Tag Archives: Slow cooker

What to do with that $0.67/lb Chicken?

9 Jan

So I grabbed this whole chicken at the grocery store a few weeks ago and put it into the freezer for a rainy day. I wanted to make something super gourmet or unique. But in the end, what sounded the best, was a juicy whole roasted chicken. Nothing really too special, other than one of the easiest things to throw in your crock pot. Talk about no prep time! First, grab half a bag of peeled baby carrots, give a quick chop to an onion, and throw in some diced celery (in my case, from the freezer). Throw them all down in the crock pot.

Next, take the whole chicken out the package and give it a good rinse. Pat dry and then cover the outer skin with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. I also put some onion and a couple of cloves of garlic inside the bird too. Don’t forget to take the giblets out!

And seriously, that’s all there is to it. If you can, turn the slow cooker on high for one hour, then down to low for the next 5-6 hours. I put the bird in around 11:30 and took it out at 7pm. Later than I anticipated, but you all know how those days go! Here is what the final product looked like in the pot.

You can see how much broth was created by the skin on the chicken. I don’t have a pretty picture of the chicken out of the pot since it literally fell right off the bones. I decided to serve this with one of my most favorite foods, gnocchi. Normally I would make gnocchi myself, but this was supposed to be an easy recipe, remember?

Gnocchi is a potato dumpling that is really easy to make. You can find it in the pasta aisle. Just heat up a pot of salted boiling water, add the gnocchi for about 2-3 minutes (until they float to the top).  Immediately strain and serve, so make sure everything else is ready when you add them to the water.

Gnocchi is most delicious in a rich, creamy sauce. Like perhaps a lobster sherry cream sauce? But in this case of ease and health conscious mentality, it’s a jarred (gasp, I know, I’m lazy sometimes) sauce, but at least it was Wolfgang Puck Four Cheese (so a little more gourmet, right? haha). So I sautéed some diced onion and minced garlic in a bit of EVOO (a la Rachel Ray) and added the sauce and some additional Italian seasonings, like my favorite, basil!

On the plate went the beautiful juicy chicken, next to the tender and flavorful veggies. And lastly, the tender gnocchi adorned with my lazy day red sauce and a dash of basil.

This was a super easy dinner that definitely looked like I spent way more time on it – I love those type of nights. Hubby ate it all up, and we still only ate half the bird. I made another easy meal with the leftovers – any guesses to what that might be?

Recipe Lovers

Chicken:
1 Whole Chicken (small enough to fit in your slow cooker)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup peeled baby carrots
1/2 cup onion, quartered
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 cloves garlic (optional)

Other ingredients:
1 Package Gnocchi
2 cups of favorite red sauce (or jarred sauce, livened up with onion and garlic)
Pinch of Basil

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What’s in the Slow Cooker?

5 Jan

I just love leaving work on the days that I have dinner in my slow cooker. There is an element of surprise for me when I walk through my garage door and take in the initial scent that fills up my entire house. I don’t think I’ve ever actually followed a slow cooker recipe. I just think about what kind of food and flavors sound good, and into the crock pot it goes. This day was no different.

I got these chicken leg quarters on sale at Bashas for $0.97/lb for a total cost of $4.47. I love getting these kinds of packs on sale because they always last for more than one dinner, and they’re always cheaper than buying boneless skinless chicken breasts (which sale cycle is much more rare than bone-in chicken). If the bone is in, generally, into the slow cooker it goes.

I began by adding one can of 98% fat free chicken broth to the bottom of my slow cooker. In order for your slow cooker to work properly, you need at least a 1/2 cup of liquid down there. Otherwise you’ll end up with some dry-charred-shoe-leather skin, not to mention awful clean up duty!

Next, I carefully sliced most of the skin off of the legs. No need for the extra fat, right? This was a pretty easy process considering it was my first time butchering the skin like that. After that, I added equal parts of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and pepper. I then gave each a sprinkle of sea salt. And into the crock pot they went. Two were on the bottom, pretty much marinating in the chicken broth, and two were on top, which meant they would get a nice crispy skin.

I had about two seconds until I absolutely needed to get in the car and go to work. So I grabbed an onion, quartered it, and added that to pot. Hubby and I love onion – I put it in everything! But please adjust to your own tastes.

And then this. my friends, was my surprise when I  got home. I call it a surprise for a reason. With the crock pot, you can’t really test it or taste it as you go along. Raw meat goes into a container for 7-8 hours on low and you hope that something edible comes out of the container when you return home.

Today was a wonderful, delicious surprise. I carefully pulled the chicken out of the slow cooker, trying hard to keep them intact as the chicken was falling off the bones.

I put a small pot on the stove to make some jasmine rice using 3 parts water and 1 part chicken broth from the slow cooker. I had some leftover spinach that was about to expire, so I also sauteed some spinach with butter, olive oil, and garlic as another side dish.

Important thing to note about spinach. This huge bunch is really only one small serving.

And finally, we were ready to eat. My husband’s patience for photographing food is decreasing by the day…

For the record, I got home at 5pm, took pictures, made rice and spinach, served and ate dinner, and we were back out the door at 5:45, with about 10 minutes of relaxing to spare. Now that’s what I call a weeknight meal!

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