In case I didn’t mention it, hockey season is almost officially over. I say almost because while there isn’t any actual playing of the game in those cold and smelly arenas, there are still meetings, parties, tryouts, and, ohwouldyoulookatthat, a spring tournament on the calendar for June.
It’s all fine. I’ve made my peace with the fact that hockey is now an eleven-month-long sport. It is what it is, and for those of you with little ones who haven’t yet reached the competitive sports years of your parenting career, consider yourself warned.
But it’s not hockey that has me wondering about family dinners these days, it’s football. Ben is playing tackle this spring and Rob and I just realized we’re going to be living out our own version of Friday Night Lights each weekend starting in May, as we travel from town to town to watch our boy play. Somehow in the midst of both of us researching the team and organization, and wondering why this kid of mine only wants to play things that involve menacing body contact (okay, I wonder that, Rob doesn’t) we missed the fact that this is a travelling sports team. That’s right. We’re not just relaxing in lawn chairs on the sidelines of a local field, but rather we’ll be dropping him off to travel by bus with his teammates to a neighbouring city, while we trail behind in the mini van. Suddenly, the shockingly high price of this spring sport makes sense.
While I was anxious to pack up the crock pot in favour of my beloved charcoal barbecue I think I’ll be leaving it out for a little bit yet. Long days away on the weekend means we either accept that there will be copious amounts of take-out, or dinner needs to cook while we’re on the road cheering on our own Matt Saracen.
I loved the look of this slow cooker country chicken stew, only in an effort to make it a more seasonal dish I swapped the carrots and sweet potatos for peas and asparagus. Because those spring vegetables don’t benefit from a long cooking time, I added them in for the last hour. If you aren’t around to do that, steam them while you’re searing the chicken and add them to the stew just before serving.
This dish was a hit with the entire family, even though two people at the table declared the asparagus intolerable and left it at the bottom of their bowls. I’m not surprised. It usually takes a few meals to get them reacquainted with a veggie they haven’t seen in nine months, but I’m confident that by the end of spring they’ll be friends with asparagus again.
Just like I’ll be used to being on the road each weekend.
P.S. If the Friday Night Lights references are lost on you, I highly recommend checking out the show.
Slow Cooker Country Chicken Stew
Adapted from the Cook With Campbell’s website
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2lbs. chicken thighs or breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size chunks
- 2 leeks, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1-900ml carton Campbell’s less sodium chicken broth
- 1 can Campbell’s condensed low-fat cream of celery soup
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chopped asparagus
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ cup light cream
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown the chicken until golden brown all over, about 4-5 minutes. Do not crowd the pan, you may have to work in batches. Transfer browned chicken to the slow cooker.
2. In the same pan add leeks and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms and flour and cook 3-4 more minutes stirring to combine. Transfer contents of pan to slow cooker.
3. Add the broth, celery soup, rosemary and bay leaves to the slow cooker, stir, cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Add the asparagus and peas to the pot, cover and cook for another hour or until the asparagus is tender.
4. Just prior to serving, add cream to the slow cooker and cook on high setting for 10 minutes. Stir to combine, remove the bay leaves and serve.
This post was generously sponsored by Campbell’s, but the opinions and images are my own. For more quick and easy meals kids will love, visit cookwithcampbells.ca