Sunday, October 5, 2008

Slow Cooker Peach Marmalade Chicken

I didn't expect to embrace small town living. Born and raised in a suburb of L.A. county, I thought small town living meant tossing slop to pigs in a galaxy far far away from a mall. But, like Robert Frost, my mom secretly believed that people in small towns, particularly those that raised animals or crops, were of a higher moral caliber than city folk. She tried to create a small town feeling for her big city offspring. Hoping that at least one of her urban children would be inspired to become a humble potato farmer someday, we lived in a home with a backyard barn filled with horses, sheep, and chickens. Up the slope from the barn, we had a fruit orchard and vegetable garden, and we kids had the dreaded responsibility of picking and canning, feeding and watering, cleaning and weeding. I think we were the only kids in L.A. that had to come home from school to gather the eggs, feed the horses, or pick berries for the evening pie.
I'm not sure if her plan worked, because we always had one foot in both worlds. Next to the barn in the backyard, we also had a swimming pool, trampoline, and basketball court, and up the road was the ubiquitious mall. We enjoyed all the pleasures of California living, but with all the chores of Green Acres. Our school mates thought our house was better than Disneyland...and the petting zoo.
Five years ago, The Quiet Man and I moved our family from New York to a small town in the west. Part of the appeal was the chance to live across the street from my parents, who had finally left the city. The idea of raising children in small town America was enticing too. I don't know if it will have any effect on their moral character or not, but at least they'll know what it's like to grow a tomato, throw rocks in the creek any day of the week, have a rooster (we have one in our backyard that has adopted us) and march in a local parade. And ironically, at this point in my life, one of the big selling points for small town life was no nearby gigantic mall.
This last weekend was our little town's fall weekend festival, including a parade, live entertainment, fireworks, pancake breakfast, and an early morning 5K. The Quiet Man and I ran up and down Main Street to the race start line, ran the race, and then ran home so we could have the kids ready for the wee parade that started about 200 yards from our front door. See my Sailor-girl on this singing float with her vocal group? Now she's throwing candy and bossing her brother to pick it up faster. Reluctantly, with light saber perched on his chair, he rushes into the street to grab it. He'll get the hang of it later, to the tune of two bulging cargo pockets crammed with sweets.
Along the parade route, and just 1/4 mile from our house, is a small vegetable and fruit market, open from May till November. With such fabulous local produce within walking distance, it's tempting to skip gardening all together. With pumpkins and watermelons jockeying for position, you know that Fall has newly arrived. Summer fruits are trading spaces with hard winter squash.And there is Quiet Man. Quietly hiding behind this display of peaches and tomatoes, chard and peppers. I didn't expect to embrace small town life, but with charm and quiet, it has really grown on me. And with farm-fresh dinner inspiration just 1/4 mile up the road, I doubt we'll ever be able to move. We bought some juicy peaches after our run, tossed them in the slow cooker with chicken and condiments, and were able to enjoy the rest of the pleasures of a small town festival and still come home to a warm and comforting dinner with my little sister and her family as guests. The sweet peachy chicken juices are particularly delicious spooned over the savory walnut rice, with caramelized onions and green beans on the side.
Wherever you live, wherever you are at this moment, I hope you take the time to enjoy and appreciate what this very moment has to offer. City slicker or country bumpkin, the world is so full of a number of things.
Money Saving Tips:
Be sure to buy loads of chicken when on sale. Fresh or frozen peaches work equally well here. Canned peaches can be substituted, but add them only for the last hour or they'll be too mushy. For the rice, you can use a chicken bouillon cube or substitute water and 1 teaspoon salt. Walnuts can be traded for pecans, almonds, or cashews.Slow Cooker Peach Marmalade Chicken
Estimated Cost: $5.50
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. chicken, boneless, skinless
2 tablespoons flour
2 peaches, peeled and sliced or about 1 and 1/2 cup frozen peach slices
1/2 cup orange marmalade or peach preserves
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
Pour olive oil into crock pot. Sprinkle chicken with flour and salt and pepper to taste. Combine remaining ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Serve with rice pilaf and green beans.

