I have a love-hate relationship with my crockpot. On the one hand, it is might convenient for whipping up a delicious dinner in a flash, with little to no effort on my part. On the other hand, leaving a hot appliance [yes, even on the low setting it gets h-o-t] on all day on a kitchen counter within easy reach of the cat makes me nervous. I have a fear of fire and just get concerned. Using the crockpot also seems like an easy out sometimes, since it’s not “real” cooking. But alas. Sometimes, I put my fears to rest and pull out the crockpot for, dare I say, a quick and easy dinner.
My Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken, despite how the taste may make you believe, was not the work of hours slaving away in the kitchen, pouring over complicated recipes. Rather, it was mixing pantry ingredients, spices, herbs, and chicken in the crockpot and hoping for the best. And boy–was it the best! I didn’t exactly use a specific recipe. I had some chicken thighs that I had previously frozen that needed to be used up, so I googled “chicken thigh crockpot recipes.” Problem was, many of those recipes used things like powdered onion soup mix, Italian dressing, and/or other packaged seasoning mixes that I certainly did not keep on hand, as the recipe creator assumed everyone did.
So, I thought about the flavors I was looking for and decided to wing it. The result was a flavorful blend of Italian-seasoned chicken simmering all day in a tomato sauce with olives, peppers, and onions. Right before dinnertime, cook up some noodles or rice for serving. You’ll know it’s time to do this when the smell is just so intoxicating that it gets to you and causes you to open the lid and take a big spoonful [even though you aren’t really supposed to open the lid of a crockpot early]. At this point, the chicken will be so tender that it falls apart with the touch of a spoon. The smell alone should be enough to get the family to the dinner table, so don’t hesitate. Make this today!
Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken
- 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, drained
- 1 small bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- prepared pasta or rice, for serving
- parmesan cheese, for serving
Place tomatoes in a large crockpot. Using a dinner knife, cut each tomato in half. Add tomato paste, olives, pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs/spices. Stir to combine. Lay chicken out evenly over tomato mixture and stir to coat. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. Serve over pasta or rice.
Time: maximum of 8 hours and 15 minutes [15 minutes active]
Yield: 8 generous servings.