We're home from BlogHer, safe and sound. We had an absolute ball---thank you so much for your well wishes. The live blogging transcript of the Food Blogging During a Recession is here, thanks to Chefdruck Musings. I wrote a tiny bit about our trip on Totally Together Journal, and Alanna did a Food Blogger recap on BlogHer.
On the plane ride home, I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and now I want to move to a sustainable farm. Like, NOW. Take me. Teach me. I want to know more! For the time being, we're going to hit up our local produce stand, farmer's market, and look into CSA delivery. I can't wait to learn as much as I can about growing vegetables, and want the kids to grow up knowing where food comes from.
On that note, I made a completely organic (except for the chicken, because it was Foster Farms and already in the freezer and I'm a die-hard cheapskate and couldn't not eat it) dinner. In the slow cooker. Slow cooking is known for fast, friendly meals, but that doesn't mean that the food needs to be processed or not healthy. I've made TONS of healthy food in the slow cooker, and you can too.
once in a while, Buffalo Chicken Wing soup is okay, though. right...?
for the pesto:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
4 garlic cloves
2 cups fresh basil
2 tablespoons pinenuts, or walnuts, or sunflower seeds
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 chicken thighs, or breast halves
sliced mozzarella cheese (I used string cheese!)
aluminum foil or parchment paper
4 small sweet potatoes, washed well, skin on
I used a 6 quart slow cooker. In a food processor or blender, combine the ingredients for your pesto. When liquidy, taste. If you need to add more citrus or salt or pepper, do so now.
In the bottom of a large slow cooker, arrange your chicken pieces. Mine were still frozen. Layer on slices of mozzarella cheese. Pour pesto evenly on top. Cover with a layer of foil or parchment paper. Scrub sweet potatoes well, prick with a fork, and lay them on top of the paper or foil. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for 4-5. If your chicken is frozen it will take a bit longer.
If you're using fresh chicken, and your sweet potatoes are quite large, you may choose to swap layers, and put the sweet potatoes on the bottom. Newer slow cookers cook from the sides as well as from the bottom, but some people swear the stuff on the bottom cooks faster.
Carefully remove the sweet potatoes with tongs, and remove foil or parchment. The steam that comes out will be quite hot, keep small children away.
We all loved this meal. My kids put cinnamon on their sweet potatoes, and enjoyed eating the skin--for the first time. I was thrilled. The chicken was fully cooked, and the pesto had a good bite from the garlic that was balanced by the citrus. I used limes instead of lemons, and enjoyed the limey flavor. Lots of pesto calls for gobs of Parmesean cheese, which I opted to not use to 1) keep it a bit lighter and 2) to save a trip to the store. I served it alongside some leftover Quinoa Salad from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.
This was a great dinner.
somewhat related recipes:
Use your Slow Cooker as a Smoker
Cedar Planked Salmon
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chili, Lime, and Cumin