March 12, 2013
Making dinner lately has been quite a feat. I try really hard to cook something halfway decent and semi-homemade a few nights a week, rather than just opening the bag of frozen chicken nuggets or making Dan pick something up on his way home from work. But with the crazy schedule we’ve had, plus Dan being out town a lot, plus I’m a billion years pregnant and don’t have the stamina to be in the kitchen for long… I’ve had to make sure to plan meals that are EASY.
Enter: the crockpot.
You know what’s good in a crockpot? A whole chicken. That’s right- a WHOLE CHICKEN! You can roast it right in the crockpot. A total no-brainer. No basting or messy bags or anything crazy. And it turns out DELICIOUS. There’s not even really a recipe… just some basic instructions and you can kind of tweak it to your own tastes, add different seasonings, etc. But here’s what I do!
Rinse the chicken, then pat dry. Rub the skin with olive oil and load it up with black pepper and some salt. Other herbs that are good: rosemary, thyme, oregano. Sometimes if I’m feeling violent, I’ll quarter an onion and shove the chunks up the chicken’s butt. Once I even got creative and made a butter/herb mixture and smeared that UNDER the chicken skin. It worked great! But it was messy and fussy and meh. I usually take the easy route.
Line the bottom of the crockpot with a sliced onion and maybe a few cloves of garlic. Plop (PLOP!) the seasoned chicken on top.
Put the lid on the crockpot and… turn it on. Super complicated. You can get fancy and use a meat thermometer to keep track of the internal temperature if you’d like. I usually do, because under-cooked chicken is a scary thing. I try to stick the thermometer probe into the meaty part of the breast, keeping away from the bone.
Cook for 6-8 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F or higher (honestly, because it’s in the crockpot, unless you cook it for three days, it’s probably NOT going to dry out. heh)
Look how GOLDEN and DELICIOUS.
It doesn’t get crispy like it would in the oven, but honestly I don’t eat the chicken skin anyway, so that doesn’t bother me. I just put the whole chicken on a giant platter (sometimes it falls apart as I’m removing it from the crockpot, which just shows how juicy and tender it ends up!) and then I awkwardly carve it. I’m still working on the carving part… but eventually, I get big hunks of chicken and we usually serve it with noodles and a veggie. Sometimes I make gravy (either cheating from a packet or I’ll use the juice from the chicken… but I’m kinda not that good at making gravy yet so I won’t share my skills on that just yet) and sometimes I’ll do mashed potatoes. You really can’t go wrong.
So good. So easy. Like 20 minutes in the kitchen. Leftovers for days. WIN!