Walnut Rice Pilaf and Green Beans
Estimated Cost: $4.50
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, 1/2 sliced, the other 1/2 diced
1 and 1/4 cup long grain rice
2 and 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
6 ounces fresh green beans
In a medium saucepan, heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add diced onion and rice; saute for about 6 minutes or until onion is beginning to brown and rice is translucent. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in medium saucepan. Add onion and saute until browned, about 6 minutes. Add green beans and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until green beans are tender, about 6 minutes. Remove lid and cook until water evaporates. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Coming at the First Light of Tuesday:
Tuesdays with Dorie:
Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

60 comments:

jenjen said...

Your chicken looks delicious! I will have to try it soon. Your small town life looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Jenny said...

What a great post Prudy. Your small town life seems charming as all get out. We visit snowflake every year and just love those little parades. My boys run around with their sacks picking up candy just like your little guy!

Yummy chicken too.

Marjie said...

The chicken looks great. I love the rice with walnuts in it. Great pictures of your small town. And I love my small town, too. Where else can the police chief pull you over because he wants to check out your new car, when he's not spending the day on the porch of the only store in town?

Marie said...

What a delicious looking meal Erin!!! I also loved your narrative on small town life. I grew up pretty much in small towns all over Canada. You can't beat living in a small town in my honest opinion!

Beth said...

I love being a country bumpkin - wouldn't have it any other way. I lived in a fairly big city for a few years whilst at University but I couldn't wait to get back home!!

gigi said...

I love fall festivals! Or any small town gatherings. We went with the grandaughters to Mule Days on Saturday morning. A little town called Gysie, about 70 miles from here. A good time was had by all. We stopped by the side of the road on the way home and let them pick cotton from a field. I posted pictures of it today.

Our town is having a Stewbily on the 17 and 18th and we'll take the girls down to it too. I think that it is funny that 'KC and the Sunshine Band' will be giving a concert on Friday night. Do you know how old they are?? I saw that band at Ricks College in 1976! So funny.

I so wished I would use my Crock pot more. This really sounds good and easy enough to throw together and leave the house. Peaches and all!

Tami said...

I live in a small town outside of a big city and they have town parades as well. Aren't they fun? It sounds like your family had a wonderful time. :)

Your dinner looks delicious, too!

Suzie said...

What a lovely taste of life on the other side of the world... thanks for sharing some of your wonderful experiences with us. A really memorable post!!!

1215656559s20768 said...

I'm with you on the small town life. I love it.

The pictures of your children are SO cute...you really have beautiful children. I think your little girl looks just like you.

The recipe looks tasty, too. Love the rice.

hot garlic said...

Okay, I, like you, was thinking NO WAY I could handle this. Yet you do seem to make it sound oddly appealing to me... Great to hear all about it either way! Are you not going to give me the slightest hint of where it is? I won't stalk {it's probably too far even when I am in town}.

And it does have a Cafe Rio you say?

These both look so good Prudy!

VeggieGirl said...

Look at all that local produce!! Fabulous!!

Bellini Valli said...

Our small town is getting that big city feeling. We have so many retirees moving here for the milder winters. My daughter grew up in a small town...but 1/2 hour by bus to the mall:D

Katherine Aucoin said...

You stated excatly how I feel living in a small town in the Smoky Mountains. We see horses, cows, wild rabbits, etc. many things our girls would not have experienced in the city. Your chicken looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your small town images, they are beautiful.

Emily Rose said...

I grew up in New Orleans and I never thought that I could transition to small town living- but when a college that I loved offered me both admission and a pretty good scholarship in (very) rural middle Tennessee, I decided that I could rough it for four years! It ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. With no cell phone towers everyone was forced to talk to people face to face, everyone knew your name, professors invited me to their houses for home-cooked meals, and I completely missed about a half dozen fashion trends! Oh and I met my husband there and after marrying him the Summer after I graduated decided to stay on for one more year and ended up giving birth to my daughter! That Fall festival reminds me so much of the festival the town down the mountain from us used to have every October. I'm back in the city now but living in a very small town changed my life forever!

Mary said...

Erin, I loved this post. The photos and the words behind them are wonderful. That recipe doesn't look to shabby either.

Allie said...

This was an excellent post. Your chicken looks great.

Rindy R said...

What a fun day - and Sailor looks like she belongs on a float! One day you'll turn around and she will be queen of the parade! Lucky you! Small town life at its best (or making the best out of small town life?) Either way it looks like a hoot!

