Potluck Chicken

Some people call them basket dinners, others fellowship meals, but our church calls them potlucks and we have one the last Sunday of every month.

We love them!

But I’ve struggled through the years finding something to bring. The oven at church was always full – so it needed to be something in a crock pot.

It also needed to be fast, cheap, and easy to make.

And – after that one embarrassing potluck when my meatballs where raw in the center – it had to be fully cooked.

Enter – Potluck Chicken!

I developed this recipe one Saturday afternoon in desperation. It proved to be a big hit – especially with the kids – and has become my signature potluck dish.

The ingredients are simple – just thawed chicken legs and some Montreal seasoning (I use my homemade version which can be found here).

The secret is time management.

The night before, I line a sheet cake pan with aluminum foil. This helps with clean up.

Then I take the thawed chicken legs and sprinkle them liberally with the Montreal seasoning mix and lay them on the tray.

I cover the tray with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.

First thing the next morning, I remove the plastic and put the pan of chicken in the oven at 350 while I shower, eat breakfast, and get dressed.

Then – Just before I leave for church – I take the chicken from the oven and put the legs and any juice in my crock pot on warm. I throw away the aluminum foil and quickly wash the pan.

That’s it!

The chicken legs bake for about 90 minutes to 2 hours and are fall of the bone tender.

They could be eaten immediately, but will stay warm and wonderful for hours in the crock pot.

You could bake them immediately and skip the whole refrigerator step, but there’s something wonderful that happens when the spices sit on the chicken overnight!

Either way they are yummy!

Enjoy!

 

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Last week-end was hot. And humid. And busy.

I had just gotten home from a trip to town and was putting away bags of groceries…

And several garage sale treasures…

And 4 dozen rolls of toilet paper…

And purple plates and napkins for graduation…

When Angel Girl reminded me that the older kids had a Youth Group Hot Dog roast that night.

And they needed to bring something to share.

In my weariness I sheepishly offered, “A bag of chips?”

I guess not.

I closed my eyes and frantically searched my tired brain cells for any sign of inspiration.

It was a blank slate.

No wait – wait – I think I have it – there it is – yes – it came to me – mac and cheese in the crock pot.

So what if we had never made it before.  I found the recipe in my Taste of Home Slow Cooker Cook Book, handed it to Angel Girl and went to the couch with a large glass of ice water.

Sometimes it’s nice to have a teen in the house. 🙂

She made it.

She brought it.

The kids devoured it.

Success.

Slow Cooked Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese 3

1 – 16 ounce package elbow macaroni
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 – 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 – can condensed cheddar cheese soup – 10-3/4 ounce  (we substituted cream of mushroom)
1 cup milk
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Cook macaroni according the package directions and drain. Place in a large bowl and toss with the melted butter.

In a bowl combine the eggs, evaporated milk, soup, milk, and three cups of cheese. Pour over the mixture and stir to coat.

Pour everything into a 5 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and cook 15 minutes longer.

Sprinkle with paprika. (We forget this step – the kids never noticed.)

Although the cheddar cheese would have added even more cheesy goodness – the mushroom soup was tasty and the teenagers didn’t seem to mind.

Enjoy! 🙂

Crock Pot Creamed Corn

CornCan I confess here that I never knew that you could make creamed corn from scratch?

My idea of creamed corn was the stuff you buy in a can by accident when you’re looking for canned corn.

Oh – but how wrong I was!

I discovered this gem recently and had to pass it on!

It’s rich and delicious and so easy to make!

We put it in the crock pot on low before we leave for church – and the corn is hot, creamy and ready to eat when we get home. It’s the perfect side dish for our traditional meat and potatoes Sunday lunch.

I took it to a recent potluck and brought home rave reviews and an almost empty crock pot.

It would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving meal, too!

Crock Pot Creamed Corn

16 ounces frozen corn (I used a fat quart of our home-frozen corn)
8 ounces of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon white sugar

Melt the butter and cream cheese. Add the milk and sugar.

Stir in the frozen corn and put everything in a crock pot.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cook on high 2-4 hours or low 4-6 hours.

It’s that easy folks!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Mock Smoked Turkey

TurkeyI seriously had no time to plan my meal for our recent family gathering.

When my mom emailed me asking what I wanted to bring – I told her it would be something on a bun.

A “surprise sandwich” if you will.

Trust me – it was a surprise for me, too. 🙂

When I finally got around to thinking about it – just 2 days before we left – I found 1 big turkey in the freezer.

It was too big to fit in the smoker – so I knew I couldn’t smoke it. So what could I do to make it a little different than just roast turkey sandwiches?

My exhausted, muddle-headed brain decided to try brining the bird putting some liquid smoke right in the brine.

Would you believe it worked? The family gobbled up that bird (excuse the pun) so fast I was amazed.

The smoked flavor was light – but the brine keep it really moist and yummy! And the best thing of all – anybody can make it – you don’t need a smoker!

Sometimes creating while half-asleep is a good thing. 🙂

Mock Smoked Turkey

Take your thawed bird (either a chicken or a turkey) and put it in a large container to brine. This will need to fit in your fridge overnight – so you might need to be creative. (Hint: Alton Brown suggests using a large ice chest for brining your birds so that it can sit out overnight.)

Then make enough brine to completely cover your bird. I do this one batch at a time until the whole thing is drowning.

Brine:

1/2 cup non-iodized salt
1/2 sugar (I’ve used both white and brown)
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 quart water

Just mix them together till dissolved and pour over your bird.

Then let the whole thing sit for at least 6 hours – but I prefer overnight – in the fridge (or ice chest).

When your ready – take it out of the brine and place in a roaster with a little water on the bottom. Shake a little salt and pepper on the bird and bake at 350 degrees until that little popper thingee pops up.

You could slice it and serve it hot from the oven – or you could pull it from the bone and freeze it with the broth until you need it.

I pulled the meat off  and froze it overnight with the broth. (I wanted it good and cold for the 4 hour car ride the next day.) To serve – I threw it in the crock pot to warm it up and served it hot over my dad’s fresh buttermilk bread. Yum!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

I love using my crock pot.

I love it so much – I don’t have just one – I have 4 – all different sizes.

I have yet to use all 4 of them in one meal – but I’m working on it! 🙂

I love being able to just throw my ingredients in, turn it on and walk away.

This is one of those kind of recipes.

It’s been one of my favorite go-to crock pot recipes for years. I’ve had it so long that I don’t even remember where I got it.

I’ve used everything from chicken legs and thighs to chicken breasts to whole chickens; I have doubled and even tripled it and have never had it fail me.

Just cook up some rice, toss a salad and you have a warm and satisfying meal.

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

2 – 1/2 pounds of chicken
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons water or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Place your chicken in the crock pot.  In a small mixing bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Pour over the chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

It’s that easy!

Just before serving, remove the meat from the crock pot and take it off the bone. I like to serve the meat in a bowl with the juice poured over it.

It’s delicious over rice or noodles!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday over at Blessed With Grace, and Tuesdays at the Table over at All the Small Stuff.