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In the Crockpot: Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes Served with Spaghetti

Categories: Cooking, Crockpot, Food


I love my crockpot. I really do. But sometimes I get bored of all the food tasting the same. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes I want crunchy meat or less liquid, darn it!


This recipe is a two parter. I toss the ingredients into the crockpot so that it will be cooking all day and I don’t have to mess with it.

But then when the spaghetti is cooking I take the chicken out and turn it into a sauce on the stove top. It is easy and worth the extra effort. You are going to be standing there with your pasta anyway.

You will need:

2 chicken breasts
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 packages (8 ounces each) baby spinach, or 1 pound washed and dried fresh spinach leaves
2 cans diced tomatoes, drain liquid
small onion, thinly sliced (optional, I left it out)
a splash balsamic vinegar
1 lb spaghetti, or preferred pasta


Thoroughly wash your baby spinach.


Toss your chicken breasts into the crockpot.


Pour the mustard on top of the chicken.


Put all the spinach on top of the chicken. You may have to squash it down to make it fit. But don’t worry the spinach will shrink way down. You will start to wonder if you should have stuffed even more into your crockpot when it is all over.

Turn your crockpot on low and and go about your day. Let cook for about 4 hours, 5 if your chicken is frozen when you put it in.

About 20 minutes before you want to eat dinner. Fill your spaghetti pot with water and set to boil.

Open up and drain the cans of diced tomatoes. Dump them into a skillet. Add the balsamic vinegar and onion if you are using it.

Saute it for a few minutes. Remember, not an exact science. Just saute it around until the excess liquid is mostly gone.


Scoop out the chicken and spinach from the crockpot and add to the tomatoes. Mix it all up and allow to simmer on low while you cook your pasta.

Stir it every so often. If it seems too liquidy, turn the stove up to high for a couple of minutes, but make sure you stir continuously during that time.


Oh yeah. Come to mama.

Add some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Or sprinkle your green container of Kraft Parmesan on top like the classy people do. And yes, I count myself among those classy people.


My 12 year old son said, “I love this, Mom. It is really good.”

I am choosing to ignore the tone of surprise in his voice.

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25 comments so far...

  • I make a baked rigatoni-chicken-spinach dish that I call “herbed chicken and pasta” so my boys don’t get spooked by the spinach in it! So far so good. This does look yummy!

    Jamie AZ  |  March 13th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

  • Love all the pictures!! Most people probably do not need an actual demonstration of “pour the mustard on top” but I am such a clueless cook, I really appreciate seeing the steps and it makes it look like even I could really do it. Thx!

    Chris says: I aim to please ;-)

    Dana  |  March 13th, 2008 at 10:52 pm

  • This looks devine! I can’t wait to try it!!!! I got some boneless porkchops tonight at the grocery, wish I would have gotten chicken now!!!!

    mandi  |  March 14th, 2008 at 1:30 am

  • Oh and I never cooked from scratch, until reading this blog! Thank you!!! The other night I did my own meal from scratch and it tasted pretty good!

    mandi  |  March 14th, 2008 at 1:31 am

  • Looks wonderful, but I have a question. Is there a strong mustard taste to it? I really don’t like mustard, but if it’s not overly strong I’m probably game to try this!

    Chris says: I think you could leave out the mustard and use a little chicken broth in the crockpot with the spinach instead. You can taste the mustard.

    Okay, my husband is eating some right now and he said he can’t taste the mustard at all. But I am not positive he actually has tastebuds.

    Stephanie  |  March 14th, 2008 at 2:18 am

  • Did you shred the chicken after it was cooked, or is that what happens to chicken after it has been in the crockpot?

    Chris says: It pretty much just falls apart, but I like to help it with a fork.

    Bobbie  |  March 14th, 2008 at 11:29 am

  • Alright, trying this today. Chicken in the crock-pot is my new favorite thing, so glad to have another idea for it!

    Made the curried chicken & sweet potatoes the other day. I think next time I do it I’ll add the sweet potatoes later in the day (I have the privledge of working from home) so they end up less squishy.

