Cheesey, Italian Crock Pot Chicken and Resolution No. 3

New Year's Resolution number 3: Use crockpot more often!

Think about it. What other servant do we have that can help us so much in the kitchen? Yes, the dishwasher, oven and microwave are all great, but you have to spend more time with all of them than you do the almighty crockpot. Dump your food in, put the lid on (and LEAVE it on), come back in 4-8 hours and you've got a meal. Seriously.

And I have my mom's old crockpot from the 1970's. Still works great.

That's why it's number 3 on my list.

For those of you who know us, you may be surprised at this dish since it has so much dairy in it. But every once in a while we can have one of these meals and be OK. Everyday, and a few of here at the farm would be hating life, but once a week? We're OK. Here's the bonus - it takes minutes to prepare using your crockpot!

This is one of those really simple and super yummy dinners.
1 large jar spaghetti sauce
4 oz cream cheese
1 whole chicken breast
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Penne pasta
Olive Oil
1 T. parsley
Red pepper flakes, if desired

Into the crockpot we go:
1 large jar spaghetti sauce - ours was canned tomatoes with garlic and basil in it from our garden.
1/2 box cream cheese
1 whole (or 2 halves) chicken breasts
Seriously, just dump them in, put the lid on and depending on how much time you have, set it on either low or high (I had less than 5 hours and the chicken was frozen, so it was high for me). Go enjoy life for a few hours.

Penne pasta
When time is getting close, I put a pot of water on and make about 1 cup COOKED pasta for each person (a small handful of dry pasta each).  Once water boils, add about 1 tsp of salt and pour the pasta in, stir and set your timer.

Move back over to the crockpot. Remove the lid and with two forks, break up your chicken a bit. The kids like theirs shredded quite a bit, me not as much.

Get your bowls out and get a strainer for the pasta. When your noodles are done strain and then pour a couple swirls of Olive Oil around and stir or just grab some of the sauce from the crockpot.

Grab a couple scoops and put them in a bowl, top with the chicken mixture and a few pinches of the mozza cheese.

OK, this is where you can get a little more adventurous. I like mine with some heat! I sprinkle on some red pepper flakes and parsley. Chelsea likes it with her hot sauce. Scott and I, a little extra garlic. Get creative and everyone gets there own. I will say that I put my bowl under the broiler for about 2 minutes to lightly brown the cheese.

This goes great with a simple green salad with Italian dressing and French bread. Yummy!

Do you own a crockpot? How often do you use it?

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