The Cook Awakening

Save Yourself Slow Cooker Chicken

September 5, 2013
Posted in: Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Recipes, Seasonal Change, The Simple Kitchen

I’ve been feeling done lately. Just done. I don’t want to cook, I don’t even really want to eat much.

Some of it’s the heat (which is thankfully starting to abate). It’s definitely the humidity, which is continuing even as the temperature is dropping. It’s the busyness of getting in the last events of the summer while preparing for the school year’s beginning. Then there’s trying to keep up with a hyper fertile, crazy huge pear tree that came with the house we bought three years ago. I’m starting to wonder if maybe we could just sell the tree.

Pears in a pot

20 quarts of windfall pears – just one batch of too many to count.

But, I just can’t let the pears rot, so I’ve been chopping, cooking, drying, leathering, juicing and reducing batch after batch of windfall pears. And I don’t even eat the things. Can you tell I’m a little over it?

Which brings me to the point of this post, which is how to make healthy, easy food readily available when the last thing you feel like doing is cooking. Other than go to a restaurant. Which is definitely an option.

I have never been a slow cooker fan. But I never thought of cooking at night. It was an epiphany when it came to me.

Take your animal protein out of the freezer, or bring it home from the grocery store. I’m talking about chicken, rump roast, pork shoulder roast, anything you can braise successfully. Chicken and pork shoulder is the easiest, they don’t really need to be browned. You don’t even have to defrost it completely!

When you start thinking about going to bed, after it’s started cooling off from the heat of the day, line the bottom of your slow cooker with herbs from your garden. Or from the grocery store. This photo shows a mixture of marjoram, fennel fronds and parsley. Throw in a few peeled garlic cloves (or a lot), a half or whole thickly sliced onion, and a few frozen cubes of broth. Or a splash of juice or red wine. Or a splash of gluten-free beer. Or just a little water if you don’t have anything more flavorful on hand.

Herbs, onions and broth cubes in the slow cooker

Herbs, onions and broth cubes in the slow cooker

Salt and pepper liberally. Plunk in your chicken or roast. Salt and pepper liberally again. If you’re using beef, take the time to brown the roast on all sides before you put it in the crock – the flavor will definitely deepen.

Plunk in the chicken

Plunk in the chicken

Put the lid on the cooker. Turn it on high for as long as you’re still awake, and right before you go to bed turn it on low. Go to bed. Forget about it.

When you wake up, turn it off. When it cools down a bit, put it in the fridge. When it’s time for lunch or dinner, you have your protein source right there. Toss some into a salad if you want to keep it super simple, or saute what you think you and your family will eat with your choice of veggies.

And, you hardly had to think about it.

You’re welcome.

For broth just as easy, if you cooked a chicken – throw the bones back into the cooker with water just to cover and a splash of lemon juice. Cook that overnight again to make chicken broth. Because if the animal gave its life that we might live, isn’t it honoring to use every last bit of it?

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 2:34 am and is filed under Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Recipes, Seasonal Change, The Simple Kitchen. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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