Moroccan chicken with dates recipe (slow cooker version, too!)

Moroccan chicken with dates | Pamela Salzman

You all know I live in Southern California and perhaps you know we are having a very mild, but super dry winter.  We actually have a serious drought happening here.  And you might also know that 99% of my entire family lives in the New York/New Jersey area.  And they’re having a veerrryy different kind of winter.

prep the chicken

So most of our phone calls the last few weeks have been kind of like this:

Me: “Hi!  It’s me.  What’s new?”

Sister/Mother/Father: “It’s snowing.  AGAIN.  The kids are off from school.  AGAIN.  It’s absolutely freezing out there.  Seriously, this is the worst winter EVER!”

Me:  “Bummer.  But I asked, ‘what’s neeeewwww?'”

Same old, same old.  I miss the talks we used to have about currents events, movies, what we’re making for dinner, what we ate for lunch.  Interesting, riveting stuff.  Instead, it’s all blizzard all the time!  Thankfully, winter doesn’t last forever and they’ll all be able to get back to business before we know it.  Easy for me to say, I’m sure.

onion, carrots, coconut oil and spices

 

prepped

But if I were in the middle of a polar vortex, I would quickly buy a one-way ticket to L.A. I would make super-warming foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We may not be able to control the weather, but we can control the thermal nature of what we eat.  And I say, heat me up!  High on my list would be this Moroccan chicken with dates which I taught in my classes last February.  I know it seems like there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but half of them are spices, all of which are warming to the body, and anti-inflammatory, too.  These spices, including ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and a pinch of cayenne are also quite flavorful and make this otherwise simple chicken dish, something very special.  There’s also a little bit of sweetness from the cinnamon and from halved dates which rank as one of my favorite foods on the planet.  A little earthy, a little sweet, a touch spicy and a little tart — it’s one of my favorite chicken recipes!

slice open the dates to remove the pit

In these images, and for dinner last night, I served this with an apricot couscous (I’ll post the recipe next week.)  This will have a very tasty, but brothy sauce which just begs for something to sop it up.  Couscous, which is pretty dry, is the perfect side dish.  But you don’t need to make it with any seasonings or herbs.  Even plain would be just the right side for this dish.  Otherwise, if you’re gluten-free, steamed rice, quinoa or millet would be amazing here.  I also served it for dinner with simply sautéed Swiss chard, but check out this recipe for raw grated carrot and beet salad.  That would be fabulous, too.

bring to a simmer before added browne

add chicken to mixture

I have made this recipe in the slow cooker, as well.  Please read the directions for how to adjust this recipe for the slow cooker.  Both versions are amazing and will help warm up your core.  At least until the next snowfall or tomorrow, or both, as the case might be!

Moroccan chicken with dates | Pamela Salzman

 

5.0 from 9 reviews
Moroccan Chicken with Dates
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts such as breasts (I like them split), thighs or drumsticks, seasoned with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt when you get home from the market or brined for an hour (1/4 cup kosher salt + 2 cups water) EXCEPT if you use kosher chicken. See this post for how and why to brine chicken.
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (feel free to add more if you like it)
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 12 dates, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, if you like it
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and add to the pot in one layer. Do not overcrowd. Cook until browned on the underside, then turn over and browned on the other side, about 15 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet or platter and repeat with remaining chicken if there’s some still left to do.
  2. Add onions and carrots to the pot and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add cinnamon sticks, salt and remaining spices. Sauté about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  4. Add stock, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice and dates. Deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, add chicken pieces back to pot skin-side up and cover. Lower heat and simmer until chicken is completely cooked through, about 40-45 minutes. An instant-red thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
  5. Add lemon juice to pot and stir to combine. If sauce needs thickening, transfer chicken to a platter and simmer sauce until it is reduced. Sprinkle everything with cilantro and serve.
Notes
SLOW COOKER VERSION:

Use bone-in, skinLESS pieces of chicken
Use a skillet to brown chicken, and sauté vegetables and spices.  Add only ¾ cup of stock to the pan and the same amount of lemon juice as in the original recipe to deglaze the pan.  Do not add the dates until 20 minutes before serving.
Transfer the browned chicken, and the vegetable, spice, stock and lemon juice mixture to the slow cooker and cook covered on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.
20 minutes before serving, stir dates into the slow cooker.  Add remaining lemon juice and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

 

 

Mini Chicken Tostadas Recipe (vegetarian adaptable)

mini chicken tostadas | pamela salzman

You guys know I love watching football.  However, I’m not such a fan that I’ll watch just any game with teams that I don’t care much about.  So unfortunately for me, this has been a very boring season.  All the teams I root for didn’t make the playoffs.  And even the teams I root against didn’t make the playoffs, so I really had very little excitement this year.  But I still love having friends over on Sundays and I always have fun making tasty nibbles for everyone to enjoy during the games.  All is not lost.

