4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

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Oh my. 

 

I was so excited this week to find a 21 Day Fix recipe that also works in Mrs. Potts.

 

WOO-stinkin’-HOOO!

 

(I know, I know, that’s a little too much excitement, but cooking in Mrs. Potts makes me happy, and there aren’t all that many 21 Day Fix recipes that work well in my crockpot!)

 

But this one does. 

 

It’s simple.

 

(Really simple.)

 

And, you can cook up a ton of chicken breast like I did if you like, bake some for dinner tonight, then leave the rest in the slow cooker to cook a wee bit longer and shred it up for nachos.

 

If you’re 21 day fixin’, you can use the meat for Mexican lettuce wraps or taco salad. You’re welcome. :)  

Let’s get started. 

 

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Dump your chicken in Mrs. Potts.

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Pour on some taco seasoning (if you’re doing the 21 Day Fix perfectly, pick up low sodium taco seasoning – this is what I had in my pantry, so I decided to work with it!)

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Pour on a jar of salsa.

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Let Mrs. Potts do the cooking for about 2 hours on high. (Don’t let her cook longer than that or the meat will shred up and you won’t be able to bake it.

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Once meat has cooked, transfer to baking dish.

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Top with some shredded cheese.

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Bake for 15 more minutes . . .

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And top with a little extra salsa.

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Perfection!

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4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

PRINT RECIPERecipe adapted from jocooks.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 jar mild salsa (about 2 cups – low sugar salsa is best on 21 Day Fix)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (low sodium taco seasoning is best on 21 Day Fix)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, Mexican blend

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour the salsa to cover them. Cook between 1½ to 2 hours on high, don’t cook longer because it will start to fall apart.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  3. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or grease and carefully place the chicken in the dish. Spoon the leftover salsa/sauce (from the slow cooker) over the chicken and sprinkle with the cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until it’s nice and golden brown, and you see the sauce and cheese bubbling.

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Note: I baked all 10 chicken breasts that I had, but only pulled out 4 to bake for dinner. I left the rest in Mrs. Potts to cook for another hour, then shredded it to use for tacos, nachos, and taco salads (I even froze some for a quick dinner in a pinch.) Love that!

21 Day Fix Counts

  • 1 red container
  • 1/2 green container
  • 1 blue container for cheese (use less if you’d rather it count for less!)

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Looking for more chicken recipes:

 

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15 Slow Cooker Secrets To Success

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Have I mentioned lately I love my slow cooker (aka Mrs. Potts?) :) Y’all know I do ~ seriously one of my favorite things ever to use in my kitchen.

 

If you don’t use a slow cooker very often though, there are a few secrets you’ll want to know before slow cooking to help the process go more smoothly. Here are the things I stick to when I slow cook . . .

 

1. A slow cooker and crock pot are the same thing.

Crock Pot is a specific brand of slow cooker, so if you find a recipes for a slow cooker or crockpot, they’ll all work in your slow cooker (or crock pot.) :) 

2. Find the right size slow cooker.

Slow cookers come in all different sizes, and depending on the size of your family you’ll want to make sure you use the right size. I use a 4 1/2 quart slow cooker for our family for most recipes, but also have an 8 quart for making larger recipes (I sometimes use it to cook 2 whole chickens at once.) Depending on the size of your family, you’ll want to get one that’s big enough, but not too big so things cook correctly.

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3.  Pick the right cut of meat.

While I cook just about everything in the slow cooker, there are certain cuts of meat that seem to do better for me. Here are my “proven winners”:

  • Beef shoulder roasts (also chuck roasts, but I think shoulder roasts tend to be less fatty)
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • short ribs
  • pork shoulder
  • pork tenderloin

4. Plan ahead.

Be sure to plan slow cooker meals ahead of time, especially if you’re heading out the door early in the morning. Chop your veggies, set out your ingredients, and make sure to have your meat ready to go.  If a recipe requires the meat to be pre-cooked, take care of that the night before too.

5. Most recipes that tell you to brown the meat ahead of time are okay without the extra browning step.

If you’re in a hurry and a recipe (typically for pork or beef) tells you to brown the meat ahead of time, skip this step in a pinch. The recipe may be a little more flavorful if you have a few minutes to saute the meat, but most recipes will be fine even without that extra step.

