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Friday, June 20, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish

I am starting a new series of quick recipes and/or tips. The goal is roughly one per day for about a month, we'll see how it goes. (update:  I managed 10 posts in a month, which seems about right for my "hitting my goals" percentage LOL) Today's is super duper easy, but can be the basis for many, many other meals.

Crock Pot Chicken

Okay, in my book, I give a very detailed set of instructions to make a fantastic baked chicken. I wholeheartedly stand behind that recipe, but also realize that sometimes you are tired, or lazy, or rushed and just need a quick option. Here is that option:

chicken (whole or pieces, with or without bones and skin, but preferably with)
2 carrots, cut in half or the tops and bottoms that you normally throw away or a handful of baby carrots  (optional)
1/2 onion, cut in half or 1t onion powder (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped or 1t garlic powder (optional)
2 stalks celery, cut in half or the bottom and inside part that you normally throw away or 1/2 t celery seed  (optional)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (optional)
1t poultry seasoning (optional)
2t seasoned salt (I like Jane's Krazy Salt or Colton's) (optional)
splash apple cider vinegar (optional)
hot water to cover by about one inch

Turn to low before bed or before leaving for work (8ish hours is ideal). Wake up or come home to the best smelling house ever. Turn off the crock pot and separate the chicken from the liquid. How much chicken depends on how big your crock is, a good rule of thumb is don't fill it more than 2/3 full.

Don't even *think* about throwing away the liquid! Strain the big parts out and put into containers to use for pasta or rice later. Just throw it in the fridge or freezer. If you have time, you can put it on the stove to reduce by about half to intensify the flavor, but I think it's great as is.

The chicken should just fall off the bones and the skin will just slide off. Put the pieces of chicken in containers or bags (I like to give it a quick dice and divide into about 1 lb portions and store in sandwich bags and freeze them flat) or use it right away.

You may notice that the only parts totally necessary are chicken and water. Will it be the tastiest chicken if you don't put anything else in? Nope? Will it still be cooked chicken? Yup. Don't stress, just throw in what you've got.

A word about buying chicken. Would you pay the same amount for low quality chicken flavored water as you would for chicken meat? No, right? But when you buy the cheap chicken it often has as much as 20% retained or added water and/or flavorings. You are paying by the pound, don't pay for water! I'm not saying you have to buy the most expensive chicken out there, just buy the one without a bunch of water added, it is a better deal, it will taste better and you know what's in it!

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