Right now I am working really hard at eating healthy. That means chicken is on the menu a lot. My healthy meals focus on this protein for three reasons – it’s easy, inexpensive, and versatile.
However, being healthy and eating this much chicken there are 3 major things I’ve got to address – great flavor, excellent texture, and lots of variety. For the past 4 days I’ve used my crockpot to create meals. It also adds in a 4th thing in my life and that’s the big word EASY!
Let’s take a look at how the crockpot becomes my best friend when cooking all that chicken.
Chicken White Meat
Many dieters have the same complaint when it comes to chicken, and it goes something like this; “If I have to hear the words ‘boneless skinless chicken breasts’ one more time I think I’ll choke!” Or, something on that order. You get what I’m saying. This particular piece of chicken is less tasty and dryer. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty bland. But, it’s really healthy and simple to use in just about any recipe. This usually means the danger of chicken fatigue can happen fast.
The crockpot can help with this. If you stocked up on ‘boneless skinless chicken breasts’ when you started your diet, rather than push them further back into the freezer, go ahead and try them in the crockpot. We buy our chicken breasts in bulk through zaycon.com and I just processed 80lbs of it myself on Feb. 7 & 8th. lol It’s in the freezer in various recipes.
The white meat of a chicken has very little flavor on its own. The beauty of the crockpot is that the ingredients all cook slowly together in a sealed compartment, forcing the flavors to blend together. If you choose your ingredients wisely, your chicken breast can have tremendous flavor, even better than grilled, poached, or baked.
Include lots of vegetables like celery, onions, tomatoes, and even radishes to start the tasty infusion. Add herbs and spices, but be careful because the flavors enhance as they cook. The great news is, the chicken breasts will absorb that flavor all the way through.
One thing to remember is that liquids added to the crockpot will not evaporate. You will actually get more liquid as the meal cooks in the crockpot. For that reason, use heartier liquids when possible, such as chicken stock instead of chicken broth, or tomato paste instead of tomato sauce. Again, you want the chicken breasts to absorb all those good flavors, so make sure the liquid remains rich and not watered down.
You can easily turn a simple crockpot chicken breast recipe into a truly decadent dish by adding cream. You may want to add cheese and fresh herbs along with the cream, but be sure to do so only after the cooking time is over.
Cooking chicken breasts slowly in a moisture sealed environment at low heat makes sense. The crockpot can’t help but keep chicken white meat moist when you use this method of cooking properly.
Here are some crockpot recipes for your chicken breasts:
Southwest Chicken Chili
Wild Rice with Chicken and Snap Peas
Chicken Dark Meat
Many dieters also become fans of dark chicken meat for the same reason we mentioned above; boneless skinless chicken breast fatigue. The dark meat of the chicken has a couple advantages over white meat because it has more flavor and is naturally moist. If you have added dark chicken meat to your low carb diet, the crockpot is perfect for you.
The more flavorful dark meat adds a lot to a slow cooked soup, stew, chili, or any dish you like in the crockpot. Dark chicken meat holds up well during the long cooking time, maintains its texture, and lends its flavor to the whole pot.
Unlike white chicken meat which takes flavor from the other ingredients during the long cooking time in a crockpot, dark chicken meat actually gives flavor. That long slow cooking time is an excellent method for this dark, rich meat. You also don’t have to watch the crockpot as closely when cooking dark chicken meat. It’s very forgiving even when cooked for longer than planned. Chicken breasts are not so forgiving of overcooking.
Another thing to consider with dark chicken meat is the fat content. The rich flavor of the dark meat comes in part from the natural fat. Dieters know they need some fat in their diet to feel full. Adding dark chicken meat to the crockpot can really help make a meal heartier and more satisfying.
Along with great texture, rich flavor, and added heartiness, dark chicken meat is also much less expensive. Low carb dieters need to be able to fill up without the use of a ton of carbs, often meaning having larger portions of proteins and vegetables. With the less expensive dark meat, you can create nice big satisfying low carb meals in the crockpot.
Recipes for any chicken in the crockpot:
Crockpot Chicken Dinner
Southwest Chicken Chili
When first going on a low carb diet, many folks turn to the easiest recipes they can find. These recipes very often involve chicken. This versatile, inexpensive protein is a mainstay for the low carb diet, but it does need a little help. When faced with the thought of one more piece of plain grilled chicken for your low carb diet, stop and remember that convenient appliance you used to love – the crockpot – and turn that plain chicken into a fabulous dinner!
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
Please be aware that some links used are to affiliates. They are almost always to products I use and love.