Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

I don’t know one person who can do all things well, all the time. Do you? Here’s what I experience and have come to recognize as my normal:

Some days I can work on my website for many hours, edit several photos of food, write three blog posts, and answer 40 waiting emails. I end the day feeling incredibly productive after all I’ve accomplished. But you should (not) see my house at the end of the day. Nothing got cleaned. Our meals were what we would probably lovingly label as “miscellaneous.” And it’s very likely I never got out of my pajamas from the night before.

Then there are the days I get dressed right away, fix a big breakfast for my family, clean up right away afterward, and spend an hour making freezer foods. I’ll spend extra time on history lessons with my youngest, sweep the nasty floor in my kitchen, and help my 16-year old edit an English paper. Dinner will be a favorite. The dishes will be done right after. I’ll figure out what’s for breakfast tomorrow. Great right? Yes. These are great days. They are also the days I completely neglect my website work, answer zero emails, and fall quickly behind on all online duties that need to be done. In addition, those are the days I probably never made it back upstairs to even see the washing machine or remember that laundry needs to be done.

Actually, can we please not talk about laundry on any day ever? Okay.

My point? I can do a lot of things well, but I cannot do them all on the same day. I’ve realized that “getting everything done” is not a thing that ever happens. And I’ve almost come to terms with the fact that “getting everything done” doesn’t actually matter. Almost. (It’s just that the laundry piles and gross floors do get to me, you know?)

I’m assuming you can relate. If not, you can pray for pitiful people like me who find themselves coming, going, and forgetting to come back. The struggle is real.

hawaiian-chicken

It’s recipes like the one I’m sharing today that can make all of us feel accomplished on any day no matter what got done and what didn’t. Meals like this Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken take no effort, but you’ll still sit down at the end of the day and be like, “Wow. I made an awesome dinner. Yay me.”

This chicken recipe has your back. It’s ridiculously easy, but tastes like you worked some sort of kitchen magic.

Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot ChickenYum

Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 8 ounces crushed or chunk pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce*
Instructions
  1. Place chicken (frozen or thawed) in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Top with pineapple and barbecue sauce.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Shred chicken before serving.
  5. Serve over rice if you like.

*Here’s my  easy Homemade Barbecue Sauce recipe if you’d like to try it!

simple-crock-pot-hawaiian-chicken

Did you see in the recipe how it doesn’t matter if you start with frozen chicken or thawed chicken? I almost always start with frozen chicken, because thinking ahead to thaw chicken is just about more than I can handle. After all, I’m way too busy not getting everything done.

More Simple Recipes

How are your days? Do you often end a day feeling like you didn’t get everything done? Join the club! (And also remember to recognize all you DID get done!)

It’s here! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

You will love this!

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Simple Creamy Chicken Stew in the Crock Pot

If you want something that meets all the criteria for nourishing comfort food, this Simple Creamy Chicken Stew is what you’re looking for.

I love that the ingredients for this recipe can be quickly put in the crock pot in the morning. Of course, since we are home most of the day, the delicious smell of this cooking stew almost kill us. (Life is so hard.)

chicken-stew

Probably one of my favorite aspects of this stew is the creaminess. The ranch dressing mix gives it wonderful flavor, and of course, the potatoes and carrots make this meal filling and nourishing. I love this stew! Whenever there are leftovers (rare, but hey, it does happen sometimes), I am so happy. Warming this up on the day after I’ve made it makes for such a happy lunch.

Simple Creamy Chicken Stew in the Crock PotYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Creamy Chicken Stew in the Crock Pot
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 4-5 small potatoes (I prefer red or gold)
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix*
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken, potatoes, and carrots into bite-sized pieces and stir together in a crock pot.
  2. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a bowl combine cream, sour cream, chicken broth, and ranch dressing mix.
  4. Pour mixture over the chicken and veggies.
  5. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-7 hours.
*I highly recommend this Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix.
simple-creamy-chicken-stew-in-the-crock-pot

You’ve been trying all the new Simple Recipes, right?

