"Crockpot Mushroom Chicken"
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can half-n-half
1/2 can water
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
2 4-oz. cans mushroom pieces
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Chop half an onion.
In a large bowl, pour 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 can half-n-half, and 1/2 can water. Whisk to combine.
Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon dried parsley and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Whisk to combine.
Add the onion bits. Open and drain the cans of mushroom pieces, then put the mushroom bits in the bowl. Whisk to combine.
Put the chicken thighs into a crockpot and turn it on High. Pour the mushroom mixture over the chicken. Put the lid on.
Cook for 4 hours. If it seems to be overheating, you can turn it down to Low. Near the end, taste for flavor and adjust if necessary. When done, the chicken should be falling apart, the onions soft.
I made this because we had supper guests coming over the next day and no time to shop, so I looked at what we had -- frozen chicken thighs and cream of mushroom soup -- then improvised based on that.
Cream of mushroom soup is a great pantry staple. You can get similar results with almost any flavor of "cream of something soup" that you like. Regarding consistency, this turned out a lot more liquid than I expected. Once the chicken fell apart, though, it basically went from "chicken thighs in mushroom sauce" to "chicken mushroom stew." If you want yours thicker, use two cans of soup and don't dilute them.
I used half-n-half because that's what I typically keep in the refrigerator. You can substitute 1/4 can heavy cream and 3/4 can water. If you use dairy milk or nondairy milk, it doesn't need to be diluted, just fill the whole can. Using a whole can of water instead will lower the calories, but it's less creamy.
You can use a handful of fresh parsley or other leafy green herbs instead of dried parsley if you have some.
If you dislike or can't have pepper, you can substitute grains of paradise or another zesty spice -- but don't bet on the soup being free of pepper unless you check very carefully.
We happened to have half an onion, so I used that. If you don't have any, you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon onion powder and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Dried or freeze-dried onions will tell you the fresh equivalents on the package. You could also use 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh chives, scallions, leeks, or other alliums.
If you want fresh mushrooms instead of canned, use 8 oz. sliced or whole mushrooms.
This recipe is flexible enough that you can add other vegetables if you wish. Peas, carrots, corn kernels, diced potatoes, broccoli, or cauliflower should all work.
Chicken breasts, chicken chunks, or other boneless bits will also work. If you're using large pieces, you want 1 per person plus 1 extra. Figure 1-2 pounds of smaller chunks.
You can serve this over rice or noodles. If you add mixed vegetables, it comes out like crustless chicken pot pie. We served it with 7 whole grains and mixed vegetables. Five of us devoured almost everything -- there was just enough for one leftover lunch with everything piled into one container -- so figure this makes about 6 servings.