Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

CrockpotsI love a good, hot, home-cooked meal, but that doesn't mean I'm always in the mood to cook dinner. One of my favorite discoveries this season is my slow cooker. It has all the goodness of a hot meal and none of the slaving over a hot stove all afternoon.

 

While using a crock pot may still require some prep work, it's far enough removed from the actual meal that I've forgotten all about it by the time I'm ready to eat; if you time it right, it's like the meal appeared with no effort at all on your part.

 

The first time I used it wasn't a complete success. Using a slow cooker means whatever you're making has to cook all day, or so I thought. As it turns out, a meal can often be completed in just a few hours, even faster if you use a high heat instead of a low one. To create a successful slow cooker meal, it's important to use enough liquid, especially if you're cooking with meat; this ensures things will stay moist and delicious rather than getting dry and chewy.

 

Slowcooker cookbooks from Overstock.com

 

As someone new to the world of crock pots, I found it helpful to consult a cookbook for my first few forays into slow cooking. One of the best tricks I've learned is that you can create dumplings by adding drops of unbaked biscuit dough to your mixture and letting them stew.

 

When you're ready to get started, check out the recipe below. Then buy a cookbook of your own and experiment to your heart's content. If you have any good tips (or a recipe for Lit'l Smokies), make sure to post them below. I'm still a beginner and need all the help I can get.

 

Slow Cooker Dumplings from Allrecipes.com

4 chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons of butter

2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup

1 (finely diced) onion

2 packages of refrigerated biscuit dough

Put diced onion, soup, chicken and butter in the slow cooker; then add enough water to just cover those ingredients. Secure the lid and cook on high for 5 or 6 hours. Thirty minutes before you're ready to eat, tear the biscuit dough into pieces and add it to the chicken mixture. When the dough is no longer raw in the middle, it's time to eat.

 

 

Posted by Jessica Gezon

Jessica Gezon

 
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Comments

Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:47 PM

My first crock pot experiment was lentil soup. It turned out well, in the beginning, but instead of putting in the fridge after it finished cooking, I just kept it in the crock pot on low. For a few days. By the time I finished eating it, it had turned into lentil paste. I still liked it, though.

Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Oh, slow cooker. What would we do without you? I'd say roughly half of our meals come from our slow cooker.

Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I'll try your chicken recipe as soon as I buy a slow cooker, which I really need to do. When I was little, my mom had an old pressure cooker that was the scariest thing I've ever seen in a kitchen. It was great for cooking stews and beans, if the top didn't blow off and put a hole in the wall.

Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM

YUMMM! I will be trying that recipe ASAP. I love making pork roast in the slow cooker. Mix a bit of bottled marinade, some water and some diced onions in the slowcooker before adding the pork. I have left it to cook for eight hours on low, but a little less time is ideal. Once shredded, you can put it in tacos, on sandwiches, over salads or simply serve it with rice and collard greens.

Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:54 PM

These things are great for college students too! Throw some chicken in, add a few herbs and spices along with carrots and onions and you've got an amazing dinner as soon as you walk in the door after a long, hard day. I have a really great white chicken chili recipe for the crock pot that I'll have to get out now. Think chicken with white hominy, beans, cilantro, cumin, green enchilada sauce, cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips! SO GOOD!!!!

Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:58 PM

My problem with a slow cooker is leaving the food in for TOO long. They don't work well if you cook meals for more than about 9 hours. However, I have a great recipe for Italian chicken that only involves chicken breasts, an Italian dressing seasoning packet, cream of chicken soup and cream cheese. Pour all the ingredients into the crockpot and then serve it over rice or noodles. So GOOD. :)

Feb. 9, 2011 at 1:03 PM

I love using slow cookers! The only thing about it that I don't like is washing the crock afterward. My favorite recipe is two cans of beans (drained) for every one chicken breast and lots of your favorite salsa. It took me about 3 hours on high, I think, but I don't remember if the chicken was thawed or frozen. Shred the chicken and scoop the mixture into tortillas; top with cheese, wrap like a burrito and enjoy!

Feb. 9, 2011 at 1:18 PM

I have a HUGE Crock-Pot that I think may actually be the same stainless finish one in this blog. Thus far, I've only used it to keep things hot, not to actually cook anything in it. My sister does make an amazing Crock-Pot vegetarian chili that I may try to replicate some day.

Feb. 11, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Satinflowers, I want that recipe for white chicken chili. Lindsaymichelle, I have a recipe a lot like the one you described and I love it over mashed potatoes. Mmmm...

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