2/12/2012 UPDATE: So here's the thing. Hubby & I are getting a divorce. I'm not advised to blog during this time so... Still on hold here. Will blog again when I can, I miss it so dearly. :)
I can still be reached via email: theunexpectedworldofmommyhood@gmail.com Thanks everyone for your prayers and support at this time. The going is tough, but I am tougher and know a better future is waiting. ~ Meg :)

9/26/2011 UPDATE: My blog is "on hold" for a little bit... there is A LOT going on around here {so there are no worries, everyone is healthy!} and I'm really just not ready to blog about it. I will be back. Thanks for understanding!! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crockpot Chicken

I got the original recipe for Crockpot Chicken from Amber at Paint Chips & Frying Pans (she's pretty much a genius!) It's such an easily adaptable recipe, that I have found many ways to prepare it in the last few months. {I also make homemade chicken broth right afterwards using her broth instructions. EDITED TO ADD: My Broth Instructions. I leave the crockpot on overnight - and it's so delightful to wake up to the smell of fresh broth in the morning... I am so weird, I know!} ANYWAYS, so like I was saying, this recipe is easily adaptable. So if you don't like the ingredients I used for my "recipe" then switch out things you would like. Easy Peasy, let's get started. I am including a few pictures to show you how I do this.

I usually get a 3-5 lb chicken, depending on the current price and if I have a coupon (I'll get a really big one if I have a coupon.) We only eat organic meat (or all-natural-as-close-to-organic-without-being-organic-meat). The chicken I used today {JustBare Chicken, which is available at regular grocery stores.} is 3.91 pounds at $2.29/pound. {Organic drumsticks from Trader Joe's cost around $1.99/lb so I think this is a good price around here.} The total was $8.95, and I had a $1 coupon.  This chicken will feed our family (5 of us) for at least 3 days (not every meal, I'm saying at least one meal a day for the next 3 days if not more than that). At regular cost, not counting the coupon, at 3 days of use the chicken cost .59 cents per serving. I think that is a DEAL! And I haven't even rolled in the savings of making my own broth from said chicken. Even more deals to be had there! {I might be trying to make a point that eating organic/all-natural can be affordable when you really break it down! It's so healthy, too!}

Crockpot Chicken
1 Whole Chicken, rinsed well and patted dry
1 - 1/2 good sized Onions {cut up all veggies how you like them}
Some Celery
Some Mushrooms
Some Carrots
Some Garlic
1 good sized Apple
Season Salt and/or Spices {Lawry Salt is a favorite around here! I'm just using season salt today.}
Apple Juice {about 1/2 cup}

All of that goes in a crockpot for 5 1/2 - 6 hours on High. Of course, if you use a really tiny chicken, it won't need 6 hours. Adjust accordingly, okay?

Variations on the above ingredients may include:
Spices other than Season Salt ~ parsley, garlic, basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, curry variations, southwestern spices, Asian spices, etc 
Liquids other than Apple Juice ~ Champagne/White Wine/Water/Balsamic Vinaigrette/Italian Dressing/Caesar Dressing/Lemon Juice/Orange Juice/Teriyaki/Soy Sauce ~ basically, a flavored liquid (or unflavored, like water)
I adjust the liquid to match the seasonings ~ Lawry Salt pretty much goes with anything. I would totally pair oranges with Asian spices. Or lemons with a garlicky-pepper-Greek sauce. YUM.
Veggies/Fruits ~ I've done this with just potatoes and carrots. I've done this with just potatoes. I've done it without the apple. I've used lemons, and oranges. Anything works as long as you like it. You don't even have to use veggies but I promise it will taste better if you do.

{Part of me imagines stuffing a bird with peanut butter and Asian spices & veggies and dousing it in some sort of soy-ginger-yummy-sauce. Our daughter has a peanut allergy so I can't do this, unfortunately. But YOU could. So do this and then please enjoy it for me, ok?} :)

Note to Parents: I have also found that involving my kids in the slightest way of preparing dinner (letting them dump the veggies in the pot, or put the lid on, or wash the veggies, whatever) helps get me to get them to eat it once it's ready. Just sharing.

