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Divas: Slow cooker cacciatore is quick to please

It’s finally feeling like Autumn! Thus, it’s time to enlist the crock pot to make cozy meals like this Italian-inspired Chicken Cacciatore. This freezer to crockpot meal couldn’t be easier. You can prepare it in advance and place it in the freezer. When you need an easy dinner, defrost it in the fridge the day before you want to serve it then cook, low and slow, in the crock pot.

I always make this with chicken leg quarters because they’re so economical, but you could certainly use any chicken pieces. It needs the bones and some skin to make this taste like it should.

Easy Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

What You’ll Need:

4 chicken leg quarters or chicken pieces

garlic powder

Italian seasoning

salt and pepper

1 (12 oz.) bag frozen three-pepper and onion blend

2 teaspoons minced garlic – or more if you love garlic

1 can or jar spaghetti sauce – we use Hunt’s with mushrooms

1 (4oz.) can mushrooms – drained

At time of cooking – ½ cup red wine – optional

Here’s How:

Remove the skin from the thigh part of the chicken quarters and remove any “globules” of fat. If you’re using chicken pieces, remove some of the skin. You want some left for flavor and to add body to the sauce. And for goodness sake, don’t remove the bones! Leave them in because that’s what gives this dish its wonderful flavor and the sauce its velvety texture.

Season the chicken liberally with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place the onion and peppers, garlic, spaghetti sauce and mushrooms in a zip-top bag and smoosh it all together. Add the chicken and further smoosh, being careful not to poke bones through the bag. That makes a terrible mess.

Get as much of the air out of the bag as possible and seal it up. Freeze flat.

When you’re ready to cook it, defrost in the fridge for 24 hours. Place the contents of the bag in the crock pot and add ½ cup red wine – optional. I write myself a note on the freezer bag to add the wine. Set the crock pot on LOW for 8 to 9 hours.

When it’s done, you’ll need to “fish out” all the chicken pieces. It will be falling-off-the-bone tender so you’ll have to be careful to get all the bones. Keep the chicken warm.

I usually serve this over pasta, like fettuccine or penne. Cook your pasta al dente, drain and then add it to the crock pot to absorb that amazing sauce. While that’s soaking up the love, remove the chicken from the bone and serve big chunks of chicken on top of the sauced pasta.

Top with a generous dusting of parmesan cheese. Add sautéed green beans and some crusty bread and you’ve got a rather nice meal.

Alternatively, you can serve the chicken over baked or mashed potatoes for a delicious and hearty dinner.

Bring the rest of that bottle of red to the table and sing “That’s Amore” while you dish it up. It’s required.

Fabulous Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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