Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crockpot Garden Chicken Cacciatore over Polenta

What a delicious and easy crockpot meal this is!  Tender boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a vegetable laced tomato sauce over creamy polenta slices.  Perfect for a cool autumn day!  Super easy to prepare and plate, thanks to pre-made polenta that only requires heating up to serve.   Pre-made, store bought, polenta is such a deal point+ speaking too.   For two 1/2" slices, it adds only 2p+ to this dish.  I sliced the polenta into 1/2" discs, and then sauteed them for a few minutes in a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray until warm.    Of course, you could serve this over pasta or rice if you prefer, and it would still be delicious! 

As for the chicken cacciatore, it is basically "a layer and let cook all day" sort of recipe!  Only a little extra work at the end, to thicken the sauce and add the spinach, before it is ready to be served.

And the best part is, you can thin the leftovers out with some chicken stock for a great soup for lunches during the week!  

Crockpot Garden Chicken Cacciatore over Polenta
adapted from Healthy Cooking

Servings - 8   Serving Size - approx 1 cup or 1/8th recipe   Points Plus per Serving - 4 points+
Calories - 157.3,   Total Fat - 3.4g,   Carb. - 13.1g,   Protein - 18.5g,   Fiber - 3.3g

9 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 large rib of celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 - 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic, undrained
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup fat free, reduced sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup dry red wine ( I used merlot ) 
2 TBS. balsamic vinegar
2 TBS cornstarch dissolved in a little water
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach ( optional....I wanted to use up some spinach I had )
additional salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Season chicken thighs with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Spray liner of a 6 quart crockpot with cooking spray.  Place chicken thighs inside the bottom.  Add in the green pepper, onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and bay leaf.  Open can of diced tomatoes and top the vegetables in the crock pot.  

2. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, chicken stock, wine and balsamic vinegar.  Mix well.  Pour on top of chicken.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 - 10 hours or until the chicken is tender.  Remove bay leaf and discard. 

3.  Add in the chopped spinach ( if using) and the cornstarch dissolved in water.  Stir and allow to cook for another 20 minutes on HIGH or until the sauce has thickened.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over polenta slices, pasta or rice.  ( Polenta, pasta or rice NOT included in nutritional information)


This dish was a hit with my family.  We really enjoyed it over the polenta slices.  Look for the pre-made polenta in the pasta aisle of your grocery store.  ( of course, you could also make the polenta from scratch if you wish!)  The flavors of this cacciatore are deep and delicious and like I mentioned above, I took the leftovers and added more broth to them to make it into a soup for lunches!  You gotta love when you can recreate a dish for another meal!  

On the home front, I have been super busy lately....and feel bad that I haven't had much of a chance to read and comment on some of my favorite blogs!   So forgive me, I am looking to try to find some time to sit down and catch up with everyone!  :)

If you haven't left me a comment to enter to win a $25 gift card to Bed, Bath and Beyond, to celebrate my one year blogversary you have until this Friday to try your luck at it!  You can find out about the rules HERE

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  1. Mmmmmm, sounds like a good one Renee! I love double-duty recipes too! I'm printing this one, it's gonna be cool this weekend! Thanks again!

  2. This looks like a wonderful meal. I would like to try it with chicken breasts - I have some family members who don't like dark meat!How many pounds of chicken do you think you used?

    Slow cooker recipes are so nice for busy days. Thanks for taking the time to share this recipe.

  3. @ Tami...I would say maybe 2 - 2 1/2 ish pounds. I had a full package of 6 boneless, skinless breasts and then used a half of a package I had in the freezer. So I didn't weigh it. I am not a huge fan of dark meat to be honest, but you really cannot tell it is dark meat in this dish. I think dark meat can taste "gamey" but it didn't at all in here. The thighs will keep more moisture than breasts, but if you decrease the cook time, I bet breasts would be fine! :)

  4. Thanks Renee! I do other slow cooker recipes with chicken breasts and you are right if I cut back on the cooking time they won't be dried out.

    I ran to the store and got the ingredients I needed for this dish. It might be the weekend before I get to it but its on my list!

  5. I had this for the first time a couple weeks ago and I am obsessed! SO amazing. I bet the chicken comes out so tender from the crockpot. LOVE!

  6. The crockpot is a woman's best friend! Especially when it comes to chicken. It always results in something tender and flavorful! I've been hesitant on getting the prepackaged polenta.. but you have me convinced to give it a shot :)

  7. @ spinachandspice...yes, the prepackaged polenta can look unappetizing, but I used the San Gennaro brand, and was really surprised at how good it was once it was heated up! Very few ingredients too...water, yellow corn meal, tataric acid, vit C and Vit A...that's it. :)

  8. I think my MIL made that for my husband when he was growing up - I think he'd love it, especially with polenta, which I had never even heard of before marrying my Italian husband!

  9. Hi Renee. Yet another stall recipe from MKA! Thanks so much! I should remember to get polenta more often. I don't think of it, but when we have it, we love it. Have a good Thursday.

  10. Renee I wanted to let you know that I made this on Friday using frozen chicken breast and I cooked it on high for 5 1/2 hours. I was out shopping with my daughter all afternoon and when we walked in the door it smelled delicious.I'm happy to say it was perfect! We had it over the polenta in a tube since I was short on time but next time I will make fresh polenta - just because I prefer home made.

    It was a hit with my hubby and my daughter. We had leftovers for lunch today and it was even better on day two!

    Thank you for sharing an awesome slow cooker recipe that will be repeated at my house. :)

  11. Featuring this recipe this weekend! Can't wait to try making it!

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

  12. This sounds so good! I have put it in my crockpot for dinner tonight. Thanks for the dinner inspiration :-)

  13. Hi Renee,
    Your Cacciatore looks so delicious, we will really enjoy this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you will have a wonderful week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  14. I made this! It was great! It was on A Little Nosh's blog and I made it for the secret recipe club. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Renee, I made this today and it tasted fantastic. The whole family loved it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. thank you so much for the review Michele! I'm glad your family enjoyed it!


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