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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Easy Comfort Food With Crock Pot Chicken Recipes

By Chasity Sheppard

One of the best ways to drive away the cold-weather blues is with a warm, comforting meal. Some people opt for pasta with a flavorful sauce while others want a thick soup or a hearty stew. These can take hours to make but crock pot chicken recipes can help you take the fuss out of preparing comfort food so that you can spend your time doing more important things, like snuggling under a blanket.

The crock pot has been a kitchen stand-by since the early Seventies. It's a slow cooker that stands on the counter top. It works on the principle of cooking your food slowly, over a couple of hours, at temperatures low enough to keep everything just simmering.

The extended cooking time means that you can't decide to use your slow cooker fifteen minutes before meal time. However, it's a wonderful time-saving appliance. Once you've added the ingredients to the pot, you simply close the lid, set the timer and let the cooker do its work. You don't need to watch it all the time, so you can go to work and tonight come back to a prepared meal. The slow cooker is a godsend for less talented cooks too because it's almost impossible to burn anything in it.

A common way to use slow cooking is to make stews. This is perfect if you have tough meat that you want to turn into something tasty, since the extended cooking time makes the meat soft and tender. Adding the right spices will help you to make a fragrant chicken curry too, just like you would in a tandoor, the clay oven used in Indian cooking.

Another type of dish that seems to have been made for the slow cooker is soup. Hours of simmering makes the vegetables so soft that they'll almost dissolve in the stock. If you want a creamier soup, simply ladle a bit into a blender and liquidize it, then add it back into the pot. A chicken soup can be kept thin, more like a broth, to sip on when you're feeling under the weather, or you may want to add noodles to give it some substance.

You may use your crock pot for many things, from whole chickens to spaghetti sauces. You can even make sweet dishes like desserts and candy. If you have an abundance of fresh fruit or berries, prevent them from going to waste by turning them into preserves or jams.

Because slow cooking requires relatively low temperatures, the liquid evaporates much more slowly. Therefore it's important not to add too much water or stock to the pot or your meals will be watery. Another secret is to first saute your ingredients. This helps to seal in their flavor and some of the nutrient content. Before serving, add some extra vitamins to the meal by squeezing a bit of lemon juice over or garnishing the dish with chopped cilantro or parsley.

When you buy your slow cooker, you'll usually find that he packaging includes a booklet with recipe ideas. Use these as a basis and then experiment until you find the crock pot chicken recipes that work best for your tastes. You'll also find lots of inspiration online on cookery websites.

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