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6. Fill your slow cooker no more than 3/4 way full.

Also, you don’t want your slow cooker too empty or the food will dry out, so make sure it’s at least half full. 

7. Know where the heat comes from.

The heat in your slow cooker comes from below the crockpot, so you want to place items that take longest to cook (typically veggies like potatoes and carrots) on the bottom. 

8. Layer your ingredients.

Most recipes recommend putting veggies in the bottom before adding meat on top. Here’s a general guideline:

  • Layer root veggies (carrots, potatoes) first (make sure these and all veggies are cubed before adding to crockpot)
  • Then add in other vegetables
  • Next add in meat or poultry
  • Lastly add on additional seasonings or sauces
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9. Keep the lid on.

To keep the heat in and make sure your meal cooks properly, keep the lid on your slow cooker throughout the day. 

 

10. Most crockpot recipes (other than soups) don’t require much liquid.

It’s easy to want to ad quite a bit of liquid to recipes, however because liquids don’t evaporate easily in the slow cooker, most of the moisture cooked out of your meat will keep it moist. Add the recommended liquids in the recipe, but don’t overdo it.

11. Newer slow cooker cook much more quickly than older models.

If you’ve purchased a slow cooker in the last few years, you’ll notice it cooks much faster than an older version. If you get a new slow cooker, I recommend trying it out the first few times while you’re at home to gauge how quickly it cooks.

(For example, my newer slow cooker easily cooks boneless, skinless chicken breast in four hours on low.)

 

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12. As a rule, meat needs to be cooked to 140° or above.
  • Poultry cooked to 180°
  • Meat cooked to 165°

 

13. To prevent food from sticking to your slow cooker, spray with cooking spray prior to cooking.

I’ve also heard you can add bacon to the bottom of your slow cooker to prevent food from sticking and add extra flavor. I haven’t tried it myself, but yum. :) 

14. Many recipes can be changed to slow cooker recipes by changing the cooking times.

Typically, when cooking on the “low” setting on your slow cooker it should be cooking around 200°, and the “high” setting cooks around 300°.

Here’s a general idea of how to swap things out . . .

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15. Some things don’t cook well in the slow cooker.

While you can cook many (many) things in the slow cooker, not everything will work. Here are a few things I generally avoid cooking in Mrs. Potts.

  • rice
  • pasta – instead cook on stove top and add it for the last 30 minutes of cooking if you’re making a recipe that requires cooked pasta (note – I have made macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker, I still cook the pasta ahead of time, and the entire recipe cooks for just 2 hours)
  • tender veggies (think peas and asparagus)
  • seafood
  • most dairy products – if a recipe calls for dairy, make sure to add it in add the end of the cooking time to keep it from curdling

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Looking for a great slow cooker? Here are a few I recommend . . . 

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Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker (lowest price ever $23.99)

 

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 Crock Pot Manual Stainless Steel Slow Cooker (lowest price ever $23.99)

 

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Crock-Pot Casserole Crock 3.5-Quart Slow Cookers in Black (lowest price ever $29.99)

 

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 Not sure what to make in your slow cooker this weekend?  Here are a few of our family’s favorite recipes to try. . .

Can’t get enough of your slow cooker? Here are 5 Reasons You Need to Use Your Slow Cooker Every Single Week + a few more recipes to get you started.

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders

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I was completely scared off the first time I made these after reading through the ingredients, however since our pantry always has a few bottles of Frank’s Hot Sauce (because my hubby is addicted to Buffalo Chicken Dip), I decided to try them out a few years ago, and now they’re on our regular dinner rotation.

Here’s a quick warning though:  this recipe is just a wee bit on the spicy side (obviously!), so if you tend to shy away from spicy foods try out these yummy-slow-cooker-not-spicy-at-all barbecue sandwiches. 😉

To pinch those pennies on dry ranch packets, we use this homemade mix.

