The worst part is, it made about 10 servings

Normally, as you know, the slow cooker and I are total besties, but once in a while things go a little awry. My plan on Sunday was to make my version of chicken and pasta, which is a healthy, tasty, outrageously easy meal that is perfect for weekends. Here is how it should go:

1) Put one sliced onion, one package of frozen spinach, one package of chicken breast or thighs, and one  jar of pasta sauce in the slow cooker.

2) Let it cook for several hours.

3) Serve it with pasta and a little parmesan cheese on top.

4) Be extremely happy that it took 10 minutes of effort to make something so awesome.

This is what happens when the system breaks down:

1) Put one sliced onion, one package of frozen spinach, one package of chicken thighs....wait....realize that the jar of pasta sauce you thought you had in the pantry was imaginary. Start casting about for a replacement.

2) Decide on a very old can of enchilada verde sauce. The ingredients don't seem very perishable. Maybe a little extra dose of BPA.

3) Let it cook for several hours.

4) Notice that it's still very, very watery. Throw the pasta straight into the mix in the hopes that it will absorb some of the liquid.

5) Become concerned that now there is more pasta than excess moisture. Add some chicken broth.

6) Notice that it doesn't really smell or taste like much of anything. Add salt and pepper.

7) Add cumin and...hmm...what the hell, smoked paprika.

8) Add a can of southwestern roasted vegetable soup.

9) Grab tube of tomato paste out of the fridge. Drop it. Lose it to toddler for several minutes. Wrestle it away from her. Empty it into the increasingly disturbing-looking mix.

10) Despair a little bit.

11) Pull the ceramic pot out of the cooker. Cover everything in breadcrumbs  and cheese. Stick it in the oven.

12) Et voilĂ :

It's like a swamp, in casserole form.
Surprisingly enough, it was edible. I will be stocking up on pasta sauce in the future.

Yesterday when I got home from the grocery store I set Anna down in the yard while I unloaded the groceries. Forty-five seconds later, this was her state:

The mud wasn't even pre-existing. She found something that had filled with water from the sprinkler, dumped it in the dirt, and covered herself. Under a minute.
Last night's dinner was a significant improvement over Sunday night's, mostly in that I managed to follow a real recipe and it tasted very good.

Spicy Quinoa Salad via Serious Eats. Sounds and looks super virtuous, but the lime juice and red wine vinegar give it a nice bright snap. Also, the leftovers look much more cheerful sitting in the fridge than those of its predecessor, Molten Slow-cooker Mistake-goo.


  1. When I first saw the cat and the mud I thought it was cat food! Not like mud is much better but at least less stinky.

  2. Poor Hopper the Cat! He cleans himself all day long, only to be smothered in mud in 45 seconds.