Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year’s Resolutions 2013


New Year’s resolutions sometimes get a bad rep. Sure, you can point and laugh at the people who sign up for a gym membership on January 1, and then stop going by Valentine’s Day. But I don’t laugh at those people.  After all, I made a New Year’s resolution in 2012 that actually stuck.  So when I see the unfamiliar faces at the gym at the beginning of January, I give them a nod of encouragement. You can do it!

What I do find makes keeping a healthy resolution is falling into a rut.  In trying to cook healthy all the time, I have a tendency to fall back to the same half dozen or so go-to recipes because I know that the taste good and are good for me too. But then my taste buds get bored after a while, making eating out and indulging all the more appealing. So to break from the routine (but not my resolutions), my resolution this year is to cook a new healthy recipe once a week.

First up – slow cooker chicken in chipotle sauce!


I had this recipe from Best Ever Recipes For Your Slow Cooker for years, but never made it because it called for dried chipotle peppers, which I never have on hand.  So last weekend, I trekked out in the pouring rain to my local Key Food supermarket, where I found the peppers quite easily.  (One of the advantages of living in such a diverse neighborhood – makes me wonder why it took me so long to make this!)

Though I had to laugh at the delightfully vague instructions:


Use to enhance the flavor of your favorite dish, eh? But how?

I reduced the amount of chicken and peppers the recipe called for, but forgot to reduce the amount of liquid, which made for a watery thin sauce as you can see in the picture above.  But that actually turned out to be a happy accident when I took the leftovers with me to work for lunch. The following morning, in my haste to get to work and not have to carry a lot of containers, I dumped about a half cup of brown rice into the broth and chicken mixture.  At the office, I reheated the stuff in the microwave.  Since I didn’t have a knife, I shredded the chicken with a fork, voila! I had an even tastier stew. 



I actually liked this better in stew form, so next time, I may just make it as a stew from the get-go. Sometimes, cooking mistakes mean making an even better recipe!

Slow Cooker Chicken in Chipotle Sauce (or Chipotle Chicken stew)

Adapted from Best Ever Recipes for Your Slow Cooker


  • 4 dried chipotle chilies (If you don’t want it to be too spicy, you can probably tone it down to 2-3 chilies)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbs grapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh oregano for garnish
  • Cooked Brown rice (optional for stew)


  1. Boil water and pour boiling water over dried chilies.  Allow to sit for about 45 minutes or until soft.  Remove chilies, but save the soaking water.  Cut off the stem from each pepper and cut it open to remove the seeds with a knife. 
  2. Chop the chilies and put in food processor or blender, along with soaking water. Process until smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan.  Add onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about five minutes. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the onions.
  4. Place onions in the stoneware insert of the slow cooker.  Layer chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chicken.  Pour chili puree on top of chicken, making sure all the chicken is coated.  (I had to do this in layers because I have a small, 3 quart slow cooker.).  Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Once fully cooked, you can serve the chicken breasts whole topped with generous spoonfuls of the sauce and oregano leaves.  To make the stew, simple shred the chicken into bite sized pieces with two forks.  Add brown rice, if desired.

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