Thursday, February 10, 2011

2-for-1 Meal Plan, er, make that 3

Now this is the way that I like to plan dinners!

I have been wanting to try a whole chicken in the crock pot. Sounded easy, and my family eats a lot of whole chickens. Usually we use the rotisserie on our outdoor gas grill; occasionally I'll oven roast them, but they take a while and in the winter we just don't have the time to hang out outside for an hour. So I opened up my copy of Make it Fast, Cook it Slow and got to work.

Stephanie's Whole Chicken:

1- 3 to 5 lb. chicken (without the gunk inside)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Italian dressing

(OK-here's where I tell you that I cheated. I was planning on using the meat for shredded chicken tacos so I didn't use this seasoning. I used this as a guideline instead and added some ground cumin for a more mexican-y flavor.)

Cut off part or all of the skin/fat. (Steph suggested taking all of the skin off and I only took off most of it. Next time I'll take it all off because there was a lot of fat left at the end.) Rub the seasoning mix all over the inside and outside of the chicken. Put it in the crock, breast side down. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.

(Sidenote: my crock pot cooks at an extremely high temperature, even on low, so mine takes far less time and I have to watch things very closely. Know your pot well and don't over or under cook things!)

When the chicken is falling off the bone it's done. Use a slotted spoon to take the meat out of the crock and pull the chicken from the bones. Ta Da! The meat was perfect!

How I used the meat:

That evening we had shredded chicken taco/fajitas. My kids don't love bell peppers but I sauteed some with onions for my husband and I. (Come to think of it, the 9yo ended up loving them on his.) I had bought a pack of corn tortillas for $1, put out some salsa, other taco toppings, and made some Spanish rice. Voila! Dinner was served. Cheap and easy my friends.

"But we have a lot of meat left over. What now?"

Pick through your meat and make sure there are no bones or skin left, and put it in a ziplock for a couple of days. Then you'll be ready for Mexican again and you'll want to try this recipe from Mary of Owlhaven, and her book Family Feasts for $75 a Week. (Another sidenote: this is a fantastic book for learning to save money on your grocery bill. I'm feverishly applying her tips!)

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas

Your leftover chicken, approx. 2 lb. cooked
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 med-large onion, minced
2 cups of frozen corn (or one15 oz. can, drained)
14 oz of tomato puree (I used a mixture of Rotel, tomato paste, and water, blended in my blender.)
1/2 cup salsa or pico de gallo (Here's where you can go spicy or mild.)
1/4 cup taco seasoning
10 8-in. tortillas (These would be left from the night of tacos, if you're doing it like I did.)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and pepper jack.)
Sour cream for serving

In a large skillet with a touch of oil, cook garlic, onion and corn, until onion is tender, 5-7 min. Add cooked chicken to pan. Pour 1/2 cup of tomato puree into the bottom of a 9x 13 baking dish and spread evenly. Add remaining puree, salsa. and taco seasoning to pan with chicken to heat well. Put a double layer of tortillas in the bottom of your baking pan, tearing the pieces to cover the whole pan evenly. Add half of the meat mixture to your baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese. Add another layer of tortillas. Add the remaining meat mixture and top with remaining cheese.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or so.
Serve with additional salsa and sour cream.

Mary, my family LOVED this recipe. It's going to end up in regular rotation. Thanks!

This actually made so much that I ended up freezing almost half for another day. It will be perfect for a night that HD is working late, or we go out and the kids need something easy to have with a babysitter. Can you give me a Whoot for getting 3 meals out of a single chicken? Now that's talent, baby.

This post contains affiliate links. Just so you're aware, and all.

Headless Mom


kyooty said...

Yikes not the affiliated links... (looks over shoulder...)
These sound like great ideas. I need to get more chicken in my diet, it's been a very Beef heavy diet here lately

Anna See said...

yum! i need to break out my crockpot again, esp b/c spring sports season is about to kick in!

Anna See said...

yum! i need to break out my crockpot again, esp b/c spring sports season is about to kick in!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Whoot! The meals sound delicious. I haven't tried a whole chicken in the crock pot, I will definately have to try one!

Karen r said...

Funny I saw the enchilada style recipe at owl haven, thru you, also. We had it a few days ago and I too had enough for two meals. Have to try the crockpot chicken though.

Lynn said...

You can also try this with your crockpot chicken. Stuff it with a whole lemon that you have pierced several times. Then cover the chicken with 1/2 cup OJ and 1/2 honey. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours and it is so yummy.

Erica M said...

Thanks for the tips! The family feast book link didn't work, but I'll look for it on Amazon. Have a great weekend!

Liz@thisfullhouse said...

Hey, this sounds great! Kids love tacos, burritos and, well, kinda tired of ground beef (and turkey) thanks!!!

Employee No. 3699 said...

You're making me crave Mexican food and unfortunately most of the ingredients are not available in India.

Now I'm going to have to make chicken enchiladas when I go home for a visit next month!

Christina Yother said...

I so need to try this...3 years after you posted ;)