Creamy chicken and wild rice soup in the slow cooker

Creamy chicken soup

There aren’t too many slow cooker recipes we eat every. drop. of.

Every Crock Pot meal produces leftovers — especially for just two people (and a toothless infant who has just started eyeing “real food”). But more often than not, we get tired of the food before the food tires of us.

Or something like that.

But this? On the night we came home to that lovely aroma filling the house, it fed us both with seconds — plus a guest. We still had five (!) huge servings left over, so we packaged them up for a lunch (mine) and two more dinners (for both of us). In a given week, we ate this soup three separate times . . . and still weren’t sick of it.

That’s how delicious it was.

My husband is always appreciative of my slow cooker creations, but never have I heard him go so crazy over dinner. The only way it would have been better was if it were actually not 95 degrees outside . . . because, yeah.

This is warm, comforting, tasty soup that really sticks to your ribs and will be perfect for the chilly fall days to come. Serve with a little shaved Parmesan cheese and a hunk of bread to officially enter slow cooker heaven.


Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt-free poultry seasoning
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil (or substitute more butter)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse wild rice under running water. Place the uncooked rice, chicken breast, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, chicken broth, water and poultry seasoning in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on the high setting for 3-4 hours or on the low setting for 7-8.

In the last half hour of cooking, remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Allow to cool slightly before shredding using two forks, then add back into the slow cooker. Melt butter and oil in a saucepan. Add the flour and let the mixture cook for 1 minute. Whisk the mixture slowly while adding in the milk. Continue to whisk until all lumps have dissolved. Allow the mixture to thicken and become creamy.

Add this creamy mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Add additional water or milk to your preference if the consistency is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8.

When reheating leftovers, add 1-2 tablespoons additional milk or water before heating. Enjoy!

Recipe from Little Spice Jar


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Warm, comforting chicken chili

Chicken chili

I’m already reaching the lazy part of my pregnancy.

Everyone says the second trimester is the best! thing! ever! because, for most women, the nausea has abated (true) and you find yourself with a burst of energy (somewhat true). After the exhausted slog that was the first few months, I came into the new year determined to stop putting off necessary chores and focus on helping get the house in order.

But cleaning is just part of it, of course. Though we still have months before the baby comes, I’m already focused on making meal prep easier and less time-consuming. I’m crazy about our slow cooker and have taken advantage of the winter months to try lots of soups, stews and hearty meals . . . some I hope to make again and freeze before Baby J’s arrival.

Based on this recipe, this slow cooker chicken chili has a hint of heat . . . but is mostly a giant bowl o’ comfort. I’m a cheese fanatic, so the addition of shredded cheddar at the end really clinches it. I used chicken breast tenderloins instead of the breast themselves, and they worked beautifully! Even after cooking for eight hours, the meat was tender and the flavors thick and varied.

It has a bit of the feel of a Mexican enchilada — but it’s not spicy (unless you want it to be — add more red pepper flakes), and it’s definitely filling. Like all my favorite slow cooker recipes, we now have a ton for lunches!

Having lunch ready to go is awesome, too. Less effort. More convenient. Grab and go.

Awesome for tired pregnant ladies and hungry adults alike.


Chicken chili


Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
1 can of black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can of corn (drained)
2 cans of Rotel tomatoes with chiles (not drained)
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning mix (dry)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 8oz package of cream cheese
2 chicken breasts
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:
In a slow cooker, combine black beans, corn, Rotel tomatoes, ranch mix, cumin, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, ground black pepper, garlic powder, chopped onion and chicken stock.

Cut chicken breasts in half and add to the mixture. Spoon cream cheese over the chicken and cover with a lid. Cook on low heat 5-7 hours, or until your chicken breasts shred easily with a fork.

When chicken is done, remove from the slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Return to the chili mixture and stir well until all cream cheese lumps have dissolved. Top with cheddar cheese, serve and enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from The Best Blog Recipes


Tuscan chicken stew in the slow cooker

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It all started with fennel.

Now that we’re well into a sparkly new year and I’m no longer stricken with delightful nausea for most of my waking hours, Spence and I have been trying to get back into regular meal preparation. We both love to cook and enjoy coming up with creative dinners, but we don’t always have the energy to devote to that awesomeness during the week. It’s been a lot of pizza and skillet meals, friends — and I don’t feel great about it, but sometimes we have to do what we have to do.

Enter the slow cooker, which takes away that angst. If you’re not in love with your Crock Pot, especially in winter, I highly suggest giving it a try! We try to make at least one dinner in the slow cooker each week, usually on Monday or Tuesday, so we have homemade lunches for the rest of the week. It works out well . . . and hey, it’s always nice to have a husband who beats you home because he can’t wait for dinner.

Crock Pot nights are the best nights. Twenty minutes of prep in the morning and WHAM! — dinner is ready and fragrant as soon as you get home.

Turning to Pinterest for slow cooker meal ideas, I found this recipe for a stew that looked simple, delicious and healthy. And fennel! It has fennel! Seeing that, I was immediately in. We stocked up on the herb at an Amish grocery store months ago and love its distinctive flavor.

I made a few modifications from the original, outlined below. Because I’m always trying to clear out the pantry and use what we already have, I used canned tomatoes in place of fresh and chicken breasts instead of thighs for the meat, which we then shredded.

But you? You’re awesome. You can get creative and add whatever the heck you want. The thing I really love about soups is their versatility: if you don’t have fresh potatoes, add canned. If you have some kale or parsley to use up, throw it in! You can’t really hurt them. And who can’t use a few extra vegetables in their diet?

If you’re looking for a stew with excellent flavor that sticks to the ol’ ribs, look no further.

Can’t wait for lunch!


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Slow cooker Tuscan chicken stew

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, or 6-8 chicken tenderloins
2 carrots, peeled and sliced (or shredded carrots)
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can whole tomatoes, drained
12 baby potatoes, cut in half
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp black pepper

Just before serving:
¼ cup water
2 ½ tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp salt (to taste)

Directions:
• Toss chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, fennel seeds, rosemary and black pepper into the slow cooker.
• Cook on the lowest setting for 6-8 hours.
• Remove chicken and shred with two forks, then return meat to stew.
• Just before serving, combine corn starch with water and mix until no lumps remain. Add the water/cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire and salt. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serves 6-8.

Recipe adapted from Sweet Peas & Saffron


Chicken stew