Simple Honey Garlic Crockpot Chicken

Fall is coming. I’m sorry to bring that news to you, but it is. I’m trying to prepare myself for cooler days by experimenting with new crock-pot dishes. I made this one on a whim tonight and I am so glad I remembered to take a photograph before chowing down. Real life here in the Real Food House! The recipes I write up are usually something we had for dinner the night before. No fancy test kitchen, just feeding the family!
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All you need is your trusty crock-pot, any amount of chicken in any form (bone in, out, breast, thigh etc) and 5 simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t measure when I cook, which probably doesn’t make me a very good food blogger. I will approximate to the best of my ability!

Ingredients:
Chicken (I used 3lbs of boneless skinless breasts)
1/2 cup ketchup (I use whatever organic brand is on sale, organic ketchup is super yummy!)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey (save the bees! Use local honey!)
1 teaspoon dried basil
minced garlic (however much you like!)

I decided I was making this around noon today so it cooked on low for about 6 hours and was perfectly done. If you are setting this early in the morning bone-in chicken will probably stay moist longer.

If you like a thicker consistency, make a simple cornstarch slurry (2 tsp cornstarch mixed in a small amount of cold water) and stir in during the last 20 minutes or so of cooking.

Serve over rice! We also made a quick green bean side dish of home canned green beans drained and sauteed with garlic, onion and toasted sesame oil.

Real Food Camping

Real Food Camping realfoodinarealworld.com

For some people, camping is a free for all of hamburgers, hot dogs and chips.  Others may eat only beef jerky and dried fruit.  My family falls somewhere in the middle.  We like our junk, but we also love our veggies.  For us, camping is a mixture of goodies and real food.  This past weekend we camped at the beautiful Waterloo State Park.  We arrived Friday evening and left Sunday afternoon.  Here’s a rundown of our food:

Friday dinner:

Taco/Nacho Bar.  My mother cooked taco meat prior to the trip and had it ready in her freezer.  We also had some pre-chopped veggies, cheese, prepared guacamole, etc.  My parents have a camper and heated up the meat and some beans in their trailer.  If you are a tent camper (like me!) this would be just as good cold!  It was an excellent first night meal because it was simple and we didn’t have to cook.

Saturday:

Breakfast was some cold cereal with almond milk, massive amounts of coffee, orange juice and some doughnuts.  I think I gave local toddler a pouch of fruit puree and he had one of those shelf stable boxes of milk that Horizon Organic makes in addition to some cereal.

Lunch was a picnic.

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We made sandwiches on whole wheat bread.  Local toddler and I had turkey lunchmeat with guacamole.  Other family members had peanut butter and some of our low sugar strawberry jam.  We also had some melon that was cut up prior to the trip and some chips.  Great Lakes potato chip company kettle chips to be exact.  Oh My Yum.

Dinner was awesome.

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My mom cooked potato pierogies in a crock pot.  On the grill we had chicken kebobs (chicken was cut and skewered prior to trip) brushed with cherry BBQ sauce, along with some smoked sausage.  In an electric frying pan I stir fried carrots, squash, broccoli, bell and banana peppers, green beans and onion.  I seasoned with some season salt I found in my moms camper and after cooking I tossed with a little toasted sesame oil.

Late night snacks!  We made smores and pie iron pies over the fire.  We used some canned cherry pie filling and whole wheat bread.  My dad and I combined our smores and pie irons with bread, chocolate peanut butter, and a few marshmallows.  My grandmother also brought some brownies she made that we ate with a little coconut rum.  Nobody in my family is a particularly big drinker but when we camp we always have our coconut rum brownies!

Sunday morning breakfast was the meal that I was in charge of planning and local hubby cooked.

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I brought two packages of Smoking goose applewood bacon, all the chicken eggs I had in my house (my extended family isn’t as adventurous as us about turkey or duck eggs) and some frozen hash browns.  We cooked everything in an electric frying pan.  We also had the leftover veggies from the previous night and some leftover fruit.  Oh and like 24 cups of coffee.  Tent camping with a toddler automatically increases our coffee consumption x10.

It was a fantastic trip!  I love the outdoors but I will be the first to admit I’m not terribly outdoorsy or rustic.  I like modern conveniences like running water and electricity.  Camping like this is a perfect vacation for me!  One last photo!  My mom just texted me a cute picture of my guys setting up our tent:

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Homemade Convenience: Freezer Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Freezer Chicken Nuggets realfoodinarealworld.com

If you are anything like me, I always keep a stash of quick food in my freezer.  Things like chicken nuggets, I would buy a Costco size bag and always have a quick protein source ready.  While most of the “better” brands don’t have too many creepy additives, I like to know that I’m getting local happy chicken.  These things are awesome!  I make several pounds at a time, and then I always have a meal that takes 15 minutres.

