Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Chicken *WOW* Moment

So I mentioned last weekend that I was *thinking* about cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot.  There is one thing that you need to know about me before you read this...I can't stand raw chicken.  I despise handling raw chicken.  I've mustered up the courage to cut it into pieces for dinners, but it still makes me a little squeamish to handle.  I know it's weird.  As much as I love to cook, I should be over this irrational fear of raw chicken, but I'm not.  Whew, that feels better.  Back to our regularly scheduled post...
So I finally did it, I cooked a chicken in the crockpot!  Yay me!  I started by unwrapping the bad boy, hoping that the insides would be nicely packaged in a bag to pull out.  Nope wrong, I had to fish them out myself.  Nothing like doing that before you eat breakfast, gross!  So after being grossed out enough for one week, I rinsed the chicken and put it in the crockpot.  I seasoned it up with a generous amount of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning.  I know you have all seen the HV Ranch packets, but did you know that you can buy it in a shaker to sprinkle on everything.  Yes, I mean everything.  I found this tasty tidbit over at the Picky Palate and have used it multiple times already.  Run out and buy it today.  By the way, I am loving the recipes I'm finding there!  Stop by and check them out.  Back to the chicken (I'm definitely diverting today, sorry about that).  I let it cook for 8 hours on low and by the time hour seven rolled around you could see the chicken falling away from the bone.  Yum, Yum!
Next I de-boned the chicken.  This is not a fun task either.  Make sure that you have plenty of time to devote to sorting chicken from bones.  These little chickens have what seem like a thousand bones.  It's something you definitely want to spend time on, especially if you have Little Ones who will be eating it.  So I'm making cooking a chicken sound like a horrific task, right? Yes, but now it's time for the *WOW* moment.  Ready?
The moment we sunk our teeth into that chicken, we knew we would never go back to frozen, pre-cooked or any other forms of chicken.  This chicken was out of this world tender and had the most amazing flavor.  I can't say it enough, the best chicken ever.  This makes so much chicken, I had enough to make the following:
Chicken Enchiladas (recipe to come soon) - this chicken made a world of difference in the taste of my go-to Enchilada recipe.  C and I took our first bite and we were sold on the chicken.  Our enchiladas will never be the same!
Salsa Chicken and Ranch Florentine Tostadas - a Picky Palate find that I am now in love with.  It was Soooo good!  What little leftovers I had, I put on top of a spinach salad the next day - oh my!
Cajun Chicken Pasta - Pioneer Woman Style.  Very tasty, not as good looking as PW's though.  She has mad skills though, and I sadly do not.  I'm working on them! :)
Chicken and Artichoke and Garlic Cream Pasta - a tasty concoction that I threw together using a Nutcracker Market find.  It's an Artichoke and Garlic Cream sauce.  I tossed it with a can of chopped artichoke hearts, a little chicken and some thin spaghetti.  I'm working on recreating this cream sauce, it's on my massive to-do list.  Maybe in January I'll cross that off my list!
That's more chicken dinners than we normally eat in a week.  I usually try to have a nice variety of beef, seafood or chicken.  I wanted to give this a try and see how it worked out though.  Next time I'll plan to make a couple of chicken dinners and freeze the rest for future dinners.
So all my squeamishness and being grossed out by the chicken in the beginning was totally worth the results.  Something that had me so intimidated in the kitchen turned out to be something great!  I'm sure I'll have a whole chicken on my grocery list at least twice a month now.  Hopefully I've encouraged you to get in the kitchen and try something that makes you nervous!  What intimidates you the most in the kitchen?

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