Hi readers! I’m Laura from Becoming the Odd Duck. I’m here to help out Stina since she is getting ready for her Christmas vacation!
I love to cook. I cook probably 4-5 nights a week (in a good week) and spend about an hour in the kitchen (between cooking and cleaning) on these nights. It’s my passion and I love it.
But, I’m a full time student and mommy to two very rambunctious dogs so I don’t always have that kind of time to spend in the kitchen each night. Unfortunately on those nights I tend to want to order in food or pick up something on the way home rather than throw something together quickly. I’m horrible at re-purposing leftovers so I really can’t fall back on food that I have sitting around the house to throw together.
My stance on leftovers is that I don’t mind eating the same thing two days in a row, but more than twice and I won’t eat it. So batch cooking doesn’t really work for me. And taking something I made and transforming it with other foods to make a new dish isn’t my natural train of thought. I’m much better at thinking complete meals rather than pieces of meals.
Recently I really got into crock pot cooking. I usually make a crockpot meal one day a week when I know I’m going to be super busy. This affords me the luxury of not having to spend all night in the kitchen and still eating a delicious and healthy home cooked meal.
A few weeks ago I cooked a whole chicken in my crockpot for dinner and it was amazing. I thought of ways I could capitalize on this and cook chicken to keep around the house for quick meals. A whole chicken was too big of a hassle, but cooking chicken breasts would be simple AND fast!
I add 3-4 chicken breasts (I’ve done fresh and frozen – both work) into the crock pot and cover them with low sodium chicken broth. I like using chicken broth because it imparts an incredible flavor in the chicken that plain water just won’t do. I cook these breasts on low for about 8-9 hours, or on high for 2-3 then low another 3. The longer you cook them, the more they will shrink – but the better the chicken will be. The chicken comes out so tender, juicy and flavorful. It will literally shred with just the touch of a knife and fork.
This chicken meat is perfect to keep in the fridge and throw into quick recipes throughout the week. Here are some of the things I’ve made with this chicken recently:
· Burritos or tacos
· Enchiladas (this is a great sub to the traditional poached chicken)
· Addition to canned soups (I take out the chicken in the soup and add my fresh chicken + spinach)
· In a rice/bean bowl
· Toss with buffalo sauce and top a pizza
All of these meals are super fast to put together and very satisfying. If you aren’t a chicken eater, you can do this similarially with beans. Make a crock pot of beans (here’s a how-to for dried beans in the crock pot) and add to many meals throughout the week. I have done this recently with black beans and it was so easy and simple and provided meals for days! The same thing can be done with vegetables or other meats as well.
I love my crock pot and it provides a really easy way for me to eat conveniently without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s also helped me to broaden my cooking horizons and step outside of my comfort zone!
Do you cook with a crock pot? Or do you re-purpose leftovers? I’d love to hear your tips on either!