Trader Joe's organic tortilla rounds

Since the Super Bowl is coming up, I know many of you will be hosting friends and family at your house or will be invited somewhere.  Now is the perfect time to figure out a few fun, easy and delicious game-day recipes.

slow cooker chicken taco meat

We always have a few people over for the Super Bowl – nothing big because otherwise my husband can’t “concentrate” (on the game, not in general.)  I usually keep a big pot of chili (see these recipes for vegetable chili, Southwestern turkey and black bean chili, and veggie-sweet potato chili) on the stove with a topping bar on the kitchen island and some cornbread.  I also will have either a taco bar or a baked potato bar as well.  It’s all easy, can be prepped in advance and I think most people like to customize their own meal.

top each tortilla round with a pinch of chicken

You must try these mini chicken tostadas!  My kids go crazy for them.  A tostada is a fried, whole tortilla topped with variety of goodies – shredded chicken or beef, refried beans, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, really whatever you would put on a taco.  I find tostadas a bit awkward to eat, but these mini ones are much less messy and they are still customizable.

top the chicken with a pinch of cheese

I like to bake my own tortillas to make chips, but only when I have time.  I’ll give you directions for how to make your own baked mini tortilla rounds for this recipe, but if you’re having a crowd, I would probably just go get the round, organic tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere.  Maybe less healthful than baking your own, but much easier if you have a lot of other things to do.  Make some chicken taco meat the day before either in the oven or the slow cooker and you’ve got a very easy crowd-pleaser!

bake until the chicken and cheese are warme

The way I like to make these is to put a pinch of chicken and cheese on each tortilla round and bake them for a few minutes or until the cheese melts a little and the chicken is warmed through.  But, if you make your chicken the same day and it’s still warm when you put it on the chip, it’s up to you if you still want to pop them in the oven.  Then just top them however you like.  I also make these vegetarian with refried beans instead of chicken.  Either way, they’ll be a winner!

mini chicken tostadas | pamela salzman

 

Mini Chicken Tostadas
Author: 
Serves: makes 18, but the recipe can easily be multiplied to make more
 
Ingredients
  • 6 6-inch soft corn tortillas
  • unrefined olive oil for brushing tortillas
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken taco meat (click here for a slow cooker and oven version) or use 1 -2 cans of refried beans for a vegetarian version
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (or Monterey Jack or cheddar)
  • Additional toppings: guacamole, salsa, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced scallions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have an aluminum or nonstick pan.)
  2. Brush both sides of each tortilla with a little olive oil.  With a 2 ½-inch cookie cutter, try to cut 3 rounds from each tortilla.  You can bake the scraps to make crispy bits to top a salad or soup.
  3. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.  They will crisp up as they cool.  These can be made the day before and kept in a covered container at room temperature. Or, instead of making baked rounds, buy round tortilla chips.
  4. When ready to serve, preheat oven once again to 375 degrees.  Put a pinch of chicken and a pinch of cheese on each.  Bake until chicken is warmed through.  Top with desired accompaniments.

 

 

Chicken tikka masala recipe

chicken tikka masala | pamela salzman

Did you know that Chicken Tikka Masala is the most popular dish in Indian restaurants in the US and it’s not even Indian?  Nope, you won’t find families in India sharing Tikka Masala recipes because as the story goes, this dish was created in a London curry house.  Interesting, no?  Did you know I had the most difficult time trying to make this dish look appetizing in these photographs?  Just needed to get that off my chest.

