For being a food blogger, I’m a sucker for finding ways to not really having to cook.
Well, I guess slow cooking IS cooking, but it certainly isn’t anything like our great-grandmothers went through to get an amazing dinner on the table. Those ladies would be hanging out in a hot kitchen for hours and hours, working tirelessly to prepare a healthy nourishing home-cooked meal for their families. Great-grandmas were pretty hardcore amazing ladies. I also bet they all had great skin from all that steam constantly opening up their pores. Hmmm, perhaps I need to slave over a stove more for that reason alone.
But I digress. Back to slow cooking.
I love my slow cooker in a deep and profound way. This is not the first time you guys are hearing this. It’s pretty evident in all my slow cooker recipes. Here is the thing: I don’t have a lot of time to make dinner. I work full-time, have a gnarly commute to and from work in Southern California traffic (if you guys have ever visited/lived in Southern California, I’m confident I have your sympathies), and generally enjoy spending time with my family and holding onto my sanity. However, I refuse to let all those factors impact the quality of a meal I put on the table at night. So, I’ve just adapted….with the help of my trusty slow cooker.
I love any recipe you can make in a slow cooker, but a good main dish that can be made in the crock pot is as good as hitting the lottery. Whole chicken in the slow cooker is easily one of my favorite main dishes to serve on busy nights when my time in the kitchen is especially crunched.
Why a whole chicken? For a couple of reasons.
1) It’s cheaper and you get more bang for your buck. When you buy a boneless chicken breast, you are not only paying for the meat but for the processing of cutting it off of the bones and wrapping it up all nice for you. When you buy a whole chicken, you pay much less per pound since you aren’t paying for the extra labor and you get both dark and light meat. Plus, once you are done getting the meat off of the bones, you can throw your whole chicken carcass back into the slow cooker with some water, onion, and other veggies for homemade bone broth.
2. Slow cookers cook, well, low and slow. A whole chicken won’t dry out as fast as chicken breasts will and the bones will infuse the meat with extra lovely flavor.
The lemon juice in this recipe gives the chicken just a hint of tang (and some added moisture) and the thyme adds some earthy flavors to the dish. Make this lemon thyme chicken during your meal prep for easy, throw-together lunches (it’s amazing on salads) or toss it in the slow cooker before you dash out the door in the morning so that dinner is ready and waiting for you and the family at the end of a busy day.
- 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 5 springs of fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 3-5 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Remove giblets from the chicken and rinse under cool water. Place in slow cooker.
- Pour lemon juice over whole chicken and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Place garlic cloves and bay leaves in the slow cooker around the chicken.
- Cover slow cooker and cook the chicken on low for 9-10 hours OR high for 4-5 hours.
- Once the chicken is done cooking, the meat should easily come off the bone and you can enjoy it immediately or store in fridge for up to 4 days.
Inspired by 100 Days of Real Food
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