Easy Salsa Chicken Salad Recipe (Less Than 5-Minutes of Work)

Hi! It’s me. The girl without an oven.

Actually, I have an oven. It’s sitting in my living room by my couch. See? There it is:

gas oven

Oh man. If you’re one of my Facebook followers, you might have witnessed my first ever Facebook Live video where I showed off my new stove and made a bad joke about having gas. “Going Live” with you was super fun, so I’ll definitely be doing that more often. Please check it out and join us!

While I type, my favorite guy is going up and down the stairs to complete the transition from electric hook-up to gas. As soon as my pretty new dream oven is hooked up, I will be making a Peach Cobbler to reward Matt for all his hard work getting this set up for me! (To catch you up on the latest, on a whim we checked to see if Craigslist had anything for us. We didn’t have our hopes up. But would you believe, we found exactly one double oven and it is exactly what we want/need – except better?! And we got it for an amazing price!! So thankful!)

During the days I’ve been without an oven I’ve been using my crock potmy electric skilletmy cast iron griddlemy blender, and my waffle iron quite a bit. As you can see, being oven-less has not been the end of my world.

This Easy Salsa Chicken Salad recipe is actually just a simple variation of my Crock Pot Chicken Tacos. I made this last Sunday when we needed to leave for church in ten minutes but I hadn’t figured out lunch for the day. I got out frozen chicken, ran it under some hot water, plopped it into my crock pot, dumped in some salsa, and left for church.

I said, “Wow, easiest meal ever.” and my boys said, “Mom you say that every day.”

It’s true. I only make food that’s easy. Multi-step recipes are not for me. And yet here we are still eating a healthy, real food diet. Don’t forget how to put the easiest, healthiest side dishes on the table too. Fruits and veggies are the best convenience foods there are!

organic spring mix

Speaking of healthy convenience foods – big containers of Organic Mixed Greens are my favorite fast food to get at the grocery store! Instead of making my Salsa Chicken into a taco last Sunday, I dumped a big hand-full of mixed greens into a bowl, added my tasty chicken along with some tomatoes, black beans, and corn – and I had the best salad! I didn’t even need salad dressing. (Though you can take a look at the yummy options I have listed here.)

Easy Salsa Chicken SaladYum

Easy Salsa Chicken Salad Recipe (Less Than 5-Minutes of Work)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 cups salsa
  • Your choice of greens
  • Your choice of salad fixins (I like tomatoes, corn, and black beans for this salad)
Instructions
  1. Place fresh or frozen chicken in a crock pot.
  2. Dump salsa over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for about 4 hours.
  4. Shred the chicken and serve with your favorite salad fixins.

Easy Salsa Chicken Salad

A similar recipe to this Salsa Chicken idea is this Crock Pot Bbq Chicken Recipe. Dump it into the crock pot and go!

What are your favorite healthy convenience foods?

 

How to Cook Beans in the Crock Pot

Cooking beans is crazy easy. It’s remembering to soak them the night before that is the hard part.

My morning brain and my night brain are two completely different beasts. My morning brain is like, “Wooooo yeah! We gonna cook all day and do school work with the kids (let’s do art today!) and organize ourselves completely and make all the phone calls and make 20 quarts of applesauce and finish the laundry and write two blog posts! Let’s do this!”

As the days wears on, I knock out about three of my twenty lofty goals (because my time and energy always run out before my to-do list ends –  and also because I hate making phone calls). After a full day of thinking hard and working hard and loving hard, my night brain is like, “I’m not speaking to you right now.”

This is why it is hard to soak beans.

The irony is that I never forget to grind coffee beans at night to put into my coffee pot for easy coffee making the next morning. Obviously, I have my priorities. Perhaps my two bean worlds could collide and I could let my coffee beans trigger a reminder about my pintos? It only makes sense.

On the rare occasion I do remember to soak beans, I feel so accomplished when I get into bed at night. Forget all the other stuff I did for 15 hours all day long. I totally put my beans in a pot with water! I am so very amazing!

Once the beans have been soaked, we can put them into a crock pot to cook all day for our dinner that night.

