Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Crock Pot Freezer Meal - Sweet & Spicy Chicken


Just because it's summer time doesn't mean you can't or you shouldn't use your crock pot. In fact, it is a great alternative to heating up your house by turning on your oven. Which is exactly what happens at my house right now because my AC is on the fritz. Throwing a meal into the crock pot in the morning and coming home to a delicious meal at the end of a hard day of work or a hard day of play is just as wonderful in the summer as it is in the winter.

This recipe couldn't be any easier and it is very satisfying for those afternoons of playing in the sun. Paired with a side of rice and a salad, this is a fantastic meal.

Here is what you need to do if you are going to just cook it with fresh ingredients:

Take your 2 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts and lay them in the bottom of your crock pot.  The two pieces I picked up were on a great sale of $1.29 a lb. and they were HUGE so I only needed 2.

Dump your 16 oz. jar of salsa, any heat you like, on top of the chicken breasts.

Drain your 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks.  I couldn't find my handy dandy small strainer so I had to grab my tried and true Tupperware strainer that I got back in 198 . . . .  I'm not sure exactly when but it was a long time ago and it is still one of the best things I have ever purchased.  I use it for everything.

Now dump the can of pineapple chunks on top of your salsa and chicken.

I mix the salsa and pineapple chunks up a little so that all those juices get all over the chicken and everything is well coated.

For fresh ingredients you can set your crock for 4 hours and that should do.  The chicken comes out moist and pulls apart easily and the salsa and pineapple go together well.  I know, it doesn't sound like it but it is really delicious.

To freeze your meals, do the following:

Label your freezer bags with a Sharpie by writing the name of the recipe and the instructions for cooking. Place the 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the bottom of the bag.  Pour in the 20 ounce can of chunk pineapple without the juice.  Pour in the 16 ounce jar of salsa - any heat you want. The hotter, the better!

Press the air out of the bag and seal. You are ready to put your bags in the freezer. If these are the first freezer meals you are laying in the freezer, place a cookie sheet on the rack and lay your freezer meals out flat on top of the cookie sheet and let them freez completely. Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer after everything is frozen solid. This will keep your bags from getting indentations in them and keep them from possibly breaking in the freezer. That wouldn't be good!

One important thing to remember in the summer months is that little ones like to run around the house even more than normal so make sure to put your crock pot in a non-traffic area so that no one gets hurt. I also steer away from putting my crock pot under cabinetry - for obvious reasons.

To cook your meal straight out of the freezer:

Take it out of the freezer the night before and place in the refrigerator to thaw out. In the morning, spray the inside of your crock with cooking spray take the meal out of the refrigerator and open up the bag to dump everything into the crock pot.

Cook on high for 6 - 7 hours (for a frozen meal) or 3 - 4 hours (for a meal that is not frozen.) Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Serve with rice or whatever side dishes you prefer.

Give this crock pot dinner a try and let me know what you think. It is tender, juicy and very flavorful and the best part is, it was a snap to throw together!

Happy crock-potting!

Crock Pot Meal - Sweet & Spicy Chicken

2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken (6-8 thighs or 4-6 breasts)
1  20 ounce can of pineapple, juice drained
16 ounces of salsa

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