Fall is coming and I can smell it in the air! This is hands-down my favorite season. The drop in temperature, the changing of the leaves (Yes, even we Texans have a few select trees whose colors change with the seasons), Aggie Football, Thanksgiving, and the anticipation of Christmas (oh, how I LOVE the hunt for the perfect gift for each of my family members!). In the Robinson house, Fall also signifies the un-official start of Crock-pot cooking season!
I use my Crock-Pot year-round, but our love affair really heats up from about September-February when the temperature is cooler and the days are shorter. (There is something about making dinner after dark that just seems a little wrong…even when it’s only 5:30pm.) So, in case there are others out there, just like me who love their Crock-pots and are always on the look out for a good slow cooker recipe, I thought I’d post a few of mine over the next few weeks/months as I make them.
Crock-Pot Pesto Chicken & Green Beans (with Couscous)
Fresh or Frozen Chicken Breasts (enough to feed your family)
4.5 oz jar or Pesto (I like HEB Specialty Series Basil Pesto)
1-2 lbs. French Cut Fresh or Frozen Green Beans (HEB has a great pre-packed bag of fresh french green beans in their refrigerated produce section)
1 box of Couscous (I like HEB Herb Chicken)
Rinse and drain green beans. Place several spoonfuls of pesto into a 2 gallon ziplock bag. Add green beans and top with a couple more spoonfuls of pesto. Seal bag and toss until beans are thoroughly coated. (I find that about 1lb. of green beans mixes well in a 2 gallon bag at a time…so if you are doing 2 lbs.–which I highly recommend because the green beans are my favorite part of this dish, you may want to break it up or use a bigger bag)
Place pesto-coated green beans into the slow cooker.
Top green beans with fresh or frozen chicken pieces (I usually use frozen). Then spoon remaining pesto over chicken. Unless you are a huge pesto fan, this won’t exactly look appetizing, but trust me, it will taste great. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. (I usually cook on low–I love that I can start the crock-pot in the morning, leave the house for the day, and come home to a delicious meal!)
Note: If you’d prefer to just make Pesto Green Beans, follow the same directions, omitting the chicken and add 1 chicken bouillon cube and 1 cup of water)
When ready to serve, shred chicken into smaller pieces with a fork and stir around to evenly distribute peso.
Boil water, add couscous, remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes. Toss with fork. In case you’ve never tried couscous, don’t be scared. It’s just TINY bits of pasta and tastes great!
Spoon a bed of couscous onto each bowl (I prefer bowls to plates for this meal because it helps wrangle renegade couscous and is better for holding in juices from the green beans). Top couscous with green bean and chicken mixture, being SURE to ladle some of the juices on top (they MAKE this dish!)
Salt and pepper to taste. (Note: I don’t always add salt and pepper to my food, but I do for this dish…it completely changes the flavor. Eli went from not liking it at all, to loving it with just a little bit of S&P.)
I usually store leftovers all together (couscous on bottom, beans, chicken and juices on top) in a rubbermaid container. This is one of my favorite meals to have as a leftover lunch! Enjoy, and happy Crock-Potting!
If you give this recipe a try, let me know what your family thought. And please feel free to share your favorite crock-pot recipes in the comments below and if I try them and like them, I just might post about them too!