How to Cook Beans in a Crock Pot

How to Cook Beans in a Crock PotYum

1. At night before bed, put about 4 cups of any variety of beans into a pot with 6-8 cups of water.

2. Splash in a little vinegar. It’s supposed to help with the toots. I offer no guarantees.

making beans1

3. Let the beans soak overnight.

4. Strain and rinse them in the morning. Put them into a crock pot and cover them with fresh water.

5. Add a couple of chopped onions to the post for flavor. This is optional but yummy and recommended.

6. Cover and cook the beans on low for 8-10 hours or until they are tender.

multitasking 5

At this point, you can enjoy your beans in any way you enjoy beans. Our favorites are:

What are your favorite ways to eat beans? Please tell me about your morning brain vs. your night brain. Which works better for you?

It’s Not a Race But…7 Slow Cooker Meals in 30 Minutes!!!!

If you don’t have the Eat Right Away: Slow Cooker Editions, I humbly suggest that you get them now. I am not even kidding when I tell you that I just spent only 30 minutes recently prepping 7 slow cooker chicken meals for my freezer.

The geek in me discovered that this averaged out to be 4.285714 minutes of work per meal. I don’t know how anything could be easier – except for the fact that now 7 different times, I can pull out a bag and dump it into my crock pot, then walk away and have a meal for my family 6-8 hours later. So yeah. That’s easier. I am loving this.

slow cooker chicken 1

Above is a picture of Malachi eating strawberries and a piece of carrot cake at the table while staring peacefully out the window. Love him. It is also a picture of some of the ingredients I grabbed out of my pantry, plus the freezer baggies I labeled so that I could be super efficient as I worked my way through the Eat Right Away: Slow Cooker Chicken Edition directions.

Apparently I thought the whole shebang was going to take so long that I wouldn’t possibly want to walk three extra steps to get out the olive oil in the midst of all the work. This undoubtedly saved me four seconds, giving me the edge on prepping so many meals in so little time. Rock on, olive oil. Thank you for being there when I needed you.

Just look at these beauties, will you? Seven freezer bags of chicken crock pot meals – made in less time than it takes to make a list of all the things it takes 30 minutes to do. For real.

slow cooker chicken 2

Next I work my way through the Crock Pot Beef Edition. Details to come.

Check out all the Eat Right Away Packets here. Save so much time and money! Love, love love. Want the carrot cake recipe? Trust me, you do. You can get that here.

We Can Bake Quick Breads in a Slow Cooker!

It’s a new way to bake quick breads!

You Can Bake Bread in a Crock Pot!

I had no idea that this was an actual thing. Did you?? I came across this idea here and am ever so grateful.

I’ve been baking potatoes in a crock pot for several years, but I did not know a person could bake quick bread this way too. (And also yeast bread, but I’m trying to perfect that idea before posting about it. You can look forward to that…as will I if I can ever figure out how to do it right.)

This is going to change how we eat this summer. No more avoiding bread on hot days since I never want to turn on the oven. However, since I only have one crock pot, I can obviously only do one loaf of bread at a time. This is a little bit limiting for my family of huge eaters. But all I’ll have to do to remedy this is scramble up a bunch of eggs and make a blender (or two) full of smoothies to go with our loaf, and we’ve got a meal.

I’ve tried this idea with two different types of quick breads – Chocolate Chip Bread and Snickerdoodle (it was a recipe experiment). Both worked great! This leads me to believe that any quick bread recipe will work. (Actually, I’m not sure about gluten free breads. Anyone have experience with this?)

How to Bake Quick Bread in a Crock Pot

How to Bake Quick Breads in a Crock Pot

1. Turn your crock pot onto “hi” to preheat.

2. Mix your quick bread as usual and put it into a buttered loaf pan. (I used glass as I’m not sure about using a stone in my crock pot. Any have experience with this?)

3. Wad up two pieces of tin foil and place them at the bottom of your crock pot. This will offer some space under your bread pan which will help your bread bake better.

bread in crock pot 2
4. Set your loaf pan into your crock pot. (Mine is actually barely the right size, so it didn’t fit all the way in thus negating the need for wads of foil. As you can see in the pictures above, my pan sat on the edge of the top of the crock. It worked perfectly.)

