Crockpot Whole Chicken

***UPDATE 11/11/2014: I’ve moved! My new site is www.lovecreatenourish.com, so anyone here from Pinterest can head over there! ūüôā

 

First things first: my resolution to be more disciplined is going well! I’ve been keeping tabs on what I eat, portion size, and have exercised every weekday so far, not to mention the other important parts of my discipline. Overall, successful so far.

So, I wasn’t going to blog about this recipe . . . because it’s not really a “recipe”. It’s pretty much the easiest thing in the world and one of the most delicious things in the world. I can’t believe it took me over three years of cooking to be brave enough to attempt it. And I really didn’t need to be brave, because, seriously — easiest thing¬†ever. What is it?

CrockpotChickenChicken in the crockpot — a¬†whole chicken. I have to be honest, I just really don’t like working with meat that has bones and fat that you have to pick apart to eat. When I was little and my mom made bone-in pork chops, I’d eat as close to the bone as I dared and then would hand it off to my dad to finish it. When I make bone-in pork chops now, Brett actually cuts it for me, because yes, I am three-years-old. He picks apart the good stuff so I don’t have to get too close to the bone. I know, I know. Ridiculous. He’s so lucky to have me around.

So that was another reason I was nervous about making this chicken, but I didn’t need to worry. Brett dissected it for me so all I had to see when we ate was the meat. And it was so, so good. Tender, juicy, perfectly cooked and extremely flavorful! It was also extremely cost effective. The meat filled a tupperware bowl, and then I chopped three cups of it to make these easy, delicious enchiladas. (Seriously, try them! Four ingredients!) The rest of the leftovers were turned into chicken salad for sandwiches.

The best part was that I made crockpot chicken broth afterward. All you do is add water to the bones/skin/etc., (I did six cups and will probably do more next time), turn the crockpot on low, and let it cook overnight. Once it’s strained, you can refrigerate or freeze it. I realize I’m late to this party as a lot of my friends already do this, so I’m glad I finally joined! I was even feeling congested and crappy for a few days . . . then I made potato soup with the chicken broth, ate a bowl, and woke up feeling almost 100% better the next day. Seriously, if I haven’t given enough reasons already to try doing this, that has to be the best yet!

CrockpotChickenBroth

Here’s the “recipe”:

Crockpot Whole Chicken + Crockpot Chicken Broth

  • 1 whole chicken
  • seasonings of choice (I used garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt)
  • water (I used six cups, but will probably do more next time)
  1. Remove giblets from chicken.
  2. Place chicken in crockpot. (I sprayed my crockpot with non-stick olive oil spray.)
  3. Combine spices/seasonings and rub all over the top of the chicken.
  4. Cook on low 7-8 hours. (I had a 5-lb. chicken; cook less for smaller chickens.)
  5. Once cooked through, remove chicken from crockpot for serving.
  6. Place bones and skin back into crockpot. Add water.
  7. Cook on low overnight. Strain and place in containers to store for future use.

Cheesy Veggie Chowder

***UPDATE 11/11/2014: I’ve moved! My new site is www.lovecreatenourish.com, so anyone here from Pinterest can head over there! ūüôā

 

I have another meatless recipe for you! You’d almost think we were vegetarians around here, but we’re most definitely not. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a vegetarian, buuuut we love our chicken and beef and steak. I just like to only cook meat two or three times a week and keep the grocery bills down, so I’m always on the hunt for yummy meatless meals. As I’ve said before (in this post) I grew up hating all vegetables except potatoes and lettuce, and even then I’d only eat lettuce in salads. Never, ever on sandwiches. I actually still never eat lettuce on sandwiches — something about the watery, crunchiness of it grosses me out. I do heap a pile of spinach on my sandwiches, though . . . which is healthier than iceberg anyway! So there!

Anyway, now that I cook almost every night, I eat vegetables way more often. I don’t know if my taste buds have changed or what, but I like broccoli now. Kind of. Only if it’s cooked thoroughly in a dish with lots of other flavors, or thoroughly soaked with a dressing in a salad. I think my extended family would drop dead to read this . . . I get teased a lot about my weird food tendencies. If it helps at all, I still hate eating plain fruit. Apples are the only fruit I can stomach happily. Seriously. Everything else¬†tastes good, but the texture . . . ick. I can’t handle it. That’s why I make myself a smoothie almost every single day. I typically put in a banana, a lot of frozen fruit, spinach, a little yogurt, and water or milk. It’s the only way I can deal with fruit. I know, I know. It’s weird.

But this chowder has tons of veggies! Lots of nutrition, right? Right.

Before_VeggiesNow, this recipe called for most of the veggies to be sauteed, potatoes + broth added and cooked till tender, and¬†then the broccoli added. Well, I decided to be extra productive on my day off last Monday, and I actually chopped up all the veggies I needed that week for various recipes. I separated them into ziplock bags by meal before realizing the broccoli was supposed to be added later. I wasn’t going to pick it out piece-by-piece now. And you know what? It turned out perfectly. It was still great. Having slightly crunchy broccoli in this soup would’ve ruined it for me anyway, so I think I’ll stick to doing it this way any time I make it!

After_VeggiesThis recipe is so good and extremely versatile. You could probably do any vegetable your heart desires. I wanted to add in a zucchini, but my grocery store was out. I did add in a red bell pepper and extra carrots and potatoes. It was so good, and after the hubby and I had two full bowls, we were left with three more servings. That was my lunch the rest of the week!