marinate the chicken in yogurt

Regardless of what it looks like, I love this recipe and so does my family.  It is so full of flavor and very easy to make.  Chunks of chicken are smothered in a rich sauce of tomatoes, spices and some coconut milk to balance it all out.  Normally heavy cream is used in tikka masala, but coconut milk is the perfect substitute and I actually like it here better than cream.  Yum.  For you do-aheaders, you can make the masala sauce the night before and then cook the chicken right before dinner, heat up the sauce and you’re done!  Prepping in advance like that is my ace in the hole, allowing me to pull together a delicious and healthful dinner on a busy weeknight with no stress.  It’s like having a jar of tikka masala sauce from Trader Joe’s in the pantry.  But before you think about doing that, as much as I like Trader Joe’s, this sauce blows theirs away.   Fact.

garam masala and jarred tomatoes

We eat this with my Indian Basmati Rice and Peas recipe and a green vegetable, either green beans, spinach or even a green salad.  You can go even simpler by making some plain steamed rice and that is perfect here too.  The only ingredient you’ll need for this recipe that you might not have is garam masala, which is a sweet and spicy (not hot-spicy) spice blend that contains coriander, green and black cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, and cumin.  All awesome anti-inflammatory and warming spices which are great for your health and perfect for this time of year as the weather starts to cool off a bit.  Of course you can make your own by toasting the whole spices and grinding them up and I am sure that would make a world of difference in your cooking, BUT…I kind of don’t have time for that so I think store-bought garam masala is perfectly fantastic.  All the markets in my area carry garam masala, but you can order it here if you can’t find it.

garlic and ginger

 

stir coconut milk into the tomato-spice mixture

I am also very excited that my Whole Foods started carrying organic tomatoes in a glass jar by Jovial Foods.   Very excited!  Remember, canned tomatoes contain tons of BPA which is toxic, especially in large doses for kids.  You already consume BPA in places you can’t control (water, eating in restaurants), so try and avoid it when you can.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a company that doesn’t use BPA in their canned tomatoes.  Pomi is what I normally use since the tomatoes are boxed in BPA-free tetra-paks, but the tomatoes are not organic.  Not ideal, but Pomi says they don’t use pesticides.  Anyhow, now my tomato dreams have come true with Jovial Foods and you can also find them on amazon.  Is there anything you can’t find on amazon?  Just a random thought.

broil the chicken, turning after 6 minutes

While we’re talking about making our lives easier, the classic way to make the chicken in tikka masala is to marinate it in yogurt, which tenderizes it, and then broil or grill it.  I know some of you are not going to want to use yogurt on chicken and I know others will not want to grill.  No problem.  If you want this to be authentic, you’ll follow the recipe.  If you’ve never had this before and won’t know the difference, by all means grill or roast plain chicken seasoned with salt and pepper or roast a whole chicken and cube up the meat.  The tikka masala police are not going to get you in trouble.  Can you tell I am giving you every excuse to make this??  Let me know if you do!

chicken tikka masala | pamela salzmam

chicken tikka masala | pamela salzman

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Tikka Masala
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup plain whole yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (you can do this in a food processor)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 pounds fresh, peeled and seeded tomatoes, diced (or the equivalent of boxed or jarred tomatoes, about 28 ounces)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple sugar, coconut sugar or natural cane sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk, preferably full-fat (you can use the whole can if you want the sauce to be creamier)
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in a dish.  Mix 1 teaspoon salt, coriander and cumin together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with spice mixture and pour the yogurt over the spiced chicken breasts.  Turn to coat well.  You can do this several hours in advance and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. Preheat broiler to high and set the oven rack on the second level.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Place a metal cooling rack on top of the foil-lined baking sheet and arrange the chicken on top of the rack. Broil for 5-7 minutes on each side until charred but not burned. Chicken should be cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the ghee. Add onions and cook until tender and slightly browned. Stir in garlic, ginger, 2 teaspoons salt and garam masala.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and continue cooking and while scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add sugar, lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.  Pour in coconut milk.
  7. Cut chicken into chunks (remember, it should be cooked through) and stir into sauce until heated through.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve with basmati rice.

 

 

 

Baked Parmesan Chicken Caprese Recipe

baked parmesan chicken caprese | pamela salzman

I hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July and that you had a day off of work at the very least.  If there’s one thing I think many of us need more of it’s a little rest and relaxation.  We had a nice mellow day with friends and no work all day at all.  Nice.  In fact, I even watched a little tv while I was putzing around the house before going out.  Computer time has wiped out my tv time in the last few years, so watching tv is a real treat for me.  Although it’s funny that when I have time off from work (i.e. cooking), I choose to watch the Food Network or the Cooking Channel.  I have my favorites to be sure, but some of the really popular shows I just don’t get.