5. Place the lid on your crock pot slightly off centered so as to allow a little bit of steam to escape during baking.

6. Leave the bread to bake in the crock pot for about 2 hours. You’ll be able to watch it baking from the outside into the middle, making it quite easy to see when it has finished baking.

bread in crock pot 3

How excited are you to learn this fun trick?! What quick bread are you going to try baking in your crock pot first? I’m asking because I know you are going to try this right away, this minute, today, as soon as you stand up.

P.S. Look through our quick bread/muffin recipes here.

Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken ~ Freezer Cooking Week Two

Hopefully, you’ve knocked out cooking your whole chicken and making chicken broth, plus made a double batch of Black Bean Chicken Nachos for the freezer. If you’re just joining us for the Freezer Cooking Challenge, that’s great! You can get started here.

Today is going to be just as easy as yesterday when it comes to prepping a meal for tonight’s dinner along with putting a meal (or two) into the freezer for another time. All you need to do is throw chicken into the crock pot, cover with bbq sauce, and let the crock pot do your work for you. Once your chicken is done, use a portion as part of tonight’s dinner. Allow the rest to cool, then put into a jar or freezer bag. Place it in the freezer (clearly labeled) for a day you don’t have time to cook.

Here’s the recipe you’ll need for today:  Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken Breasts

bbq chicken dinner

As you can see, I chose to serve our Bbq Chicken on buns with cheese melted on top. We had a busy evening with soccer practices, so setting these out on the table with fresh pineapple, carrots, and cucumbers made a quick meal for us to grab on the fly. The rest of the chicken is now in the freezer, waiting for another day when I can pull it out to use.

I hope you’re beginning to see how easy freezer cooking can be! Coming up next:  Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Chicken (recipe in {Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook)

How are you doing with the challenge so far this week?

Breakfast Crock Pot Casserole

Every once in a while I think to myself, “Surely someday I will run out of recipes and ideas to share on my website.”  But after blogging for almost six years, I have decided that no – the ideas will never run out. Why? Because when food meets internet {splat} – recipes, tips, ideas, and suggestions are never ending. I learn something new, I share it with you. You learn something new, you share it with me. As we all ask questions, learn from others, see new ideas, remember timeless ideas, or come across an idea quite by accident – and we share it with each other via this awesome tool called the internet – our healthy eating journey together continues on a fun and delicious path.

Case in point:  On my own, I would never have thought to make a breakfast casserole in my crock pot. I freeze my Easy Breakfast Casserole and for an easy breakfast to bake in the morning. But this crock pot idea is even better, because we can roll right out of bed and eat a hot, hearty meal within minutes.

A big thanks goes to Karli who sent me this idea. We’re lovin’ it! (So much that I named this recipe after you, and included it in my free Healthy Breakfast Made Simple eBook.)

Karli’s Breakfast Crock Pot CasseroleYum

1 pound turkey sausage
6 cups hashbrowns
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
12 eggs

Brown turkey sausage. Butter the inside of a slow cooker, then stir in cooked sausage, hashbrowns, pepper, onions, and cheese. Whisk together milk and eggs, then pour mixture over the top of the contents in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low overnight – about 10 or 12 hours. Serves 8-10.

Crock_Pot_Casserole

I thought it was funny that the sausage didn’t show up on the plate.  It’s in there, I promise. :)

This recipe is very versatile – mix and match any veggies, meats, or cheeses that your family likes or that you have available.

How is the Getting Ahead for Breakfast Challenge coming for you?  I love that there are so many ways to get ahead for breakfast, and not all of them involve putting food in the freezer. This crock pot casserole is a great example. As is the Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packet recipe and the Dark Chocolate Almond Granola recipe.  And the Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal.  And the Freezing Muffin Batter idea. Oh wait. That one does involve the freezer. I guess I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring it up again.

I also wanted to mention that I’ve had great feedback from people taking the Let’s Do This! Getting Ahead in Your Real Food Kitchen eCourse. Families are finding new ways to get ahead in the kitchen, saving time, saving money, and becoming healthier. I LOVE it!