    Chris says: I really liked squishing the sweet potatoes up into the rice. :-)

    EG  |  March 14th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

  • The crockpot is my best friend. I think I’ll try this tonight!

    Cate  |  March 14th, 2008 at 5:46 pm

  • Oooh! A crockpot recipe! I’ve got a 14-month old and I love anything I can set and forget:) P/S: I used to say that, what you son said, to my mom when she’d make her chicken, brocolli, rice and cheese casserole. At my young age it was ‘eww’ to think of BUT great to taste:)

    Mishel  |  March 14th, 2008 at 8:56 pm

  • Thanks for the mustard advice, think I’ll try it without.

    On a side note, I made the salsa chicken tonight and it was divine!

    Stephanie  |  March 15th, 2008 at 1:39 am

  • This sounds sooooo good! I love my crockpot. I wonder if I can grow enough spinach in my garden to make this? Well, there’s always the farmers’ market.

    Daisy  |  March 15th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

  • I bought spinach tonight and am ready to put it all in the crockpot tomorrow.

    Natalie  |  March 16th, 2008 at 3:27 am

  • Just please explain what a crockpot is. I keep reading your recipes and realize you use it a lot. I don’t think we use it around here. It sort of sounds like a pressure cooker or something… Sorry for the ignorance!

    Marta from Lisbon (Portugal)

    marta  |  March 16th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

  • lol. looks yummy. and i love that you “want your meat crunchy” sometimes! me too :)

    J. Fergie  |  March 17th, 2008 at 6:39 pm

  • [...] the weekend, I tried this recipe that Chris, author of Notes from the Trenches posted at Work It, [...]

    chicken, spinach and tomatoes with pasta at She who laughs, lasts  |  March 18th, 2008 at 11:24 am

  • I don’t have fresh spinach on hand but I have everything else… would frozen work in a pinch? Maybe added toward the end? Or does cooking it for 4 hours really infuse (I’m such a big foodie worder!!!) the spinach flavor?

    Chris says: I’d use the frozen, just don’t cook it as long. How bad could it turn out?

    shannon  |  March 19th, 2008 at 12:12 am

  • Oooh, this looks yummy. My hub is violently anti-mustard, though - tell me it doesn’t taste real strongly of it?

    Chris says: I suppose I’d need to know how violently opposed to mustard he is ;-) I don’t think it tastes strongly, but I do think that you can taste it.

    Elle  |  March 19th, 2008 at 3:48 am

  • This was delicious and my picky toddler ate it! Thanks!!!!

    mandi  |  March 20th, 2008 at 1:36 am

  • Great recipe, great presentation. Liking the good step-by-step photos — great for us cooking newbs. Well done site - no pun intended!

    Thereal Quidam  |  March 31st, 2008 at 1:22 pm

  • This was absolutely wonderful! Even my five year old ate it. (We couldn’t taste the mustard at all)

    chanelireli  |  May 5th, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  • We have this at least twice a month and the kids (all 4) love it. Thank you so much!

    Charity  |  December 24th, 2008 at 4:35 pm

  • can you add the tomatoes to the crock pot along with the chicken and the spinach? i’m new to the whole crock pot thing:)

    katrina  |  December 27th, 2008 at 9:13 pm

  • I love slow cooking chicken and pairing it with different textures!

    If you’re up for Mexican one evening, you should consider picking up some traditional corn tortillas, cilantro, red onions, avocado, tomatoes, garlic, and cotija cheese (if you can find it). Slow cook your chicken and tomatoes and garlic as you normally would (salt to taste at the very end end). Set out bowls of chopped cilantro, diced red onion, sliced avocado, and cotija cheese. Just before eating, warm each tortilla in a pan for 8-10 seconds on each side, and keep them warm by wrapping in tin foil. Let your family to build their own shredded chicken tacos.

    Melody  |  April 5th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

  • recipe

    jitka  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 3:31 am

  • Did you shred the chicken after it was in the crockpot?

    elizabeth  |  October 11th, 2011 at 8:54 am