Tag Archives: chicken

Don’t turn on the oven – easy Crock Pot Roast Chicken

8 Aug

Hi there. Remember me? I sure hope so, otherwise this post is going to fall on deaf mailboxes and feeds! I’ve been a bit MIA lately. I’ve had good reason. Our little mini Dachshund had some major surgery on his back, and I’ve been playing momma nurse to him. The good news is that he’s recovering really well, and starting to walk again. It’s a pretty wonky walk, and he flops down more often than not, but it’s a walk, and it’s going to get better as time goes on.

The bad news is that the rest of the world kept going on while I was playing momma nurse. Laundry, cooking, groceries, bills, work. They are all pretty rude considering they did not cease to exist until I was able to manage them again. The nerve. But, I’m BACK. Blessing you all with a weekly (maybe every other week) post of cooking, crafting or domestic bliss.

Today, it’s all about chicken. No, none of my chickens were sacrificed to make this lovely, filling and delicious concoction. But I’m sure they could smell it. And had they been given some of it, they would have gobbled it down like the little cannibals they are. Here is good old Pennsylvania, we had a week or two of fall like weather. Cool crisp nights, cool days. It was nice having the windows open, and the AC turned off. But alas, it is August, and summer is back with the 85 degree temps and ridiculous humidity. What does that mean? It means I’m pretty reluctant to turn on the oven for any extended period of time since it makes the AC run more often, which raises my electric bill, which taps into my food/fun/vet bill money. But a girl still wants a hearty meal of roast chicken every now and again. And wants it to be an easy meal. Something that cooks slowly while I’m at work. And the crock pot roast chicken was born.

This “recipe” if you can even call it that is a fairly simple one. I guess it’s more of a method. And it’ll get you to dust off your crock pot, and be almost done with dinner. I promise you won’t even break a sweat making this chicken. For real. It doesn’t have the crisp skin like you get from oven roasted chicken, but it’s tender and literally falls apart when you go to plate it. You don’t need to add any additional liquid since cooking it in the crock pot does a sort of self basting, and you can use the juices left in the pot to make a homemade gravy.

 

roast chicken sliced

Crock Pot Roast Chicken Method

Ingredients/tools:

1 whole chicken, 6-7lbs

1 lemon

Seasoning of your choice – I use Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb

Crock pot, preferably one with a timer function. Otherwise you’ll need to be around to turn it to warm at the end mark.

Start by removing the giblets if you have any. Hubs likes them, so they get tossed into the bottom of the crock pot. Rinse your chicken off and pat dry with some paper towels. Place the chicken in your crock pot, breast side up. Next, slice your lemon in half and squeeze both halves over your hand held over the chicken to catch any seeds. Toss the seeds, then stuff the juiced lemon halves into the chicken cavity. Sprinkle chicken liberally with seasoning of your choice, put the lid on your crock pot, and set it to cook on high for 6-7 hours (my rule is add 1 hour for each pound over 5lbs). After the 6 hours, remove your chicken from the crock pot and serve!

Since the crock pot doesn’t allow for crisp skin, and you may be into that – you can put the chicken in an oven safe dish and crisp up the skin under the broiler for roughly 5 minutes.

roast chicken whole

Quick Dinner – Spinach & Feta Chicken Burgers

29 Apr

We are getting to that time of year when things start to get busier at our house. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones either. Outdoor chores like weeding the flower beds, mowing the grass and planting the garden come into play. With warmer weather also comes more outdoor activities – motorcycle rides, outdoor parties, weddings, graduation parties, camping, bicycle rides. That means less time spent at home, which translates to quick dinner options on the weekdays. I don’t want to be stressing about what to make for dinner, or punk out and make something that is quick, but completely unhealthy. Since I am on the path to healthier eating, I’ve been thinking up meal options that can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less, but are healthy, filling, and taste great. These burgers fit that bill. You get a burst of nutrient rich veggies from the spinach mixed into the burger, plus the addition of using more baby spinach in place of lettuce. The chicken is packed with protein but lower in fat than your traditional beef options, and frankly more flavorful than ground turkey. The feta cheese adds some dairy, and eliminates the need for additional salt since it helps flavor the meat. I used olive oil mayo that I spiced up with some wasabi sauce, giving the burger a little zing. It complimented the burger very well! Ciabatta rolls were a lovely change of pace from traditional burger buns, and could actually be skipped completely if you are looking to limit your intake of carbs, serving it over a bed of baby spinach with a little smear of the wasabi mayo. We enjoyed these with a large serving of garden salad, and it was delicious!

spinach & feta chicken burgers

Spinach & Feta Chicken Burgers

makes 4  1/4lb burgers 

1lb ground chicken

4oz feta cheese crumbles

1 1/2 cups baby spinach, torn into smaller pieces

1 small shallot, minced

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all of your ingredients in a bowl, and form into 4 1/4lb burger patties. Pan fry – no additional oil – or grill until cooked all the way through, 10-15 minutes. Serve on toasted ciabatta bread with baby spinach and wasabi mayo. Serve with a garden salad for a light and healthy dinner! Also great for lunch!

