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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crock pot Italian chicken and pasta

Crock pots are just a really wonderful invention.  For one thing, it makes it a lot easier to clean up dinner when everything has cooked together in the crock pot.  There's no need to keep an eye on dinner so there's more time to finish all of your other chores.  A crock pot meal is perfect for a new mom, a busy day of errands, or during spring cleaning when you just don't have time to stop cleaning and make dinner.  It's a huge help for moms who work outside the home as well.  I don't use mine as often as I'd like to, but I'm hoping that I'll get to use it more as I work through the recipes I've pinned on Pinterest.

The only problem with crock pots is that the majority of the recipes that use them are for soups.  I love soup.  I can make a meal of soup and a little bread.  Aaron on the other hand, thinks that soup is not a meal.  It doesn't matter if it's a hearty and creamy loaded potato soup or a thin, broth based vegetable soup.  He doesn't mind having soup, but he thinks that there should be something more substantial to make it a meal.

This is one of the recipes I found on Pinterest.  The original recipe calls for some ridiculous amount of garlic powder as well, but I don't think it needs it.  I followed the recipe to the letter the first time I made it and the garlic flavor was truly overpowering.  I sometimes add a clove or two of fresh garlic to the crock pot while the pasta is cooking, just to give it a fresh flavor, but I don't think that's really necessary either.

This recipe is very easy to put together.  It really is one of those meals you can just forget about.  It has only a few ingredients and everything cooks in the crock pot except the pasta.

This right here is the entire ingredient list.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken and Pasta

1 lb chicken breasts or tenders
2 cans cream of chicken
1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 packet zesty Italian dressing mix
1 box pasta or pasta shapes (any pasta will work, tonight I made radiatore pasta)

Put the block of cream cheese in the crock pot.

Add the cream of chicken and mix it together a bit.  It doesn't have to be smooth or anything, just break up the cream cheese a bit so it can melt easier.

Add the chicken and Italian dressing mix and stir it around.

Set the crock pot to low and let it cook for 6 hours.  You could also cook on high for 4 hours if you're in a hurry.  Pretty much whenever the chicken is cooked through you can go ahead and eat.  Once the chicken is cooked it's so tender it just breaks up in the sauce.  

About half an hour before you plan to serve dinner bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a bit of salt and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  When the pasta is cooked drain it.

If the sauce is too thick just mix in a little milk to thin it out.  You can either serve the chicken and sauce over the pasta or you can mix the pasta into the crock pot.  Either way it's just creamy and delicious.

This fed 4 adults and a 16 month old with leftovers for 2.

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