I’m super excited because not only is this good for you, you can seriously pinch some pennies on this recipe this week. Check this out:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast $1.67/lb this week at Fresh Thyme or Sprouts
  • $.50/1 Frank’s Red Hot Sauce coupon should make it around 9¢ if your store doubles, 59¢ without coupon doubles
  • Watch for rolls on clearance ~ I lucked into those whole wheat dinner rolls at Kroger for just $.88 and they were perfect

 

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 10 oz. Frank’s Hot Sauce (use $.50/1 Frank’s Hot Sauce coupon)
  • 1 dry ranch dressing packet
  • 1 package dinner Rolls (our favorite are King’s Hawaiian Rolls)
  • ranch dressing for topping

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in crockpot.
  2. Mix together ranch seasoning and hot sauce, pour over the meat.
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  4. Shred chicken, and slice buns in half.
  5. Add chicken to buns, drizzle with ranch dressing.
  6. Enjoy!

 PRINT RECIPE

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Need a slow cooker to get started? Here are a few decent deals on Amazon:

 

See more Slow Cooker recipes HERE.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE, and don’t miss this penny-pinched collection of Slow Cooker Recipes!

 

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Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Looking for a twist on plain old chicken cacciatore? Here you go!

 

After scoring a great price on pork chops last week at Fresh Thyme, I had to come up with something to actually do with them.

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And while normally I’d grill them or bake them, I came across this recipe and decided to try it out. (My husband loves any type of spaghetti and I haven’t made it in ages.)

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This was so good, and easy. I did brown the pork chops ahead of time but several commenters shared that they skipped that step and it worked out fine too ~ easy way to make a different meal and have it all ready early in the day for a busy weeknight!

 

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Here’s how to get started . . . 

 

Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 18 oz jar pasta sauce
  • 18 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced (I omitted them because I didn’t have any, but they would have been so good!)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese (substituted with shredded Mozzarella)

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Directions

  1. Lightly brown pork chops in olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Place pork chops in slow cooker.
  3. Cook onion same pan over medium heat until browned.
  4. Add in mushrooms and bell pepper, cook until these vegetables are tender.
  5. Add in pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, and white wine or chicken broth.
  6. Season with Italian seasoning, basil, and garlic.
  7. Cover pork chops with tomato sauce.
  8. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  9. Serve over cooked pasta, and top with mozzarella cheese. Enjoy!

 

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Love slow cooker recipes? Here are 5 reasons you need to use your slow cooker every single week + 17 recipes to help you get started. 

 

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And if you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, this one has fantastic reviews!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

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I love me some white chicken chili.

 

Like really, L.O.V.E. it. 

 

And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, you can easily swap out leftover turkey with chicken too.  I made up this pot last week for dinner, and loved that we had plenty for leftovers for dinner, plus I ate it for lunch all week too. Yum!

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Here’s how to get started . . . 

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili (makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz can chicken broth
  • 14 oz can navy beans
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • (2) 14 oz. cans white corn
  • (2) 4 oz cans cohpped green chiles
  • (4) 14 oz cans navy beans, rinsed & drained
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Directions

  1. Add chicken to slow cooker.
  2. Cover with remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook on low 7-8 hours.
  4. Remove chicken and shred.
  5. Return chicken to slow cooker.
  6. Cook an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
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5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Love slow cooker recipes? Here are 5 reasons you need to use your slow cooker every single week + 17 recipes to help you get started. 

 

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And if you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, this one has fantastic reviews!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

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This is one of those meals we hardly ever have at our house, but it’s my husband’s favorite so I  made it this week. (Honestly, he likes this one even better but using my slow cooker once a week is oh-so-worth it so I decided to make the slow cooker version instead.)

If you need a super easy meal mixed up in 5 minutes, this one’s for you. Such a great way to get dinner done in a pinch!

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken & Dressing

Ingredients

  1. 1 can cream of chicken soup (reduced fat is fine)
  2. 4 – 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 4 the last time and for our family of 5 that wasn’t nearly enough – will definitely add in 6 next time!)
  3. 1 1/4 cup water
  4. 1/4 cup margarine, melted (I’m betting you could use just a tablespoon if you’d like to reduce the calories)
  5. 6 oz. package dressing

Directions

  1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of the crockpot (frozen chicken breast is fine also, you may just want to add a little extra cooking time but I think it makes the meat more tender)
  2. Pour soup on top of the chicken breast.
  3. Mix together melted margarine and water.  Stir in dressing.
  4. Pour dressing mixture over the chicken and soup.
  5. Cook on low for four hours in the crockpot.
  6. Serve.

 

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Love slow cooker recipes? Here are 5 reasons you need to use your slow cooker every single week + 17 recipes to help you get started. 

