Super Simple Chicken Thighs and Cauliflower in a Slow-Cooker

1 pkg. (about 5-6 pieces) boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
1 cauliflower head, sectioned into quarters
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
20 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
2 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper

In the photo, we used a homemade puree of a mixture of red and yellow home-grown heirloom tomatoes (hence the orange color) but you can use store-bought.

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them, along with the tomatoes, onion flakes, garlic and rosemary in a slow-cooker on high. Cook 3-4 hours. One hour before serving, add the cauliflower, nestling it down into the liquid. (If it doesn’t all fit submerged, simply rotate their position once or twice during cooking so it absorbs the tomato flavors.) When tender and ready, spoon and serve.

Notes: We don’t like dry, chicken breasts in our house, preferring the juicier, dark meat instead. To offset the fact that they are slightly higher in fat and calories, I simply do a good job of trimming before cooking and don’t add any extra fat (although olive oil would be okay). Much of the chicken fat is released into the tomatoes, and most of that isn’t actually eaten–unless you want to. If you do, it is lovely spooned onto potatoes or pasta. There is a lot of flexibility with this dish. It’s one of my go-to recipes I keep in my head.

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

This soup can also be made in a sauce pot on the stove.

Two adjustments (using vegetable broth instead of beef and omitting anchovy paste) make this a satisfying vegetarian soup, so whatever your lifestyle, this hits the mark.

2 tablespoon olive oil (for browning the onions)
½ cup diced yellow onion, browned
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
Salt
black pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced (none if making this for kids)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced, stewed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato puree
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef, chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

First, brown onions in olive oil and then put in a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients, set cooker to low and cook (3-4 hours). If you start this in early afternoon, it will be ready for supper. Before serving, blend lightly with a few pulses (don’t do this when soup is hot, it will blow out of the blender, trust me). In our house, we don’t want a fine puree, only medium, but do what your family likes. You can omit this step and simply serve the soup chunky.

Garnish with one or more of these: fresh croutons. Basil leaves, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.