Thursday, October 30, 2008

Canned Carrots

I decided to use up more carrots (about 12 pounds) to can some using the method in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I'm running low on freezer space and figure Carson will be eating more and more solid forms of foods, so why not can them up. I first washed, peeled, and rinsed all the carrots. Then sliced them up and put them into a large stainless steel pot. Once I got all the carrots into the pot, I covered them with water and brought to a boil. I simmered them for about five minutes, till they were tender-crisp. I then used a slotted spoon to fill 9 pint jars with carrots, then covered them with the cooking water, leaving 1-inch of headspace. Into the pressure canner they went to be processed at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes. They are currently finishing up their processing and returning down to no pressure.

Carrots for Carson

I used about three pounds of Michigan carrots to do up some carrot baby food for Carson this morning. I first washed, peeled, and rinsed the carrots. Then chopped them into large pieces and threw them onto a baking sheet. I decided to try baking them rather than steaming as I've done with the sweet potatoes and squash. This was on recommendation from some other moms on a homemade baby food message board. I guess baking them retains more nutrients than steaming them does, which I didn't know. I knew that steaming retained more nutrients than boiling, but didn't know about the baking. Plus, I guess it makes them even sweeter tasting, which Carson will love. I baked them at 300 for about a half hour, till they were tender. Then I ran them through the food processor with a small amount of water to puree them up and now have them freezing in ice cube trays. I have enough for probably 32 meals for Carson.

Pork Sirloin Roast

Horrocks had pork sirloin roasts on sale this week, so I changed my meal plans and picked one up to have for dinner on Tuesday. I got this recipe a while back from my SIL, Mary. I've made it a couple of times, but not since I've had this blog up and running. Its a very good roast recipe. I used a 5-pound roast, so we had lots of leftovers, which I shredded up and froze for BBQ pork sandwiches later on. (will update later with a picture)

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Fruit

1 medium onion, sliced
1 pork boneless loin roast
1 pkg. (8 oz.) dried fruit, chopped (I forgot to chop mine this time)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Put onion in crock pot. Place pork on top. Top with fruit. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over top. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours.

I also added some sliced carrots with the onion. We had this with some homemade rolls from Kevin's mom.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recap and Meal Plans

Last week I canned another huge batch of unsweetened applesauce. I still have some apples in the breezeway that I have to use to can a batch of apple pie filling - I'd planned to do that over the weekend, but just haven't found the time to. I dried some herbs from the garden (parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary), and froze some chopped parsley with a little water in cubes (great to just drop into soups in the winter for added freshness).

This week will be a little off since I'm having oral surgery to have my last wisdom tooth removed. So I'm having to think of some softer things to eat in the days after the surgery. Mostly new recipes this week - on Monday, Tuesday, possibly Thursday depending on the recipe I end up using, and Friday.

Sunday ~ football party at my Aunt Jeri's... we're doing a taco bar
Monday ~ meatballs with parsley and parmesan... haven't decided what will go with them yet leftovers from Sunday
Tuesday ~ applesauce chicken in the crockpot with baked potatoes and green beans pork sirloin roast with fruit in the crockpot with carrots and homemade rolls from Kevin's mom
Wednesday ~ oral surgery for me in the morning... so it'll depend how I'm feeling... either soup or jello for me most likely and leftovers for Kevin
Thursday ~ most likely homemade macaroni and cheese since I'll still have to be eating softer foods
Friday ~ tortellini with peas and cheese
Saturday ~ making a trip to Grand Rapids, having dinner with Mary, Justin, and Rebecca

I'll be taking Thursday off to recover from my surgery, and Friday is my flex day, so hopefully I'll be feeling well enough to do some baking or canning while I'm home. I'd like to make some carrot-squash muffins and maybe some cookies - freezing the majority of both. I bought some dry beans (pintos and black turtles) last week at the Whole Foods Market that I'd like to try soaking, cooking, and canning... maybe Thursday while Carson goes to my mom's if I'm feeling up to it. I'll first need to use up the 26 pounds of pears I bought last week to can some more pear sauce for Carson. Also need to get some more parsley-pistachio pesto made and frozen.

Baked Costa Rican Tilapia

Last night I tried one of Ingrid Hoffmann's recipes for baked costa rican tilapia with rice, black beans, and pineapple. It was pretty good. I'll probably make it again sometime, but with a few small changes. Kevin thought it was good and "edible" as he put it, but didn't care for so much lime. So next time, I'll use less lime. I think I'd sprinkle the tilapia with some paprika and freshly ground pepper before baking it next time, too. I used long-grain brown rice... and I'm still trying to figure out how to properly cook the longer cooking rice (I'm used to the instant/minute rice), so the rice had a little crunch to it. :) Other than too much lime, the flavors were great together. It was a fairly easy recipe to throw together, too. If I was to make this on a week night, I'd prep the rice/beans/salsa/pineapple mixture the night before to save a little time and a few steps.

