Crock Pot Chicken in a Paleo Tomato Cream aka Italian Vodka Sauce
This is my first post in almost two months. I just want to apologize now for my absence, but honestly life just got in the way. Don’t you hate when that happens?
Since my last post, I went back to work from 4 months of maternity leave and with that came all the woes of juggling work; managing a family with now 3 crazy boys to take care of, cooking healthy, and working out. I also finished the majority of my military graduate course that I have been chipping away for the last year+; note to self writing papers on military tactics, force structure and history are not my forte. Clearly, I prefer blogging and writing about food. I am also dealing with some family illness and the stresses that come along with that. Although I am not dealing with it on a daily basis like my siblings, it is mentally taxing and keeps me up at night. All I have to say about that is what life throws at you is sometimes unbearable. Finally, I competed in the CrossFit Open, a worldwide virtual competition where everyone competing has 5 days to complete the same workout that is announced weekly for 5 weeks. After you input your scores, you can see how well (or bad) you did against the entire country. I never consider myself a competitive (read good) athlete and I almost did not compete because I just gave birth to my third child three months prior, but I am glad I did it. The competition surprisingly took a lot out of me physically, of course, but it was so fun to compete not with others, but more so with myself. I forgot what it is like to really try to be better. I am of the mind sight that you should be happy with yourself if you find the time and to get a mini work out in daily, but now I realize there is more to it than just showing up.
You need to push yourself. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Words to live by and my new mantra. What do you think? What are you doing to push yourself out of your comfort zone? You will be surprised with those results, because that where all the magic happens.
Anyway, I can go on and on about how crazy and hectic my life is, but I will stop right there because I know everyone is busy, busy, busy.
Because we are all so busy, busy, busy, I do not want to waste your time anymore and I will get right to this super easy peasy crock pot recipe that will save you life on the busiest of days. Scouts honor. I came up with this recipe earlier this week because I had nothing planned for dinner. Last weekend, my husband was gallivanting around in Las Vegas for a bachelor’s party with his college roommates and I was a “single mom.” I, who pride on doing the majority of my cooking for the week during the weekend, did NOT meal prep at all. So Monday, I was staring at my open and bare fridge wishing something would just jump out at me that I could cook. I started day dreaming of my college days in Boston when I used to go out to eat with my roommates and order a bowl as big as my head of Grilled Chicken with Penne in a creamy Vodka Sauce. No wonder I was 20lbs heavier. Yum, vodka sauce. Ever have it before? It doesn’t have vodka in it per say, although once I did order it off the menu at a mom and pop Italian restaurant and they charged me for a shot of vodka. Ha! Anyway, vodka sauce is a creamy tomato sauce, a cross between tomato and Alfredo sauce. Clearly, those were the Pre-Paleo days and there are some days, I am not going to lie, that I miss it. I digress, but I promise I am getting to the recipe. My day dreaming got me thinking. I was wondering if I could recreate my old staple in the crock pot with items I had in my pantry that could remind me of that yummy vodka sauce during my carefree college days. And that was how this recipe was created….
Fortunately, I had everything I needed on hand. In the freezer, I always have already cut, proportioned chicken breasts that I prepare and store in freezer safe bags for days just like this. When chicken goes on sale, I buy a whole lot of it, clean them up and store in 3lb servings in the freezer. Because who doesn’t like sales? Having that said, my hubby, Ben, who rarely complains about my cooking, does not “care for” chicken cooked in the crock pot because even when I cook it for 4 hours or less, it usually turns out dry. I have learned that if I freeze the chicken first and then cook it in the crock pot frozen (not thawed out) for 6-8 hours on low that the chicken breasts come out moist. Win win! It was a definitely a trail by error.
This delicious recipe would not be complete with out my zucchini “zoodles,” spiral noodles made out of zucchini. You want to make them? Then you will need this amazing vegetable slicer. It is worth every penny because this amazing kitchen appliance is less than $30. Getting back to the zoodles, some people eat them raw and you certainly can, but I prefer to saute them in a pan with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes until they get soft or al dente. You can also serve my Crock Pot Chicken in a Paleo Tomato Cream Sauce over spaghetti squash noodles or penne if you are not Paleo. Either way, I think you will be so happy not only how easy this recipe is to do but how tasty it is too. P.S. the leftovers are even better so double up!
And that’s it…this definitely one that I will be making over and over again since it was so easy to make. It really is a “set it and forget it” kind of recipe but not forget it in the sense that is unimpressionable because none of my recipes are forgettable. They are all the kind of recipes that knock your socks off. Right? 🙂
- 3lbs of chicken breasts, cleaned and left whole
- 1 (28 oz) can of tomato sauce, natural and without added sugars
- 1 (14.5 oz) coconut milk, full fat
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional for those of you who like an extra kick and can tolerate the heat)
- basil for garnishing
- Serve with faux-noodles:
- Zucchini to make zoodles or spaghetti squash
- Clean off your chicken breasts and cut off any fat or veins and freeze for a rainy day.
- Plop your chicken at the bottom of your crock pot
- Combine your tomato sauce, coconut milk and spices in a bowl and pour over the chicken.
- Walk away for 4-8 hours. If your chicken is fresh, I would cook it for 4-5 hours. If it is frozen, then cook it for 7-8 hours.
- While the chicken is almost done, prepare your zucchini zoodles or spaghetti squash. If you are making spaghetti squash noodles you will need to roast it an hour prior or you can nuke it in the microwave for 15 minutes.
- Serve chicken over faux noodles and be prepared to be wowed!
So who else is craving Italian now?
See your Recipe Book.
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