Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Let hardy vegetables, tender chicken and aromatic spices mingle all day in your slow cooker, and come home salivating to the delicious smell of this lightened-up Italian classic!
ChickenCacciatore_Article

Photo: Yvonne Duivenvoorden

By Cara Lyons

Serves: 6
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cups frozen sliced mixed bell peppers
  • 10 oz sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 26.46-oz carton chopped tomatoes (TRY: Pomi Chopped Tomatoes)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 tbsp low-sodium tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 lb spaghetti squash (2 to 3 large squash), halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 6 tbsp grated low-fat Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped or whole fresh basil, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Sprinkle salt and black pepper on all sides of chicken, dividing evenly. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp oil on medium. Add one-third of chicken to skillet in a single layer and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Transfer to a 4- to 6-qt slow cooker. Working in batches, repeat with remaining 2 tsp oil and chicken.
  2. To slow cooker, add onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, oregano and pepper flakes. Stir to combine and nestle rosemary on surface. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. Pierce squash skin with a fork. In a large pot, add 2 inches of water and 1 squash half, skin side up. Cover and boil for 2 minutes. Remove squash and transfer to a clean work surface. Repeat with remaining squash halves, refilling water as needed. With two forks, scrape stringy flesh from skin, separating into strands. Divide among serving dishes.
  4. Remove and discard rosemary from chicken mixture. Stir mixture and spoon over top of squash, dividing evening. Garnish with Parmesan and, if desired, basil.

Nutrients per serving (2 cups squash, 1 cup chicken cacciatore mixture, 1 tbsp Parmesan): Calories: 374, Total Fat: 7 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 48 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 11 g, Protein: 34 g, Sodium: 361 mg, Cholesterol: 66 mg

Nutritional Bonus: A generous helping of bell peppers and tomatoes in this cacciatore means just one serving contains 74% of your daily vitamin C. The immune-boosting vitamin is a powerful antioxidant, and may help protect your body from the harmful toxins associated with the metabolism of fat.

MAKE AHEAD:
Prepare Step 3 the night before or up to 2 days before serving. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.