Monday, April 09, 2012

Slow-Cooked Days: Easter Dinner

I heart my slow cooker. I've been using it more and more, enjoying the delicious (and easy, hearty and economical) meals I can cook up in it without much fuss. I especially enjoy the way a little bit of planning and chopping can free up big chunks of my day to do other things.

I ended up using the slow cooker for Easter dinner, and it came out quite nicely. We'd picked up a whole chicken on a major sale at the local grocery store a few weeks back. On Friday afternoon, I moved the chicken from freezer to fridge, and on Sunday morning, it only took me about five minutes of preparation to get it ready for slow cooking all day. I washed and dried the chicken, applied a bit of olive oil and a generous rub of freeze-dried poultry spices, then threw it in the crockpot with some water (so it would make extra broth) and a couple of tablespoons of butter. I put the whole thing on low and cooked it for 8-9 hours. By dinnertime it was moist and juicy. And I've got plenty of leftovers for at least two more meals, including enough broth and small chicken pieces to do a nice chicken soup this week.

Since the sweet girl is not a chicken fan ("Oh look! Chicken bones! Cool! Except...oooh, oh. That means that's a real chicken that got killed so we could eat it. Yuk..." -- yes, she comes by her vegetarianism honestly) I made one of her favorite dishes to go along with it. If the chicken was mostly for D., the rumbledethump was mostly for S. I just love saying the world rumbledethump. It's a delicious potato-based dish based on colcannon recipes. I learned it from Recipes from the Root Cellar . We probably eat it at least once a month. It's a hearty dish made from potatoes, onions, cabbage, a little butter and cheese, some salt and pepper. Last night I made roasted carrots (olive oil and Spike seasoning) to go with it, and also dished up some jarred unsweetened applesauce sprinkled with some cinnamon/sugar. The sweet girl managed two small bites of chicken (more than I expected; I don't mind when she goes full-blown vegetarian) but the rumbledethump, carrots, and applesauce provided plenty of hearty food even without the chicken.

All in all, a delicious, simple meal that was amazingly economical. I am determined to continue to find ways to feed good, real food to my family in the midst of hard times, so this meal felt like a winner.

Edited to add: when thinking about what to do with the leftover chicken for tonight, I suddenly remembered I had leftover ratatouille in the fridge from late last week. Score! Cut up chicken pieces sauteed with the ratatouille = yummy chicken cacciatore-ness.

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