Your Favorite Slow-Cooker Chicken & Rice Recipes
February 5, 2014 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I have a slow-cooker, boneless/skinless chicken breasts and Royal Blend rice. Help me feed my work-travel-weary husband, a couple of hearty-eating roommates and myself a good, comforting meal with crazy-staggering schedules.

So the schedule works like this:

-I go to work at 4:30pm.

-Roommate A gets home from school between 4:45 and 5:00pm.

-Roommate B gets home from work sometime later (between 6:00 & 7:00pm, I believe.)

-I get home from work anywhere between 9:45 and 10:30pm.

-Hubby's plane lands at midnight, and he should be home by 1:00am. (This is, of course, barring any canceled/delayed flights, as happened on his way out of state.)

Assuming both roommates' competence is only trustworthy to possibly turn the slow-cooker to "warm" somewhere near a specified time, so soups that may need to be thinned before serving are pretty much out of the question. You can also assume I have basic competence in the kitchen, but have only rarely used a slow-cooker. Ours is a Crock Pot brand with "High", "Low" and "Warm" settings.

Truth be told, I'm mostly doing this because I'm an awesome wife, and would be ok with leaving a "hands off the crock pot" note for the roommates. They're capable of feeding themselves, but I'd hate to tease them with the pleasant smells like that after a week without hubby's cooking (hubby does most of the cooking for the entire house). I would, of course, expect the roommates to eat around a normal dinner hour.

The four of us all have pretty wide-open varied pallets, though I'm hoping to stay away from anything hot/spicy. As far as cost, I'm hoping to bring the rest of the ingredients in for less than $30 or so. Vegetables are a plus, and I'm not opposed to canned condensed soups.

I need recipes and timing instructions to feed everyone a hot, hearty meal upon each person's arrival at home (or close to it).
posted by MuChao to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I don't make it anymore because I don't really eat processed foods, but the chicken and rice my mom made when I was growing up was simple and tasty:

1 can cream of ____ soup (I think she used mushroom)
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
1 can water
1 cup rice

Place rice and chicken in slow cooker, top with soup + Lipton mix + water (mixed up) and turn the slow cooker on.

I'd put it on low during in the morning, then switch to warm when you leave the house.

ON PREVIEW: I just saw that your husband doesn't get home until 1:00 a.m. I don't think I'd be comfortable leaving a chicken dish in the crockpot on warm from 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I think that would be a possible give-husband-food-poisoning scenario. :(
posted by mudpuppie at 2:01 PM on February 5, 2014

Response by poster: I am willing to use the microwave (for me and/or hubby) if microwaving won't totally destroy it. I will need to leave written instructions for the roommates regarding turning the slow cooker to warm or off and then when to put it in the fridge.
posted by MuChao at 2:03 PM on February 5, 2014

I'd be more concerned about cooking something in the cooker, transferring it to the fridge while covered, and heating it up again. if it's left covered the whole time in the fridge it will be in the food danger zone. If the cooker keeps the dish at a reasonable temperature it might be better to keep it left on.
posted by efalk at 2:12 PM on February 5, 2014

The problem with rice + chicken in a slow cooker is that in the time that it would take to cook the chicken, would make the rice mush. And you don't want to leave the rice on warm that look for the same reason. Generally, recipes call for grains to be put in midway through the cooking process - or with couscous, at the very end. I would do something like this Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken Stew, leaving the subbing rice and doing it after the chicken is cooked.
posted by Brent Parker at 2:17 PM on February 5, 2014

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts aren't great in the crock pot. They're fairly tasteless (especially if not browned in a skillet) and they don't have meaningful amounts of fat or collagen to make a dish seem hearty and satisfying. I'd look for a Moroccan chicken stew recipe, which has a lot of flavor from spices, vegetables, dried fruit and chicken stock. This one looks decent, though I haven't tried it because I don't use crockpots often, but I have liked similar dishes cooked on the stovetop. Moroccan stews are usually served over couscous, but subbing in rice won't kill anyone. Your budget should be plenty.
posted by jon1270 at 2:19 PM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mulligatawny is delicious - the recipe is aromatic, not hot
Also seconding the Moroccan stew recipe - I remember watching Jamie Oliver slow-cook a stew in a clay pot in a show, maybe it is this one. I make Moroccan stews quite often - I just put olive oil, chunks of (any)meat, root vegetables, chunks of squash, onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, canned chickpeas, water or broth, salt and pepper in a pot. No browning or anything, and all measures and products are adaptable, based on what you have. Lid on, stew as long as you have time for at very low heat.
When you are ready to eat and your couscous or rice are ready, take out a cupful of the juice and mix it with harrissa (a paste of chillies, garlic, salt and maybe a little lemon grind, which can be bought at North African stores). Everyone adds the amount of spice she wants from this sauce at the table. Nice with a cucumber/mint salad.
posted by mumimor at 2:33 PM on February 5, 2014

Also, the low setting on a crock pot apparently just means a lower wattage, not a lower final temperature. High will bring cold food up to temp faster, but turning it to low after that won't necessarily cause it to cool off. No time to find a link right now...
posted by jon1270 at 2:59 PM on February 5, 2014

This doesn't quite fit your requirements, but is really really easy. I'd try it this way first, and then if you like it see if it can be adapted to a slow cooker without problems. It is a weird recipe, but it will sit out on low on a stove for a really long time. The acid from the vinegar also helps keep it from getting those evil little bacterial creatures (or so I've been told). I personally love it.

Chicken Thighs and Legs (or breasts) I generally keep the bone in, but there is not a reason you can do this boneless)

2 cups soy sauce (I use kikoman)

2 cups white vinegar

Lemon pepper in whatever amount you like.

Put the ingredients in a deep pan on the stove. Cover. Turn on high until vigeriously boiling for a few minutes, then lower to a simmer. Occasionally turn chicken over. Wait approximately one hour (or until falling off the bone). Don't leave it boiling rapidly for too long as the soy sauce can burn, and let me tell you it stinks the place up AND makes it taste terrible. *You can make varying amounts of this provided that the chicken is almost covered or covered by the liquid and you use equal amounts of the stuff. I'm sure you could use low sodium soy sauce, but I don't care about salt so I've never tried.

Rice in a rice cooker. (if you do not have one, get one!!)

I love the sauce over the rice. Green beans go rather well with it.

It has a lot of room for error. Boiling it rapidly for a longer than you should (like up to 20 minutes really) before changing to a simmer, it will be okay. Leaving it on very low for a few hours- it will be fine. It is really a medium boil that will get you as it can burn if not paid attention too. The key is mostly low simmer temperatures and equal amounts of soy/vinegar mix. If it is not equal the taste can be too salty or too vinegary. The longer you leave the chicken, the more salty it will taste, just put it in a separate container without the liquid if it becomes a concern.

It takes about 10 minutes to prep (defrost chicken, put ingredients into pot turn on).
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:31 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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