Chicken is a typical go-to meal for busy families who want both value for their money and a delicious, easy to prepare entree. There are literally no limits to what can be done with chicken. When paired with the good ol’ crock pot for even more ease of preparation, chicken can be considered the ultimate low-cost leader for busy families on the go.
Crock pot meals can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator until the next morning. Chicken can be cut up into sections or used whole depending on the size of your crock pot. When used whole, the chicken must be first rinsed very well, then patted dry with paper towels. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper and any other spices which compliment the sauce you will be using.
Since crock pots keep the meat very moist there is no reason to rub butter or oil on the skin as you would when roasting the bird. While the skin of the chicken adds nice flavor to the dish, if less fat is desired, removing the skin from the chicken is a good way to cut down on calories.
When using a chicken that has been cut up, quickly browning the pieces in a bit of hot oil before adding to the crock pot is a nice way to add some color and flavor. This technique works especially well when using barbecue sauce. Bottled barbecue sauce cuts down on preparation time but if it is not available, a simple homemade sauce can be made by using the following ingredients which can be doubled or tripled to meet the quantity needed.
Barbecue sauce ingredients and recipe
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.
After lightly browning chicken pieces, place them in the crock pot and pour sauce over to cover. There is no need to cool the sauce before adding to the crock pot. Set the temperature to high, medium or low, cover and forget!
The chicken will literally fall off the bone when done and makes the most delicious barbecue sandwiches.
This technique can be done with any sauce. A simple version of chicken cacciatore can be made by substituting your favorite pasta sauce and serving the chicken over pasta. Bottled chicken gravy can also be used. Just serve over noodles or mashed potatoes when done.
Go wild with chicken and a crock pot! Be creative. Try exotic seasonings and sauces which compliment them.
Enjoy the ease and convenience of crock pot cooking to simplify your life!