tres chic crock pot chicken

Now that we’ve got about a month of school under our belts, this mama has a better handle on how the schedule is going to go down from evening to evening. We are very careful to limit our kids’ activities to make time for family and stave off the frazzled family syndrome. But even with boundaries firmly in place – church and youth group, scouts and one sport each, the calendar fills up. First things to go? Decent, home-cooked meals and any joy I find in taking care of my family. What shows up instead? A minivan littered with fast food wrappers and a whole lot of mama guilt.

So, what’s a girl to do? Well, I’ve dusted off the trusty crock pot and I’ve gotten down to business. These past two weeks (that’s how often I grocery shop) have yielded a couple of tasty dishes – fajita chicken and slow-cooker ribs and chicken provence. That last one sounds fancy, huh? It is, but it’s super easy.

Since a couple of my friends have inquired about this fancy pants chicken, I’ll go ahead and admit that it’s super easy, super affordable and best yet…super hands-off. What I mean by that is after a bit of prep, we come home to a finished meal. No fuss, barely a muss!

Chicken Provence is a hoity-toity way to say that you made chicken with French herbs. That’s it. Let down? Well, if you are, just remember that your family won’t know that’s it that simple. Here it is:

Because I grew up in a family with a seriously tight budget, my mama taught us how to work that spice cabinet like it was our job. How else could you live on noodles, ground beef, rice and other basics? Gotta spice that stuff up, right? Because this is how we cooked, I’m shocked when I hear how many people are afraid to experiment with spices…like as in aside from good ole s & p, they pretty much venture into garlic and that’s about it. All I’ve got to say to that is “EMBRACE THE SPICE, PEOPLE!” It’s the easiest way to make ordinary ingredients special. Really!

Back to the provence – it’s basically a mixture of six ingredients…rosemary, chervil, marjoram, thyme, savory and lavender. Add a little garlic and sea salt and you are good to go! See how I did that? I took you from salt and pepper to lavender.

But here’s where it gets easy for you. I found a $1 off coupon for this little gem last week, and it’s a perfect blend. So, if you don’t have a blinged out spice cabinet, grab one of these and you’re good to go!


5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 package of McCormick’s Herbes de Provence

1 box of chicken broth

1 pound of small, red potatoes

1 small bag of baby carrots

Here’s how it all comes together:

The secret is in the prep work. When I return from a shopping trip I separate the chicken breasts out into meals – one breast for each person (even a whole one for our toddler), means leftovers for lunch…SCORE! Place each chicken “meal” into zipper seal gallon freezer bag. Add in a box of broth and whatever spices you plan on using. {I’ve used diced tomatoes and mexican spices for tortilla soup, italian seasoning for a pasta meal, even pork chops with rub spices…endless possibilities with this method.} Seal it up, label it up and freeze it up. Then, all you have to do is move it from freezer to fridge the night before you plan to cook it. I add the diced potatoes and carrots and then pour it all into the crock pot and turn it on ‘high’ for 8 hours, as I’m heading out the door to work.

When I get home, the house smells amazing and I’m ready to whip up some quick crescent rolls, biscuits or salad and dinner is served. And with this recipe, you can serve it two ways to mix it up – serve it roast style (broth strained off) or boil/stew style (in a bowl with the broth). More options eliminates that same old meal rut we can all fall into.

Each time I do this, we save those $25 bucks we would have wasted in drive-thru and we get a hot meal around the table…together…at a decent time…without the mama guilt. How great is that?

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