The New Slow Cooker Has Been Broken In

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Chipotle-ChickenThe other weekend I decided to finally upgrade my ancient crock pot. I have tons of recipes that I’ve wanted to try, but haven’t been able to due to the cooking time. I’m usually gone for the day for 10 hours or so and my crock pot doesn’t have a timer. So any of the 6 – 8 hour recipes are out for me since they’ll be way overdone by the time I get to them.

I did some research and decided to get the Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System from Bed, Bath & Beyond. You can find it online and also at places like Walmart, but I had a 20% off coupon so I opted for BB&B for the cheapness factor. Yes, I could have gone with a regular programmable crock pot but the Ninja had some cool features that others don’t.

You can brown things right in it before slow cooking. This saves a ton of time and creates less pots and pans to wash. Score! I like saving time and not doing dishes. I was able to skip some steps on the recipe below since I browned the chicken thighs right in the pot and dumped the rest of the ingredients on top.

You can also use it to cook things like a little oven. I roasted a turkey breast in it last week on the rack that came with it and it turned out great. Supposedly you can bake in it too but I haven’t tried that out yet. The down side is that the lid and the pans that came with it aren’t dishwasher safe. Boo! The crock pot itself is though which is good. If the pot had to be washed by hand that would have been a deal breaker.

For my first venture into slow cooking in my new purchase, I tried a recipe that I found in Clean Eating magazine. I modified it a bit since their version used more potatoes and bone in chicken thighs. You were supposed to slow cook the chicken and then take it out to debone before serving. Heck no, I’m not wasting that kind of time and making a mess. They make boneless thighs for a reason. 😉

Chipotle-Chicken-With-NoodlesThe soup was amazing. I’m glad I didn’t realize how good it was until after it was done or I’d have had a hard time waiting the 7 hours. I had mine as is sprinkled with cilantro. The Kid opted to have hers with added cooked pasta for a noodle version of the soup.

You can also get crazy and serve with avocado, cheese, sour cream, and so on. You can dip crunchy bread into it. If you like it more brothy, you can easily add in more broth. The serving sizes were huge so you could eat two bowls of it!

Chipotle Chicken Soup

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, rough chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chili in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 medium sized potato, cut into bite sized chunks (mine was 6 oz)
  • 1 container grape tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh cilantro

Remove any large pieces of fat from your chicken thighs and cut them into bite sized pieces. Heat a pan over medium heat and brown the chicken thighs. If you opt for the Ninja, this is the step where you skip the pan part and just brown it right in the Ninja. While the chicken is cooking, start on cutting up your veggies.

Rough chop the onion and red pepper. You don’t have to go to the effort of dicing or making really small pieces unless your family hates veggies and you’re trying to hide them. My pieces were about french fry width and about an inch or so in length to give you a ballpark. Cut your potato into chunks that are about the same size as the grape tomatoes.

Once the chicken is browned, place all ingredients into a crock pot and stir slightly to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 7 hours or high for 2 – 3 hours. Once done, serve in bowls and top with sea salt and fresh cilantro. Makes approximately 4 servings at 200 calories each.

If you’re watching your weight and calories, don’t freak out over using chicken thighs instead of breasts. The calories are very similar when the skin is removed but the thighs are much more flavorful since they are dark meat. If you’re still concerned, make sure to do your own comparison on the package you buy. My chicken thighs were 110 calories and 8g of fat per 4 oz serving.

Do you have a programmable crock pot? I feel like I’ve been missing out for so long without one.

PS – I wasn’t asked to do a review of the Ninja and I bought it with my own money after doing research on crock pots. If you have one of your own, I’d love to hear how you use it. I have tons of slow cooker recipes for it, but not many ideas on cooking and baking in it. I plan to try my baked tofu in it this week to see how that turns out.

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