VeggieChowderI made some easy-peasy garlic cheese biscuits to go with these, recipe found here. It was the perfect dinner on a nasty, rainy night.

Cheesy Veggie Chowder (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 c. finely chopped carrot
  • 1 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 c. chopped broccoli
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 2 heaping c. shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Melt butter in large pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, and broccoli. Cook until mostly tender.
  2. Add garlic; stir well and cook 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil and cook till tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Whisk flour into water. Slowly stir the mixture into the soup and simmer until slightly thickened.
  5. Add milk; stir well and simmer 1-2 minutes while stirring.
  6. Add cheese and stir well.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

My last post was almost a month ago. I’m not going to go into the reasons for the delay, but if anyone is curious, go to the site my mom and I have been keeping¬†here. We’ve been through a lot in the last month, but we are trying to praise God through everything . . . even when it seems this journey will be endless.

Today I’m sharing one of my absolute favorite recipes. I got back from Ohio last Sunday, and I really haven’t felt like cooking much. This awesome recipe is perfect for those days: throw it all in your slow cooker and forget about it for eight hours. When you’re ready to eat, the chicken completely falls apart and shreds itself as you stir it. Plus it tastes fantastic no matter how you eat it. We usually do burritos the first night, but we’ll eat the leftovers as salads, burritos, or plain with tortilla chips. It’s incredibly versatile. I forget where I found the original recipe, but I’ve added and subtracted lots of ingredients to suit our tastes.

collage1_qtr

This is perfect for our single friends out there . . . simple, filling, tasty, and lots of leftovers. You can eat it for a week, or freeze some! We’ve frozen half of it before to have a few weeks later. How much better can it get? It’s also a great meal for guests. Not only do you not have to worry about dinner, but it’ll be a¬†hit, I promise! I’ve served this to my in-laws, other family, and friends of ours many times, and pretty much everyone has said they love it.

collage2_qtr

In the age of Chipotle, everyone probably knows how to fold a burrito, but I thought I’d show you anyway. The trick is not filling the tortilla¬†too full, no matter how tempted you are. (1) Put your filling in a straight-ish line; (2) bring the [short] sides closest to the filling in; (3) holding those sides in, fold over one of the long sides and push back against the filling; (4) roll your finished burrito!

We’re pretty simple with condiments: sour cream, cheese, and spinach. Because it’s so versatile, this can be as healthy as you want it to be, though. Hope you enjoy!

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

  • 3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 or 2 bell peppers (color of your choice), diced
  • 1 jalepeno, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 8-oz. frozen corn
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 16-oz. salsa
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 c. dry rice (I use Minute Brown Rice)
  1. Place chicken in crockpot.
  2. Mix all ingredients except rice; pour over chicken. Make sure chicken is covered.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Stir and shred chicken.
  5. Cook rice and stir into chicken mixture.
  6. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortillas, tortilla chips, and anything else your heart desires.

Mexican [Meatless] Lasagna Cups

Today I’m sharing a favorite recipe of mine. I’m kind of proud of myself, because this one is 100% my creation. I’m sure others have done this before me, but I haven’t ever seen this exact recipe.

The very first blog I ever read was Kevin and Amanda. It was right after we were married in 2010 and I was always scouring the internet for recipes. That blog popped up, and it started my journey into reading blogs every day. I’m addicted to a lot of food blogs and DIY blogs. Maybe in a future post I’ll talk about my favorites, but for now I’ll just say that there are some awesome bloggers out there who are incredibly talented.

A little while after I started reading Amanda’s blog, she posted this recipe for Lasagna Cups. I think I made them the next week. They were a hit! The hubs and I both love them. There’s something about the wonton wrappers . . . they bake up crispy and golden brown on the edges, soft in the middle . . . they’re just really, really good. So that recipe got me thinking: what else can I put in these wonton wrappers? The possibilities are endless! Pretty much my first thought was something Mexican. I grew up in a Mexican-food-loving family and was pretty spoiled to have authentic Mexican restaurants minutes from my house. Even now, I probably make one or two Mexican dishes a week. I knew I could whip up something delicious with those wonton wrappers in a muffin tin,¬†and keep it relatively cheap by going meatless!

If you’ve never done this before, you have to try it!

photo_2You just place the wrappers in a sprayed muffin tin and layer from there! These would be fabulous as a party appetizer if you just did one layer. When I make these for a dinner, I always do two layers like the original Lasagna Cup recipe.

photo_5Mmm, mmm. They are so good with a little sour cream on top. These are incredibly easy to make and only use seven ingredients!

*Side note on the photography: Yes, I would love to take amazing pictures like so many food bloggers do. But in this season of life, I work during the day and am typically making dinner anywhere from 6:15-7:30 pm. Up here in New England, it’s dark by then. So maybe someday I’ll have naturally-lit, beautiful photos. For now, I’m choosing not to be hindered by the light and I’m sharing what I love!

Without further ado, the recipe:

Mexican [Meatless] Lasagna Cups

  • 1 15-oz. can black beans (or any bean of choice)
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 3/4 c. salsa
  • 1 t. garlic powder or 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (more or less depending on your preference)
  1. Combine beans, corn, salsa, and seasonings in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir well and heat through.
  2. Spray a 12-tin muffin pan. Place one wonton wrapper in each cup.
  3. Place one large spoonful of the bean mixture in each cup. Top with a bit of cheese.
  4. Place another wrapper on top; layer bean mixture and cheese again.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-15 minutes until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted.