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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tasty Thursday: Slow Cooker Roasted Whole Chicken

Slow Cooker Roasted Whole Chicken
 
 
 
 When Paige and Katrina first asked me share a recipe for the blog I was excited and jumped at the chance. Then, fear and anxiety set in. What should I pick? What do people want to see? What if they don't like what I pick? So, I figured the mommies (and daddies) who visit this blog are probably pretty much like me. You want something quick, cheap, easy and yummy. 
Slow Cooker Roasted Whole Chicken.
Check!
Check!
Check!
And...Check!
I am a stay at home mom of two little boys. Four and 16 months. I homeschool them on top of my "regular"  household duties. Oh and we just moved. So, needless to say I am busy!
There is just something gratifying about having dinner "done" by 9am. Helllooooo Mr. Crock Pot!
I do love to cook, but I don't want to be tethered to the stove or tied up in the kitchen for a long time. I can't. Too much to do! And I feel particularly thrifty when I make a cheap meal that I can also use in another meal (or two) later in the week (or month). For those reasons, I make a whole chicken in the crock pot almost once a week. It's usually my Monday meal since I am recovering from our busy weekend by cleaning up, doing laundry and all the chores I neglected over the weekend. I'm guessing you probably have days like this, too. I throw one in the slow cooker sometimes even if we aren't having it for dinner that night. I just let it cook, de-bone it and freeze the meat.
It's true, you can purchase an already cooked rotisserie chicken from the market and it's usually a pretty decent price. But, I am always looking for ways to shave even more from our budget. I can usually find a whole chicken for about $.98-$1.10/lb. One chicken can feed our family one dinner, lunch for my husband (leftovers) and lunch for me and the boys. Usually in the form of quesidillas or chicken salad. One chicken for around $6, a side and a vegetable. Easily a meal for under $10. And when you factor in how I roll it over into another meal...even less than that. But hey, it's math and I haven't had enough coffee to figure it out.
I almost always buy two chickens while I'm at it. They usually have two packaged together for a cheaper price and who can't use chicken in something later on?
 
My first tip for you. Buy these Slow Cooker liners! Seriously. It saves so much time and energy when it comes to clean up. I was afraid they would stick to the sides, melt or just not work in general but I found them on sale for $.50 a box and figured it wouldn't hurt to try. I bought the eight boxes remaining and will definitely buy more at full price. And I am cheap! But they are that good! 
 



Second tip. Put something in the bottom of the crock to lift the chicken off the bottom. It's not necessary. But it doesn't leave the chicken swimming in the juices, makes it easier to get out and doesn't fall apart as much. I used a couple glass ramikins. If you don't have any, just wad up a few balls of foil.
So, cut open the chicken. Take out any parts that may be inside. Drain it off and you can even pat it off if you'd like. You don't have to rinse your chicken, people. That's just silly. You're just spreading dead, raw chicken goo. But do bring your crock over as close to the sink/work area as possible. Set it on top of the ramikins or balls of foil.
Sprinkle it with the seasoning of your choice.
There are several bottled blends or you can make your own.
 Mine is pictured on the right in the repurposed Parmesan shaker. The others are just examples and the vast array of options out there.

Here is the base recipe for what I use for a "plain" rotisserie chicken. I make like a quadruple batch when I make it up. Again, trying to save time here.

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
You can change up your recipe for your taste. Make it Italian style with some rosemary and oregano. Mexican with some cumin and chili powder and so on.




I made one with the Montreal Chicken seasoning (pictured above and in front on the bottom pic) and the homemade seasoning on the one in the back. 

 I cooked it on low for about 5-6 hours. A little longer for the crock in the back as it just cooks at a lower temp for some reason. I am asking Santa for a new crock for Christmas. Cook it until you have an internal temp of 165 degrees with the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching bone).


I used some tongs and a flat spatula to get that juicy thing out. 



 I just served it with a mac and cheese I had a coupon for (Bob Evans if you're wondering). And canned peas and carrots. My kiddos are very particular about their peas and carrots. They don't like the frozen kind and I can't fool them by making them fresh either. But, hey....I'll keep trying and at least they are eating their veggies, right. My boys eat salad, and spinach, and just about any vegetable you put in front of them so I will allow them their particular tastes. Besides, this is my quick/easy night.



And there it is.
 
In case you're wondering. The left overs from this chicken are going into Gumbo (under 200 calories a bowl!) and the extra chicken will be de-boned (special thanks to my husband for doing this not-so-pleasant task), bagged in three quart size freezer bags. I will use one bag for chicken salad for lunches next week (I'll freeze it until I am ready to use it). One bag will be for chicken noodle soup, whenever the mood strikes in the (hopefully) cooler months. And one bag will be on hand for another meal to be named later. I have, in the past tried making my own broth from the carcass and I have been less than impressed with my efforts. Perhaps I will try again in the future to further stretch my grocery dollars.
I look forward to hearing from you all. Let me know what you'd like to see here on Thursdays.
~Rebecca
on YouTube at Pouchfriendly and creationofclay

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