Life has been busy lately….I know I have been saying that a lot lately but I’m telling you….it’s been CRAZY! I have found myself searching for some way, even if it’s little way, to make life a little easier. So out came the slow cooker! When I think of the slow cooker I think of my mom or my grandmother. I’ve never been a huge fan of it (until NOW). I pulled it out of my cabinets and dusted it off. And honestly I wouldn’t have one if it wasn’t for my mom on one of her visits down. She told me it was important to have a slow cooker in my kitchen. It was one of those things where I just said…ok, mom…whatever you say. It’s been in the same space in my cabinet ever since she brought it home from the store too. Shame on me! I know! But I’m just telling you the truth. I’m all about telling the truth these days I suppose. So in order to save myself some time and allow me to spend a little more time with my family this weekend. I put all this stuff into the slow cooker and 7-8 hours later I had dinner! Genius! I was able to go for a long walk, have lunch, and play at the park with my little ones knowing in the back of my head when I got home I wouldn’t have to worry about dinner. I can’t even tell you how great that felt. Even better, this soup has been great for leftovers all week too. Score!!
Now ask me how I feel about my slow cooker? I’m in love…..
Have a wonderful weekend everyone and spend time with the ones you love!
Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Soup
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 to 1.5 pounds)
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups frozen vegetables (red bell pepper, zucchini, squash, carrots)
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes (or sweet potato)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 – 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
6 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of chicken breasts, dividing evenly. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken breasts to skillet and cook for 6 to 7 minutes on each side until chicken is browned and cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool and shred the chicken. Transfer chicken to slow cooker.
To slow cooker, add onion, frozen vegetables, butternut squash, tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano and pepper flakes. Stir to combine and nestle rosemary and thyme on the surface. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Remove and discard rosemary and thyme from soup. Stir basil into soup, saving some for garnishing (if desired).
Serve immediately or transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings