Easy Back-to-Back Dinners

I love my crock-pot.  We’ve been inseparable since the first time it had a hot meal waiting for me after work years ago.  Simple stews and soups are my go-to recipes for my magic pot.  I’d never cooked plain old chicken in there until I found this recipe for Crock-Pot Chicken from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.  It’s a healthy, easy way to prep cooked chicken for any recipe.

One of our family’s favorite dinners is Against All Grain’s Leftover Chicken Soup with Roasted Vegetables.  It’s a stove top recipe and you know I love my crock-pot.  The first time I made the soup I used chicken that I had roasted the day before, and it just wasn’t enough meat.  My crock-pot brain started thinking…I could make the chicken for the soup in the crock-pot using Lexi’s recipe.  Serve Crock-Pot Pesto Chicken Salad one night, and Leftover Chicken Soup the next.  It’s such a great weeknight back-to-back dinner combination.  Both recipes are naturally gluten free, paleo, dairy free, and can be made vegan (yes, I know they are chicken recipes but keep reading).

Here’s what you’ll do….

Wednesday morning: Do you have chicken in the freezer?  You can totally make this tonight!  Follow Lexi’s recipe for Crock-Pot Chicken.  Use a lot of chicken breasts so that there’s enough for both recipes;  this will depend on your family size (I use 6 for the 4 of us).  When it’s cooked, take the chicken out and pour the broth through a mesh strainer to remove the onions from the broth.  Discard the onions and SAVE the broth!  It’s much more flavorful and nutrient rich than the broth you started with and you can use it again (my home made crock-pot broth recipe coming soon!).

Wednesday night’s dinner: Follow Lexi’s recipe to make the Pesto Sauce.  We like raw cashews but you can use almost any kind of nut.  I double the pesto ingredients and add a little water when I throw it in the blender.  Shred half of the chicken breasts and mix them with the pesto sauce.  This dish can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  My girls like their “green chicken” served over risotto with sautéed peppers, but the possibilities are endless.  If you’re vegan (and you’re still reading), the pesto would be delicious tossed with pasta.

PestoChicken

Thursday night’s dinner: Use the broth you saved from the night before plus the extra chicken to make Leftover Chicken Soup.  Try roasting some extra veggies when you make this soup.  Roasted veggies are perfect for lunch!  You could also set aside some of the pureed veggie mix for the baby (if you have one, of course).  I made most of Bean and Sweet Pea’s baby food, and would have loved this recipe so that they could eat what we were having.  If you’re vegan, try making the soup with vegetable broth and omit the chicken all together.

LeftoverChixSoup

The Leftover Chicken Soup can be frozen.  Use a Pyrex 6-Cup glass container for the family, or mason jars for individual portions (no plastic!).  Have you tried heating up left overs in your crock-pot?  It is so easy.  Thaw the container in your refrigerator over night.  In the afternoon (2:30pm-ish), put the half frozen soup in the crock-pot on warm and it will be ready at dinner time.

If you haven’t poked around on Lexi’s Clean Kitchen or Against All Grain, I highly recommend both blogs.  I’ve made many of their recipes and we always love them.  Add the ingredients to your grocery list and give these two recipes a try!

Cómelo todo!*

For the Pesto Chicken Salad recipe, go to Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.

For the Leftover Chicken Soup recipe, go to Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain.

 

*Translation :: Eat it all!
When I studied abroad in Madrid during college, my Señora Encarna would say, “Cómelo todo!” when she brought dinner to the table.  I sometimes say it to my monkeys at dinnertime with a smile, remembering that incredible experience.  You can expect to see “Cómelo todo!” at the end of my recipe posts as a tribute to the lovely lady who made sure I was well fed all those years ago in Spain.