Can anyone explain the appeal of “Chopped?”  I’ll tell you one thing — it’s not “reality” tv.  What’s reality about being given a bunch of ingredients not normally found in a regular person’s pantry and being forced to have to make something tasty out of it given the resources of an unbelievably stocked pantry?  I have learned so much from watching Ina and Giada and Tyler, but there isn’t much I get out of seeing what three chefs can do with graham crackers and squid in 30 minutes.  Does that show talent?  What do you think?

Let me tell you what I think takes some skill — making dinner for my family on a typically insane weeknight.  You think the judges on Chopped are tough.  Ha!  They eat everything, even cheese, unlike Mr. Picky.    Try making dinner for Daughters #1 and 2 and Mr. Picky under a time constraint.  During the girls’ finals week earlier last month, I had a day that did not go as planned and I found myself in a dinner prep predicament.  We always eat dinner together every night around 6:30/6:45 and I thought this was one of those nights, but no.  Daughter #1 had a study group at 6:30 and Daughter #2 switched her music lesson without telling me and she would be coming home at 6:15.  I found all of this out at 4:30 and I had soccer carpool to do.  Oh sure, easy, right?

Do the contestants on Chopped have two teenage girls yelling at each other about the last ugly photo one posted of the other on Instagram?  They do not.  And Mr. Picky is not bouncing a basketball in the kitchen while the chefs are trying to figure out what to make for dinner very quickly with the contents of a very basic pantry.  Bounce, bounce, bouncety-bounce!  Ok, think.  Do some prep now, then you have 15 minutes when you get back from soccer drop-off before driving to music.  “But the picture you posted of me was much worse than the one I posted of you!”  Bounce, bounce, bouncety-bounce!  I have chicken, tomatoes, white rice is fast, thank goodness I washed lettuce yesterday.   “Mommmmmmm, did you see what she’s getting away with?  So many people liked that picture already!”  “Really?  They liked it?  That’s good, right?”  “OMG, Mom!  No they didn’t like it!  Make her delete it!”  Bounce, bounce, bouncety-bounce!  I can bread the chicken now and bake later.  “I am NOT letting her drive me to school anymore.”  Whoa there, missy.  Now you’ve got my attention.  “Delete it this minute!”  Bounce, bounce, bouncety-bounce!  “STOP PLAYING BALL IN THE HO– USE, MR. PICKY!!!!”  Can you imagine doing this sober?  Why don’t I drink?  I need to rethink that.

I know this isn’t just my house, or maybe it is and I am deluding myself.  But I think a lot of home cooks have skills that you just can’t learn in culinary school or by watching some pros on tv.  I managed to pull something together that night that we ate at exactly 6:15 and we all liked it!  I would have likely gotten “chopped” on tv for something so unoriginal, but this is the kind of food we like to eat and it’s reasonably healthful.  One of the reasons this worked for me that night is because I was able to bake the chicken instead of sautéing/frying it.  I didn’t know if it would work, but I learned the technique of getting crispy breading by greasing up the chicken with some fat before dredging it from an old Gourmet magazine recipe.  That way, I didn’t have to babysit it on the stovetop, plus baking is more healthful than frying and MUCH less messy!  This would also be a great method to use when cooking for a crowd.

Speaking of cooking for a crowd, for the next episode of “Chopped,” I’d like to see a challenge where the chefs have to prepare a dinner party for 12 guests in Los Angeles.  “Oh, sorry, no gluten for me.”  “If you don’t mind, I don’t eat dairy.  Or meat.  Or eggs.”  “I’m easy.  I eat everything except nuts.  I am deathly allergic to all tree nuts.  Deathly!”  Now that’s something I would watch!

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Baked Parmesan Chicken Caprese
Author: 
Serves: 4-5
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, cubed (about 4 ounces), optional
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil, plus more for coating chicken and pan
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • ⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino-romano or Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a baking sheet generously with olive oil. You can line your baking sheet with parchment paper if you want and then brush the parchment with oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, basil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  3. In a shallow dish (such as a pie plate), combine the bread crumbs, cheese, and paprika. In another shallow dish, pour a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. Slice the chicken crosswise in half so that you have two thin cutlets. Check out this post for a visual on what I'm referring to. You can remove the tenders if you wish and coat those separately. Sprinkle one side of the chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. This is the total amount of salt and pepper for all the chicken.
  5. Dip the seasoned chicken first into the olive oil and turn to coat. Then dip chicken into the breadcrumb mixture and press to coat both sides completely.
  6. Place the breaded chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn chicken with a spatula, not tongs which might break the breading, and bake another 3-5 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
  7. Remove garlic cloves from tomato mixture and discard. Spoon tomato mixture on top of chicken.
Notes
This serves our family perfectly with no leftovers, but we're not big meat-eaters.  If one chicken cutlet is not enough per person, then increase the chicken and breading ingredients.

