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a simple {real food} recipe :: weekly chicken {crockpot method}

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It’s Monday. Mondays are pretty uninteresting.

The work week begins.

The girls are begging for their playmate, I mean, Daddy since they got to climb all over him all weekend.

But I LOVE Mondays. I crave routine.

Mondays are chicken days here. We pick up a pastured chicken at our local farm on Saturdays, let it thaw out through Sunday, and either roast it or crockpot it Monday.

It is heaven.

I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner Mondays. And the extra bonus of leftover chicken for meals the rest of the week is enough to send my type A, pre-planned, meter right through the roof!

The girls playing at the farm where we pick up our pastured chicken and other farm products 🙂

I will post about my super easy oven roasted chicken later this fall. I have been in crockpot chicken mode all summer to keep from having to use the oven!!

***Please see all the kitchen tips below – this is a VERY do-able method of bringing pastured meat to your family every week without breaking the bank and spending hours in the kitchen! It is for EVERY season of life!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 pastured chicken (ours are usually between 4-6 pounds…I love 6 pound weeks! If my husband comes home with a big one, his smile shines as if he’s killed it and de-feathered it himself – I, of course, let him bask in that manly endeavor whole heartedly 😉

2-3 carrots coarsely chopped

2-3 celery coarsely chopped

1 medium onion coarsely chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic (OPTIONAL – I don’t always use this)

  1. Wash out the chicken, and stuff the inside of the chicken with some of the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
  2. Put the rest of the veggies in the bottom of your crockpot.
  3. Put the chicken BREAST DOWN in the crockpot, and fill the crockpot with water ¾ of the way up the bird.
  4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

I typically serve our chicken with whatever veggies are in season at the time, roasted or sautéed in butter. If you are dairy free, try it in tallow or coconut oil!  We had sauteed zucchini and brussel sprouts on this night 🙂

Kitchen Tips:

  1. SAVE the carcass, bones, and juices for your homemade chicken stock making! If you can’t get to it that night – freeze them and do it later! Don’t waste all that healing goodness! Join me back here tomorrow to make up some stock! (UPDATE! Here is the chicken stock recipe!)

    Chloe helping get the veggies into the crockpot!

  2. Prep the night or day before to save time! This was how I did it when I worked a lot. I wash and chop veggies, and basically get the whole chicken ready the night before. It takes less than 10 minutes. In the morning I just take the crockpot out of the fridge and turn it on low. When I had very newborn babies I would prep in between naptimes or while I wore baby in front of me! Now that I have a not-as-much-napping toddler, I make it a part of our morning or evening together. She loves washing veggies and putting them in the pot after I’ve chopped them. I hear her in her play kitchen making soup and chicken ALL THE TIME…and saying the right ingredients too!
  3. I love making this chicken overnight 8-10 hours so I have chicken ready for lunches or dinners the next day. I put it in the crockpot just before I go to bed and it’s done in the morning! We love veggie sautés with chicken for lunch or dinner (chop up veggies night before and dump in the pan!), or use it for chicken sandwiches or salads for lunch, or just pull all the meat off and use it in a chicken recipe for dinner later. This is a cheaper, cleaner way of having “lunch meat” for sandwiches. You can of course find “nitrate free” lunch meat but you are gonna pay for it.
  4. You can take the juices from the crockpot and make a sauce/gravy for your chicken as well. Just bring the the strained juices to a boil and reduce about half. Add some arrowroot to thicken and season salt and pepper as desired! It’s delicious!
  5. I had to LOOK and search for sources of good pastured organic chickens in my area. Do some research before you buy. If you are unsure about what a certain chicken is fed or lives – ASK. You have a right to know! Chickens that are pastured are richer in nutrients like vitamins A and D. They feed on bugs, grass, and water around them. Farmers that humanely raise these chickens are not pumping them full of hormones and GMO laiden feed while they sit in chicken waste all day. We do purchase some organic chickens from our local grocer in the winter when our farmer doesn’t have chicken available. I have called to find out what the chickens eat and how they live, and despite not being a huge fan of the feed they are given, at least I know it isn’t GMO, they are not pumped with hormones, and I do know the chickens are not caged up. Read THIS to learn more. I try to stock up the freezer with our pastured chickens before they run out for the winter but sometimes it just isn’t in the budget to double up.
  6. This chicken makes great baby food purees too! My girls loved chicken pureed with homemade stock. Do it in batches and freeze it!

Your turn!

I want to know how you make this type of meal work for your family! Especially since I’m not in the boat of “large family” (…yet!) I would love to hear how some of you larger families stretch your chicken making it last for a couple meals, how many you make in a week, etc 🙂 And PLEASE please use the comments section to ask me some questions! I love questions! I want to help you make this work for your family!

Come on back tomorrow so I can show you how to get the most bang for your buck out of that chicken you purchased by making nourishing bone broth/stock! If you are cooking chicken up today, just throw the bones back into the juices in the pot and keep it in the fridge – I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you what to do next! It is SO easy!

This post was shared at Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday and Real Food Freaks Freaky Friday , The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter , and Too Many Jars In My Kitchen’s Fill Those Jars Friday!

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    Hi! Hopping in from Pennywise Platter … I’ve never tried doing a chicken in the crockpot … will have to consider that, but sure do love our “set it and forget it” rotisserie. Funny how we get attached to particular appliances. When they’re all grown up, your daughters will thank you for teaching them to start meals with whole chicken and extend them into the next meal — my 23-year-old certainly has, and now I’m teaching the teenaged sons. 🙂

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      Hi Denise 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! I love your blog! I have never heard of a set it and forget it rotisserie! It sounds wonderful! We just inherited a used grill from my parents that has a rotisserie rack and I’m ridiculously excited to try it next summer! Thank you for the encouragement about the girls – sometimes it is easier to shoo them away and do it “faster” myself but I’m hoping it benefits them in the long run 😉

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        Here’s a funny related to the rotisserie … we received it as a gift from hubby’s mom and I refused to use it for months due to my complete aversion to any “As Seen on TV” products. But frankly, once I got over that and tried it out, I fell in love and it now graces my counter for meals frequently — and is used every Christmas to cook our rib roast. Here’s a link: Showtime Rotisserie. I love that I can throw in a marinated 6+ lb chicken and get uber goodness 1 1/2 hours later.

        Cool on your grill rotisserie add-on … I still want to add that to our grill. 🙂

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    I cook down the bones for two days additionally in the crock pot after the chicken is cooked and they become like mush. The end result is stock for me and mushy edible bones for my doggies. 🙂

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      Oh NICE! My stock usually ends up going for more like a day and a half or 2 as well since I just don’t get to it sometimes!

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