I think today is the laziest day I have ever had in my life. I am not one that finds it easy to sit around. I can’t sit still for more than about 5 minutes, even to watch TV. That is actually the main reason I started this blog, so that at night when I was attempting to sit down and relax but couldn’t, I would have something to occupy me.
Well, it is after 5:00 pm and I am still in my pj’s. I’ve only left the house to walk the dogs around the block, and I did that in my pj’s too. I have been working on a Blackboard proficiency all day so that I can teach online classes next semester, but I have barely left the couch. As much as I don’t do well with not having any plans, every now and then it is kind of nice.
During one of my breaks from my online work, I decided to put dinner together in the crock pot. I bought ingredients last week to make Chicken Casserole with Swiss Cheese, a recipe out of The Ultimate Slow Cooker Cookbook (on sale at amazon.com for $10.36 if you are looking for a holiday gift!). It is a great cookbook that I have used tons of times over the past few years. I’ve been trying to do at least one crock pot recipe a week, just to make life easier and to make evenings a little less rushed here and there. Well, here is what I put together this morning. We haven’t eaten yet, but it smells super delicious and I think the ingredients are going to be very uniquely tasty together.
Chicken Casserole with Swiss Cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 lb chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (I used about a pound and a half)
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced (as much as I love them, we were out and I wasn’t into going to the store, so no mushrooms tonight)
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
12 fresh basil leaves, minced (I used 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1 tablespoon minced onion (I’m out, so I used 1/2 of a medium sized onion, diced)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon celery seeds (didn’t have any of those either, so I used 2 stalks of celery, chopped)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon milk Louisiana style pepper sauce
3 oz Swiss cheese, cubed (it calls for reduced fat, but I think cheese is the only thing I cannot stomach reduced fat versions of… and I am definitely using at least 5 or 6 oz. I love cheese.)
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, toasted
8 oz rotelle pasta
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cicken and mushrooms; saute, stirring, until the chicken is lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. **Since I used fresh onions and celery, I added those here, too.
Combine the chicken mixture, tomatoes, garlic, basil, onions, sugar, celery seeds, nutmeg and pepper sauce in the crock pot. Cover, cook on LOW until the chicken is cooked through, 6-8 hours (mine is done and on warm and it’s only been 5 hours). Stir in the cheese and cook until melted, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well and divide among 6 plates. Top with the chicken-tomato mixture and bread crumbs. **To toast breadcrumbs, place them in a non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat, shaking the skillet frequently until lightly browned, 5-10 minutes.
I can’t wait to eat this!!!!
Making food in the crock pot around noon made me hungry, so I had to fix something to eat. I finally decided on scrambled eggs, and figured I’d make it into a panini since I love them lately. I just put cheddar cheese on one slice of bread, topped it with a slice of bacon broken up and scrambled eggs, then topped those with another slice of bacon, some monterey jack cheese and the top piece of bread. I grilled it up and dipped it in ketchup (if you thikn that is gross, you just haven’t tried it yet. So very good). It was a perfect breakfast/lunch treat all in one!