I don’t yet own a slow cooker, but I’m definitely in the market for one. I remember when slow cookers first gained popularity in the 1970’s. It seems as though they’re having a resurgence now, along with fishnet stockings and Marimekko prints. Unlike the pantyhose and print fashions, this trend will catch me on the second go-round.
For my first lesson in how to use a slow cooker, I turned to my fellow writer/blogger Briana. Her website 20andEngaged is full of great advice – and not just for those starting out in the working world or marriage. I particularly liked Briana’s use of the slow cooker as an alternative to eating out. Her guestpost (below) definitely makes slow cooking seem as simple as could be. (It turns out that the term Crock-Pot, which I thought was the term for the appliance, is really the brand name for the slow cooker that poularized the cooking method in the 1970’s and is still around today.) Do you use a slow cooker? What type do you have and what do you make with yours?
Briana’s Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Chicken
As a young newlywed, my husband and I are trying to move away from fast food, and do more home cooking. It’s a lot easier to grab McDonalds or order a pizza, but it’s certainly not healthy for us. One of the biggest gripes that we have about cooking is how long it takes. Who really wants to stand over a stove for a long period of time, stirring and checking every few minutes? Not me! So I finally enlisted the help of my slow cooker.
When we moved into our apartment a year ago, I got a 6-quart oval Crock-Pot. I didn’t use it until a couple of months ago, but now I love my slow cooker because it has made things so much easier to make dinner ahead of time with little work. Throw the ingredients in, put it on either low for a longer cooking time, or high for a shorter cooking time, and you have a delicious meal in the works. So when I was bored with junk food and needed a real meal that didn’t take too much time, I decided to get creative. I made Red Wine Vinaigrette Chicken.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 bottle (usually 1 cup or 8 oz) of Kraft Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 capful (approximately 1 ½ teaspoons) of cooking oil of your choice
- 2 dashes each of: seasoning pepper, garlic salt, Mrs. Dash, and basil
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per chicken breast
- If you keep your chicken in the freezer as I do, defrost and wash your chicken breasts.
- Cover the chicken breast with lemon juice, then season the breasts with seasoning pepper, garlic salt, Mrs. Dash and basil. You can add or delete seasoning as you choose.
- Put the oil and the Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing into your slow cooker, then add the chicken and parsley.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Funny enough, the chicken will come out pink in color, due to the dressing, but if you can overlook the appearance, you’ll find that the tender, juicy, chicken is quite delicious.
With this meal, I made 2 quick sides. I chose Steamfresh Super Sweet Corn in the frozen bag, which took 4 minutes to cook in the microwave. I also enlisted my rice cooker to make chipotle lime rice. I used regular long grain white rice, and added the same ratio of water to cups of rice, but for every 1 cup of rice, I added 1 tablespoon of chipotle lime marinade.
Bon appetite! A delicious meal that was easy to make, quick to cook, and prompted my husband to demand I cook it again, which is a huge compliment. My slow cooker saved dinner and saved me time. If you don’t have one, be sure to get one. If you do have one, I hope you’re using it!