Need Dinner? Start with Canned Tomatoes and a Slow Cooker

Recently, my husband has started making dinner once a week. It’s great for many reasons, including the fact that our older son is interested in helping (not sure why it’s less fun to help when  cook, but maybe it has to do with the fact that the menfolk cook on a leisurely weekend, whereas I’m throwing meals together at the end of a busy workday/weekday, when the children are tired and having to do homework and practice the piano and we’ve just walked in the door and dinner needs to be on the table in 15 minutes and Leave your brother alone!

Yeah. I should take some tips from my husband, actually, because you know what his secret is? He uses the slow cooker. The first time, I tipped him off that you can put frozen chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Yes, you can. He added chopped onion, a can of black beans, a big can of crushed tomatoes, and some other seasonings. He may have added frozen corn at some point.

The house smelled great by early afternoon. At dinnertime, I clued him in that he could just shred the chicken in the pot using two forks. Meanwhile, I sliced some green onions and shredded cheese.

The resulting black bean and chicken chili was delicious.

Since then, his dinners always use the slow cooker and a big can of tomatoes. The rest varies. It’s always good.

We’re not otherwise big on using the slow cooker, but for tomato-based soups and stews, I love it. And it is handy on weekdays, if I can take the time in the morning to load it up, so we can come home to a hot meal ready to serve.

Redgold Tomatoes (makers of RedGold, RedPack, and Tuttoroso canned tomato products) is running a slow cooker giveaway right now (actually, it ends TODAY! Don’t delay!). Go to their Facebook page to enter.

If you prefer a more formal recipe, here’s one provided by Redgold:

Rustic Italian Chicken

Servings: 6    |    Preparation Time: 20 minutes    |    Cook Time: 360 minutes

12 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 (14.5 ounce) can Redpack® Diced Tomatoes In Juice
1 (28 ounce) can Redpack® Crushed Tomatoes In Thick Puree
3 cups pasta of choice, cooked and drained

•    Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place chicken in slow cooker and top with remaining ingredients, except pasta.

•    Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.  Serve chicken over pasta and garnish.

Garnish Options:  Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil

[Disclosure: Redgold provided me with tomatoes for review.]

* I promise that this blog is not becoming “All food, all the time” but I did write this while eating pumpkin ice cream and while baking banana chocolate chip muffins, and I just came from a restaurant I’m going to say. What can I tell you? I like food. And I’m not running right now, so it’s not like I can dish out the race reports.

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