Emily said...

Prudy! I know that small town! I actually went to High School there! My parents live in the "big" city neigboring this little town!
Small world!
Your recipe sounds like a fall treat for sure!

Aggie said...

Look at those pumpkins and squash!! I love the pictures, your kids are so adorable and I love that your little girl is bossing her brother around during the parade!! LOL!!

What a yummy slow cooker meal...I'll have to add this one to the list of ones to try. I'm in the slow cooker mood these days!

Candy said...

How fun! I grew up in small town and had a grand time. I even slopped the hogs!

Peter M said...

Peaches do lend well to meats and hey, slow cookers mean juicy goodness.

Also, I think small town livin' is where it's at. Cities are getting too fast-paced and impersonal.

mikky said...

what a great menu... everything look so perfect... :)

Phill & Allie said...

Oh I was born and raised in your little town until I got married. How I miss the fruit stand and Swiss Days. All of my family still live there (thank heavens) so I go back as often as I can! I loved this post because it brought back so many fun memories of me being in that parade! haha

anudivya said...

I don't cook chicken, so am not even try commenting on something I don't know :)
Those vegetables are humongous!
What a charming little town...

Cathy said...

I enjoyed every word of this post, Prudy! I think if more L.A. kids had your upbringing, we would no longer read of the exploits of the Britneys and Parises of the world (of course, then what would I do in the supermarket checkout line?) Your small town sounds idyllic -- the perfect place to raise children. And your peach marmalade chicken sounds like it is going to be our dinner later this week.

Pam said...

Looks wonderful Prudy. I love the idea of peaches with chicken - yum.

I loved growing up in a small town and miss it terribly. We live in a city now but both my husband and I want to get back to our small town roots.

Denise said...

What a cute post! Thanks for the plug for Swiss Days and our sweet little town. We love having you live here as much as you love being here! It is a great place to live. I love it and appreciate your kind words!

teality.wordpress.com said...

Ahhh I love your blog! I'm so excited to take note of the recipes I want to try before I hit the grocery store tonight. :)

1freshstart said...

Dag nabit! I know not to ever read your site before lunch. Oh, my goodness! That looks so good! I'm going to the fruit stand to buy my very first bushel of apples! I love this small town/close to the city life of mine! 20-45 minutes and I'm either on a farm or in the city.

I'm going to have to make this chicken, and soon!
~Cat

Catherine said...

What a great post! I wish we could've been there for the festival. We wanted to come down, but it didn't work. I wish we lived in a smaller town. We always tell Annabelle that we live in the country. It's not entirely true, but we are surrounded by farms, so it feel true!

The chicken looks great. I'm a sucker for anything that was cooked in a crock pot!

Natashya said...

Oh that looks so delicious. I am really looking forward to giving the slow cooker a workout this year.
Your town looks lovely! What a great place to grow up.

Nazarina A said...

You are truly a great protagonist. I enjoyed your tale of small town life and thank you for a healthy helping of the hearty peach marmalade chicken. My first time here!!!

Jodie said...

I love slow-cooker recipes and fall is the best time for them (even though it's 80+ degrees in So Cal today)...

Michal said...

i don't know if it stems from all the blog reading i do these days, but i am itching to turn in my suburban ways for a small town and a big piece of land. i'm trying to convince my husband that he can be the country town doctor and take payment in eggs, pigs, and peaches!:) my taste for the mall and materialism has waned as well. too funny that when we moved here six years ago, one thing i loved about it was the nearby crate and barrel.

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so jealous! Your town looks so charming and sweet! And that chicken looks divine. One of these days I'm going to show up and eat so much you'll have to make my butt into a decoration like Rabbit had to for Pooh. (Please tell me you know that one.)

Prudy darling, you can say anything you want. I'd never beat you up. I only took karate because my Dad made me.

Also, new Vivi and Wade to get your toes tapping and cheeks blushing!

Leslie said...