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Barbecued Chicken

Slow Cooker Barbecued Pulled Chicken by Pamela Salzman

You’ve heard of Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays, but in this house we’ve had “Slow Cooker Thursdays” for the last two months.  It doesn’t have the  same ring as the other two, but it has made my life way easier.  Mr. Picky had baseball games every Thursday (and Sunday) since March and they were conveniently scheduled at dinnertime.   Scrunchy face.  Picture hubby and me sitting at a little league game until 7:00 or 7:30 (gotta love extra innings!) while my daughters were texting me from home “We r starving!  When r u coming home?  Can we eat without u?”  Then of course I actually had to assemble dinner in record time once I finally returned home.  That happened once, until I figured out that Thursdays would have to be “Slow Cooker Night” unless I wanted to let the girls eat acai bowls for dinner (because that’s about all they would take the time to make even when “starving”) or allow Mr. Picky to eat hot dogs or microwaved canned chili on top of Fritos from the snack stand at the field. Um, no.

homemade BBQ sauce

I work really hard to make sure we eat together every night.  It’s actually more important to me than what we eat.  I’ve always said that breakfast might be the most important meal of the day from a nutritional perspective, but dinner is the most important from an emotional perspective.  However, getting the five of us at the table at a reasonable time for dinner can be a challenge, especially during Little League season.  And no matter how hard I tried to get Mr. Picky to find baseball boring, he just wouldn’t see it my way.  So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and that’s where I found myself every single blessed Thursday night.  Deciding to make something in the slow cooker on Thursdays was my ticket to freedom so I wasn’t stressed out every time a player was walked or someone got a hit, both of which keep the game going on and on and on.

Chicken, BBQ sauce and seasonings in the slow cooker

When I first started using this slow cooker in December, so many people asked me for good slow cooker recipes.  I was honestly surprised since one quick search on Foodily turned up thousands.  But as I’ve experimented, I have realized what everyone else already knows — that not every slow cooker recipe is a good one, and certainly not a healthful one.  Never said I was a quick learner!

shred the chicken in a separate bowl

add more BBQ sauce

I recently invested in the book, “Slow Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen and it looks promising.  I tried their recipe for barbecued chicken and we all loved it!  I have been experimenting with making my own barbecue sauce and I’m super close to posting it, but not quite.  I did use one of my homemade BBQ sauce experiments and the chicken turned out super tender and flavorful.  We had it the first night on cracked wheat buns with homemade cole slaw — super delicious.  And the next day I put it into quesadillas for the girls’ lunch.  They asked for it again the day after that, but sadly it was all gone.

pour braising liquid in a fat separator

shredded chicken in bbq sauce | Pamela Salzman

I thought to share this recipe with you this week for a possible Father’s Day menu item or for a July 4th party.  It’s also a good time to remind you why grilled animal protein isn’t that good for you.  Check out an earlier post on that here.  Slow cooking with low heat cuts way down on carcinogens from forming.  It’s a win-win!  Even though Little League is over, my slow cooker is staying and so is this chicken!

shredded bbq chicken | pamela salzman

Slow Cooker Barbecued Pulled Chicken by Pamela Salzman

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Slow Cooker Pulled Barbecued Chicken
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat (or use all thighs)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle powder or cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups barbecue sauce
Instructions
  1. Place chicken pieces in the slow cooker.
  2. Mix together chili powder, paprika, chipotle powder, salt and pepper and rub all over chicken.
  3. Pour ½ cup barbecue sauce over chicken and toss to coat.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender 4-6 hours on LOW.  (5 hours worked great for me.)  The slow cooker can also go to the WARM setting if you are not ready to eat the chicken after cooking 4-6 hours.
  4. Transfer chicken to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.  With two forks, shred meat into bite size pieces, but not too fine.
  5. Pour the liquid that remains in the slow cooker into a fat separator (or leave the liquid in the slow cooker and try to skim the fat off the top with a large spoon.)
  6. Heat the remaining 1 cup of barbecue sauce in a small saucepan until hot.  Toss shredded chicken with hot barbecue sauce and 1 cup of braising liquid.  You’ll have extra liquid if you need it.  Serve warm either by itself or on toasted whole grain buns or in a quesadilla.

