Every now and then I still like to take a cookbook off my shelf and page through it for inspiration. If I’m looking on the internet for a recipe, I usually have something specific in mind already that I need instructions for. With a cookbook, however, I start browsing and often end up spotting something entirely different than what I started looking for in the first place and have stumbled upon some wonderful recipes this way.
A perfect example of this is a recipe I came across in a favorite cookbook in my collection called Family Feasts for $75 a Week written by Mary Ostyn. Mary is a mother to 10 children and knows a thing or two about cooking from scratch and saving a buck. She also writes a blog called Owlhaven where she shares recipes and frugal tips among other things.
Even though I bought her cookbook because it included some fun ideas for things like homemade tortillas and homemade marshmallows, I had fun looking at all the other recipe ideas in her book too. And it turns out my favorite recipe from her book is a recipe for chicken cacciatore, which I was never really looking for in the first place! My family LOVES this recipe and it has become a regular on my meal planning rotation.
At first glance the recipe may look a little intimidating because of the long list of ingredients, but most of the ingredients are simply dried spices that you stir into the sauce. (That’s what makes it so tasty!) It’s easy on the budget too because it uses chicken thighs which I can often find for 99 cents per pound. We like to serve this over rice which is a thrifty side dish as well.
If I’m cooking this on a workday, I like to skin the chicken and make the sauce the night before. Then the next morning I just slice up the onion and add it to the crockpot with the chicken, and pour the sauce over the top. When I get home at night, it smells wonderful and I usually can’t wait to dig in!
CROCKPOT CHICKEN CACCIATORE
Adapted from Family Feasts for $75 a Week
3 – 4 Lbs of bone-in chicken thighs
2 – 6 oz cans tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic (fresh or jarred)
1 green pepper – diced
1 – 4 oz can sliced mushrooms (drained)
1. My first step is to skin the chicken thighs. However you can skip this step if you prefer to leave the skin on your chicken pieces.
2. Slice the onion and separate the slices into rings.
3. Layer the onion slices and the chicken pieces in the crockpot.
4. To begin making the sauce, combine the tomato paste, wine (or chicken broth) and the olive oil in a medium sized mixing bowl.
5. Next stir the brown sugar and the spices into the sauce mixture. Then stir in the minced garlic, diced green pepper, and the mushrooms.
6. Pour the sauce over the chicken and onion in the crockpot.
7. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.
8. Serve over rice or noodles.
This makes great leftovers too. In fact it might even be better the second time around!