Prudy,
I have to say I enjoy the posts as much as the recipes, maybe even more so.
I loved reading about our old home life. It's true, it was part Green Acres, part Modern day living.
I am so grateful I don't have to feed chickens ever again, or the horse since the chickens were always clucking and hiding in the tack room. Is it any wonder why I still to this day am afraid of birds. It was all because of those chickens!
You my dear have an idyllic life. You have Mom and Dad, the bakery, the fruit stand, the Post Office, and The Church all within walking distance.
How could you possibly ever move? I wouldn't if I were you.
I loved all the activities and seeing Sailor in the parade and West grabbing up candy. It looks like a lot of fun, and you know me, I wish I was right down the street.
All right, well, great post today, Prudy. Keep 'em comin'.

Patsyk said...

Prudy - what a wonderful post! You make me (almost!) want to pick up and move to a small town!

Your chicken looks wonerful, too! Too bad I am still working on getting my husband to eat fruit with his chicken or meat dishes!

Sara said...

Your Peach Chicken looks fantastic! I too agree on the small town life. We have lived it for 3 years now and wouldn't go back. What a great place to raise your family. I love your little boys light saber. We've got 2 of those at our house so that we aren't fighting over one. Loved your post!

Maria said...

Glad you are warming up to the small town life. Utah really is great!
I made your chocolate glazed oatmeal PB bars and everyone loved them. I put them on our blog today and linked back to you. I Hope that is ok!! Thanks once again! I just can't get enough of your recipes!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Prudy, that was a really great post! What a wonderful place to raise your kids. Sounds like you made the right choice! Your warm and tasty meal sounds full of comfort too.

Lisa said...

Great dinner. Love the desciption of your small town!

HoneyB said...

What a great post! Your chicken meal looks delicious! Small town life is all I ever have lived and I don't know what city life really is all about!

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

Love the idea of a small town! These recipes look sooo good. Makes me want to invite company over for dinner. :)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Small towns are funny! I've lived in some and in center cities as well. My ideal is being in a small town but very close to the city. I'm glad you enjoy living there, it does sound a happy place to be! You come up with great combos, this chicken and peach sounds exotic!

Esi said...

Your kids are so cute. I don't know if I could do small town life, but I can certainly see the appeal.

Mary Ann said...

I can't tell you in how many ways I absolutely love this post. I love listening to you and find myself agreeing with every word you have written. I love that you can enjoy a simple life, with fresh fruits, and small towns. It is just so ideal. I then we get to the food. Yummy. This looks so good. I am just wondering what I can use in place of the peaches because our fresh ones are gone and the store bought variety do not compare! I love this Prudy!

Leslie said...

I hope the rooster doesnt wake you up at the crack of dawn!!!!LOL
Dinner looks great!

The Renouf Family said...

I've been waiting for this one to post! YEA! I really really REALLY enjoyed this meal at your house and I even tried to make a knock off version when I got home. It wasn't anywhere as good as yours.
Everything was so good. Thank you for feeding me so often. I always say my favorite food is Prudy's cooking. I'll be making this soon.

Deanna said...

I know exactly what I am putting in teh crock pot when I get up in the morning! Now I have another reason to get up besides my morning caffeine. Thanks so much.

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

I absolutely loved every inch of this post. Thanks for sharing your lovely small town life with us.

Veronica said...

That chicken looks great! Our town's fall (apple) festival is next weekend...I can't wait!

Sharon said...

Your small town life in a big city sounds so charming. I couldn't even imagine having chickens!

Darius T. Williams said...

Now THIS is a meal I can totally sink my teeth into!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Bridgett said...

There is something endearing about living in a farming, small-town community. Especially when the Fall festivals and parades start coming along. The farmers markets are always the best as well, don't you think? The chicken looks amazing!

Emiline said...

You have such an interesting life! That's a really unique childhood - you did get to live in two worlds.
I'm just used to small-town living, so when I get to visit a city, I go crazy.

The parade and festival sound like fun.

JJ said...

This is totally going on the shopping list for this weekend! And ditto to everything you wrote...growing up I could not understand how anyone, ANYONE lived outside LA Countty. Now, if I could find a job, I would move to anywhere-small-town...sadly, it seems my line of work only exists in cities!

Lainee said...

I just have to say... you live in the cutest town, with the best fruit market around!! What ever family owns that little stand must be really special!! ;o)

Great idea with the peaches and chicken, I think I will try it for dinner tonight.

Rosie said...

Delicious looking chicken. Loved reading about a small town life too and with stunning photos :)

Rosie x

Jaime said...

i'm always looking for good slow cooker recipes... i've bookmarked this one :)

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