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Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe & Tips
One of the best time- and energy-saving appliances I have in my kitchen is a slow cooker. I mean, really, what could be easier than tossing in a few ingredients, setting the temperature and then going about your day? And you don’t even need to stir!
This wonderful invention of the ’70s can be used to braise or simmer foods and render tough cuts of meat to fork-tender. I’ve used my slow cooker to make everything from pot roast, lamb stew with dumplings, and lasagna, to slow simmered curries, chili, soups and stews. Fork-tender meat can be used in burritos, enchiladas, wraps and sandwiches.
Not only have slow cookers evolved into one of the most efficient and flavorful ways to make a memorable make-ahead meal, but these plug-in appliances have greatly improved over the decades. For example, my first slow cooker was a bit too small in size and didn’t come equipped with a removable pot, which made cleaning up afterwards more of a chore. My updated version is larger and has a programmable timer and a cast-aluminum removable pot that’s safe to use on the stove and in the dishwasher. And cleanup is always a breeze.
You’ll find a wide range of options at Kmart’s online store. For example, Hamilton Beach offers a Programmable 5 Quart Slow Cooker. I also like their 6 Quart Set n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker , which comes with a thermometer probe for meat to prevent overcooking. And if you’re looking for a something a bit smaller and more basic, the Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Oval Slow Cooker fits the bill for about $20.00.
Whether you’re off to work or out for a day of fun with family or friends, slow cookers make mornings a breeze because you can prepare the ingredients the night before, then add them to the pot in the morning. Here are a few other tips that will help you on your way to slow cooker success.
- Use the right size. Slow cookers work best when filled at least halfway to three-fourths full with ingredients, so choose your size accordingly.
- Look for a slow cooker with a clear lid so you can see what’s cooking without removing the lid. Each time you peak you set your cooking time back by 15 to 20 minutes due to lost heat.
- Always make sure your meat is properly thawed before adding it to the slow cooker.
- For best results, cut a large roast or whole chicken into pieces prior to cooking. And it’s best to remove excess fat from meats.
- Be sure to brown or sear meats before slow cooking to improve the color of the meat and overall flavor of the recipe.
- When adding tender vegetables like tomatoes, mushrooms or zucchini, place them on top of meats or add them to the slow cooker near the end of cooking time; root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots or rutabagas should be placed in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- When food is ready, thicken any liquids left in the pot to make a tasty sauce to serve with your meal. Whisk in one tablespoon of flour per one cup of hot liquid and simmer on the stove until thickened to the consistency that you desire.
- Always cook with the lid on and unplug the appliance after use.
Slow & Easy Sicilian Chicken & Vegetables
This takes minimal effort for a fabulous main-dish meal. You’ll need a 5-quart or larger slow cooker, but if smaller is all you have then just cut the recipe in half and you’re good to go.
1 small red onion, coarse`ly chopped
4 – 6 chicken thighs, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh snipped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 small to medium head cabbage, cut into small wedges
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup sliced olives
Place potatoes and onions in a 5-quart or larger slow cooker. Put chicken on top, then sprinkle garlic, rosemary, Italian seasoning, fennel, salt, and pepper over chicken. Place cabbage on top of chicken, then add tomatoes. Pour chicken broth and white wine over all, and top with olives.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 to 7 hours (or on LOW for 10 to 12 hours) or until potatoes are tender and chicken comes off easily with a fork. Remove chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and serve with broth from the slow cooker on the side. If a thicker sauce is desired, transfer broth to a saucepan and whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour to the hot liquid, or add 2 teaspoons cornstarch (depending on desired thickness) that has been dissolved in cold water; cook over medium heat until thickened. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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I too love using my crock pot and have learned to cook quite a few meals in it!
Thank you Kris for such a tasty looking recipe! I have added it to my new cook book and can't wait to try it out!
I love using our slow cooker in the Fall. We have one handed down to us, and I can't believe how much I turn to it for a weeknight dinner. This is a great recipe-lots of fun herbs and spices in there!