Last winter while packing up my kitchen for a long overdue kitchen remodel I had to face the painful truth that I had too many cookbooks and binders of recipes I had cut out of newspapers, magazines etc. Although my new kitchen would increase in size (by a lot) with more cabinets and counterpace (we were knocking down walls, ceilings, pulling up floors down to the subfloor and starting over) The space designated for my cookbooks was going to be smaller than before and I couldn't keep everything. Years ago I adopted my Mother's habit of writing notes next to recipe; although, I now added faces. This helped when I was quickly scanning a cookbook looking for something good to make. A picture is worth a thousand words. And so, my purging criteria was going to be simple, toss the books that have little to no notes or more sad faces and straight faces than happy faces on its pages. Happy face means very good, meets my expectations. Three or more happy faces means outstanding! It went beyond my expectations. Straight face means the recipe is ok but not great and needs tweaking either add or subtract and ingredient or change a technique etc. I.e. Its not bad enough to toss. Sad face means it was really awful. Don't make that again! Now that you understand my method to rating recipes, onto the new recipe from Ellie Krieger. Ellie appeared on "The Today Show" on January 28th doing a segment called "Get 5 meals out of crock pot Chicken!" You can get her original recipe(s) here. For this blog I'm only rating her first recipe which is the Southwestern Chicken - feel free to try her other 4 recipes and let me know how they turned out. I rate a recipe on several criteria's. For example: ease of adapting/substituting ingredient(s) with what I have on hand. Can I cook it in a single pot as I'm the Queen of one pot meals! How many steps are there in the recipe? What kind of special equipment do I need? Any special ingredients? Can I cut it down or expand it to make more if I need too? For this recipe it was too much food for my husband and I cut it down. Below is my adapted version of Ellie Krieger's Slow Cooker Southwestern Chicken. Serves 2: 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 freshly ground black pepper 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (or any kind of chicken pieces will work) 1 large onion, finely chopped 4 cloves minced garlic 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (or a pint of frozen homemade stewed tomatoes from your garden) 2 cups or 2 boxes of frozen vegetables (whatever you have on hand I used mixed peas, carrots, corn and green beans) In a bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper. Add spices to skinned chicken and toss. Chop onion and garlic and add to bottom of a large 6 quart slow cooker. Add the chicken. Add the tomatoes (I make my own stewed tomatoes which I freeze), chopped bell peppers and frozen vegetables. Cover and cook on high or until chicken is tender. I set my cooker to the 4 hours setting. Four hours later - presto it was done! Oh and it smelled wonderful!!! I put the chicken and vegetables over quinoa and served. When I went to clean up I discovered there was still a lot of vegetables left over in a nice chicken tomato broth so the next day I made myself a nice bowl of vegetable soup with a chopped parsley and a dollop of plain coconut yogurt (or substitute for sour cream - I'm allergic to dairy). Over all I give this recipe a happy face! It was easy to make and substitute ingredients and best of all my husband loved it! Its a keeper!