Prior to going Whole30, one of my favorite cooking blogs was Mel’s Kitchen Café. I guess she and I have similar tastes because in the last few years I turned to her blog more than any other for family-pleasing recipes. Her main dishes are pretty light on processed ingredients–a major plus for sure– but they’re not intended to be paleo or Whole30-fied…so they’re not. That’s where this here little blog comes in. Knowing I would like to modify some of our favorites and share the successes with others, I wrote Mel and asked if she minded if I posted her recipes with modifications; she said yes. Yay! And if you see this, thank you again, Mel!
This comes from Mel’s Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. We will not have any noodles here but I have long used the beginning of this recipe, the chicken part, as a kitchen staple. I cannot tell you how EASY and DELICIOUS and VERSATILE this recipe is. And you know I’m serious when I break out the all caps. You put ingredients in a crock pot, let them cook, remove. That’s it.
Delicious Versatile Freezable Crockpot Chicken
3-4 pound whole chicken, neck and giblets removed
6 cups chicken broth, best is bone broth of course J
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 stalks celery, chopped in large chunks
3-4 carrots, cut in large chunks
1 onion, chopped in large pieces
Rinse the chicken, removing the neck and giblets. Place the chicken in a slow cooker and add the other ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Carefully remove the chicken and set aside in a large bowl until it is cool enough to handle without burning your fingertips off. Meanwhile, remove and discard the large solids from the chicken broth and strain the chicken broth into a large pot.
Now you have even more delicious broth.
Take the chicken off the bones. That’s right, now you have bones. For more broth! Either make that and use it or freeze it of freeze those bones for later use.
But back to the chicken.
I usually break off all of the large pieces and either shred it or cut it up into cubes.
This freezes beautifully and can be used so many ways it is ridiculous. I usually freeze it, take it out a day ahead, and you are then basically reheating it in whatever meal, see a few ideas below. It’s also economical because you are buying the whole chicken and can use both the meat and the bones. Best prices in my area for organic hormone free chicken is Costco and Trader Joes.
A few ideas: Mix it with any veggie(s) and sauté as a nice healthy one skillet meal, toss it in salad, use it in soup as originally intended, eat it as the meat of a “sandwich” wrapped in lettuce, make some homemade salsa or pico de gallo and mix that with the chicken, and any other number of ways.