Bring a little calm to your fast-paced life in slow-cooking style when you make a chicken meal that's hot and nourishing, but only takes minutes to prepare. Once you've put the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on and walk away, confident that your crew will be well-fed hours later. Using a slow cooker to create a meal with protein, flavorful vegetables and other savory components frees up your time for family life, work and relaxation.
Creamy Comfort Food
Create smooth, delectable comfort food with simple ingredients when you blend a can each of condensed cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup, condensed skim milk, and chicken or vegetable broth. Pour the mixture over skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the crock pot, turn it to low and let the flavors meld for the next eight hours. If you can make the time, chop an onion, stalk of celery and a carrot to sprinkle over the chicken as it cooks for added texture and flavor. Serve the saucy chicken breasts over quick-cooking rice or noodles with a side of green beans and a salad with ranch dressing, and serve fresh fruit for desert.
Fast Food Substitutes
When the family craves fast food, offer them a healthy substitute with all the zest and little of the fat and sodium found in ordinary convenience food. Top boneless chicken with canned tomatoes, a little chicken broth and taco seasoning mix in your slow cooker. Leave the cooker on low all day, then serve the chicken with tortillas, shredded lettuce, grated cheese and salsa. To make robust pulled-chicken barbecue for another meal, slow-cook boneless, skinless chicken thighs in reduced-sodium barbecue sauce or your own favorite homemade sauce recipe. Serve on whole-grain rolls with a side of coleslaw made with creamy dressing.
Serve up a main course and sides all together when you slow-cook a one-dish meal. Warm the whole family with hearty chicken and dumplings. Simply drop spoonfuls of biscuit dough in with hot chicken, veggies and broth in the slow cooker about 30 minutes before serving. Put the lid on while the dough cooks all the way through, then spoon a dumpling onto each plate along with the flavorful stew. For a light, bright-flavored one-dish meal, layer sliced potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the slow cooker, topped with a layer of skinless chicken pieces. Sprinkle minced garlic and powdered ranch seasoning mix into the cooker, pour chicken broth over the combo and cook for just four to five hours.
Slow-Roasted Whole Chicken
Whether it's for a weekend dinner, birthday meal or other special occasion, sometimes a whole roasted chicken is just the ticket. Leave the skin on, pull the packet of giblets out of the chicken's cavity, and rinse the chicken well. Blend your own aromatic herbs and spices with a package of tangy dressing and dip mix to slip under the chicken skin before you place it breast-down in the slow cooker. Chopped rosemary, lemon zest, minced garlic, fresh thyme leaves and ground black pepper complement the chicken's tender flavor. Set the cooker on high for an hour, then turn it to low for another seven to eight hours as you go enjoy your day. Let the chicken cool enough to handle, then pull away the skin before serving the pieces. Remove the fat and use the remaining drippings for a flavorful sauce to pour over the dish.
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- "The Busy Mom's Slow Cooker Cookbook"; Jyl Steinback; 2005
- University of Oklahoma Health Science Center: Crockpot Chicken Dinners
- "Eating Well"; Barbecue Pulled Chicken; February/March 2006
- Kids A Cookin', Kansas State Research & Extension Family Nutrition Program: Lemon Pepper Chicken and Veggies
- "Cooking Light": Fast Dinners With Slow Cookers
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images