Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crock Pot Applesauce Chicken

I decided to try another new recipe for dinner last night--in my crock pot, of course, since I had Zumba class and wanted to have dinner ready to go when I got home.  I went with Applesauce Chicken--another recipe I found on the blog of the woman who slow cooked every day for a year!  My cleaning schedule calls for kitchen cleaning on Wednesdays, so I wanted to pick a recipe that was easy and not too messy 1) so that I wouldn't trash my kitchen right before having to spend a long time cleaning it up, thus making more work for myself, and 2) so that I could prep dinner and still have time to clean said kitchen!  This recipe fit the bill.

After digging all the ingredients out of my pantry and cabinets, I determined that my kids had better like this, because this was going to be the easiest prep ever!  1.5 cups of applesauce mixed with 1 onion (or 1 Tbsp onion flakes...I totally went with the flakes to avoid crying and extra work!), 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1/2 tsp minced garlic--I totally went with the bottled garlic this time, just to make it easier on myself...noticing a theme?), 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.  Then pour that mixture over the chicken (I used 3 boneless, skinless breasts) in the bottom of the crock pot, and it's ready to slow cook!  Crazy easy.  The recipe called for more black pepper than the 1/4 tsp I used, but after our last over-peppering of the Brown Sugar Chicken, I opted for less pepper...and no red pepper flakes, which the recipe said was optional!  We have a bland palate in our family--spicy is not in our vocabulary.  I thawed three chicken breasts and poured the applesauce mixture over top, and set my crock pot to cook on low for 4 hours--the recipe says 5-7 hours, but I'm cooking fewer pieces of chicken and my chicken was already thawed.  The lady who wrote the recipe uses frozen chicken, but I haven't been daring enough to try that--and using frozen chicken adds about 30 minutes to the cooking time.  I'm trying again to not overcook the chicken, so I went with a shorter cooking time.


Alex and Jake love applesauce--they eat it as a side most evenings with whatever we are having for dinner (and sometimes that's all they eat...grrr...), so I figured Applesauce Chicken would appeal to them.  Of course, I told them before naptime yesterday that I was making a super yummy recipe with applesauce and chicken, and Alex immediately exclaimed, "Eeew!  I don't like applesauce and chicken!"  The kid kind of had a point--I wasn't sure how appetizing the combination sounded, either, but the recipe got really good reviews on that blog, so I tried it and hoped for the best.  I added fresh peppers, broccoli, carrots, and green beans before I headed out to my class (with about an hour and 15 minutes left in the cook time)--at least we would have something to eat if the chicken turned out weird!

love all the veggies!

I told my friend on the way to Zumba that I was making Applesauce Chicken, and I wish I could have taken a picture of her face--she looked slightly horrified, which concerned me even more about this particular dish!  When I got home from Zumba and told Dan what was waiting for us in the crock pot, he said, "Is that a real recipe?"  He was definitely skeptical as well.  I pressed on, dished out my veggies, got the rice out (that Dan helpfully made while I was at my class), and plated the chicken.  It smelled good, and it looked edible, too--I was still nervous, but really, it's chicken...isn't it hard to mess up chicken?

Applesauce Chicken

I was eager to take the first bite, and while it wasn't my favorite dish ever, it really was decent (and only 334 calories without the rice--554 calories with 1/2 cup of white rice).  The chicken wasn't too dry (woohoo--I may be getting the hang of this crock pot thing!), it didn't taste too much like applesauce, and the applesauce sauce on top was pleasant with the cinnamon.  Dan said he would have preferred more cinnamon, but I thought it had a good balance of flavor.  I think I'm not a fan of any pepper--my bland taste buds just don't handle the slight kick pepper provides!  Abby thought the chicken was great and loved the veggies as well, but Jake and Alex made me never want to cook dinner ever again.  Jake wouldn't even try it before crying (not an all-out cry, just a pathetic constant blubbering), and Alex wouldn't eat any chicken (again).  Alex also freaked out because even though the name of the chicken was Applesauce Chicken, he didn't get his usual little bowl of applesauce (I thought that would be applesauce overkill).  Ugh.  We have been working hard to explain to the kids that it's impolite to tell someone who has cooked for you that you don't like their food (and totally irrational to do so before even tasting it!), and tonight, we told them they had to stay at the table and finish the food on their plates before they could get down.  An hour and fifteen minutes and much screaming ( from the kids and Dan--I had to excuse myself early to give Abby a bath) later, dinner was over...  Jake ate almost all the chicken and his carrots (which Dan apparently had to force feed him, even though Jake later admitted that he liked them), and Alex ate all his rice and carrots (but no chicken!).  I have no idea how Alex manages to look like he's built like a tank when he hardly eats anything--it's freakish.  Dan and I both cleaned our plates, and Dan is taking the extras to work for lunch tomorrow, so while it wasn't anything to jump up and down about, it was a good meal.  I really thought the veggies with the sauce were great--I was nervous about the applesauce flavor with them, but it turned out totally fine.  Gives me a little more confidence to throw random stuff in the pot--because it really is hard to mess up chicken, and hard to mess up a crock pot meal!

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