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans, and Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice (I used long-grain brown rice)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I just used OJ from the carton)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (I substituted flat-leaf parsley)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (5 to 7-ounce) tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry (I used six smaller fillets)
2 cups jarred or homemade tomato salsa (used store-bought this time since I'm still trying to use up stuff I'd stock-piled in my pantry before I started canning)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (Eden Organic, the only canned beans with no BPA in the cans... plus they're local (Ann Arbor))
2 cups diced fresh pineapple (I used canned)
2 limes, thinly sliced

Combine the rice and chicken broth in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid, about 20 minutes. (brown rice takes MUCH longer to cook)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, oil, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the garlic, and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add the tilapia fillets to the marinade, turning to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. (Don't let it marinate too much longer than 20 minutes, else you'll end up with ceviche)

Stir together the cooked rice, salsa, beans, pineapple, and remaining 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a 2 or 3-quart baking dish. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, reserve the marinade, and lay the fish fillets over the rice mixture, overlapping if necessary. Pour the reserved marinade over the fish. Shingle the lime slices over the fish. (next time I'll leave the lime slices off) Bake until the fish flakes easily, is opaque, and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homemade Granola

I decided to make a batch of homemade granola this morning. I used my SIL Mary's recipe as a base and made a couple mods. I'm looking for ways to avoid buying cereal at the grocery store. I've recently read that Kelloggs is now using genetically modified ingredients in all of their cereals - I don't like that at all. And I'm just assuming that if Kelloggs has started, then the other large cereal companies aren't too far behind. There are some that I'm sure I'll still buy, like Kashi and some organic cereals, but I'd really like to limit the others. Not to mention, making our own granola will save us some money - which is always a good thing in these difficult economic times the entire country is experiencing.

This made our house smell so good as it was baking... well until I burned the second pan... and set off the smoke alarms - oops! :) I don't know how I burned it, really. I pulled it out to stir it and thought it could use just a couple more minutes to bake... so in the oven it goes for about two more minutes when I started smelling burning granola. Yeah, not good. But at least I got one awesome pan out of it! :) I tasted a little bit of it and it tastes so good! I'm excited to have this on hand. Here is Mary's recipe that I used and my modifications in parentheses. I'll update with a picture later on.


6 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used my home-dried raisins and cherries)
1 cup ground flax seed (I used golden flax seeds since I couldn't find the ground seeds)
3/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ (I used 1 cup wheat germ)
3/4 chopped nuts (I used about a cup total of pecans and walnuts)
1/2 cup seeds (I used sunflower kernels)
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
(2 Tablespoons vanilla)

Heat oven to 300. Mix all dry ingredients, except fruit. Microwave honey for 30 seconds. Stir (honey and vanilla) into dry ingredients. Mix well. Spray large baking sheets with cooking spray. Spread granola onto pans. Spray top with cooking spray. (I sprinkled the top with a cinnamon-sugar mixture). Bake for 30 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times throughout. Add fruit half-way through. Let cool. Store in sealed container. Freezes well.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Recap & Meal Plans

We had a busy weekend filled with family fun. We met up with Kevin's entire immediate family on Saturday afternoon for a trip to a local orchard where we picked up some pumpkins and a half-bushel of McIntosh apples to do more applesauce. Today we've been busy catching up on household chores and preparing for Kevin's trip to Lafayette (he didn't go last week and is now leaving in the morning).

Meals this week may end up looking something like this... only one new recipe on the list (Saturday)...

Sunday ~ we went out to eat to Ruby Tuesday with some of Kevin's family
Monday ~ leftover chili chicken soup since Kevin will be out of town
Tuesday ~ grilled cheese or something easy since Kevin will still be gone
Wednesday ~ chili in the crockpot
Thursday ~ italian wedding soup from the freezer
Friday ~ leftover chili
Saturday ~ baked Costa Rican style tilapia

I'm hoping to can more applesauce and still need to do some apple pie filling this week. Pears are on sale at Horrocks again this week, so I'll be picking up a bunch to do another couple batches of pear sauce, too. I feel like we won't be able to have too much pear sauce and applesauce on hand the way Carson loves the stuff. I don't think I'll end up being able to can enough, really. Right now we're going through about two pints a week! I also need to get my dehydrator back out and dry some more herbs from the garden before they're killed by frost. I think I'll do up some more parsley-pistachio pesto to freeze as well. My parsley is completely out of control still - I can't believe how abundant it has been this year! This should keep me plenty busy this week... and most likely probably won't all get done, but hey I can hope, right? :)

