This is by far the easiest recipe ever. I don’t even know if it qualifies as a recipe. It’s just a chop, dump, and turn-on-the-pot kind of recipe. The hardest part is remembering to take the chicken out to thaw the night before. Really.

The crock-pot is one of my favorite things. Could there be a better invention for a busy mom then something that will cook dinner for you while you’re away? Throw everything in the pot in the morning before work or taking the kids to school, and that little crock-pot works all day, filling the house with wonderful smells. It’s almost like having a personal chef. (Except you do have to do a little work.)

I’m especially grateful for my crock-pot in the middle of a busy school year. I can throw something in the pot in the morning and dinner is done. Maybe I have to toss a salad together for dinner, but seriously. Done.

What’s great about this recipe, besides the ease of it, is that you have plenty of leftovers for the next day’s lunch to make quesadillas, tacos, sandwiches, whatever. And the recipe itself is super versatile.

To start, you need 2 plain ole yellow onions, a couple stalks of celery, a couple carrots, a few cloves of garlic, and a bay leaf or two. (Bay leaves not pictured.)

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Give it all a rough chop and throw it in the bottom of your crock-pot. (I don’t even bother to peel the carrots; I can be kinda lazy.)

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Go ahead and nest it all in your slow cooker. It doesn’t have to be a single layer; just toss ’em in and make them be friends.

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On to the chicken. I always try and use organic chicken, but what’s great about using a whole chicken is that is becomes much more economical to use organic. The price per pound is almost always cheaper than breasts or even thighs. (If you struggle with being able to afford organic, try buying the whole bird; you get so many uses out of one little bird, stocks, broths, and plenty of meat that you can stretch out over 3 of more meals.) If you need another reason to start buying whole chickens, the risk of salmonella is much less since you deal with only one bird instead of several as you would in a package of breasts or thighs.

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Can you tell I’m a fan of using whole chickens?

Anyway, back to the recipe. Just lay the entire bird on top of the veg and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. This is where you can add more seasonings if you want: lemon zest and dill, chili and cumin, whatever! The basic recipe is yummy all by itself, but you can jazz it up with whatever you want.

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Toss in the bay leaves and cook on high for 5-6 hours. That’s it.You’re welcome.

Bonus: As the chicken cooks, you’ll notice that a good chunk of liquid accumulates around the bird, even though you didn’t add any liquid. DO NOT THROW OUT! This stuff is liquid gold, I tell ya. I call it chicken jello, but it’s all the delicious and nutritious stuff from the bones. It makes a fantastic flavor base for anything: soups, rice, quinoa, sauteed veggies, whatever! It has all of the wonderful benefits from the bone marrow and it’s soo flavorful. I just strained into a bowl or container and put it in the fridge. The fat rises to the top and you can scrape it off and toss it,  or, if the chicken’s organic, use that schmaltz for cooking. The gelatinous goo left behind is the gold.

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Crock-pot Rotisserie Chicken

Ingredients:

2 onions

2-3 celery Stalks

2-3 carrots

2-3 garlic cloves

1-2 bay leaves

1 whole (preferably organic) chicken

Roughly chop veg and line the bottom of the slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the veg and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or until chicken is done. To serve: remove skin and pull meat from the bones.

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