Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken

My son-in-law was in town for business. We were able to snag him for dinner one night - myself, my husband, my youngest son and my son-in-law.  Yup, I was the only hen in a room full of roosters.  Not the first time and won't be the last.

I grew up with 2 brothers only and my husband is one of 3 brothers with the other 2 never marrying.  Then I have 2 sons and a daughter, but she lives on the east coast.  So me and the men is a recurring theme at get-togethers.

As a distraction I decided to try two new recipes. This was brave move that could have backfired on me - especially as I always seem to try to make them my own with small changes - but one that made cooking more interesting for me personally.

I searched for a crock pot recipe so that I could relax and be a part of the pre-dinner conversation for a longer time.  I found a recipe that looked interesting on for Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks and decided to use their sauce as my starting point, but wanted to use chicken breasts instead and needed to increase the amount of sauce and chicken. Cooking time was a bit of a question with the switch. Many recipes on the internet said 6 hours on low, but mine seemed to be pretty done by 4, so put it on the keep warm setting for the last 2.

With this I wanted to offer a quinoa pilaf. After perusing quite a few recipes and taking bits from each, I came up my own version - Quinoa, Pomegranate and Mushroom Pilaf. A vegetable side dish, some homemade biscuits and voila! Dinner was served.  For dessert, we opted to pick up slices of Tiramisu from the local bakery 2 blocks away. An easy way to end the night. And we were all stuffed!

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Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken

Ingredients - 

2-1/2 lbs.       Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (I prefer smaller size so more servings. If your
                      Chicken Breasts are really large, I would cut them in half lengthwise.)
2-3 T             Butter or Olive Oil
3/4 tsp           Garlic salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1/3 C             Pure Maple syrup
3 T                Balsamic vinegar
1/3 C            Stone Ground Dijon Mustard (love the flavour and the little flecks
                     add texture to the look of the sauce.
Cornstarch to thicken sauce (optional)

Directions - 

Season chicken with garlic salt and pepper, then brown in two batches in a skillet with 2-3 T of butter or olive oil. While they are browning, combine the maple syrup, balsamic, and dijon mustard in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

Place the browned chicken breasts in the crock pot. Add the syrup mixture to the hot pan to deglaze, scrapping up as much of the brown bits from the bottom as you can. Then pour the sauce over the chicken in the crock pot, making sure all chicken is coated.

Set on LOW and cook 4 - 6 hours. You want the meat cooked, but not overdone.

OPTIONAL -  I removed the chicken to a warm plate, put the sauce into a small saucepan and thickened slightly with mix of cornstarch and water as I wanted it to be more like a gravy, but this is totally up to your personal preference.

NOTE - Many recipes I looked at said to cook chicken breasts 6 hours on LOW, but the size of your chicken breasts will influence cooking time, as will the crockpot you use. Mine seemed to be done at 4, so I set my crockpot to WARM the last few hours. You don't want them overcooked as they get very dry and stringy, but you do want to be sure they are done through.