From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Despite my best efforts to avoid what I thought would be wall to wall crowds, I had to go to the mall this past weekend. As it happened, the place looked like someone had forgotten to send invitations to a birthday party. Back in the day, this was a big weekend for merchants. New shoes and outfits were de rigueur, as were lunch boxes and pencil boxes that begged to be stocked with school supplies whose number and price grew every year. Most of us delayed shopping until sales began and the weekend before school started rivaled Christmas in the crowds it drew to the malls. Our near empty stores are a sure sign that shopping habits have changed. While the pencil box has gone the way of the dinosaur, I hope that kids still get to pick the rulers and notebooks and pens that fill their backpacks. I loved to stock my own pencil box and seemed to pass that proclivity on to my own children, who had an eye for anything bright and shiny and more expensive than it ought to be. While we found no crowds at the malls, we found them elsewhere. Our weather has been warm, and while the rivers are low, they haven't prevented locals from tubing in areas where they can catch the current. The cars in the inset photo are those of swimmers who spent the day floating on the river on rather inelegant black inner tubes. Despite pools, the old swimming hole and river currents still hold some sway, as the crowd at this and other bridges indicates. Ready for segue? If you've spent a day on the river or have to get dinner on the table for your hungry scholars, I think you will enjoy this effortless chicken casserole that's made in a slow cooker. This is not, nor will it ever be, company fare, but it makes a great family meal on those days you're absent from the kitchen and still need to have dinner ready and waiting for your crew. Here is how it's made.
School Night Crock-Pot Chicken Casserole...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by BHG Publication Dinner on A Dollar
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Hot cooked rice or noodles
1) Spray crockery insert of a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Place onions and mushrooms in bottom of crockery insert and cover with chicken. Mix thyme, salt and pepper with undiluted chicken broth and pour over chicken.
3) Cover and cook on high-heat setting for 3 hours, or on low-heat setting for 6 hours.
4) Add peas to slow cooker and cook 10 minutes longer. Remove bones from chicken and transfer it, in large pieces, to a serving bowl along with onions, mushrooms and peas. Cover with a foil tent to keep warm. Strain cooking liquid into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add buttermilk and flour to a lidded jar and shake until smooth. Whisk mixture into cooking liquid and cook over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and is bubbling, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Fold half of sauce into chicken mixture and toss lightly to coat chicken with sauce. Pour remaining sauce into a small bowl and serve at the table along with rice or noodles. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.
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