Supper Time: Chicken Meatball Soup with Spinach and Pasta

3 Jan

Holy balls it’s cold out today. 8 degrees when I woke up. The kind of cold that freezes the snot in your nose when you breathe in and makes your eyes water. Winter has landed. Happy New Year from Mother Nature. Yowza.

What warms the bones on a frigid cold day like today?  Homemade soup. MMM soup. Filling, hearty, and this one is quick and easy and fairly healthy with the pile of spinach and the chicken starring as the meat for this dish. Because it’s January of a new year and we know that everyone will be gung ho for the next month trying to stick to their resolution of dieting and losing weight. Me, I’m just glad the holiday binge eating is over and I can get back to eating like a normal person. (Normal meaning that cookies are not part of my daily meal plan, and I can eat meals AT HOME instead of running around all over creation visiting…and grazing…on other peoples food) This is kind of like a lazy version of wedding soup. But it’s still just as good. Add more spinach to the soup if you like to. Double the meatball recipe. Substitute collard greens or kale for the spinach. Whatever tickles your fancy. It’s adaptable. It’s dinner, from scratch and on the table in under an hour – that includes making the meatballs! How awesome is that??? It’s even better the next day, once the noodles and the meatballs have soaked up more of the broth. Make this. Your tummy will thank you. Seriously. It will say “mmm…thanks”.

Chicken Meatball Soup with Spinach and Pasta
1 lb package pasta – whatever shape you want
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
2-3 32oz cartons chicken broth (depending on how brothy you want your soup. The orzo will soak up broth)
Chicken meatballs (1 pound ground chicken mixed with 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, 3tbsp chives, 1/2tsp garlic salt and then rolled into 1in balls)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
One 5-ounce bag baby spinach (I add 2 bags. we like a lot of spinach)
1-2 eggs, whisked to combine

In a large pot add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Add the chicken meatballs and cook in the simmering broth for 10 minutes. Add the garlic to the chicken broth, then add your pasta and cook to package directions. Right before the pasta is al dente, add the whisked eggs stirring with the whisk to create egg threads.
Turn off burner and remove pot from heat. Add the baby spinach and stir, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle the meatball-and-pasta soup into shallow bowls, top with shaved parmesan and serve.

*I add some more ricotta to the broth once the soup is done to give it a creamy flavor, about 1/2 cup. You don’t have to do this.

Crock Pot Love: shredded Mexichicken, for tacos!

23 Apr

Get it? Mexican + Chicken = Mexichicken! I know. I’m weird. Whatever.

Anywho. Crock pots…what glorious wonderful food preparation machines. With only a little bit of prep work the night before or morning of, you can come home to a hot delicious meal and pretty much be ready to eat! Yipee! I am particularly a fan of the crock pot when I’m working later because it helps me avoid having to eat dinner with the hubs at 8pm. And to make things even EASIER – I discovered through a friends mom the fantabulousness that is slow cooker liners!!!  Hello easy crock pot cleanup! Crock pot liners you ask? YES! You just put one in the crock pot and let your foods cook in it – like a crock pot barrier against having to soak the cooked on foodstuffs overnight (or multiple nights if you don’t feel like using some elbow grease to clean it). Total clean up saver. You just toss the liner in the trash can. Ta-da!

Onto the recipe. This chicken is SO good. So very good. When I was taking it out of the pot it was totally falling apart. The long cook time combined with the acids from the tomato paste and lime juice break down the chicken and turn it to butter. This recipe doesn’t have any major heat to it, just a good taco like flavor. The onions get really soft and tender, the garlic loses it’s bite…We ate ours on soft tacos, but it would be awesome on hard shell tacos as well. Also fab as a taco salad meat, or on nachos with lots of cheese.

additionally, this freezes really well. It makes a lot, so I’d advise that you freeze half of the meat after cooking. It’s enough for 4-5 dinners. I portioned out 2 small freezer bags worth so we could have it on a night I forget to plan a meal, or we have company and want nachos!

Don’t gasp like a vampire at the amount of garlic I listed. Remember you are cooking this for a LONG time, so it will lose a lot of its potency. Hence the addition of garlic powder.

Mexichicken tacos

6 boneless chicken breasts

1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into half moons

8-10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3tbsp hot sauce (I used my homemade sauce – it’s pretty mild from the fresh garden peppers)

1 can tomato paste mixed with 1 cup water

Juice from 1 lime

1 – 2 tbsp salt free taco seasoning

1tsp garlic powder

Place chicken in your crock pot then add in onions, garlic, hot sauce, lime juice and the tomato paste/water mixture. Use tongs to mix up the onions and get the chicken coated in the saucy goodness. Place lid on the crock pot and cook on low for 8hrs.

DO NOT ADD the garlic powder and taco seasoning at this time. If you do, the flavor will be gone. During a long cooking time, you want to add the spices at the END of the cooking process so that they don’t lose their potency.