 

Chicken adobo recipe

Well, dear people, all good things come to an end and our trip to England came and went too quickly.  We had such a good time and just as importantly, we traveled there and back in one piece.  But there was way too much to see and I am already thinking about when we can go back.  Even the food was better than expected!  I didn’t say it was the most nutritious fare, but we had very delicious meals.  I used to get stressed out about eating on vacation since it isn’t always easy to find kale salads and date-sweetened muffins when you’re away.  I have since let that thinking go since I realize that that kind of negative thinking can’t be doing anything good for my body.  However, this trip I think I may have “enjoyed” the local cuisine a little too much.  It’s one thing to eat a scone and it’s another to eat three.  At one time.  With clotted cream.

Alas, I eagerly pulled out my juicer as soon as I returned home and got back to a simpler way of eating.  It’s a weird feeling for me to not cook at all for 8 days, so I was perfectly happy to get back in the kitchen and make all my familiar staples, quinoa and millet, almond milk, and lots of fresh veggies.  For our first dinner home I made chicken adobo, one of the easiest things I can make that everyone likes.  It is a traditional Filipino dish where chicken or pork are braised in vinegar and soy sauce with garlic. It’s a little sour, a little salty and a touch of sweet.  And the soy really tenderizes the chicken so that it’s super soft.  I usually shred it for the kids and serve it over rice with a green vegetable on the side.  Simple dimple!

This dish is really only made with thighs and/or drumsticks and there’s a reason for that.  Breast meat gets too dried out when simmered.  I tried this with breast meat and it just wasn’t as good as the dark meat.  What I will say is that because the sauce is dark, no one will know that the thighs are thighs and not white meat.  I have made a few variations of chicken adobo and I’m giving you the easiest here with boneless, skinless chicken pieces.  If you use pieces with the skin, you’ll end up having to brown the chicken to start in order to render some of the fat from the skin and to make it look more attractive (rubbery chicken skin gives me the creeps.)  My family doesn’t eat the skin anyway so it was an easy decision for me to leave it out.  This isn’t the most beautiful chicken dish you’ll ever eat, but I make no apologies because it’s very tasty and beyond easy!  Also, it’s way more healthful to cook animal protein in a liquid or by steaming.  A few carcinogens are created anytime animal protein comes into contact with high heat, like a pan or a grill.  Total bummer, but that’s the facts.

I think you could also make a chicken adobo rice “bowl” with a big scoop of rice, shredded chicken and some steamed or roasted vegetables with a few spoonfuls of sauce on top.  Believe me, no matter how you make it, this is a no-brainer for a busy weeknight especially if you’ve been on vacation from the kitchen for a bit!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Adobo
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¼ cup naturally brewed soy sauce or shoyu or GF tamari (I like Ohsawa)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, bone-in or boneless* (I used 8 boneless thighs)
  • ⅓ cup water
Instructions
  1. Mix vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns in a container just small large enough to hold the chicken, such as a glass mixing bowl or a small Pyrex. Cover and marinate 1 hour to overnight. Longer is better.
  2. Transfer chicken and marinade to a medium or large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes.
  3. Uncover, raise the heat and gently boil an additional 10 minutes to reduce sauce. Serve hot over steamed rice.
Notes
*Breasts don’t work well here. Skin-on chicken is fine, but the skin doesn’t look attractive unless you broil or brown it after.

 

Slow cooker whole chicken and stock recipe

slow cooker whole chicken | pamela salzman

Daughter #2 asked me the other day if I was “ever going to put that thing away?”  She was referring to my slow cooker, of course.  Not that Daughter #2 is complaining since she’s the first one to the dinner table every night and has always been the easiest one to cook for.  But she had a point.  That slow cooker has has become part of the family!

salting the chicken early is key!