How to Bake Potatoes in a Crock Pot (without foil)

In an effort to avoid turning on my oven this week to bake potatoes, it occurred to me that maybe I could bake them in my crock pot. Am I a genius or what?

Or what.  My online search told me that others had already been there done that – and blogged about it too. So others are the geniuses, and I am a few years late in learning this wonderful potato baking method.

I will, however, take the credit for figuring out that you don’t have to mess with wrapping each potato in foil. All of the instructions I found online included wrapping each potato lovingly in foil. I tend to skip this extra step in an effort to save time and to avoid putting aluminum on my food. Could foil-less potatoes be baked in a crock pot? I decided to try and see.

I won’t keep you in suspense, because surely you’ve never wondered something so much in your life and the title of this post didn’t give away the answer even a little bit. You can, indeed, throw a plain ol’ potato in the crock pot and let it bake without foil. You don’t even need to poke the potatoes first. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Bake Your Potatoes in the Crock Pot

Here is the detailed break-down of the oven-less, foil-less, poke-less, practically effort-less crock pot baked potato…

How To Bake Potatoes in a Crock Pot

1. Scrub dirt off of potatoes
2. Place potatoes in crock pot
3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until potatoes are tender

You can cook as many potatoes as you need. You can use any size or variety of potato. And if possible, I would suggest making extras so that you can use your leftovers to make Homemade Hashbrowns.

How should you serve your baked potato? Well, I personally love mine with lots of butter and sea salt. I’m sure you’re shocked. Sometimes we sprinkle on some cheese and call it lunch, along with a side of veggies and fruit.

But if you really want a good baked potato meal, which is super easy and perfect in the summertime (now that we know how to avoid heating our ovens for this fine item), Taco Potatoes are awesome.

taco_potato_1

Or, how about topping your baked potato with chopped ham, chicken, or turkey, sour cream, shredded cheddar, and broccoli.  So, so good.

baked_potato_3

What’s your favorite way to top a baked potato? Ever tried making baked potatoes in the crock pot?  Yeah, I bet I know what you’re having for lunch tomorrow…

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I always make extra baked potatoes on purpose. Here’s why:

7 Ways to Use Baked Potatoes

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

This is one of the easiest recipes in the world. Forgot to thaw the chicken? No problem. Have some random tidbits of lettuce or beans in your fridge you need to use up? Perfect.  Planning to be out of the house all afternoon and need something ready to eat when you get home…but you only have five minutes before you need to rush out the door, you forgot to make a dinner plan, your daughter can’t find her left shoe, the delivery man knocks on the door, and your toddler is running toward the toilet with your cell phone?

Chicken Tacos to the rescue.

This idea came from my friend Emily. She’s an awesome mom of two little ones. I admire how she is always working to put healthy meals on the table, while trying to save time in the process. Hmmm, kind of sounds like the majority of us, huh? We need easy, fast, tasty…and we want it to nourish our families too. That’s why I thought you’d like hearing this recipe idea.

You simply put chicken breasts into your slow cooker, dump on a jar of salsa, and walk away. (I hate to discourage you or add to your work load, but you do have to plug in the machine and turn a knob. Try not to break a nail.)

My family loves these because they can build their tacos however they like. I love this recipe because it’s adaptable based on what I have in my fridge and pantry. If I don’t have whole wheat tortillas made, but I do have some organic corn chips on hand? That’s how we eat it. And last week, I decided to fry some corn tortillas in palm shortening and have Chicken Tostadas with this recipe instead. Incredibly delicious.

Crock Pot Chicken TacosYum

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups salsa
Instructions
  1. Place chicken (frozen, thawed, upside down, whatever) into your slow cooker.
  2. Pour salsa over the chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours.
  4. Shred chicken mixture.
  5. Serve with any of your favorite taco fixin's.

chicken_tacos_2

What is your favorite way to top a taco?  Last week when we had these, I asked Asa (our oldest) to make his famous Spicy Avocado Dip. It was so good with this chicken!