Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sustainable Saturday - Last of the Slow Cooked Chicken

Last Saturday, I blogged about our adventure with learning to use a slow cooker to cook for our elderly mother in law, who we are giving care to during her recovery from a radiation implant surgery. Our learning project was a free range chicken - probably a roasting hen.

On day one, we slow cooked the chicken and made chicken cacciatore.  

But then what?  We had a lot of leftovers, and decided to make shredded chicken burritos for Sunday dinner.  It would be good for my mother in law, who had an appetite, but didn't have her usual appetite last weekend.

The chicken had cooked to falling apart tender in the crock pot and shredded easily. My spouse, the family cook, combined the chicken with a sauteed red pepper (to give it a "roasted red pepper" taste), and some chicken broth to moisten the mixture.  Then he served the chicken in one bowl, shredded cheese in another, lettuce in still another bowl, and, finally, some homemade guacamole, for people to choose as they wanted.  We served pre made salsa (from a jar, sorry) on the side.

My brother in law, who has a developmental disability called autism, had never rolled a burrito. The burrito skins are circular wheat tortillas and there is a trick to rolling a burrito without it falling apart when you try to eat it.  He rolled it with my spouse's help, but really didn't like the idea of a burrito.  He requested seconds, but without the tortilla.

My mother in law, who is in her mid 80's, grew up in Yonkers, New York when parts of that city were still rural.  She remembers merchants who would travel the streets with live chickens.  Her mother would buy a live chicken and would have to do the slaughter and preparation for cooking herself.


It was a much slower time, during the Great Depression, when my mother in law grew up.  She has seen so much change in her 80 plus years, and has had to adjust to so much - everything from television to computers to cell phones. She's adopted many cooking conveniences and used them - the microwave, for example.  But, the slow cooker, I think, was so big that its insert was too heavy for her, and she couldn't clean it in her dishwasher.  It's nice for us to experiment with it, though.

This weekend, we will make one of my mother in law's favorite soups (I'm not sure if we will use the slow cooker, though).  Perhaps, next Saturday, I'll post that recipe. Maybe I'll even remember to take pictures.

What is your favorite way to slow cook chicken?

18 comments:

  1. get the slow cooker linersbin the same aisle as the ton foil and saran wrap. makes cleanup even easier!

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    1. Who knew? Sandi, thanks for the tip. We are going to do a lot of cooking today so she will have food when we leave. Not sure what we will do yet - it's snowing so hard right now, driving is hazardous and we are missing a main ingredient for the soup she wants (Matzo Ball- no matzahs). So time for Plan B.

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  2. Soups are wonderful in the slow cooker. You can always freeze the exttras and save them to be nuked later. I do a lot of chili and stuff but since we are only two people I label and freeze. Ok Howie labels.

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    1. We are going to do a lot of cooking today so she will have food when we leave. Not sure what we will do yet - it's snowing so hard right now, driving is hazardous and we are missing a main ingredient for the soup she wants (Matzo Ball- no matzahs).We don't have containers for freezing either - we were planning to food shop today. Man proposes, etc. Maybe it will stop!

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  3. Hmmm - yummy! I love slow cookers! My mom's 80-years old, too... so much change she's gone through. I just finished writing her life story book, in fact.

    I wish your mother-in-law well and for your whole family to have a good weekend!

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  4. Thank you, Susan. Today has had its ups and downs, but we are happy to be able to spend the time with my mother in law.

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  5. I really need to pull my slow cooker out more often. I use it once, maybe twice a month during the cold season. I borrowed 2 more Crock Pots, for a total of 3, and did short ribs for 20 for Christmas. It turned out really great. The main dish was made well in advance, and my oven and range were both free for other things.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I think I'll do some Sesame Chicken in the slow cooker tomorrow.

    Your brother-in-law is on the right track! Sometimes I eat my burritos without the tortilla. Chipotle fajita burrito bowls are pretty popular!

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    1. We ended up not using the slow cooker today to make soup but I agree, they can be a real time saver. We bought one a year ago (a small one) and maybe we'll finally use ours.

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  6. The only chicken recipe I use with the crock pot is tortilla soup. It works and tastes great. I'm trying to get more into the habit of using our crock pot because I never want to cook when I get home from work.

    I often eat my burritos in a bowl too. Requires much less in the way of napkin use.

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    1. We really need to get our (small) slow cooker out and start to learn to use it. Soup sounds so nice - we have a cold wave coming.

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  7. The burritos sound delicious. I've prepared something similar, but your tender chicken must have been amazing. I can just imagine your brother in law trying to eat that way. it requires dexterity to stop the whole thing oozing and making a mess.

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    1. Yes, it does require dexterity. This week our project was soup, and I think he enjoyed that more.

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  8. This looks delicious!
    I always used to make soups in my slow cooker at uni :)

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    1. We did make soup (two different types) in our visit to my mother in law this weekend, but not in the crock pot. It sounds like this would be a great thing for a working person too!

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  9. Alana,
    The chicken burritos sound so yummy. You could freeze the leftover in several small batches (in Ziplocs or foil, if you don't have containers) and your MIL could pull out some and put it in a sandwich or on top of a salad, too. I use my slow cooker at least a couple times a week. It's such a great feeling to have supper already well in hand, first thing in the morning.

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    1. Well, what we did this week is make a couple of different types of soup for my mother in law, because that is what she wanted. We froze some of the soup. You had a nice suggestion. My mother in law may be selling her slow cooker to someone, so I don't know if she will have one the next time we go down there, but we'll see!

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  10. The chicken looks good. We have a crock pot. Is that the same as a slow cooker?
    will comment back - http://www.oldfashionmom.com

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    1. Yes, I believe so. A few weeks ago, I blogged about how people in different parts of the United States call the same object by different names - it's interesting!. I tend to use the terms crock pot and slow cooker interchangeably but I do think most people in this area of upstate New York call them crock pots.

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