These are relatively simple to prepare, but a little time consuming.  For the time reason, I do several pounds at a time.  Time well spent if I can make a ton of meals at once!

First things first, in order to make breaded items, you need to know about “Wet hand, dry hand.”  Breading with this method is exactly what it sounds like.  One hand will be in the dry ingredients, and one will be in the wet.  This prevents the dreaded “glove hand” of layers of breading and goo.  Here are the steps:

  1. With your left hand; select a piece of chicken, and coat with the flour mixture.  Leave chicken in flour.
  2. With right hand, pick up chicken from the flour and dunk into the egg mixture.  Still using right hand, remove chicken and place into the breadcrumb mix without touching crumbs with your hand.
  3. With left hand, liberally coat chicken with breadcrumb mixture

Ok, now that we know how to bread, on to the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually do 2-3lbs at a time)
  • 1 1/2 c Flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4c milk
  • 1c bread crumbs (I get some from a local bakery for super cheap!)
  • 1c Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Set up your station:

Homemade Freezer Chicken Nuggets realfoodinarealworld.com

Not my usual chicken, but what I had on hand at the time

I have the best results with two bowls and a deep plate (similar to a pie plate)

Bowl #1: flour and salt & pepper

Bowl #2: eggs, beaten and milk

Dish #3: both types of bread crumbs and seasoned salt

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken into desired size and shape.
  2. Follow “Wet hand, dry hand” breading instructions
  3. Place breaded chicken strips on a foil covered and greased baking sheet
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, turn halfway through baking
  5. Eat!

To make freezer nuggets:

  1. Follow all directions above and then let chicken cool completely after baking.
  2. Freeze and place strips into a zip top bag.
  3. To bake from frozen (don’t thaw) just place on greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Click here for a printable recipe

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken

Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken realfoodinarealworld.com

One of my Costco weaknesses is always the rotisserie chickens.  It’s $5 and makes at least two meals in our house.  I have no idea where the chickens they use come from, or if they are local.  I also can’t run to Costco every time I want to make a quick chicken dinner.  So, lets learn how to make a rotisserie style chicken in the slow cooker.

I get whole chickens from Pure Pastures and cook them in my big crock pot.  You can just lay a whole washed bird in the slow cooker with no liquid, set it for 8 hours on low and it will make falling-off-the-bone chicken.  But if you want something closer to a rotisserie style, I will let you in on the secret.

Foil balls.

That is the only difference!

Let’s get cooking!

  1. Wash and pat dry your chicken
  2. Coat your birdie with some olive oil, and then with a rub of your choice.  (I just use some Montreal Steak seasoning and some paprika.)
  3. Make some foil balls and lay them on the bottom of your slow cooker (for my big oval pot, I use about ten balls with a one inch diameter)
  4. Place your massaged birdie on top of the foil

Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken realfoodinarealworld.comCook for 6-8 hours on low

That’s it!  You don’t have to add any liquid or anything.  It won’t be crispy like a rotisserie, due to lack of big pretty flames, but it will be super tasty.

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Especially tasty with latkes and a salad

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos (or Nachos)

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I am the Goldilocks of Crock Pots.  I actually own three of them.  I have a tiny one for dips, a medium size one that used to be my one and only, and now a huge 7 quart programmable one.  It’s nice when you know you have a crazy day, that dinner will be simple that night.  I don’t know if I can call this one a “recipe,” but this is a nice simple meal for us on those crazy days.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos/Nachos/Whatever device you like

Let’s Get Cooking

Ingredients:

  • Taco Seasoning (I have always made my own, let me know in the comments if you want me to post my recipe)
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I get free range from Natural Local Food Express)
  • tomato, onion, bell pepper, chopped (whatever you have in the house and need to use up.  Leftover salsa is great too)
  • liquid to prevent sticking (water, stock, broth, beer.  The choice is yours)

Dump everything in your slow cooker, with enough liquid to prevent the chicken from cementing itself to the inside of your cooker (don’t ask how I know these things)

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Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Mine is programmable, so I usually set for 7 hours and it will switch to the “keep warm” feature after 7 hours.

Shred the chicken with a fork and you are ready to eat!

Dress it up however you like.  We like nachos here

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my boys nacho creations, with some shredded cheese and Calder Dairy sour cream

I don’t eat dairy, so mine (header photo) is topped with avocado and some delicious green leaf lettuce.

You could probably serve the chicken in an old shoe and it would be delicious.

Enjoy!