Crock Pot Whole Freaking Chicken

Just FOUR ingredients to make this delicious dinner!

Just FOUR ingredients to make this delicious dinner!

Hello from South Carolina! This is my first post since relocating to Hilton Head Island and I’m so glad to have my crock pot unpacked and start getting settled in. I don’t know about you, but after eating out for days on end, we start to miss our favorites dishes.

Nothing warms my heart more than hearing my kids ask me to make specific meals. Our first meals when my kitchen “re-opened”? My youngest asked for pasta carbonara (because it’s a good belief in life that bacon makes everything better!). My oldest asked for taco night; hard and soft tortillas are a requirement– it needs to be both or none at all.

But then I got to pick! I wanted something easy to make and easy to clean up. So of course I used my crock pot!

Edible Trivet

Use root vegetables to make an “edible trivet” in the crock pot.

This recipe seriously only has four ingredients. And after a day of low and slow cooking, you can serve a whole freaking chicken.  If you’d like to play with the flavors, try using different root vegetables as the “edible trivet” or rubbing the bird with different seasonings.  By perching the bird on top of the veggies, the meat won’t be soaking in liquid while it is cooking and the drippings with flavor the meat with all the delicious goodness.

Other recipes recommend rubbing the skin with oil or butter, like you would if you baked the chicken in the oven, but I disagree. The skin is not going to really crisp in the crock pot, so the added calories of the lube are really not necessary.

When you try this recipe at home, please post it to the Dinner Is A Crock Facebook page and let us know how you tweaked the recipe to make it your own!

Crock Pot Whole Freaking Chicken

Time: 6-8 hours

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6

3-4 lb whole chicken, skin on, giblets removed

6 whole carrots, peeled

1 sweet onion, quartered

1 T Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning mix

Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water and then pat dry with paper towels. Shake the Mrs. Dash seasonings on the outside of the chicken and also on the inside. Wash your hands. Arrange the carrots on the bottom of the crock pot like you are making an edible trivet. Then add the onions as additional perches. Place the bird on top of the vegetables and make sure the lid sits comfortably on top of the crock pot. If the lid doesn’t sit flat, adjust the veggies under the bird until it fits better. Be cautious as you reconfigure the lid and the contents so that you are not contaminating the handles with raw chicken juices. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove bird carefully and carve. The vegetables also make a delicious side dish!

Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup

Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup is the comfort of home served in a cup.

Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup is the comfort of home served in a cup.

You’ll often hear me say that food isn’t just about sustenance, but also satisfaction. Entertainment. Emotion. Nutritionists focus on the content of food.  Dietician focus on the balance of food.  But when I sit down to eat– or more importantly– serve a meal to family and friends, it’s about the experience and the memories we create around the table. Your food will be through your system in less than 24 hours, but the feeling you had when eating it will last a lifetime.

That’s how I feel about this soup. It’s based on a recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid. We ate dinner as a family, almost every night. It’s just what we did. And we didn’t do it in front of a television or on the run, but it was quick and easy meals and meant to create an atmosphere for conversation.

Mom’s meals were much like this one– a basic recipe with few ingredients that when combined received minimal complaints! We called it winter vegetable soup because nothing really is fresh during an Ohio winter. She could keep all of these items on hand and whip this meal up in about half an hour. I prefer to cook it low and slow, of course, and add a few more seasonings. But overall, it’s the comfort of home in a cup.

Crock Pot Winter Vegetable Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Serves: 8

2 12 oz. packages frozen vegetables- broccoli, cauliflower and carrot combination

1 32 oz. box of vegetable broth

3 T. butter

1 t. minced garlic

1/2 cup crock pot caramelized onions (or substitute 1/2 sweet onion, diced)

1/2 t. each: dill weed, celery seed, basil, parsley, salt, black pepper (ALL DRIED SEASONINGS)

1/4 c. corn starch

3 cups cold milk (2% or whole is preferred)

Pour frozen vegetables into crock pot, followed by broth, butter, garlic, onions and seasonings. DO NOT ADD CORN STARCH OR MILK YET. Cook on high for four hours. In a separate bowl, dissolve corn starch into COLD milk and then add to crock pot. Cook on high for another hour. Soup will have thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste preference.


Crock Pot Split Pea Soup (Vegetarian)

This classic soup is a smoky vegetarian delight on a cold winter's night.

This classic soup is a smoky vegetarian delight on a cold winter’s night.

I don’t usually put specific tags in the titles of my posts, but I think it’s really important on this one. It should really say… Crock Pot Split Pea Soup  #noham but still #tastesyummy! Haha. I made those up. So this soup is hearty and delicious and still has a great smoky flavor, but doesn’t include the typical ham hock that you throw into the pot to add flavor to the broth.

