Tuesday, July 26, 2016

MIP: Meal in Progress

Often I find myself looking for a recipe for guidance, but nothing I can find quit fits the bill. So I tend to do a lot of experimental cooking. Actually, lately I haven't been doing much cooking at all, but that's another story. But unless I'm baking, I generally skim recipes for the important numbers and move on to throwing things in a pot or pan together. The recipe below is currently about half cooked, but I wanted to write it out to help me plan out what I'm doing, because I know I started with a great idea, but I'm a little foggy today and don't want to screw up the plans I had before I forgot what I was doing [slight exaggeration].

Half-Crocked Greek Lemon Orzo Chicken
[get it?! ba-dum-tssss!]

Throw some frozen chicken in your crockpot. At least enough to cover the bottom, more if you're feeding a small army. Legs, breast, bones, no bones, your choice. You could use fresh too, obviously, but I buy frozen in bulk at Costco because it's cheaper and lasts longer. Sample white wine. Cover chicken with about 1-2 cups of wine... finish the bottle yourself. Sprinkle chicken pile with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. I have a salt-free Greek that I used, plus some extra garlic, lemon pepper, and basil. Also smooshed fresh garlic cloves [I used about 5 or 6 because the Italian and I are trying to keep our vampirism in check /s] My crockpot is practically turbo powered, so right now it's on low for an hour--then I'll check the chicken for doneness.

Chop an onion. Ruin your make up. Sprinkle a little sugar to help carmelize it when you sweat it later. Cut cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters, whatever you consider bite-sized. Throw them in a baggie with a little Balsamic vinegar. Chunk two zucchinis, throw in a baggie with Italian dressing. Toss both bags in the fridge until the chicken is cooked. If you're feeling antsy, chop-slice some fresh spinach. Ideally, we are going to sweat the onions in some olive oil first, then throw in the marinated veggies, then wilt the spinach in last [all in the same pan, just stagger them out because they need to cook for different times].

Last time I tried orzo in the crockpot, it was practically ruined. But I figured out why--I cooked it way too much. That's why it's still in the box sitting next to the crockpot right now, and everything is waiting. So my theory is, once the chicken is cooked, toss in the sautéed veggies, adjust the liquid [I think I'm out of chicken stock though] and add the orzo. Apparently orzo only needs about 30 min in the crock, and about 2 c. of liquid. If you've never worked with orzo before, be careful! A little goes a long way. The first time I ever made it I made a whole box, and most of it was untouched. I'm planning to use about half a box, but I'm basically a visual chef, so I do all my "measuring" by guesstimating. Still debating on whether I'm going to shred the chicken or leave it in cutlets. You can top with parmesan or feta.

Update: Added pics. Also since we were out of broth [as I suspected], I did find a can of cream of chicken... added that with a can of water, and a little more lemon juice.

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