I’ve decided to try something new, and hopefully fun. Once a week I would like to do a blog about cooking a healthy meal. Whether I find it online, in a magazine… something that isn’t loaded in calories, hopefully easy to make and delicious to boot!
This week I wanted to start with a tried and true recipe. I found this some months ago online and it sounded too easy to be tasty. Martha found the recipe and made it her own, and I did the same, making a couple small tweaks. I’m glad I gave it a try because it’s now a part of my favorite meal lineup.
- Crock pot, 4 quart or larger
- Measuring cup, 1 cup or larger
- A dinner plate
- Mixing bowl
- 4 – 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 packages Low Sodium McCormick chicken gravy dry mix
- 1 small can Healthy Request Campbell’s cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups water
- Black pepper
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
I usually prepare this as a meal on my day off, because it cooks so quickly. If you have a crock pot with a timer, which I presently do not, it could be an anytime meal! To start with you’ll want to mix the water, can of soup and gravy packets together in the bowl with a whisk. Make sure to get the gravy powder as dissolved as possible. Next cover the top of the mixture with pepper. I like to be liberal here, but do so for your own tastes.
Place the chicken breasts inside the crock pot. Mine have always been frozen as I have done this, so if you decide to use ones that are thawed I am sure the cooking time will be decreased greatly. Pour the ‘gravy’ mixture over the top of the chicken, pop on the lid and put it on the low heat setting.
If I am preparing the meal just for the one evening I normally will use my four quart crock pot. It will easily fit four chicken breasts, potentially up to six depending on their size. At a low setting the frozen chicken will take four to four and a half hours to cook all the way. I usually inspect mine at about four hours and once they are done, remove them from the pot with the tongs and put them onto the plate. What’s left will look like this.
It will look more like a soup now, than a gravy. This is where the starch comes in. Rinse the bowl that you used to make the gravy mix and then drop in the starch. I probably should measure the water I add, but so far I’ve just eyeballed it. You want to add a little water to the starch so it dissolves completely but still becomes a runny paste when stirred with a fork. Get all the lumps out! Now grab your whisk and stir it into the gravy in the crock pot. This is probably the most important step. Always whisk in the starch, if you pour it in and then stir, the starch will collect at the bottom of the pot and turn into jellied balls.
Next put the chicken back into the crock pot and cover while preparing the side dishes. To go with the chicken I always cook up some Betty Crocker Sweet Potatoes and peas. If you are curious about calorie content and nutrition values, Martha’s estimation is: Nutrition Estimates Per Serving (4 ounces chicken and ¼ cup gravy): 228 calories, 5 g fat, 9 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 37 g protein – This does not include the starch I add, which for two tablespoons adds 60 calories and 14 carbs to the entire mixture. 1/3 of a cup of sweet potatoes is 120 calories and 1/2 cup of peas is 70 calories. This is what my final product looks like.
(all this for under 500 calories, and click the picture for a larger image!)