Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend Cooking 11/24

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

I started the week out well but by Tuesday afternoon was back to feeling awful (due to a flare-up of my chronic illness that's been hanging on for the past two months), so I stuck with simple, quick meals and lots of leftovers this week.

Tuesday, we had a simple Beans & Rice recipe that I made up for camping trips. It cooks in just one pot and is ready in about 20 minutes, so it's great for camping...and hectic weeknights when I don't have much energy for cooking! I make it with 2 cans of beans (I used black beans and pinto beans this time), some 10-minute brown rice, onion, bell pepper, plus salsa and canned tomatoes (and a bit of water) for liquid. I add chili powder and cumin for seasoning. It's a simple meal, but we like it. My son like to put shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Photo © Family Fun magazine
The best meal of the week was Thursday when I made my own Shrimp Etouffee recipe (it was published in the February 2012 issue of Family Fun magazine as part of a feature I wrote about food from New Orleans). This is true comfort food, New Orleans style, and it was delicious.

Last night, my son had three friends from his soccer team sleep over, so I made a big pot of Chicken Cacciatore in the crockpot and served it over plenty of spaghetti - perfect for a group of hungry teen boys. This is an old standby for us when we have house guests or when kids sleep over because it is fast, easily doubled, and simple enough that even picky eaters usually like it. I took elements from my own stovetop Cacciatore recipe plus some ides from a traditional crockpot recipe and came up with this recipe:
Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore
serves 4-5

1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green or red pepper, chopped (note: red peppers are better for picky eaters – they don’t show much in the cooked sauce)
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 16-oz. cans of tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced (for picky eaters, dice mushrooms into small pieces)
1/2 package of spaghetti or your choice of pasta, cooked according to package

1.     Put all ingredients except chicken into crockpot and mix well.
2.     Add chicken to crockpot. If breasts are large, cut them into halves.
3.     Cover crockpot with lid and turn on HIGH for 1 hour.
4.     Reduce heat to LOW and cook for another 4-6 hours (alternatively, could start at LOW and cook longer).
5.     Add mushrooms 30 minutes before end of cooking time.
6.     Serve sauce and chicken over pasta.

Makes about 4-5 servings (can double all ingredients for a larger crowd).

© 2013 Suzan L. Jackson

Hope you enjoyed some good food and cooking this week! 


  1. Great! I'm going to throw the Chicken Cacciatore together right now and we'll have it for supper tonight over spaghetti squash for a low-carb option!

  2. Oh my goodness!! That Chicken Cacciatore sounds so good. Adding it to my menu!

  3. Hoping you feel back to 'yourself' soon! I will have to try your shrimp recipe - sounds divine!

  4. I love a great slow cooker recipe and this chicken sounds yummy! I like make quick chilies similar to the one you shared here -- always welcome and they come together quickly.