But I wasn’t about to shelve my new baby so soon.  Just when I thought cooking a whole chicken couldn’t get any easier, I decided to put my Easy No-Fail Roast Chicken method to the test in…the slow cooker.  Believe me, I don’t normally mess with the easiest, most popular dinners in my repertoire.  But roasting a whole chicken is something that needs to be started well before I get home some days and I need a back-up.  That and I was on a roll and feeling lucky, so I figured this was going to work like everything else I’ve been trying.  I decided to prep the chicken in basically the same way I do an oven-roasted chicken — rubbed on the inside and out with some kosher salt early on, stuffed with a bit of fresh thyme and some crushed garlic and cooked on a bed of onions.  I usually add cut lemons to the cavity, but I was nervous that cooking the lemons for a long time would result in a bitter taste, so I left those out.  The only other change I made was to rub the outside of the chicken with a little olive oil mixed with paprika so that the skin would get a little color and not be pale and unattractive.

sprinkle with paprika and olive oil

The conclusion is that I think I should call this recipe “Easier than Easy No-Fail Roast Chicken and Still So Darn Good.”  The chicken was predictably fall-off-the-bones.  In fact, I had a hard time getting the chicken out of the slow cooker in one piece!  My kids love super soft meat and my husband likes chicken that is beyond well done.  I’ve made chicken once or twice a week for the last 17 1/2 years and he has asked me every single time if the chicken is cooked through.  No comment on whether or not that is annoying since my husband occasionally reads my blog AND Valentine’s Day is coming up.  Get my drift?  My point is that this chicken satisfies everyone, including me since it takes all of 5 minutes to prep and you can do it 8 hours before you want to eat dinner.  “Is this cooked through?”  “Darling, it’s been cooking for 8 hours.”

slow cooker whole chicken

So you all know I am completely obsessed with making homemade chicken stock.  I swear, if teaching cooking classes and blogging doesn’t work out, I will go into the homemade stock-making business.  The world must know the goodness of homemade stock somehow!  So before I served this chicken to the family, I removed and reserved all the bones.  I put the bones back in there with a chicken back I had in the freezer plus some stock veggies (onions, carrots, celery) and water and I made chicken stock overnight.  It was delicious.  And because there was no skin and foam and such, it turned out to be such a clear stock with minimal fat.  It’s crazy not to try this!  (Sorry I don’t have photos.  It was too dark in my kitchen and the images didn’t turn out well.)

lovely juices on the bottom can be used for gravy

Cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker opens up so many possibilities for what you can do with the meat.  You don’t have to cut the chicken into traditional breast, thigh, drumstick pieces.  You can use the meat just as you would rotisserie chicken meat and heaven knows there have been more articles on what to do with rotisserie chicken meat than how to get your baby to sleep through the night.   Just to remind — chicken soup, enchiladas, tacos, pot pie, sandwiches, salads and so on.  For those of you who do not have a slow cooker and feel excluded, please revisit the Easy No Fail Roast Chicken Recipe.  I still love you and I will put away the slow cooker and come back to you.  Eventually.  Wink, wink.

falling off the bones

 

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and Stock
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole roasting chicken, about 4-5 pounds (save the neck for stock)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme or a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and sliced into thick slices
  • For the stock:
  • Some additional bony chicken pieces if you have them, such as backs, necks, wings and/or feet, up to 2 pounds
  • 2 brown onions, cut into large pieces
  • 3 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • water (amount depends on size of your slow cooker)
Instructions
  1. When you get home from the market, unwrap the chicken and remove any giblets from the cavity. Save the neck for stock.
  2. Take a heaping tablespoon of kosher salt and rub it around the inside of the cavity. Any remaining salt on your hands can be rubbed on the outside of the chicken. Rewrap the chicken and refrigerate until ready to cook. This can be done up to two days in advance.
  3. The day you are making the chicken, remove it from the wrapping and sprinkle a few pinches of black pepper, as well as the garlic and thyme in the cavity of the chicken.
  4. Truss the chicken by tying the legs together. Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil and paprika.
  5. Place the onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker insert and place the chicken on top of the onions. You do not need any liquid, I promise. Cover and cook on LOW for 7- 8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.
  6. Serve with the cooked onions and pan juices, if desired.
Notes
Leave whatever you didn’t use in the slow cooker (juices and onions).
Remove all the bones from the entire chicken and place in the slow cooker with any additional chicken parts you have, including the neck from the chicken you just cooked. Add vegetables, vinegar, and enough water to come up to about an inch from the top.
Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or overnight. My slow cooker automatically goes to WARM mode after 8 hours.
Strain and use immediately if you don’t see too much fat at the top or cool slightly and refrigerate. When cold, skim and discard any fat from the top. Stock can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

