The food snob part of me has always abhorred the idea of “10 minute dinner recipes” or- even worse- “5 minute dinner recipes”. I’ve always felt that if you consistently have only 5 or 10 minutes to prepare your dinner then you need to reevaluate your schedule. It means your schedule is so full on a regular basis that you don’t have time to eat real food and that means you’re eating processed junk, spending way too much money on pre-cut and/or pre-cooked food from the deli department, or spending way, WAY too much money on eating out multiple times a week. This type of lifestyle is not only unnecessarily hard on your wallet but also on your body. It means you’re going so fast so often that you can’t use meal times for their original purpose- recharging your batteries. Let’s face facts: if you have only 10 minutes to make dinner you really don’t have much more time than that to eat it either and that is not good for you- body or soul. But really this post isn’t about taking more time to cook your meals. Even with all I just said I have found that there are days every now and then that I have so much to do that I really do have only 5 minutes to put dinner together. This is one of the dinners I make when things are going to be crazy- like yesterday. We have one large grocery trip each month when we go to Sam’s Club and King Soopers on the same day. We usually have more to do than just going to the store so those days are pretty hectic. (For the record, we do small trips too for milk & the like. It’s just easier for us to do one big trip a month.) So on the big shopping day each month I use an easy dinner recipe in my menu plan. It has to be fast, easy to prepare, and have a minimum of cleanup involved. Crockpot Caesar Chicken fits all 3 requirements and is really good. So here’s one more to add to your “quick meals” file, which- hopefully- you are not using every single night :.)
This recipe has 4 ingredients. That’s it. Four. It’s seriously that simple.
I know- it looks like 5. It’s not. The bowl on the left is the strained liquid from the chicken. That would be the Crockpot part. You put the chicken in your Crockpot on low (with no extra liquid) in the morning and leave it all day. I even put my chicken in frozen. There is some debate as to whether or not putting frozen meat in the Crockpot is safe. Personally I think it’s fine for some kinds of meat. Putting frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or similarly sized pieces of frozen meat in the Crockpot is fine with me. What I will not do is put a whole roast, chicken, or other large piece of meat in if it’s frozen. Then you really are inviting bacteria to come and make you, your family, and your friends violently ill. So go ahead- put the frozen chicken breasts in the Crockpot, turn it on, and leave for the day if you’re comfortable with it. If not- use thawed chicken.
After slow cooking the chicken for at least 7-8 (or 5-6 if using thawed chicken) hours take it out of the juice, shred it (it will be so tender that all you have to do is mash it a bit with a fork), and set it aside. Strain the juice leftover in the Crockpot and reserve it. Put the chicken back into the Crockpot and turn it on low. Add about 3/4 of a cup of the reserved liquid, then about half a bottle of your favorite Caesar salad dressing, give it a good stir, put the lid back on, cook for about another half an hour, add 1/2 a cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and serve over Romain lettuce. That’s it- you’re ready to eat. OR you can serve it right after you add the dressing. Just add the cheese at the same time and serve.
Doesn’t that look tasty? It was- I assure you. I serve this on a Kaiser roll but any soft roll or bread will do. Or you could serve it on the lettuce alone as a salad and it would be equally delicious. The cold leftovers are just as good as the original- maybe even better. And all the prep combined totals about 5 minutes- a little more if you have to chop the lettuce. I bought mine pre-chopped because it was the best looking stuff at the store at the time. So here you have it; “5 minute recipe” convenience, great taste, and pocket-book friendly. What more could you want?
1 Lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 Bottle Caesar Salad Dressing
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, shredded
Romaine Lettuce, chopped (amount depends on if you’re making this into sandwiches or salads)
*Cook chicken in Crockpot at least 7 hours (6 if using thawed chicken).
*Remove and shred chicken.
*Strain remaining liquid.
*Add chicken and 3/4 C reserved liquid back into Crockpot along with the dressing and stir to combine.
*Cook on low at least 30 minutes.
*Take off heat, add the cheese and serve over the Romaine as a sandwich or salad.
*OR Add cheese along with the dressing and serve immediately. The chicken will still be great, it just won’t have time to take on the flavor of the dressing as much as if it had been allowed to continue cooking.