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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Crockpot 101

Since a friend of mine just bought her first crockpot I thought I would share a recipe / tip that was shared with me. I use it almost every single week. It's healthy, it's easy, it's a major time saver, and it saves money as well. What could be better?!

If you're lazy in the kitchen, like me, the first thing you want to do is line your crockpot with one of those fabulous Crockpot Liner bags. I hate washing a crockpot. I think it stems from "back in the day" when they didn't have a removable crock. 

Take a bag of frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put them in the crockpot (I use half a bag from the warehouse club since there are just 2 of us). Add a carton of chicken stock (not broth). I buy the low sodium kind. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low 8-10 hours. In an hour or two your house will smell yummy.

If you want the breasts to stay whole, you might want to check them at 8 hours and remove them if they're done. At 10 hours, they will fall apart for sure when you try to take them out!

Now that your chicken is cooked, shred one breast and add it back to the chicken stock. Add a can of carrots (or slice and cook fresh ones if you like, add some celery and onions too while you're at it).  Add cooked noodles. I use No Yolks Dumplings. Voila - really, really, REALLY good homemade chicken noodle soup. This makes 5-6 good sized bowls of soup - plenty for hubby and I for dinner and a couple of lunches. 
Doesn't it look yummy? This was the last time I made the soup - and I boiled the noodles right in it when I was reheating!

Some days I just dump the bag of stock and shredded chicken / carrots into a large pitcher and stick it in the fridge to make the next day or later in the week. When I'm ready to make it, I pour it in a pot and bring it to a boil and just add the noodles and let them cook in the soup! No need for the extra step. It also freezes well - just skip the carrots and noodles to freeze it, add them later when you're ready to cook it!

As for the rest of that chicken - I store mine in a gallon Zip-Loc bag or one of those Zip-Loc containers in the fridge. During the week my fabulous husband will pull out a piece or two and make dinner with it. Basically, the chicken just needs to be reheated.

Heat up 2-4 pieces in a skillet with 8oz of cream cheese (we use fat free), a packet of Italian or ranch dressing mix and a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, throw a bag of Steamers type veggies in the microwave and boil up some noodles to spoon it over - dinner is served in under 30 minutes. 

Aside from that, I have a zillion and one (exactly 1 zillion and 1 - I counted) chicken recipes that I have found online. I'll post more later - hubby has his own "recipe" book of the ones he has printed out and makes regularly. They're very good and easy to make (trust me, he is NOT into they gotta be easy!) 

On that note - he just stuck his head in my office to say "Dinner is ready - we're eating on the deck tonight". What girl wouldn't want to hear that?