All of you that are counting the days at home know that it’s been six long months since we’ve played a riveting, edge-of-your-seat game of What’s in the Crockpot? If you missed Part Eight, have no fear – just click right here. That’s right, I rhymed. And if you’d like to peruse my entire collection of crockpot recipes (and you know you do), then just hold your horses, because I’m in the process of creating a brand-spankin’-new Recipes page, and hopefully I should have that up this week.
In the meantime, turn off your Playstation, because this game is all you need for hours of fun game action. Are you ready? You’ll learn the rules quick enough, trust me.
WHAT’S IN THE CROCKPOT?
PINEAPPLE CHICKEN AND VEGGIES is in the Crockpot!
DID YOU WIN?
This is a super simple recipe that involves opening packages, chopping some stuff, dumping them all in your Crockpot, and walking away for hours. Anyone can do it. Here’s how:
First off, this recipe is based on one I found on the internet. Here is it, for your reference. But I’m not one that follow directions exactly – I make lots of modifications, both to suit my tastes and needs, and to accommodate the ingredients in my cupboards. In this case, I increased the veggies, swapped some spices, and tweaked a few other things.
I started by chopping some veggies. I sliced an entire onion:
And chopped one red and one green pepper. Plus, I had a few mini-bell peppers that I wanted to use up, so I added those, too, which added a little splash of yellow and orange:
For a little heat, I added a chopped-up chile. I chopped the chile a little finer, so no one would bite into a big piece of spicy chile, but that ended up being not so relevant. That’s because I got a little confused at the store, where some of the chiles had names I never heard before. I bought a “long green chile,” which I thought had some heat, but it appears it was actually an Anaheim chile (or so I think), which is pretty mild. Oh well, you live and learn. Here are some chile pieces:
To this I added some frozen ingredients. The recipe I referenced called for 4 cups of pineapple, which I thought was a lot of pineapple. I find pineapple to be an overpowering flavor, so I only added this 1-pound frozen bag, which is two cups. I also added two 10-ounce bags of frozen green beans (only one of which is pictured):
On to the protein – chicken! I decided to make this a vegan meal, because a vegan friend was among my dinner guests, and that seemed like the right thing to do. So I bought two packages of Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Strips. If you wanna use real chicken, use it! If you wanna use another brand of meatless chicken (like Morningstar or Gardein), do that. Or, I bet this would be good with chopped-up fancy chicken sausage or turkey sausage links, too. Lots of options!
Final ingredients in the crockpot: spices. The recipe called for jerk seasoning, which I don’t have, so I added chermoula, a Moroccan spice blend that’s heavy on cumin, coriander, and parsley. I also added a healthy dose of smoked paprika too. I didn’t measure the spices, just a liberal sprinkling on top of everything else. I also add more spice than I think it needs, because I find slow-cooked food always ends up blander than I was expecting.
Here’s what it looked like before I turned the Crockpot on:
And you saw at the beginning of this post what it looks like after about 8 hours on low heat.
The recipe suggests serving over rice, but I was curious to try another grain: farro. Farro is a distant cousin of wheat that’s been around since Biblical days. It’s actually the oldest cultivated grain, and was popular in olden days because it can grow in crappy soil. It’s thought to have been a major food source in ancient Rome. It’s fallen out of favor in modern times, because the yield is lower per plant than other grains, but you can still find it. Trader Joe’s has it in bags that take 10 minutes to cook:
I cooked it in low-sodium vegetable broth, and threw in a pinch of saffron threads. When cooked, It looks kinda like barley or big oats.
Health wise, farro is definitely a carb, but it also has twice the fiber and protein of wheat. It’s not gluten-free.
Put it all together, and here’s the finished dish:
The farro had a nice, firm bite to it, which was a great counterpoint to the flavorful-but-limp veggies from the Crockpot. The meatless chicken held up well, and all in all, the pineapple dish didn’t end up too soupy, like Crockpot food can sometimes be.. And, best of all, it’s a super-healthy meal! No added fats, lots of veggies, and lots of flavor. I could eat this for days!
Keep it up, David!