This soup will also freeze and/or reheat really well. Keep this recipe tagged if you are going to bring a dinner to friends (great meal for someone ill, new baby, new home, etc.). Note to self– you might think, oh I’ll just double it so I have some for me and some for someone else or later. But you are better off making two batches. You can’t really fit 8 cups of broth in most crock pots and the ratio in this recipe makes it the right thickness without crowding the pot. YES- this does give you permission to buy a new crock pot so you can double the batch easier! 🙂

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5-6 hours on low

Serves: 6


1 c. dried split green peas

2 carrots, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)

4 parsnips, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

2 leafy stalks celery, diced (about a cup)

1/2 sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, smashed

4 c. vegetable broth

1/2 t. each: dill weed, ground celery seed, smoked paprika

1 t. dried parsley

2 bay leaves

1/4 t. salt

1/8 t. ground white pepper


  1. Put all ingredients in crock pot.
  2. Cook on high for 5-6 hours.
  3. Remove bay leaves.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree, if desired.
  5. Turn off crock pot and remove lid. Let cool and thicken in pot.


Crock Pot Creamy Potato Soup

imageToday was the first day that actually felt like fall.  I don’t mean like a specialty coffee… I mean hooded sweatshirts, warm blankets, steamy bowls of soup and the sound of rustling leaves. And if you are lucky, you can enjoy all of those things at the same time.

Tonight’s Crock Pot Creamy Potato Soup made me think of Friday night football games in high school. And cold walks on first dates. And craving ice cream on a cold winter’s night. It’s like everything that it supposed to feel cold on the outside, but makes you feel warm on the inside. That’s how satisfying this soup tastes.

So I’ve already posted another version of Crock Pot Potato Soup already, but I like this one because it includes more vegetables. I’ve also posted Crock Pot Parsnip and Potato Soup because parsnip is my second favorite root vegetable. (Bonus points if you know what my favorite is!) I also have Crock Pot Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder, if you prefer the orange to the white. I’m sensing a theme here! I do love potato soup and each recipe is tweaked a little different. I feel like tonight’s Crock Pot Creamy Potato Soup is actually a culmination of my favorite things from each of these recipes… but I encourage you to mess around and figure out what your palate prefers with your potatoes.


Crock Pot Creamy Potato Soup

Serves 6-8

6 redskin potatoes, cubed but not peeled

3 parsnips, peeled and cubed

1 c. shredded carrots

4 stalks celery, sliced

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 12 oz. can cream corn

4 cups vegetable broth

1 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. dried dill weed

1 t. dried basil leaves

up to 1 t. salt (can be added at the end, a little at a time, for flavor)


1 c. cold milk

2 rounded T. corn starch

Clean and prep all vegetables and add to the pot. Add broth and seasonings and give it all a good stir. Do not add milk or corn starch yet. Cook on low for 6 hours. Add corn starch to milk and dissolve, then add to the pot. Cook on high for one additional hour. Remove lid and let soup thicken a little bit before serving.

Crock Pot Pattypan Squash Salad

While this vegetable might look like a flying saucer, pattypan squash is a wonderful seasonal favorite!

While this vegetable might look like a flying saucer, pattypan squash is a wonderful seasonal favorite!

Summer is almost here which means it is officially BBQ season! I love starting side dishes in my crock pot and then finishing them with fresh veggies and herbs. So for this past weekend’s festivities, I picked up some pattypan squash at my local farmer’s market. I think they are so cute and fun to eat! I also like them better than regular yellow squash because in a pattypan, the seeds are much smaller. The shape of the vegetable sort of resembles a flying saucer or a spin-top toy.

If you get really small pattypan squash, you can just cook them whole, which is a beautiful presentation. But I bought bigger ones, so I went ahead and cut them up into bite-sized cubes. The prep for this dish was so minimal, I had it done in about a minute.

You can use this vegetable in a number of different ways. It holds its texture well when steamed or stir-fried.  I cooked it in the crock pot while I ran some errands and then let it cool completely before mixing it into my salad.

Happy summer BBQs!


Try this side dish at your next summer BBQ!

Try this side dish at your next summer BBQ!

Crock Pot Pattypan Squash Salad

Serves 10-12 sides dishes


8 Pattypan squash, three-inches in diameter each

2 T. butter

2 green onions, diced

1/3 c. banana pepper rings (hot or mild)

1 8 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts (DO NOT DRAIN!)

