I will admit, I'm a wimp when it comes to dealing with raw poultry. I have usually avoided buying anything with skin or bones. : ) But I've forced myself recently to get over my fear and opt for the frugality of purchasing chickens whole. Once I conquered that fear, I was able to have some fun!
Then, at one of my favorite slow-cooking sites, I found that you can cook a whole chicken in the crockpot. From there, the possibilities are endless!
Last week, here's what I did:
Cooked the whole chicken in the slow cooker with potatoes, carrots, and onions (just like I would do a pot roast). That was dinner. After dinner, I put the carcass ( I hate that word; I prefer to say "bones" ) back into the crockpot and added a quart of water (give or take). I left a couple of the vegetables in as well. The chicken had been seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, so those seasonings were in the pot, as well. I let this cook on low overnight. Voila! Chicken broth.
The next day, I let it cool somewhat and then strained the broth into a bowl and threw out the rest. I had saved a big, plastic mayonaise container and put half of the broth in there. That went in the freezer. The rest of the broth and some of the leftover chicken went into the pot to make tortilla soup. I had a soup mix for this, and added corn and black beans to the chicken and broth. We ate this with cheddar cheese on top and crushed tortilla chips. Oh, I LOVE this soup!
Finally, with the rest of the leftover bits of chicken, I made a yummy chicken salad from a recipe my friend Corinne shared. It includes chopped up chicken, chopped apple, sliced grapes, chopped celery, pecans or walnuts, and it's all mixed up with some mayo AND miracle whip. Wow! I used to hate chicken salad until I tasted this.
There you have it: cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot can produce a lot of delicious options. And all for very little effort.