Crock Pot Italian Chicken

One thing about my dinners: if I want to be successful I have to plan ahead (and by successful I mean have anything on the dinner table within a reasonable hour).

Knowing that we would spend Halloween afternoon visiting all the grandparents and great-grandparents, I knew a crock pot meal was the way to go. I found this recipe from “the Girl who ate Everything” and decided it was perfect.  I already had the cream of chicken soup, a staple at our house, and the Italian seasoning packet- another staple- so I picked up a family size, sale-price package of chicken thighs, and an 8 ounce tub of cream cheese, at the store this week. I wish I would have had the foresight to pick up a bag of frozen peas, because I think they would be great in this recipe, & I didn’t really have anything planned for a vegetable. (In my house the general rule for dinner is a protein, a starch, and a veg, probably because I grew up eating balanced meals this way.)

So, after a morning at bible study and picking Aubrey, our Kindergartener, up from school, I started this in the Crock pot about noon, knowing we usually eat at 5. I did use thighs instead of breasts, so I left the bone in but I did take the skin off. The recipe calls for 4 breasts, but seeing as thighs are smaller than breasts I put the whole family size package in. Plus I love having leftovers! (Helloooo easy lunch!)

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Another general guideline for my cooking is to use up what I have before opening something new. So instead of using 2 cans of soup, I used up the rest of this chicken broth I’ve been trying to get rid of before it expires. Plus I didn’t want the sauce TOO thick. I put it in after the chicken thighs.

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Next I added the soup, then the seasonings packet. Then I realized I should have done it the other way around to directly season the chicken.

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I’ll probably try that next time, but it came out great this way. Last I added the cream cheese. I mixed it around as much as possible. You can probably tell from the picture that I skipped the “softened” part. Oops!
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I set it to low for 5 hours and sat down with my hubby for a little while before the bewitching hour(s) began!

Here’s a few pics of our kiddos!

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Camille was so excited to be a cupcake!

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Brendan showing his “Spidey” muscles

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Aubrey’s costume almost makes Poppop’s clarinet look like a rifle!!

By the time we got home it was after 6. It looked like this (Yikes!)…

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So I stirred it up and broke up the tender chicken with a serving spoon (much better):

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I threw a pot of salted hot water on the stove and greeted a few trick or treaters. I always keep several boxes of different types of pasta on hand. I buy them when they’re $1 or less and try to pair those sales with coupons. The only thing is, I never measure my dry pasta and I almost always use about 3/4 of a box at a time which leaves me with only a 1/4 next time (not enough for a meal for 5!). So sometimes my hungry family gets 2 kinds of pasta at once. Tonight was rotini and mini ziti:
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I recently discovered that everything tastes much better with freshly grated parmesan. So of course I added some!

I’ll definitely be making this again, probably adding peas at the very end for texture and more nutrition. Also… we LOVE egg noodles at our house. And this was SCREAMING egg noodles 😉

Here’s the link to the original recipe: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2009/07/crockpot-italian-chicken.html

Check out this ‘second meal’ using the leftovers: Creamy Chicken Soup

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