1 c. sliced carrots

1/2 c. shredded guyere cheese

Cut squash into bite size pieces and put in crock pot, add 2 T. butter distributed across vegetables and cook on low for two hours. Let cool, then mix with remaining ingredients and chill for 2-4 hours. The marinade from the artichoke hearts serves as your dressing.


Crock Pot Asian Meatballs

Take your favorite foods to a new region with just a little variation!

Take your favorite foods to a new region with just a little variation!

Well fans, I told you I made variations to two of my recipes and I finally have a minute to share. I’ve been trying to do some Asian-inspired dinners that don’t involve me picking up the phone and ordering fried, fried, sauced and steamed. I also wanted this dish to still be kid-friendly for picky eaters. So I took my favorite crock pot sassy meatballs and changed it’s regional origin! 

You can add many different vegetables to this dish, like the pea pods and shredded carrot that I chose, but also try water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, baby corn, or bean sprouts for even more interesting textures and authentic cuisine.

Start by making your own meatballs using 1 lb beef, 1 lb turkey, 2 eggs, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs. Do not bake them like you would with the sassy meatballs, you can actually cook the meatballs directly in the sauce for a softer finish to the meat.

Crock Pot Asian Meatballs

serves 6-8

2 lb. meatballs (see above recipe or buy frozen ones)

8 oz. grape jelly

1 jar Heinz chili sauce

1/2 lb. snow peas or sugar snap peas

1 c. shredded carrot (bagged or hand-grated)

1 T. soy sauce

1 T. roasted sesame seeds

Put all solids into the crockpot. Mix jelly, soy sauce and chili sauce together and then pour into crockpot. Cook 4-6 hours on low. Serve over noodles or rice and top with sesame seeds.

Crock Pot Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs

Meatballs in Sauce

Already looking good!

While on vacation over the holidays, we stayed at the Happy Pelican, a wonderful beach house on the North Carolina coast. I love the delight of staying somewhere with a fully-stocked kitchen AND a beautiful view. My sister-in-law and I figured out a week’s worth of menus, split the to do list, and prepped easy meals to enjoy that required minimal kitchen time and maximum beach time. It was so much easier to dine all together at the house instead of trying to coordinate eating out!

Cheese-Stuffed Meatball Sub, broiled to perfection!

Cheese-Stuffed Meatball Sub, broiled to perfection!

But with eight healthy appetites to satisfy, we needed to cook mass quantity. By the end of the week, we were down to hamburger meat, string cheese and a few wrinkly vegetables. Easy enough! Just what I needed for these cheese-stuffed meatballs. It takes a little more handy work than our normal crock pot meals, but it was delicious! The kids loved the meatballs and the adults enjoyed meatball subs broiled to a crusty perfection.

Forget the bun and just enjoy the cheese-stuffed meatballs!

Forget the bun and just enjoy the cheese-stuffed meatballs!

If you go on vacation and the house isn’t well-equipped with small kitchen appliances, I highly suggest bringing your crock pot along. Enjoy!







Crock Pot Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs

Serves 8-10

2 lbs ground beef

2 eggs

1 c. panko bread crumbs

1/2 c. shredded parmesan

1 c. shredded carrots

2 T. Fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 32 oz. jar spaghetti sauce

6 individually-wrapped string cheese

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

8 hoagie buns

Unwrap the string cheese and cut each log into 5 pieces (30 pieces total). Set the cheese aside. You are going to make approx. 30 meatballs.  Mix together the meat, carrots, onion, eggs, parsley, parmesan,  and panko. The mixture should not be liquidy. If it is, add a little more bread crumbs. Eggs are not always the same size (did you know that?!). Take about a golf-ball sized portion and roll into a ball. Flatten it between your palms. Place a cut piece of string cheese in the middle of the patty and then carefully form the ball back around the cheese. You want the cheese to be completely surrounded by the meatball mixture. Place it in the crock pot and repeat 29 more times, approximately, or until the meat mixture is gone.

Wash your hands. Don’t be gross.

Pour the jar of spaghetti sauce across all of the meatballs and then cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Your sauce will be a little more watery when it’s done because of all of the juices escaping the meat and veggies. These meatballs are now ready to serve.

If you want to make meatball subs, put 3-4 meatballs in each hoagie bun, cover with some shredded cheese  and place on a cookie sheet. Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and starting to brown, but not burnt. That would be gross.

Cooked meatballs will fill refrigerate well and freeze well, but be careful reheating as the cheese may ooze out. It will all still taste delicious, it just might not be as pretty.


