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Creamy Basil Chicken and Vegetables

Makes: 4 servings Yield: 4 servings + reserves
Prep 25 mins Cook 6 hrs to 7 hrs  (low) or 3 to 3 1/2 hours (high) plus 30 minutes (high)
Creamy Basil Chicken and Vegetables
Ingredients
  • 2  cups  sliced mushrooms
  • 2  medium red and/or yellow sweet peppers, cut into strips
  • 1  large onion, sliced
  • 4  ounces  cooked pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 8  cloves garlic, minced
  • 3  tablespoons  quick-cooking tapioca, crushed
  • 8  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • 1  cup  chicken broth
  • 1/4  cup  dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1  pound  fresh asparagus spears or one 10-ounce package frozen cut asparagus, thawed
  • 1/3  cup  whipping cream (no substitutes)
  • 1/2  cup  snipped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
  • 2  cups  hot cooked orzo pasta
  • 2  tablespoons  snipped fresh basil
  • 2  tablespoons  grated Parmesan cheese
  •  Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Directions

1. In 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine mushrooms, sweet peppers, onion, pancetta, and garlic. Sprinkle with tapioca. Place chicken on top of mixture in cooker. Pour broth and wine over all.

2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

3. Meanwhile, snap off and discard woody bases from fresh asparagus. If desired, scrape off scales. Cut into 2-inch lengths. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in asparagus, cream, and the 1/2 cup fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil. Cover; cook for 30 minutes more.

4. Reserve and store* four of the chicken breast halves and use for Chicken and Wild Rice Chowder (see recipe below). Serve remaining chicken and all of the vegetables and sauce with hot cooked orzo. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons fresh basil, the Parmesan cheese and, if desired, toasted pine nuts. Makes 4 servings.

From the Test Kitchen*
  • Place chicken breast halves in an airtight container; seal. Chill for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before using.
Chicken and Wild Rice Chowder:
  • In a large saucepan, cook 1 cup sliced carrots; 1 cup sliced celery; and 1 cup quartered mushrooms in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Add two 14-ounce cans chicken broth; 3/4 cup cooked wild rice; and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook and stir until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or light cream and 2 tablespoons dry sherry, if using; heat through. Makes 4 servings.
  • Nutrition Facts per 2 cups of Chicken and Wild Rice Chowder: 445 cal., 22 g total fat (13 g sat. fat), 140 mg chol., 1019 mg sodium, 21 g carb., 2 g dietary fiber, 40 g protein.
Nutrition Facts (Creamy Basil Chicken and Vegetables)
  • Servings Per Recipe 4,
  • cal. (kcal) 556,
  • Fat, total (g) 21,
  • chol. (mg) 132,
  • sat. fat (g) 9,
  • carb. (g) 43,
  • Monosaturated fat (g) 3,
  • Polyunsaturated fat (g) 2,
  • fiber (g) 5,
  • sugar (g) 8,
  • pro. (g) 47,
  • vit. A (IU) 3013,
  • vit. C (mg) 1,
  • Thiamin (mg) 0,
  • Riboflavin (mg) 1,
  • Niacin (mg) 17,
  • Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 1,
  • Folate (g) 125,
  • Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (g) 0,
  • sodium (mg) 892,
  • Potassium (mg) 903,
  • calcium (mg) 121,
  • iron (mg) 5,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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