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

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Like I shared Monday, I love my slow cooker. Mrs. Potts requires me to plan ahead, and guarantees that we have something yummy for dinner on the nights when I’m willing to pull her out of her cupboard. :)

 

And having dinner done in less than 10 minutes is such a gift around here. If you need a night off from really cooking, this recipe’s for you. The best part is that it makes a bunch, so odds are you can serve it as fajitas one night, then hang onto the leftovers to make Chicken Nachos later in the week (that’s our plan for tomorrow night.) Love that! Here’s the recipe so you can get slow cooking to . . .

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 large peppers (I used 2 green and one red), cut into strips
  • 3/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 2 packages fajita seasoning mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 16 10-inch flour tortillas
  • fajita toppings – shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole

Directions

  1. Put chicken in slow cooker.
  2. Add onion and peppers.
  3. In bowl, mix salsa, fajita seasoning mix, and cayenne pepper. Pour over chicken.
  4. Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours.
  5. Shred chicken with a fork.
  6. Serve over tortillas and add toppings, then save leftovers for chicken nachos or taco salad. Enjoy!

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

Looking for more reasons to use your slow cooker? Check out these 5 reasons to use your slow cooker every week, including 17 more recipes to get you started!

 Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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5 Reasons You Need to Use Your Slow Cooker Every Single Week

5 reasons to use your slow cooker

I was just dumping dinner in Mrs. Potts (I love her . . . ) and was reminded once again of all the reasons I love slow cooking. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it completely limits your options to go over your budget.

 

Of course, because it seems like everything online has to start with a list these days (I’ll never understand why, but since it works I’m sticking with it. . .), here are my top 5 reasons to use my slow cooker every single week. (And why you should too!)

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1. It’s easy.

Most slow cooker recipes require 5-10 minutes of prep work, so you can get dinner started early in the day with just a few minutes of planning. I rarely (ever?) pre-cook my meat ahead of time, and it always turns out well!

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(Um, that may not be true. I sometimes cook ground beef ahead of time, unless I remember to use this slow cooker ground beef recipe the day before to cook the meat. It just depends on how much of a hurry I’m in!)

2. It’s cheap.

Most slow cooker recipes use inexpensive meats, and because you’re cooking them over the course of a day they have plenty of time to tenderize. My slow cooker recipes cost so much less than just about anything else I make, and we eat better than if we headed out to a restaurant.

 

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3. It forces me to plan ahead.

Using my slow cooker once a week forces me to plan my meals ahead so that I know what to dump in Mrs. Potts at least once a week. Because we have 3 or 4 favorite slow cooker recipes that require 5 or fewer ingredients, I always have the ingredient list for those items tucked away in my head and can easily run into the store and grab them. (In case I don’t already have them on hand in my kitchen . . . usually I try to keep those recipes stocked though!)

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4. It ensures that we skip the drive thru.

This is probably my absolute favorite reason to use the slow cooker, and I can’t stress to you the importance of this one enough. When 6 o’clock rolls around and my family is all begging for dinner, having a meal already cooking in Mrs. Potts easily keeps my budget in tact.

If dinnertime comes and I don’t have anything planned, the temptation to eat dinner out (or eat pb&j sandwiches for dinner . . . again . . . ) often takes over. But if my kitchen smells yummy and dinner’s already done, eating at home just becomes the easy choice.

 

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5. It’s forgiving.

Probably more than any other method of cooking, slow cooker recipes are just forgiving. If I’m out of a certain seasoning or spice I can usually swap it out with something else or skip it entirely, and no one will ever know the difference.

 

UPDATE: Reason #6 :) It makes your home smell good, which makes you feel good too.

I love this. :) Coming home to my home smelling yummy and dinner being done just makes me feel ahead of the game. In so many other areas I’m so not on top of things, that it just feels good to know I have it together in one small area of my life (and my family appreciates it too.)

