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Debra Caffrey is the Education E-newsletter Editor for FredParent. She also writes, blogs, and assists with events. She is the proud mom of 8-year-old Aidan. She is passionate about cooking, meal planning, and smart grocery shopping, and is excited to share her ‘Practical Pantry’ with you.

 

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Practical Pantry

 

God bless the inventor of the Crock Pot. As much as I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and concocting meals from scratch, I also LOVE efficiency, and things can’t get any easier than when the Crock Pot comes out. It’s like performing domestic magic – throw a few ingredients inside, press a button, and presto – a few hours later, you’ve got a succulent and aromatic meal that feeds an army. For those that feel inept in the kitchen or those that fear they don’t have enough time to cook, the mighty Crock Pot is always the solution. You don’t need to have amazing culinary talents to use one, and all it takes is a few minutes in the morning or even the night before to get things together before heading out for the day.

I love making stews, chilis, and even soups in the Crock Pot, but when I tried doing a whole chicken a few years ago in one – it was a game changer! Quite simply, I will never use store-bought rotisserie chicken again! Seriously – if you’ve never cooked a whole chicken in the Crock Pot before, it is a revelation that you’ve got to try! What’s so great about it, besides how easy it is to do, is that it’s cheaper than buying a pre-made rotisserie one in the store. When whole chickens are on sale (69 to 89 cents per pound is a pretty good range), you can stock up and freeze them to make whenever you want. You’ll also usually get more meat out of it, because I don’t know about you but I sure feel like those store-made rotisserie chickens seem to be getting smaller and smaller!

Best of all, doing a DIY rotisserie-style chicken in the Crock Pot lends itself to so many great uses and recipes. It’s a great main course on its own with some tasty sides, but it’s also so resourceful to break down and shred for chicken salad, enchiladas, quesadillas, casseroles, hot dips, wraps, soups, and sandwiches. All the chicken practically falls off the bone when done, making it a cinch to break down and utilize as much meat as possible.

Read on to see how the Crock Pot can transform a basic whole chicken into the easiest go-to method you’ve got to try!

Step 1: Spray Crock Pot with some cooking spray. Make several balls of foil and place at the bottom (this will “lift” the chicken up a bit and prevent it from laying too much in its own juices). Place fresh or defrosted whole chicken on top.

 

Step 2: Prep the chicken with seasonings and aromatics of your preference. I usually do a take on“40 Clove Chicken” by placing tons of garlic cloves (you don’t even need to peel them) inside the bird as well as on top and around. It creates wonderful flavor and aromatics, and don’t worry – that much garlic does not overpower! You can also throw some cut up citrus around, or carrots and onions. Season the top of the chicken with salt, pepper, and other herbs of your choice. I like to use this rotisserie chicken seasoning. The more aromatics you prepare at this point, the more flavorful the chicken will be when ready! Don’t be afraid – it needs it!

 

Step 3: Set Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours and let it do its thing all day!

 

 

Step 4: (Optional) If you are not using the meat for another purpose and/or would prefer to have crispy skin, remove chicken from the Crock Pot when done and transfer to an oven safe baking sheet or dish. Set the broiler on high and place chicken on top rack of oven, allowing the broiler to crisp up the skin for a few minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t get overdone! If you don’t eat the skin or don’t care about how crispy the outside gets, skip ahead to Step 5!

 

Step 5: If eating/using straight from the Crock Pot, carefully remove the chicken with large tongs. The chicken will start falling off the bone easily as you break down into breasts, legs, wings, thighs. There is almost no effort! Some of the skin may be soggy – just remove to expose the meat and slice/serve as preferred.

 

 

The chicken is ready to eat! Although, I wouldn’t guarantee it makes it to the table – it’s so succulent and delicious you might have a hard time preventing yourself from eating all of it straight out of the Crock Pot. Enjoy! 

 

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

Read more...