Crock Pot Hot and Sour soup

I had three reasons for creating crock pot hot and sour soup this week…

1. Chinese New Year was on Monday and I forgot to order takeout.

2.  I’ve been trying to do at least one meatless meal each week.

3. Hot and sour soup is amazing for clearing up a stuffy nose and a winter cold!

As with all my soups, I like more “stuff” than “broth” so my hot and sour soup is more crowded that what you get at a Chinese restaurant, but I think you’ll like this as a full meal and not just an appetizer. Plus, it can be made completely vegetarian and I think it’s gluten-free, so this is a great dish if you are cooking for people with food limitations.

If you didn’t get a chance to celebrate the Chinese New Year either, then whip up a quick batch of this hot and sour soup to start the year out like a fire-breathing dragon! (but you don’t need to make it that spicy if you don’t want!)

3 oz.  shiitake mushrooms (I bought a 6 oz. jar of mushrooms in liquid and used half)

2 cups baby carrots, quartered

3 medium green onions, sliced

3 cups bok choy, chopped

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 c. rice vinegar

1 T. soy sauce

1 t. ground ginger

1 t. sesame oil

2 t. sriracha sauce (Asian red pepper sauce, also sometimes called rooster sauce)

1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into half-inch cubes

Put all ingredients EXCEPT TOFU into crock pot and stir into mixed. Cook on high for 3-4 hours (or until carrots are soft enough) then add cubed tofu and cook for one more hour.

Crock Pot Turkey Pot Roast

This afternoon, I went with my family to an apple orchard to pick fresh, local produce to enjoy. It felt organic. Not in the “lacking chemicals and pesticides” way, but in the “feeling connected to the earth and supporting something good”. My kids loved picking the fruit and sampling all the different kinds of apples.  I am eager to make my escalloped apples recipe as soon as possible.

 But the best part of the day was coming home to dinner already made and a very hungry family to feed!

One of my favorite meals to cook and eat is pot roast– meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions… all the basics. It’s so filling and full of great nutrients. One crock pot is a whole meal. But sometimes I like to vary it up a little.  I made a very similar recipe today, but instead of beef, I used three turkey legs as our protein.

The meat becomes so tender it falls off the bone. I used whole carrots because they make such a nice presentation and they don’t get soggy when they cook.  The key to keeping the meat tender is to use the meat rack for the crock pot and keep it elevated. It still absorbs all the flavors as it cooks, but it doesn’t deteriorate as it cooks.

I highly recommend making this dish for a family dinner or even for the holidays! Trust me– I’m sure you can think of 100 other ways to spend a weekend afternoon than staying in the kitchen cooking. Get out there and enjoy life a little, then come home for a great meal. Enjoy!

3-4 turkey legs (2-3 lbs)

6 whole carrots, peeled

1/2 sweet onion, cut into chunks

4 stalks celery, cut into 2-3 inch sections

1 t. minced garlic

1 white potato, cut into chunks

2 c. chicken broth

1 T. olive oil

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

2 t. Mrs. Dash seasoning

Put all produce (carrots, onions, celery, potato) in crock pot and arrange in bottom. Using an oval shaped crock pot is best. Put crock pot meat rack in so that the meat will sit just above the produce. Pour chicken broth in, but do not let the volume of it reach the meat rack. Place turkey legs on meat rack. Brush meat with olive oil and then sprinkle with seasonings. Cook on low for 6 hours. 

(If you like gravy, put the remaining liquid in a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Add 1 T. corn starch that has been dissolved into 1/4 c. warm water. When gravy thickens, serve with turkey pot roast.)

Crock Pot Parsnip and Potato Soup

I’m totally enjoying soups this week and I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy some of these recipes too. I love it when I can make an entire meal in ONE pot and feed the whole family. This soup is a variation on my crock pot potato soup recipe (search for it in the recipe index) and adds in the unique sweetness of parsnips and carrots and sweet onions.

Even though it’s almost spring, we still need to survive on the rest of winter’s vegetables. If you can already grow things in your garden or windowsill, try adding fresh herbs like flat parsley, dill or chives to your soup when it is done cooking. I think you’ll find the promise of spring in the soothing warmth of this chowder. Enjoy!

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 c. water

1 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

1 t. celery seed

1 c. milk

1 T. corn starch

1 can cream-style corn

Put all vegetables and seasonings in crock pot, cover with water. Cook on high for 4 hours. When vegetables are all soft, dissolve corn starch in milk and then add to crock pot. Add cream-style corn and mix ingredients together. Cook on low one more hour. Use an immersion blender and puree the soup until thick and creamy. Serve with fresh parsley, dill or chives on top.