Chicken Cacciatore Soup for Virtual Family Dinner

By 300 Sandwiches

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Now that I have a baby, I miss my mom more than ever. Chicken cacciatore soup helps bring back great memories of mom and me.

My mom and I are extremely close. She’s caring, loving, funny and protective. She taught me to be strong but cautious, to love your family and friends but always put yourself first. She wanted me to explore the world, have a career, experience life, but she was always there to hold me when I was hurt, physically or emotionally. She was here for a month when Q was first born, taking care of me as much as she took care of the baby. My favorite memories of that time are her and I and Q cuddled in my bed watching tv, looking for holiday gifts and giggling about the local news and celebrity gossip and Q’s funny faces while the baby slept in her Boppy in front of us.

Of course there were things mom did and said that I didn’t understand when I was younger. I rolled my eyes when she said to always keep a “diddy bag” or to always repay a good deed right away, but I did it because she said so. I thought it was a bit overzealous that she never let her car have less than a half a tank of gas, or the fact that she never went to sleep until I got home at night—even after I had moved out on my own and lived hundreds of miles away. But now, as a mother myself, I understand everything. And I love her even more.

Mom and I still talk almost every day, and I try to make sure we Facetime with the baby for most of those conversations. On Sundays, though we miss each other dearly, it tends to be the day that we’re both either so busy with errands or so exhausted from running errands all weekend that we’re least likely to chat. For some reason, I was craving chicken cacciatore for dinner, and with this winter weather I have been in a soup mood. So I threw chicken, tomatoes, peppers, onions and a bunch of herbs into a Crock-Pot and let it cook for a few hours to make chicken cacciatore soup. While it stewed, I cuddled with the baby and texted photos of Q to my mom.

Though we’re far away, thankfully technology can bring mom and I into the same kitchen as if I were a kid again. If I want to cook with mom, all we have to do is call. Guess this is how family dinners are done in the generation of Snapchat and Facebook.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 28 oz bottle arrabiatta sauce
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon fresh pepper
salt to taste

In a Crock-Pot or slow cooker, place chicken breast, and cover with chicken stock, red wine and arrabiatta sauce. Pour in whole tomatoes, and add peppers, onion, parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano and fresh pepper. Place lid on pot, and cook on high for four hours. Pull apart chicken with two forks and stir to combine. Stir, and serve in bowls over white or brown rice or on its own. Makes at least 6 servings.

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