Peanut Butter Brownies

I tried a new recipe tonight from RecipeZaar for Reese's Peanut Butter Brownies. We're having a Brownie Bake-Off tomorrow at work to benefit the annual Harvest Gathering (a.k.a. for the Lansing Food Bank) and I decided I'd try a new recipe. I have a picture, but haven't uploaded, so I'll update at some point. I cut a corner out to try them (had to make sure they have a chance tomorrow - haha!) and they're pretty good. Some melted chocolate chips would be great drizzled across the top... but unfortunately, I used the last bit I had in the brownies.

Peanut Butter Brownies

3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 Sticks)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup hershey cocoa
(I also added about a half cup of milk chocolate chips to the chocolate batter)

Heat oven to 350³F.

Grease 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

Add peanut butter to melted butter in large bowl; stir until peanut butter melts. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat well. Remove 1 3/4 cup batter; stir cocoa into this part. Spread cocoa batter into prepared pan; spread remaining peanut butter batter over top.

Bake 30 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan; cool completely in pan. Cut into bars.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chili Chicken and Veggie Soup

Tonight I tried out a new Rachael Ray recipe that I had seen in my latest issue of her magazine for Chili Chicken and Veggie Soup. Definitely a keeper! And will probably become a staple recipe for the day after I make crockpot roasted chicken, too. Both Kevin and I really liked this a lot. I added a few things - some finely chopped garlic while I was cooking the onion, and some frozen green peas. Its a very quick recipe - I was thinking of throwing it in the crockpot, but ended up cooking it in my dutch oven on the stovetop. It came together so fast. I did let it simmer on low for about an hour before we ate since Kevin was late getting home from work. I think that made the flavors meld together even more and it tasted even better after cooking for a longer period of time.

Chili Chicken and Veggie Soup

2 tablespoons butter (I omitted this and just sprayed my pan with olive oil spray)
1 onion, chopped (I used two)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder (I used more than this b/c we love the flavor of chili powder)
1 baking potato, peeled and chopped
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth (I added about 6 cups since I was making extra soup)
One 16-ounce bag frozen corn kernels
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat (I had about 3 cups)
One 10-ounce bag frozen green beans (just used some frozen beans from the garden)
Sour cream, for serving (we just ate it plain)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat (or spray pan with cooking spray). Add the onion (this is where I added the garlic), season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook for 2 minutes. Add the potato and chicken broth and bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the corn, chicken and green beans (and peas for us) and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the sour cream.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Apple Butter

I canned my first batch of apple butter this afternoon. I used the recipe for Sweet Apple Cider Butter in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving - I'll have to update later with the recipe when I have the book with me. I tasted it as I was filling the jars and it was so good! I'm excited to have this on hand!

Weekend Recap & Meal Plans

It was a productive weekend in the kitchen as the harvest season is slowly coming to an end. As you can see from my previous posts this weekend, I canned a batch of pear sauce for Carson, steamed/pureed/froze some sweet potatoes (now have enough for about 20 meals in the freezer), steamed/pureed/froze some kabocha squash (enough for 12 meals in the freezer), and have a batch of apple butter processing in the canner right now. I also canned another batch of smooth unsweetened applesauce for Carson. I think I will try to can one more batch of applesauce for Carson this week and I'll be doing up a batch of apple pie filling to can as well. We'll be making another orchard trip next Saturday with the Holleboom family, so I'm sure I'll pick up more apples and end up doing more sauce, butter, and pie filling.

Kevin will be going down to Lafayette, Indiana for a few days this week, so there will be a couple of nights of meals on my own. I'm only trying out one new recipe this week (Friday). But otherwise, here's what I'm thinking for the week.

Sunday ~ grilled chicken marinated in italian dressing, grilled baked potatoes, green beans
Monday ~ grilled burgers from the freezer, corn, baked beans for Kevin
Tuesday ~ spinach-chive fettucine with meat sauce, garlic bread, peas
Wednesday ~ leftovers and piecing things together since Kevin will be in Lafayette
Thursday ~ leftovers and piecing things together since Kevin will be in Lafayette
Friday ~ Chili Chicken and Vegetable Soup with homemade bread (might try beer bread)
Saturday ~ we'll be eating with Kevin's family having crockpot roasted chicken, squash, corn souffle, peas, baked potatoes, cake, and ice cream

As far as the extra projects go, I probably will just use up the apples we have left to do more sauce and some apple pie filling. If I even get that done, I guess. I think I'll have my hands full being on my own for 3 days/2 nights, so probably won't have time for much else this week.

