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How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker ~ New Recipe in 31 Days of Freezer Cooking - $5 Dinners

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker ~ New Recipe in 31 Days of Freezer Cooking

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Welcome to the first post in the “31 Days of Freezer Cooking Recipes” series! This is our 4th “31 Days” series and I love that we are going to share what feels like a bazillion recipes, concepts and ideas with you this month!

I am a ‘freezer shopper’…meaning that I often times shop from my freezer when it comes time to prepare dinner. I am quite the bargain grocery shopper and prefer to never pay full price for anything at the store. And as a result, I’ve learned the fine art of stockpiling food in the freezer…just about everything goes (minus a few things!)…from sandwich bread to fresh fruit to blanched broccoli heads to meat sauces to meatballs to shredded chicken (more on that below) and lest we not forget the cookie dough.

(Freezing cookie dough is generally a failed attempt at keeping myself from eating it. Because I think I prefer to snack on it right out of the freezer. I’ll just keep trying to fool myself!)

The reason that I wanted to start with the ‘cooked, shredded chicken concept’ is because I always have some on hand in the freezer because it can be used in so many different recipes, doesn’t add any prep time to meals on busy weeknights and really has a small ‘hands-on’ time when you’re picking the meat off the bones.

AND…because you get homemade chicken broth from the chicken too. (See below for the deets.)

Let’s get to it shall we…

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Drop the nekkid bird into the base of the slow cooker. No need to add any liquid…it will release plenty of juices and we will dilute them later for homemade broth!

Season as you wish. I usually use garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika, whatever! Add some onions, garlic, carrots, celery…which will give the broth more flavor.

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker 2

Slow cook on low for 8 hours.

See how much liquid it releases.

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Remove bird, onions and garlic.

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Pull skin off, pull drumsticks off, pull meat off.

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Run your knife down the center breast bone and pull the breast and tenderloin off. Pull off as much meat as you can.

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Flip the bird and pull off the thighs and any meat from the back.

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Pile the meat you want to shred all up!

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Toss in the onions and garlic for added flavor. They are really soft and will almost ‘melt’ in with the chicken!

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Using 2 forks or your stand mixer, shred the chicken.

Kaboom. You have shredded chicken to use in any of the recipes below. I can usually get 2 or 3 meals worth from 1 chicken, depending on the meal!

To Freeze: Let cool completely before adding in 2-3 cup portions in a plastic freezer baggie or container. Thaw in a bowl of warm water before reheating or using in the recipe.

Recipes Using Shredded Chicken

How to Make Chicken Broth

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker 4

Strain liquid.

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Let sit for a few minutes.

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Dilute with about the same amount of water that you have liquid.

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Let it sit for a bit and then skim off the fat and dilute to your preference/taste. I generally dilute to get about 5-6 cups per whole chicken.

To Freeze Homemade Broth: Pour the broth into a plastic container or freezer baggie in 2 cup portions to use in recipes that call for chicken broth.

Recipes that Use Chicken Broth

There you have it…a whole chicken becomes multiple meals of shredded chicken and homemade broth!


Pear Mascarpone Crostata

Pear Mascarpone Crostata |

Oh my drool fest. I don’t get fancy too often, but when I do…I go big. Like with this Pear Marscapone Crostada!

This is a divine autumn dessert. Or breakfast. Or midnight snack.

Go big or go home my friend! 

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.

Pear Mascarpone Crostata

Yield – 8 servings

Preparation Time – 30 minutes (+30 min in the fridge)

Cooking Time – 38 minutes


Crust Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • non-stick spray or butter for greasing pan
  • extra flour for rolling
  • Optional special equipment – pie weights

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 pears
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 16 oz. mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and egg. Cream together until well blended.
  • Add flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well until soft dough ball forms.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 10 inch tart pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • On floured surface, roll out dough until it is approximately 12 inches in diameter.
  • Use spatula to carefully fold dough into quarters. This will make it easier to move the dough to the tart pan.  Move dough to the tart pan.
  • In tart pan, unfold dough and press into the pan and up the edges.
  • Place parchment over the crust and add pie weights. (This step is optional. If you don’t have pie weights, proceed to next step.)
  • Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.
  • While crust is cooking, slice pears thinly.  Coat all pear slices in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • In mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, honey, sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix well until sugar is completely dissolved and you can’t see any granules.
  • Remove pie weights and parchment paper from crust.  Add filling to the crust.
  • Layer pear slices over the filling in a circular pattern.


