Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion

I am a wonderful meal prepper…when I have the motivation to do it. Some Sundays, I am running and raring to go, at least three days worth of breakfasts and lunches made for work in a two-hour span, neatly stacked in my fridge in coordinated containers. Other Sundays, I’m exhausted and think aloud, “I am going to rack up a lot of points on my Sweetgreen app this week.”

With this slow cooker recipe, I have no excuses not to meal prep. It’s all too easy!

Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion

There isn’t much else to say, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Tomatoes + Onions + boneless chicken breast = an amazing shredded chicken that gets you four meals, easily.

Get down on your knees and praise your slow cooker. Give it a nice big kiss, though preferably wait until it’s cool enough.

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Slow Cooker Chicken with Tomatoes & Onion
(Yields 1 average-sized boneless chicken breast’s worth of shredded meat)

Ingredients:

– 1 boneless & skinless chicken breast
– 1 15-ounce can chopped or diced tomato, with juices
– 1 large white or yellow onion, roughly cut
– 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
– Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to slow cooker and turn on to High. Cover and cook for 3 hours.

2.) Remove chicken from slow cooker. Shred chicken with two forks. Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and stir into tomato and onion mixture. Cook for an additional 15 minutes before turning off slow cooker.

3.) Eat immediately! If storing for meal prep, place chicken in container(s) along with some of the tomato and onion mixture to keep the chicken moist, and allow to cool slightly before placing in fridge. Chicken should stay edible for up to five days.

Kale tomato white bean soup

Kale, Tomato, & White Bean Soup

Though I have little room in my freezer (due partly to roommates that have frozen vegetables and TV dinners…), I still love to cook pots of soup in the winter and freeze the leftovers for a rainy day (or, better, a snowy day). Soup is a comfort food to me; growing up, I ate bowls of my Nana Fracaro’s chicken soup with tubettini pasta, no matter if it was in the middle of winter or at 11:30 on a hot summer’s morning while we watched “The Price Is Right“. Whenever I go to a restaurant, if I see a good Soup Du Jour on the menu, I go for it. I’ll take my soups any way I can take them, though I tend to lean towards a good classic chicken noodle, gazpacho, vichyssoise, French Onion, or cream of tomato.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to lighten my recipes up where I can (such as with my plant-based Creamy Tomato Soup with Cashew Cream or my Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs), and, well, here is another example! Trying to get back to my good veggie grind, I wanted a hearty vegetable-packed soup to last me a few work days.

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Between the tomatoes, kale, carrots, onions, garlic, and herbs, I felt as though I ate the entire garden. That is not a bad thing.

Kale tomato white bean soup

Kale, Tomato, & White Bean Soup
(Adapted from the New York Times recipe for Quick Tomato, White Bean, & Kale Soup)

Ingredients:

– 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
– 1 large carrot, chopped
– 2 large garlic cloves, minced
– 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
– 1 medium Yukon Gold or Russet potato, peeled and diced
– 4 cups kale, stemmed, washed, and roughly chopped (roughly 1/4 pound of kale)
– 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– 6 cups water
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 1 teaspoon oregano
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 teaspoon dried parsley
– 1 – 2 cups pre-cooked rice (optional)
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– This soup tastes absolutely amazing on its own! That being said, after making and photographing my initial batch, I added some leftover rice I had from some Indian takeout I had a few nights prior. WOW. The soup was really enhanced by the rice. Though loaded with vegetables and beans, the broth is, well, brothy! It’s not creamy or fatty. The rice does add a tad of starch to the broth, as well an a little bit of bulk to the soup in general. It’s a lovely addition if you choose to go that direction!

Directions:

1.) Place a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven on the stove. over medium heat. Add olive oil, allow to heat up slightly, then add add the onion, carrot, and a pinch of salt. Cook vegetables for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until tender; be careful to not let vegetables brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute.

2.) Stir in tomatoes and juice from the can and combine with vegetables. Continue to cook over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until until the tomatoes have slightly reduced.

3.) Add water, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, parsley, and potato. Bring soup to boil, cover, and simmer until potato chunks are tender, roughly 10 minutes.

4.) Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale is wilted down but still holds some of its shape. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes; if adding pre-cooked rice, add and stir in with beans. Serve immediately or allow to cool slight before putting into storage containers for refrigeration or freezing.

sautéed zucchini and tomatoes with basil

Sautéed Zucchini & Tomatoes with Basil

This heat wave in NYC is absolutely ridiculous right now. I’m looking at the forecast for the week. So far, it’s reading that Monday will be 97, Tuesday will be 93, Wednesday will be 95, Thursday will be 91…

I bet ConEd is going to love giving me my utilities bill in a couple of weeks. This gal is gonna owe them a lot. My A/C, on the other hand, is flashing that “clean filter” light at me, and I’m just trying to ignore it until this heat wave passes.

I’ve been waking up early on Saturdays and strolling up to the Inwood Greenmarket. Yesterday was a hot morning, so hot that the newly-laid asphalt on Isham Street was sticking to the bottom of my sneakers! (Good look.) However, the summer vegetable haul is currently fierce. There are some vendors selling zucchinis and yellow summer squashes that are roughly the size of newborn babies! I could cradle them, if I wanted to! (Okay, perhaps, that would look a little strange in the middle of a greenmarket…) Along with the summer squash, the tomatoes and herbs are abundant. I’ve been picking up loads of fresh basil and dill, much to my heart’s content.

I love sautéing zucchini and tomatoes together quite regularly, and putting a fried egg on top makes it hearty. However, have you ever added freshly chopped basil into sautéed vegetables? The moment that basil hits the heat, the smell is absolutely incredible.

