I have come to fall in love with my crockpot recently! There is something about putting food in it and coming home to dinner basically being ready to serve my family with just a little effort on my part! That makes it a working mom’s dream. I need to work on finding things to cook in here all year round but I find that in fall and winter I really seem to get a lot of use out of the slow cooker. Hearty, delicious, comforting meals is my main go to, however I am expanding to soups these days now that I can get my kids to eat them.
I made this chicken just as a trial; I saw a pin on Pinterest that said cook a whole chicken in your crockpot. I was shocked and kind of anticipated it would not turn out great, but like most people (hence the #pinterestfail memes) I dive head first if I see it pinned! I was so pleasantly surprised by how it turned out that I have made it multiple times and it’s what I used for the kids’ bday party.
Purchasing a whole chicken is an inexpensive way to feed a family, it only cost $6.50 for this chicken from my local grocery store, I also added a small bag of fingerling potatoes that were 2.99, 2 shallots for .99 and 4 carrots out of an $.89 bag from Trader Joes as well! The leftover chicken can be used in a lot of ways; topping salads, adding to soups, for tacos, nachos, etc. This also could be used as part of your Sunday meal prep cooked for a few hours, cooled, shredded and added to prep containers with veggies and brown rice (and Franks Red Hot bc that goes with everything). For dinner tonight we are going to eat the chicken and veggies and I thickened the liquid and created a gravy adding one of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen…balsamic vinegar!
Some other frugal options…I have started to keep a container in my freezer where I add carrot peels, broccoli stems, celery tops, pieces of onion, etc and save this for stock. If I am making this chicken just to shred and not for a specific meal I add these veggies to the bottom. Once the chicken is cooked, I strain off the cooking liquid and use as stock for other recipes for the week, drink as a snack (it’s delicious), or freeze and have on hand when making soups. I season the chicken with salt and pepper and paprika for a little color on the skin. This chicken will cook on low for 6 hours or high for about 3-4 hours. I have only cooked it on low because I have left it running while I am out of the house, so while I can’t testify to the quicker method, I know this way turns out delicious. I also love when something has cooked so long that my kids come home and tell me that dinner already smells delicious (proud slow cooker mom moment).
When you remove the chicken you won’t even need a knife: this falls off the bone! A note with that comment…be mindful of the bones! Not only do you need to make sure they are out of the meat (there are way more bones and other not tasty bits in a whole chicken than you’d realize) you have to make sure they’re removed from the veggies if you are going to eat them. I scooped all the veggies out of the slow cooker and then added the liquid to a pot on the stove top. I made a slurry out of corn starch and cold water, added some herbs, pepper and balsamic vinegar and made a delicious sauce/gravy. While this was cooking down, I steamed some green beans because I like green on every plate even though my son doesn’t! It doesn’t always happen unfortunately! Side bar: I told him to eat the veggies first if he finds it hard to get them down and save the meat/ potatoes/ bread/whatever he finds the most delicious for last. This way he can get the veggies down…mom back fire he has started to stick so many beans, asapargus, etc into his mouth at one time that I think he’s going to choke on a daily basis. Anyone have a plan B for me?!?!
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- Whole chicken (remove giblets if inside)
- Fingerling potatoes
- 4 carrots peeled and cut into large coins
- 2 shallots cut into thin slices
- salt, pepper and paprika to taste- cover top and bottom of chicken
- 2 tsp dried Thyme
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp crushed dried bay
- 1-2 Tbsp (depending on taste) Balsamic vinegar glaze
- 2 Tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
Cut and prep veggies, add to bottom of crockpot. Season chicken on both sides and place breast side down (to prevent drying out) onto the veggies in the crockpot. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low. Remove chicken carefully to not lose bones (it will fall right off the bone) and place on cutting board to cool. Strain out veggies and ensure that there is no small bones in them as well… you can add these to a baking dish and cook in the oven for about 15 mins on 400 degrees to crisp up a bit if desired. Add cooking liquid to a sauce pan. Create a slurry with corn starch and cold water and whisk that into liquid. Add thyme, pepper, bay and balsamic and mix until well blended. Cook until reduced by 1/2 (about 7 mins). Serve with something green…mom says!
If you try this one and like it let me know how it went! Thanks for reading!!!