On a side note, I finally got my pics up of the curry, sweet potatoes, pear sauce, and squash.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kabocha Squash

Tonight I made up a batch of kabocha squash baby food for Carson. I just cut the squash into quarters and put it in the steamer for about 20-25 minutes. The squash scooped out of the rind very easily - probably the easiest time I've ever had scooping the squash out. I ran it through my food mill with the medium blades, added some water to get the right consistency, and voila! Baby food! I kept out a small container for using this week, then froze the rest. I ended up with 24 cubes to freeze... so veggies for about 12 different meals for Carson. Not bad considering the squash itself cost me 50 cents! Which equates to about 4 cents per serving (which I think is about half of a store-bought container of the 2nd foods). So I paid roughly 16 cents for the same amount that I'd normally pay $1.29 for on sale... saving $1.13 per package! Actually, even more savings than that since I didn't figure in the portion I kept out to eat fresh this week... probably about 3 more servings there. What a steal!


Yesterday, I did up a small batch of pear sauce for Carson. I made it just like applesauce. I used eight large Bartlett pears, peeled them, cored them, chopped them, and dipped them in a lemon juice-water mixture to prevent browning. Then I dumped them all into a stockpot and put about a quarter inch of water in the bottom. The pears released a lot more liquid than the apples did, so I ended up having a lot of juice (and dumped some out in the end). I cooked the pears for about 15 minutes till they were softened. Then ran them through my food mill on the medium blade. Then back into the pot, added about three tablespoons of lemon juice and heated up to boiling. I filled five half-pints and had about a quarter half-pint leftover for Carson to eat fresh. He tried it today at lunch and LOVED it - moreso than he loves the store-bought pears, I think. I was happy about that. I processed the jars for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. Again, this will be a huge savings. I think that about 3 containers of the 2nd foods will fit into these jars. Two containers cost me $1.29 on sale - so lets say about $1.94 equivalent. Well, I got the pears for $4.45 , with five jars, that equates to $0.89 per jar. That's a savings of $1.05 per jar - I think that's quite good!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sweet Potatoes for Carson

So I finally am going to cut back on buying commercially produced baby food. I've been buying Gerber Organic foods for Carson since he's started eating solids and have just been too lazy to try my hand at making some homemade baby food for him. Well last night I finally decided to give it a try. I peeled a sweet potato, cut it into cubes (about 1-inch size), and threw it in the steamer for 15-20 minutes or so. I didn't keep track of time, just kept an eye on the look and then tested it with a fork. Once it was cooked, I ran it through the food mill with my finest blades and added a little water to the pureed potatoes. We'll see how it goes over with Carson today. I kept it a little thicker than he's used to since he's old enough now to try out some thicker foods. So he may not like it too much at first, but he'll get used to it pretty quickly, I think.

Making a good portion of Carson's food will be a huge money-saver! One sweet potato produced quite a bit of puree. I'm going to do up another two sweet potatoes tonight and freeze them in cubes. Then I'll do up some butternut squash from our garden and some kabocha squash from the farmer's market. I'm also going to use some of the blueberries I froze this summer to make him some blueberry puree. Tonight or tomorrow I'll be doing up some pear sauce for him and canning it, too. So we should be on a good roll here with food for Carson. And soon enough, he'll be able to eat more and more of what we're eating, so that will be even easier.

Again, I have a picture, but its not on the computer yet, so I'll update later on in the week.

Crockpot Chicken-Veggie Curry

Last night I made another recipe from A Year of Crockpotting for Vegetarian Curry, only I added chicken to mine so I'm calling it chicken-veggie curry. It was so good, both Kevin and I really enjoyed it. I'll definitely make this one again sometime. It was different than a lot of the curry dishes I've had before, not as creamy, but it was still very tasty. I programmed mine to cook for 11 hours on low and then switch to Keep Warm, which it was on for about an hour and a half. I served it over orzo, but had planned to serve it over brown rice, but didn't realize it was going to take my rice an hour to cook until it was too late (I normally buy the minute rice stuff).

I took a picture, but haven't uploaded it yet, so I'll update later in the week with a picture.