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This meal is quick, fresh, and filling. Between chopping and sautéing, you’ve got a great meal in less than 15 minutes. This meal is summer on a plate, and it tastes great, no matter how hot it is outside…or your kitchen.

sautéed zucchini and tomatoes with basil

Sautéed Zucchini & Tomatoes with Basil
(Serves 1 as a meal, 2 as a side)

Ingredients:

– 2 small zucchinis or 1 large zucchini
– 1 large tomato, seeded and diced, or 8 – 10 cherry / grape tomatoes, quartered
– 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 4 – 6 basil leaves, chopped in a chiffonade

Optional Ingredients:
– 1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 egg

Before We Get Started…

– Though it may go without saying, the egg is optional. Omit it for a vegan option.

Directions:

1.) In a large pan or wok, bring olive oil to eat over medium heat. Add zucchini, tomato, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked to preference. Add basil and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat and serve. Top with optional fried egg; cook in olive oil or butter for approximately 3 minutes on each side or to preference.

Shakshuka [Single Serving]

I love some good alliteration, don’t you?

Shakshuka is something that I’ve grown a love for, especially as my hatred of runny yolks has cooled significantly over the past few years. About two years ago, for a quick post-work dinner, I impulsively decided to spoon some marinara sauce over some sliced hard boiled eggs, and I found it to be a odd yet satisfying choice. My former roommate Emily (whom I miss every single damn day) had an enthusiasm for Shakshuka, telling me about her love for it and how she’s had it in Israel many a time.

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Oh hey there, typical tiny Manhattan Kitchen…

I now regret not attempting to make a full-size of this recipe when you were around, Em! What a fool I was!

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I promise, if and when I get myself down to Raleigh-Durham to visit you, I’ll make you a skillet. You don’t have to share it with anyone!

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In the meantime, I’ll just craft a recipe for all of us single eaters.

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Shakshuka

Shakshuka [Single Serving]
(Serves One…if you were unable to deduce that)

Ingredients:

– 1 to 2 eggs
– 1 cup crushed tomatoes or 1 cup marinara sauce
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 1/4 small yellow or white onion, diced
– 1/2 bell pepper, diced (pick your favorite color!)
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1/4 teaspoon cumin
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
– Feta, for garnish (optional)
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– It is entirely possible that you don’t have tomato paste. Goodness knows that I normally don’t have any on reserve. You can skip adding it, but I think it adds an extra depth of flavor. If you would like to create your own, there are many articles available via search engines regarding substitutions and creating your own tomato paste. However, for this individual-sized serving, I’d suggest going out and getting that small can of tomato paste. I got mine for 79 cents. Haaa.

– This recipe is best baked in an 8″ – 9″ oven-safe skillet or a ramekin with a 2 cup capacity.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) Pour oil into a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and pepper and sauté until onions are translucent, approximately 4 – 5 minutes; if garlic starts to brown too fast, lower heat. Add tomatoes (or sauce), tomato paste, and cumin. Stir to combine. Simmer for 4 – 5 minutes. Transfer tomato mixture to ramekin or oven-safe skillet. (See Before We Get Started…; though it is an extra skillet to wash, it’s much easier to cook the tomato mixture in a larger skillet than a smaller oven-safe skillet.) 

3.) With the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the tomato mixture. Crack egg(s) into indentation, being sure not to break the yolk(s).

4.) Place skillet or ramekin in oven and cook for 18 – 20 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are thick but runny. If preferred, at the ten minute mark, baste egg whites lightly with the tomato mixture, taking care not to disturb the yolk; return to oven to cook for the remaining time.

5.) Remove from oven. Top with cilantro and feta, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, preferably with thick toasted bread.

chickpea chili

Chickpea Chili

In August 2014, I moved to a new apartment. The largest items I brought to my new place:

1.) My bed
2.) My mattress
3.) My giant box of canned beans

I kid you not. I arrived to my new place with sixteen cans of beans.

I still remember stacking them on my old apartment’s kitchen floor for my own odd amusement. I think I got it up to eight cans tall before it’d topple.

Well, many of those cans still reside on my shelf, and I still find myself using them. (And, occasionally, checking expiration dates.) I was so bummed to recently realize that my black bean supply had been used up! But, I’ve got chickpeas upon chickpeas upon chickpeas.

I also acquired a few large cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes from my former roommates.

chickpea chili

Perhaps hoarding cans of food like a crazy woman prepping for the Apocalypse has finally worked to my advantage. Alas, looks like any plans to make hummus have been squashed, because all of those chickpeas have ended up in my chili…

chickpea chili

Chickpea Chili
(Inspired by Gimme Some Oven’s 5-Ingredient Chili)
(Serves 6 – 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 pound ground beef (See Before We Get Started... for vegan substitution)
– 1 medium white onion, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
– 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
– 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 1 15-ounce can small white beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 – 2 tablespoons chili powder (depending on spice tolerance!)
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– Chickpeas are a hearty bean with a drier texture than some others. The longer the chili simmers, the more tender the bean will be. Simmering for two hours will yield a slightly softer and creamier bean.

– For a vegan version of this chili, I suggest replacing ground beef with 1 15-ounce can of black beans. The tenderness of the black beans adds a perfect soft yet “meaty” texture to counter the chickpeas.

Directions:

1.) In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions; cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add ground beef to pot with onions and garlic, breaking meat up with a large spoon. Cook beef for 5 minutes or until browned through. Drain excess fat.

2.) Add all remaining ingredients to pot. Simmer on low heat for 1 – 2 hours. (See Before We Get Started) Add salt to taste.

3.) For toppings, I am not a fan of sour cream, but will usually mix up two large tablespoons of full-fat plain Greek yogurt with some salt, garlic powder, and dill, as seen in the photos above.