Healthy Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
Chicken Cacciatore is a classic, hearty, rustic Italian dish. It has always been one of my favorites. This healthy, slow cooker cacciatore is easy and a family-friendly dinner for any night of the week. Some recipes for cacciatore call for breading and frying the chicken, but in this healthier version, it is simply seared in a skillet before going in the slow cooker, and the sauce cooks with it and it turns out rich and hearty....full of goodness! I used boneless chicken breasts, but thighs will work too. The chicken simmers in the richly flavored tomato sauce until it is perfectly tender. I removed the chicken breasts when they were tender and let the sauce simmer for about an extra hour with the lid of the Crock Pot slightly open to let it cook down and thicken a little more, then added the chicken back into the sauce before serving. If you don't have the time, however,you could skip that step. I served it with whole grain pasta, but you can serve with brown rice too. My whole family loved this and the house smelled so good when it was cooking! I know you will enjoy this dinner!
Here's what you need:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, pounded out to about 1/2 inch thick
1-2 T olive oil
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 t Italian seasoning
Whole wheat pasta or brown rice to serve. (Zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash will work too!)
Fresh basil or parsley to garnish
Shredded or grated parmesan to garnish
Heat 1 T of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and get a good sear on one side before flipping, about 3 minutes or so. Turn and brown the other side for about 2 more minutes. Transfer the chicken to the Crock Pot. Reduce the heat of the skillet to medium. Add a little more olive oil . Add the onion and garlic and saute until they are softened. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow this to reduce for one minute. Pour all of this, including the drippings in the skillet, over the chicken in the Crock Pot. Next add the tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning. Cook on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the chicken is tender. You can also cook it on low for 4-5 hours. If you are using thighs, add about an hour to the cooking time. If time allows, when the chicken is done, remove the chicken and slightly open the Crock Pot to let steam escape,and allow the sauce to simmer about an hour longer. Adjust the salt and pepper to the sauce to taste. Add the chicken back into the sauce and top with the basil or parsley. Serve over your choice of pasta and top with parmesan to garnish. Enjoy!
I served with whole grain pasta, but you can serve it with any pasta you like.