy man, what a productive day! I started my day at the crack of dawn (5am, bleh!) to prepare my first ever slow cooker meal.  Thanks again, sis for the lovely gift!  It's been a while since I've cooked something worth sharing, so I was really pumped when this turned out so well. 

My sister gave me (yes me, because when is LC EVER going to use this??) a slow cooker along with a nice little cook book, The Art of the Slow Cooker as a wedding shower gift.  I was doing some menu planning Sunday and decided that tonight, I would make Chicken Cacciatore.  Something I've never even eaten before.  It turned out AHHHHH-mazing (even though I have nothing to compare it to).  I can honestly say it was the best meal I've ever made.  I cooked up some risotto (from the box) to go along with it.  Muy perfecto!

After I was done preparing my first ever slow cooker meal, I finished getting ready for work and was out the door by 7:30am.  This past week, I've been taking advantage of the warm weather by walking to work every morning.  I much prefer this over the L.  Not only do I get an extra 1/2 hour of exercise, I get to jam out to my music while soaking up some fresh air and sun.  Not to mention, I don't have to deal with the shade-sters on the L.  It's a win all around. 

After I did the work thing for about ohhh 6 hours, I came back home and took little Ollie pup to get a much needed hair cut.  Doesn't he look so handsome? He is definitely ready for the summer heat! 

While he was getting pampered, I did a little workout.  Today, I took a little break from Bar Method & did a workout courtesy of Gina over at Fitnessista, one of my favorite blogs.  It was just these abs ordered.  Although, I love a good Bar Method burn session, it's nice to mix it up once in a while and keep the body guessing.       

Nice & sweaty!!

I've been thinking a lot about about what's to come after the wedding.  More so my career & where we're going to live.  (City vs. Suburbs-but still in the city b/c of LC's job). I've decided to go back to school in the Fall.  I'm not saying for what because I'm not 100% sure yet, but I do know that being a stay at home housewife, no matter how good my chicken cacciatore is, is out of the question.  I once had a crazy idea of starting a Chicago Cupcake tour because I know all the best places (and the not so great ones), to get cupcakes from.  This is the stuff that matters people.  I was devastated to find out that one already exists.  For now, I'm going to focus on the wedding and take it one day at a time. 

Recipe for Chicken Cacciatore (4-6 Servings)
1/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 pounds skinless chicken thighs (about 8) bone in
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion coarsely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 cup chicken broth 
1 cup canned diced tomoatoes, drained
1 tablespoon minced anchovy paste (I did without)
2 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian Parsley

Mix the flour, salt, pepper & poultry seasoning in a medium mixing bowl.  Turn the chicken thights in the flour mixture until thoroughly coated; pat off the excess flour and reserve the seasoned flour mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the chicken in batches, about 3 minutes per side.  Do not crowd the pan, and add more oil if the pan comes dry.  Transfer the browned chicken to a 5-6 quart slow cooker as it is browned.

Add more oil to the skillet, if needed, and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion, mushrooms and saute until the vegetables are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, oregano, and rosemary and saute for another minute.

Add the reserved seasoned flour and stir until the vegetables are coated.  Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and heat until thickened, stirring often and scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.  Pour into the slow cooker, cover the cooker, and cook for 3-4 hours on high, or 5-8 hours on low, until the chicken is easily pierced with a fork.

Remove the chicken to a platter with a slotted spoon.  Stir the anchovies and parsley into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.  Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with hot cooked pasta, rice or bread (or risotto!)

Bon Appétit!

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