Friday, November 18, 2011

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

The crock pot is my nemesis. I wish it wasn't because it would make my life a lot easier... but the damn crock pot just refuses to call a truce. Everything I make it in turns out terrible! I know, I know you are probably shaking your head thinking you just throw stuff in there and turn it on whats so hard about that? Apparently everything. I just can't get the flavors right, the textures turn out murky, the cooking time baffles me, I feel I have no room to improv. I've tried various recipes and while some turned out decent enough to eat, which was an improvement since some turned out inedible, only one recipe has made a repeat performance. And that is (of course) the simplest, most basic recipe and most often one of the first recipes tried in a crock pot - cream cheese chicken.

*Disclaimer - crock pot cream cheese chicken does not make for pretty photos**

If you are a crock pot expert you have probably tried this so many times and moved on to the big league in crock pot cooking - the place where you cook amazing things every time, the place I may never get. But on the off chance that there is someone out there who hasn't tried it, here is my version. And it's mighty tasty.

I've made this twice - once with boneless skinless chicken breasts and once with skinless split breasts (bones in) cause that's what I had in my freezer. Both turned out great. The split breasts had the extra step of removing the bones, but I think that version might have been just a touch tastier.

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Recipe

serves 4

4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope Italian Salad Dressing mix
1/4 cup water or chicken stock
1/2 to 1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion diced
1/2 an 8 oz package of cream cheese 
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup or condensed cream of chicken soup

- Place chicken in crock pot. Combine salad mix with water and pour over chicken. Add mushrooms and onions.
- cook on low for 3 hours. (I've cooked my chicken from frozen and cooked on low for 6 - 8 hours)
- 30 -45 min before serving stir in cream cheese and condensed soup. Cook for 30 -45 minutes longer.
- mix and shred chicken with tongs or forks and serve with noodles, rice, green beans, or my roasted vegetables.

My variations - When I used the split breasts with bones in I de-skinned the breasts. I used 2 breasts. Added them to the crock pot. Covered them in water and the packet of seasoning mix. I always feel like chicken goes dry in the slow cooker unless it is covered in liquid. After they were done cooking - about 3 hours on low- I took them out with tongs and shredded the meat off the bones. A surprisingly easy process. I then threw out the bones. Poured the cooking liquid out of the crock pot and into a jar under a strainer to keep the broth for future use - homemade chicken broth with a touch of italian seasoning! I added about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the liquid back into the crock pot with the shredded chicken and then added the soup and cream cheese. You could add the mushrooms at this point too. I did not add onions in this variation. Cook for 45 more minutes.

Peace, love, hopefully more crock pot success, and happiness!

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