Fall is here! The leaves are turning their most beautiful shades and the air is crisp. The days are shorter and my life is becoming more and more hectic with holiday planning. After all, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year REALLY are just around the corner.
Trying to keep healthy meals on the table becomes a challenge for me. I have to admit that I’m not too motivated some days to pull out my pots and pans when darkness stares back at me from my kitchen window.
My Slow Cooker to the Rescue
So I’m dragging out the slow cooker from the pantry along with a few of my favorite slow-cooker recipes. Flipping through my collection. I find my recipe for Balsamic Chicken, a family favorite. Perfect!
Balsamic Chicken has been a keeper at my house for some time. Mostly because it super simple to make, with very tasty results. It gets repeated a lot in my dinner rotation because the called-for ingredients needed to prepare the Balsamic Chicken recipe are found on my pantry shelf.
Since I had I had some chicken in the fridge in need of immediate cooking–6 boneless chicken thighs and 1 large boneless chicken breast in the fridge (any combination of chicken parts, boneless or bone-in will work) and my pantry staples, there will be no last-minute trips to the grocery store for me.
Why Balsamic Chicken?
It’s super duper easy. The original Balsamic Chicken recipe was given to me years ago and called for several steps before pressing the on button on the slow cooker. My version makes it even easier–just mix up the spices followed by adding vinegar and olive oil. I pour that mixture over the chicken, mix to combine, and Bob’s your uncle. Where did that phrase come from anyway? Anyway, I’m good to go.
The only ingredient needed for Balsamic Chicken the Slow Cooker some people might be unfamiliar with or get confused when staring at their choices on the grocer’s shelf is the balsamic vinegar. I find it to be like extra-virgin olive oil or even wine for that matter, price matters…sometimes.
The “good stuff” is always ALWAYS pricey. But for my simple palate, and since I’m not eating the balsamic vinegar “raw,” I just choose an inexpensive or middle of the road brand for about $6-15,
The balsamic vinegar I’ve been using lately comes straight off my local Walmart shelf, Monari Federzoni Balsamic Vinegar. It costs around $4, which is about as good a price as it gets. The type I use for cooking is not he aged in wooden barrels nor is it made in Modena, Italy or cost $20+, but it works in this recipe. Now if you’re using a balsamic vinegar to top garden fresh heirloom tomatoes or Haagen Dazs ice cream, go for the pricier varieties. That’s when you notice the difference.
Balsamic Chicken the Slow Cooker Way
8 chicken thighs, either bone-in or boneless
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoons garlic powder)
½ cup balsamic vinegar
PLACE chicken thighs in a single layer on the bottom of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
COMBINE the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and dried onion in a small bowl. ADD olive oil, minced garlic, and balsamic vinegar. ADD to the slow cooker with the chicken and STIR to evenly coat chicken pieces.
COOK on low for approximately 6 hours or on high for approximately 4 hours.
REMOVE chicken from the slow cooker and keep warm.
GLAZE (if desired): REMOVE the drippings from the slow cooker. PLACE in a skillet. Over medium-high heat, STIR and REDUCE the drippings by half. POUR over chicken and SERVE.