 

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Curious what our family’s favorite slow cooker recipes are? Here you go:

  1. Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sliders
  2. Slow Cooked Chicken & Dumplings
  3. Slow Cooked Italian Beef
  4. Slow Cooked French Dip Sliders
  5. Slow Cooked Chicken Tortilla Soup
  6. Slow Cooked Creamy Italian Chicken
  7. Ranch House Slow Cooked Pork Chops
  8. Slow Cooked Chicken & Dressing
  9. Rotisserie Style Chicken
  10. Open Faced Sirloin Sandwich
  11. Perfect Slow Cooked Pot Roast
  12. Slow Cooker Chicken Minestrone Soup
  13. Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos
  14. Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
  15. Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup
  16. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili 
  17. Taco Meat in the Slow Cooker

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And in case you’re wondering what slow cooker I use, I have this one (which honestly I wouldn’t recommend – it cooks very quickly and there are better prices on higher quality slow cookers out there.) Here are a few great slow cookers though that are priced reasonably right now:

 

Do you love using your slow cooker too? I’d love to hear your favorite slow cooker recipes in the comments – leave a comment to share!
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4 Ingredient Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Note – mine turned out very brown ~ I think because of the cinnamon? I did use lemon juice which should have kept it from browning, but added a little more cinnamon than some recipes called for because we love cinnamon at our house. Would love to hear if yours turns out that color or if it’s lighter!

 

I’m so excited about this! Over the weekend I shared over on Facebook that I was trying my hand at homemade apple sauce, and it worked. I’d tried to make it years ago (but it may have been apple butter that I tried to make? I’m old. I can’t remember. ahem.) But whatever it was, I burned it completely and just about chargrilled Mrs. Potts by baking her in blackened-apple-crusty-this-is-a-disaster-stuff.

 

But when I found apples for $.59/lb. last week, I decided to try it out again. I was thrilled with how yummy it turned out ~ served warm or cold it’s just the best.

 

(My family claimed it almost as good as Cracker Barrel ~ high praise around here.) :)

 

If you’re trying to determine a decent price on apples to make any apple recipes (like Apple Cake, Apple Dumplings, Skillet Apple Pie, Snickers Apple Saladwhatever), aim to pay less between $.50-$.80/lb. during the fall season. And if you’re lucky enough to live near an apple orchard (or have a friend who has an apple tree), this is a great time to stock up!

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Here’s how to get cooking . . .

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 4 Ingredient Homemade Slow Cooker ApplesauceIngredients

  • 4 lbs tart apples, peeled and cored (I use this peeler/corer – it makes this recipe so much easier!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

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Directions

  1. Mix apples, cinnamon, and sugar and place in the slow cooker.
  2. Add water and lemon juice.
  3. Cook on low 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and mashing with a fork depending on how “mashed” you want them to be. My slow cooker cooks very quickly and mine were just about ready at 3 hours, so I turned them to the “warming” option on my slow cooker and let them cook another 2 hours.
  4. Serve warm or cold – yum!

 

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Looking for a few apple recipes? Here are our favorites:

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The Simplest Way To Roast a Whole Chicken

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Okie dokie ladies (and whatever gents are awesome enough to read this slightly girlie site . . . ) :)

 

Today we’re going to roast a whole chicken.

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I know it’s gross. I know touching uncooked-chicken-skin is n.a.s.t.y. 

 

But, I have full confidence that you can do this.

 

(Because if I can do it? Anyone can. For real.)

 

It’s so not my favorite way to deal with meat. But it’s penny pinched. And relatively simple. And really, you are a seriously amazing chick.

 

You can do this.

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Let’s roast a chicken.

 

Ready? :)

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Here’s what you’ll need: 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 whole chicken (I usually look for the largest one I can find)

Directions

  1. In small bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry.
  3. Place whole chicken in slow cooker (be sure to remove the package of giblets from inside the bird prior to cooking)
  4. Rub seasoning mixture into chicken.
  5. Cook on low 5-8 hours, until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Remove from slow cooker.
  6. If you’d like to brown the skin a bit, cook under broiler in oven for about 5 minutes, until skin is golden brown.

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In case you’re wondering, my stock up price on whole chicken is $.99/lb ~ if I can’t find it at that price I’ll choose boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.99/lb because I feel like I get more meat that way. I typically make one or two whole chickens at a time (if I’m making two I use my larger slow cooker) then freeze the meat for casseroles, soups or stews. It really is simple, and the meat just tastes so. good.

You’ll never settle for a Costco, Publix, or Kroger Rotisserie chicken again.

You’re welcome. 😉

And if you have a little more energy and will be home all day, try out this fantastic recipe for roast sticky chicken in the oven too. You’ve got this!

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If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE.

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