 

 

Slow cooker chicken tacos recipe

You have all waited patiently while my life changed with the arrival of my new slow cooker. Apparently, I am very late to this party.  I had no idea there was this whole huge world of slow cooker devotees.  There are even websites devoted to only slow cooker recipes.  I could wallow in self pity right now, knowing that all these years I could have been starting my dinner first thing in the morning and then return at 6:00 pm to a fully cooked meal.  I could think about all the fall apart tender meats I missed out on or the flavorful soups and stews that could have been.  But who can be down when you’re in love?  Not me, friends.  Because I am in LOVE with my new slow cooker.

I use the words “slow cooker” instead of Crock Pot because Crock Pot is a brand which I don’t have.  But for all intents and purposes, they are used in the same way.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, I am not trying to sell you one here and I will provide directions in this recipe for how to make these tacos without one.  But seriously people, this machine rocks.  I don’t know what took me so long to get one.  I think part of my resistance was that I don’t have any room in my kitchen to store it.  I still don’t, but I did give away a box of Disney DVD’s in the garage to make space for it.  (Shhhhhh!)  I also never had a job where I left early in the morning and didn’t return until 6:00 pm to a house of hungry human beings.  Until now.

The irony is that I bought my sister a slow cooker a few years ago when she had her second baby because she does have a job like that.  She has been raving about it ever since!  A few months ago, I gave my other sister the same slow cooker when she moved into a new house and I think she just started playing around with it.  But I’ve used mine a few times a week since mid-December and I’m hooked.

Listen, no one needs a slow cooker, but here is why I love mine:

–if you spend a little time before you leave for the day, your slow cooker will make dinner and keep it warm for you until dinnertime;

–slow cookers cook at low heat for longer time.  Lower heat prevents nutrient loss.  Also, cooking above 350 degrees (which a slow cooker does NOT) can create AGE’s (advanced glycation end products) which are very inflammatory to the body and considered carcinogenic (ugh.)  Yup, you heard that right.  Preparing food in a slow cooker is better for your health!

–slow cooking can be very beneficial to tougher, leaner cuts of meat by breaking down the muscle and creating a very soft, tender meat;

–you can leave it unattended for up to 12 hours without overcooking your food or worrying about burning your kitchen down.

Again, I am new to slow cookers, and although I have learned a lot just by trail and error, I am no expert.  But so far, I’ve noticed that I prefer the recipes that ask you to brown meat or saute vegetables before adding them to the slow cooker.  You get much better flavor that way.  Yes, I realize you’re getting another pan dirty, but it’s worth it and you’re getting it over with in advance.  Also, I’ve made many non-slow cooker recipes in the slow cooker and just reduced the liquid a bit since there’s almost no evaporation happening and a lot of condensation.

The recipe I’m posting today is a super easy one which I made on Sunday.  This is truly a measure, dump and press start recipe.  I used two different kind of chicken parts to see how they would both turn out and I’ll tell you the truth — although my family much prefers white meat, no one could tell what was what.  Both the thigh and breast meat were super fork-tender.  I personally think thighs have more flavor, but that’s just me.  Everyone L-O-V-E-D these!  I set up a taco bar with lots of toppings so they could just help themselves so I could sit on the couch with a cozy blanket and the new issue of Bon Appetit while watching the football game.  Bliss.  Slow cooker + Me = Together Forever!

Any slow cooker love stories out there?  I want to know it all — how and when you met, how you keep the passion alive, recipes for success, etc!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs (I used 2 breasts and 3 thighs.)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup prepared tomato salsa (I used pico de gallo.) + more for serving
  • suggested accompaniments: corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa, shredded lettuce, cilantro-lime slaw
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken in slow cooker and sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Add garlic and salsa and rub around to combine. Cover; cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Either shred the chicken with 2 forks right in the slow cooker or transfer to a plate to shred. Moisten chicken with cooking juices and serve with desired tortillas/taco shells and toppings. You could even serve the chicken over rice with salsa and diced avocados.
Notes
Leftovers are great in a quesadilla!

Oven method: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In step 1, place all ingredients (except accompaniments) in a 5-quart Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2 cups water or chicken stock. Cover and bake until chicken is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Proceed with step 2.