When the chicken is done cooking, transfer it to a large bowl and shred it using 2 forks. Add 1tbsp of the taco seasoning and all the garlic powder as well as some of the juices/broth from the crock pot to keep the chicken moist. Give it a taste and see if it needs more taco seasoning. Or more hot sauce.

Serve it up on soft tortillas with some sour cream, guac, lettuce, cheese, green onions…whatever floats your boat.

The DIY Life: Keeping Chickens Series

20 Mar

So we bit the bullet and got some chicks the other day. Golden Laced Wyandottes to be exact. As well as 2 mallard ducks – the hubs said if they had ducks, he was getting them. Here is to hoping that they are a male and female so they can be mates!

But anyways, back to the chicks – and what got us to the point where we wanted some of our own.

I have been on a mission to eat as organically as possible, in the only true way I believe you can know you are eating organic – from your own garden or kitchen. With so many things out there today labeled “organic” it’s become hard to pinpoint what truly is organic. So i’m cutting out the middle man in as many cases as possible and either baking, cooking, or growing it myself.

Now onto eggs – any egg labeled organic happens to be around $2-3 MORE than the regular eggs at the grocery store where I live. “Free Range” can sometimes only mean that the chickens were allowed outside of their coop for an hour per day. Chickens getting an hour of free movement doesn’t really seem like a good justification to charge almost double for eggs. Not to me anyway. It sounds more like prison.

So last year, our friend who keeps chickens was always having a surplus of eggs. Way more than he and his wife could consume. So they started giving us dozens of eggs. The first ones I cracked open to make eggs over easy had me hooked. That dark, sun colored yolk. That clean, yummy taste. I wanted more. I wanted my own chickens.

The hubs and I talked about it for a months. We read about various breeds. We needed cold hardy birds that could survive the winter here,  and birds that were friendly and sweet. We wanted good layers. So we narrowed it down to Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, and Wyandottes. Between mid March and Mid April, Tractor Supply has what they call Chick Days – where all the stores carry chicks, ducks, and geese. They never really know what they are gonna get so we called around to all of them within a 40 mile radius. The hubs found Wyandottes at one nearby and we scooped up the last 6. The only problem with these little chicks is that they are a straight run, which means they have not been sexed. On average, it’s a 50/50 ratio. Since we only want hens, we’ll have to figure out what to do with any males once we can tell what’s what.

But for now, it’s just entertaining to watch them kick around the litter, eat, drink, and get into shenanigans with each other.

We are new to chicken keeping, so I have refered to a book (as well as internet sites specializing in chicken care for the backyard keeper!) called: Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock.  I actually won the series of Ashley English books from Kate over at Hip Girls Guide and am so glad I have it as a point of reference. It covers all the basics and more, kind of like an idiots guide to chicken keeping, but told like you were hearing it from a friend. Check out Ashley’s blog over at Small Measure. Lot’s of great reads on getting back to the basics. Because getting back to basics is becoming a big movement. For me, keeping chickens is the next part of my getting back to basics.

Now, i’m planning on doing this as a sort of series. This first part, AKA Phase 1 –  now that i’m done going on and on, is about preparing yourself for keeping chicks (or ducklings if your husband REALLY just has to have them!)

We needed to set up a brooder for the chicks. Since there is no momma for them to snuggle under, the brooder provides them with that nice environment while also keeping them safely confined. Since we only have 6 chicks and 2 mallards, I decided to use a large clear plastic tote. I sanitized it with a bleach/water solution and dried it out. In the bottom, I put about 3 inches of “litter” made out of wood shavings to provide the chicks with soft material to move around on as well as something to catch all their waste.

We also purchased a feeder and waterer for the chicks so they had acess to fresh food and water all day. We change the water daily and swap out the food if it’s been contaminated. Litter is changed daily to keep the chicks in a clean, healthy environment and to keep our house from getting stinky! I placed the tote in one of the upstairs bedrooms so that they can have quiet and be segregated from the rest of the house (and the dog). Originally I had them in the kitchen but was concerned our little pup was going to traumatize them so they have since been relocated. I did this without the dog being around because last night, he was up every 2hrs trying to listen for them and wanting out of the room. Oh what a night. Merr.

Soooo….baby chicks require the use of a heat lamp and temps of 90-95 degrees for their first week. This temp can be decreased by 5 degrees per week. The heat lamp is a red bulb that provides them warmth since they are so small and have no momma for snuggling. I also learned that the reason it is red is because it prevents the chicks from pecking at each other. Well then. Good to know! The room they are in gets alot of sun and light and when it gets dark I can have the light on in the room for the few extra hours they need light without it bothering us as we mill about our house.

So far the chicks and ducklings seem to be thriving. They are eating, drinking, sleeping and exploring. They’ve already started ‘foraging’ even though there is nothing for them to find. so this is great news. Now lets hope that most of them are girls!

Stay tuned for more updates on our journey into the world of chicken keeping!