This is a really easy peasy recipe but there is some work involved before you can just throw everything in the crockpot. I mean, technically, you could just throw it all in there. But let's do this my way, okay? ;)

Cut up your onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, whatever you're using. Cut them however you like. I don't care if they're chopped, diced, in big slices, whatever. Reserve about a handful of the onion & apple so you can stuff those inside the chicken when we get to that part! If you forget or don't feel comfortable sticking your hand inside a chicken, then no biggie. It won't ruin the meal.

Throw the veggies into the crockpot with enough olive oil (or butter, if your daughter isn't also allergic to milk...) to just coat them. Add some of the spices (the rest are going on the chicken). Let that cook down for a bit while you rinse your chicken very well and pat it dry. {The Pioneer Woman was once very insistent on her blog about rinsing meat well before you cook it. I haven't looked back since and am a rigid meat rinser now. Not that I wasn't before... but just so much more diligent about it now.}
Now, rub the meat (haha) with the spices and let it sit there for a minute. Then take the extra handful of onion/apples/whatever you saved to stuff the bird with, and stuff that bird. It doesn't have to be stuffed full but I think a little bit of something inside the bird helps to flavor it. I usually try to close it up with toothpicks since I don't have those fancy meat hook-closer things.

{sorry, forgot to rotate this}

Stir the veggies one more time and gently place the chicken right on top of them. 
Put the lid on the crockpot and set the timer.

I normally cook a bird for 6 hours on High. It's probably ready around 5 1/2 hours and sometimes we eat it then. Do what makes you comfortable, I err on the side of overcooking just in case. :) 
Also, some people feel okay leaving the crockpot on when you leave the house. 
I'm a 'fraidy cat so I don't do that but you can if you own big girl pants.

About an hour after you put the bird in (or really, you can do this WHEN you put the bird in, I just normally do it a bit later), take a bit of juice/dressing/liquid you have chosen to use (I usually just eyeball it ~ it's about 1/2 cup) and drizzle it over the bird. You don't want to drown the bird in liquid. I wouldn't put much more than 1/2 cup in there because the chicken will make it's own liquid, too. I usually flip the chicken over around the halfway mark & then flip it back again about half hour before I'm gonna serve it. Periodically, spoon some of the juice from the crockpot over the chicken. I *think* this is called Basting?

The chicken always comes out nice & juicy, and the veggies are nice and yummy too. {Mine is still cooking so I have no "after" pictures yet.} And like I mentioned, this lasts us for DAYS. We use it for sandwiches, snacks, with potatoes, it can go into soup, tacos, etc. 
It's so versatile as far as recipes go and I couldn't be happier! 
This is one of my favorite things to make and my family LOVES it. I can't beat that!

{After dinner, I take all the meat off the bones & then I stick the bones and all the other "stuff" back into the crockpot with some more veggies and spices (especially a bay leaf or two!). I cover that with water and crockpot it for another 10-12 hours on low to make my own broth. When that's done & cooled, I drain the liquid and package 2 cups/ziplock. And then I freeze them flat so I can store them like files in my freezer. I will take pictures when I make the broth and post a true how-to on that soon.}

Serve This Main Dish With:
Veggies ~ either the ones in there, or extras. Go-To's for Us: green beans or asparagus or corn.
Potatoes ~ mashed, fried, wedged, diced, twice-baked, once-baked, half-baked, whatever
Side Salad, Fruit Salad, Pasta Salad
Rolls, Cornbread, Croissants, Pita, Taco Shells, whatever
Stuffing & Fixings
Gravy. Or not. It's so juicy!!

I think it's important to always serve dinner with a vegetable. And I think it's nice to have some bread, too.

Thanks for reading! I hope this recipe is as easy for you as it has been for me. Add it to your repertoire! 
You won't be sorry! :)



  1. Yum! I have never cooked entire chicken that way-- but often several pieces at at time...

  2. I l.o.v.e. this Meg!! Awesome post! (couponing... it's something I am just getting into. Might start a page on my blog this week. Do you do it all the time?)

    be blessed, girl!


  3. Oh! My Mom makes crock pot chicken and she could talk about how much she loves it for ages! I must say, it is pretty darn good! I'll have to send her your recipe!