Denise’s Slow Cooker Chicken Pesto With Bowtie Pasta

by Denise on January 12, 2012

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We do a lot of bulk cooking because our schedules are crazy during the week but we really prefer to serve home cooked meals to our five kids.  This is a super simple recipe as well as a great way to cook once and eat many times!

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I just bought 40 pounds of boneless chicken breast for a great deal but I need to get it put up in the freezer pretty quickly so I put half of it in the slow cooker and cooked it all at once. When it was ready I used three of the breasts for supper then cut most of the rest into cubes and shredded the remainder.  I ended up with five packages of cubed chicken and three packages of shredded that can be used for all sorts of quick homemade meals like BBQ sandwiches, enchiladas, quesadillas, casseroles, pot pies, salads, fajitas, pizza, soups and pasta dishes.  I was also able to put four containers of chicken broth in the freezer.

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You can make any size batch that you’d like, as long as the lid will close on the slow cooker.  The recipe below is for a smaller batch of 4 to 6 breasts – double the recipe if you’re making a larger batch.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Pesto With Bowtie Pasta

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 6 to 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup homemade pesto sauce
  • 1 box of bowtie pasta

Directions

  • Arrange chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
  • Mix the water, garlic powder, salt and pepper and pour over the chicken.
  • Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Prepare bowtie pasta according to package directions.
  • Mix cream of chicken soup and pesto then add to drained pasta.
  • Cut chicken into cubes and add to pasta mixture.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine January 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

where do you go about getting 40 lbs of chicken at a good deal – I am DEFINITELY interested!

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Denise January 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I’m a HUGE fan of Zaycon Foods (www.zayconfoods.com) – they deliver fresh from the farm, quality meat, seafood and produce across the country and I get my chicken from them, 40 pounds at a time for $1.69 pound. I’ve also just ordered 40 pounds of 93/7 lean ground beef for $2.97 pound, which is an awesome price for fresh lean beef.

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Jewels for Hope January 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

yum! that sounds delicious! If I was able to cook at allll I would try it LOL but unfortunately I almost burnt down my house making popcorn haha

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Caroline Evans January 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I love the bulk chicken in the crockpot plan. Would you mind giving more details on what you did with the chicken breasts? I usually avoid chick breasts in the crockpot but looks like you put a bunch of broth in there to keep them moist. Would love to know what you put in there and for how long you cooked it. Thanks!

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Denise January 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm

You bet Caroline! I’ve baked bulk chicken purchases in the past to put in the freezer but I never had good results because the chicken always came out too dry. With this 20 pound batch I actually only put in one cup of water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and one teaspoon garlic powder then I turned the slow cooker on high for five hours. The slow cooking process creates a lot of moisture so you don’t need more than a cup of water but you’ll still end up with lots of broth that you can save AND the chicken is always tender and moist. Cube or shred the chicken and store it in meal size portions in the freezer to make future dinners much faster to throw together! We do a lot of fajitas, salads and pasta dishes in addition to BBQ sandwiches and quesadillas, but really there is no limit. Hope this helps!

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Carrie January 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm

This sounds like a great recipe. Do you heat the cream of chicken and the pesto sauce first or do you just pour it over the warm pasta?

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Denise January 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks Carrie! It really is yummy :) Great question! I do just pour the cream of chicken soup and pesto sauce over the warm pasta, but then I leave the pot on low for a few more minutes just to be sure its all warmed through.

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Carrie January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Great Denise! Thanks for the quick reply. I am new to cooking with the crock pot so I can I just be sure I have the steps down? First you cook the chicken in the crock pot, once it’s done you take it out, cut it up, add the cooked noodles to the crock pot, add the cream of chicken and pesto sauce, and add the cut chicken back in, warm it up and voila? Is that correct?

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Denise January 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Yes – that’s perfect! Easy breezy :) Even my picky kids ask for seconds of this dish and I take that as high praise!

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Livvy April 12, 2013 at 11:19 am

Ok, I’m really new to this buying in bulk and freezing thing so I might need a little advice…. Here you bought 40 pounds of chicken and used half (20lbs) for this reciepe. The other 20 you slow cooked, chopped up, and shredded to be put into the freezer. How do you end up heating the already cooked chicken when you need it? Microwave?

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