Friday, March 1, 2013

Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs

My husband LOVES chicken thighs, so I'm always looking for a new recipe to try.  This recipe couldn't be more easy.  Just dump and cook.  Everyone loved the chicken and you can be really creative with your sides.  The baby was screaming for more and my toddler (the carb lover) ate his chicken first!

Last night, I used the cooking liquid from the chicken (used a fat separator - see picture below) to flavor some whole wheat orzo.  I know what you are thinking - check out the trick I used below to ensure that all that oil and chicken fat stayed out of my side dish.  I also made these delicious, creamy, and caramelized roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and shallots:

Happy Cooking!

Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs
This recipe was found at 
Here is my slightly altered version:
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of all access fat
1 jar of pesto (your choice, as long as its approximately 6 ounces)
1 pkg of ranch seasoning mix
3/4 cup of chicken broth or stock

The cast of characters.
Place the chicken thighs in the crockpot first.
If you have the time and energy, trim your chicken thighs.  I was in a rush when I made this so I threw them in the pot as is.
Add the pesto, spreading it evenly over the chicken thighs.
This is the kind of pesto I used - it had almost half the calories as the other brand available at my supermarket.
I love pesto!
Then sprinkle with the ranch seasoning and add the chicken broth.

Everything in the crockpot, ready to go.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
And after 3.5 hours on high, this is the delicious creation waiting for you.  The house smelled amazing!  I couldn't wait to eat it!  So yummy, this won't disappoint.

 I served this with garlic & shallot roasted brussel sprouts (link to recipe is found above) and a whole wheat orzo mixed with the pesto chicken cooking liquid (directions below).  Enjoy!
Ever seen a fat separator? 

I read about a fat separator with another crockpot recipe involving short ribs.  You pour the hot cooking liquid in through a strainer with a stopper in the spout.  The fat naturally rises to the top.  Then uncork the spout and the "good" non-fat cooking liquid comes out.  I used this to mix with the cooked whole wheat orzo as a sauce of sorts.  My husband sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top and bam!  A quick and delicious side dish.  Would work well with any pasta or grain.  I can't wait to use it on all my sauces and gravies in the future.  Yummy and healthy!

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