Crockpot Chicken-Veggie Curry

2 cans drained and rinsed garbanzo beans (I used Eden Organic)
1 diced red pepper
4 tiny potatoes, or 1 regular-sized (I used about five small potatoes)
1/2 cup diced carrots (I added more - I used five stalks)
1/2 cup diced celery (I added more - I used three large carrots)
3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic (I used five since I had two small cloves)
2 Tablespoons curry
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 large can tomatoes and juice (next time I might keep some of the juice out)
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup frozen peas, to add later

Add drained and rinsed garbanzo beans to your crockpot. Cover with diced vegetables. (I added six boneless skinless frozen chicken tenderloins here.) Add spices. Dump in tomatoes, yogurt and broth. Stir to mix flavors.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or longer.

20 minutes before serving, stir in the frozen peas. Turn to high.

Serve over hot basmati rice and use brown rice tortillas or corn tortillas to scoop up. If you are not gluten-free, you can use naan, pita bread, or whole-wheat tortillas.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Recap & Meal Plans

On Friday, I canned a second batch of tomato sauce and I'll be doing a third batch this afternoon/evening. That will use up the tomatoes from our garden. I'm pretty happy with the yields we had this year - I was able to use our own tomatoes in quite a lot of canned goods and to eat in meals. I do want to pick up maybe a half-bushel of tomatoes from the local farmer down the street to do up some more chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce. We'll see if I make it down there this afternoon, otherwise I'll stop by their place tomorrow after work.

Yesterday, we went to the Flushing Harvest Festival with my parents, grandparents, Aunt Jeri and Uncle Mike. It wasn't that entertaining, but it was still nice to get out and do something different. We had dinner and spent some time back at my grandparents' house afterwards. Today, I'll be finishing up the cleaning and laundry, prepping and canning another batch of tomato sauce, and hope to get out to the garden to clean things up a bit, while Kevin will be changing the oil in the Vibe, working on the Craftsman tractor a bit more, and helping Danny with his brakes.

As far as meals go this week, I'm going to try out a couple more new recipes (Monday and Thursday), so we'll see how they go. I love all sorts of different ethnic foods and I'm excited to try these out. Even Kevin thought they sounded ok, so I hope they taste as good as they sound.

Sunday ~ grilled texas broil steak, grilled baked potatoes, and corn on the cob change of plans, we just pieced things together. Kevin had Arby's and I just had a toasted english muffin with homemade raspberry jam, a string cheese, some steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and some applesauce.
Monday ~ crockpot chicken veggie curry grilled texas broil steak, grilled baked potatoes, and corn on the cob
Tuesday ~ grilled cheese sandwiches and italian wedding soup from the freezer crockpot chicken veggie curry
Wednesday ~ probably will eat at my parents since my Mom is watching Carson
Thursday ~ crockpot morrocan lentil stew/soup with homemade bread leftover chicken veggie curry
Friday ~ pork chops in the crockpot with smashed potatoes and steamed veggies We had pork chops on Wednesday, so I think I'll just throw together a quick pasta for dinner tonight instead
Saturday ~ TBD... depends on what the weekend plans evolve into

I'm working on cleaning out my pantry and using up a lot of the stuff in the freezers that have been in there awhile. I might try to do some baking this week to use up a few things - I think I might make some cupcakes to take into the Davison office and I'd like to make some bread. I'm also going to have Kevin stop at the orchard in Fenton on his way home one night this week to pick up some more apples so I can try making some apple butter. I still want to do more applesauce, some apple pie filling, and lots of apple butter... so I figure I should get on it before I miss the apple season.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crockpot Coq au Vin

Last night I made coq au vin in the crockpot. I used the recipe from A Year of Crockpotting. I thought it was very good. Kevin didn't get home until almost 9:00 from work and had stopped to get fast food on the way home, so he didn't try it yet. He'll have it for lunch tomorrow, so we'll see what he thinks. I've had better coq au vin (made by an old friend in college who was from France), but I thought this was pretty good, too... especially since this could be done in the crockpot while I was off at work!

Crockpot Coq au Vin

6 to 8 frozen chicken thighs (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts)
6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon (I omitted this since I can't eat bacon)
8 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms (I had white button mushrooms, so I used those)
1 cup baby carrots (I used extra, about four large carrots)
1 chopped yellow onion
3 cloves chopped or minced garlic
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup cheap red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon b/c that's what I had, but think it'd be even better with a pinot noir which is traditionally used in coq au vin)
2 large fresh thyme sprigs

Cook your bacon. Dump the frozen chicken into your crockpot and start layering in the rest of the ingredients. This is really a no-fuss preparation. Just throw it all in.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (mine cooked for 12.5 hours and was very good still). You could cook it on high for 4, but it won't taste as good. The flavors meld so nicely when cooked low and slow.

Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite pasta. (Since it was just me eating last night, I didn't serve with anything, just ate a small piece of chicken and some veggies.)