  • Bake 375 for 30 minutes.
  • Remove and cool completely before serving.  Store any leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator.

The Next 31 Days Series ~ Freezer Cooking Recipes

31 days of freezer cooking square

Well, it’s the last day of a month with 30 days, so that means that tomorrow we begin another ’31 Days of…’ series! For October, we have chosen to focus on freezer cooking recipes for a few reasons.

The first…

It’s fall, the leaves are beginning to turn in the northern-most parts of the country. Warm cozy comfort food abounds this time of year and much of that comfort food happens to be very freezer friendly.


We are all in the THROWS of chauffeuring children here there and everywhere after school and we need quick options for dinner! (If you can remember to take it out to thaw!) Freezer meals are a fantastic solution for busy weeknights, and for lunch boxes too!

And finally…

The next meal plan in the ’20 Meals from Costco for $150′ will be available next week…and it’s another complete Freezer Cooking Plan! {You can see a sneak peek of it here!}

I hope you enjoy all the recipes and ideas that will come from this series! And at the end of the month, I’m going to package it all up into the most amazing and comprehensive Freezer Cooking Guide…EVER!

We’ll start with the first recipe/cooking strategy/freezer food tomorrow…one that I think just might be the most important of them all…

31 Days Series of Old


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Shredded Beef Tacos with Pineapple-Pepper Salsa

Shredded Beef Tacos with Pineapple-Pepper Salsa

I’m often asked why I share so many taco recipes…and there are 3 reasons.

One, my boys love them.

Two, I live in the land of ridiculously cheap corn and flour tortillas…where the grocery stores have in-store tortilla making presses.

And three, because I’m trying to pretend that my kitchen is like a taco truck, specifically Torchey’s Tacos. (Last ate at one in Austin. I might start a petition to bring them to San Antonio!)

Here’s a delicious spin off of the shredded beef tacos with mango-avocado salsa. If you find a great deal on a large chuck roast (3+ lbs.) – you can cook it and use the beef for each of these meals. Just mix up the Mango-Avocado salsa for one night, and then the pineapple-pepper salsa below another night. (Cooked, shredded beef freezes really well!)

I adore the sweetness from the pineapple, plus the crunch from the bell peppers in these tacos…MMMMMMMmmmmmmm. Buen provecho!

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.

Shredded Beef Tacos with Pineapple-Pepper Salsa

Adapted from Shredded Beef Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 8 hours


  • 1+ pound beef roast, chuck roast or sirloin roast (whatever is on sale!)
  • 1 lime, squeezed or 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper, each
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 15 oz. can pineapple in 100% juice
  • 2 small green bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 lime, squeezed or 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortillas – flour or corn (if GF)
  • Side dish ideas ~ corn on the cob, tex-mex style rice, refried beans


  • Place the beef roast in the slow cooker. Squeeze the lime juice over the top, then sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper on top as well. Carefully pour the water around the beef roast. (I like to add water so that the environment inside the slow cooker stays nice and moist…I think it makes for more tender beef!) Set on low and cook for 8 hours. Once cooked, shred it with 2 forks.
  • Before dinner, mix up the pineapple pieces, chopped peppers, lime juice, cilantro and salt and pepper together in a bowl.
  • Add the slow cooked beef into the tortillas and top with the pineapple-pepper salsa.
  • Prepare side dishes.
  • Serve Shredded Beef Tacos with Pineapple-Pepper Salsa & preferred side dishes.


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