I’m pretty obsessed with the magic of the slow cooker, but I’m also really putting it to the test…throwing things into it that I just happen to have in the house, using no recipe*, and spending no more on 5 minutes on it before I press the “on” button for the 10 hour cook. So far, it hasn’t let me down. Recently I tried this with a chicken I had bought with the intention of roasting it along with some parsnips, potatoes, and carrots, but on the day I needed to cook it, there wasn’t going to be anyone home to put it in the oven. So I put it in the slow cooker, salted and peppered it, stuffed it with a quartered lemon, rosemary, and sage, and threw in carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. Then I added in some water, probably covering it up to the middle of the chicken, and some sprigs of thyme. I was fully prepared for it to be hospital food, but it actually worked out really well. Granted, it wasn’t something I would say was my finest moment in the kitchen—in a perfect world I would have added the veg in towards the end, so they wouldn’t have been so soft—but the flavor was fantastic. The next day I brought it to work and put the chicken and vegetables over arugula with a garlic wine vinaigrette, and it was delicious. And I gave some leftovers over rice to our daughter for lunch.

*I haven’t found a slow cooker cookbook that I love. I’ve tried several, and they completely put me off with their super-complicated recipes…if the whole idea is that I’m supposed to be using this when I don’t have time, I have no patience for a cookbook that assumes I have plenty of prep time. But I’m all ears if you have a recommendation!


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Comments (6)


  1. Posted by: Maura

    It has a terrible title, but I don’t think I could live without the book, “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.” It’s brilliant.

  2. Posted by: Andree

    I regularly cook whole chickens in my slow cooker. you don’t need to add water – it’s delicious on it’s own. You can skin the chicken and it still comes out incredibly tender and is healthier. has great, easy slow cooker recipes.
    try a whole cut chicken, one jar of mango salsa, half a jar of salsa verde, a sauteed onion and some frozen corn. shred the chicken when it’s done and return to the sauce. delish! great for making leftover quesadillas, burritos, over rice, etc

    • Posted by: Yolanda Edwards

      Thanks Andree–I will try the whole chicken this way. Somehow just having it in there with no liquid seemed scary, but I will try it!

  3. Posted by: Carolyn

    Although a bit pricey, Williams Sonoma sells some amazing prepared sauces, like Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, and Chicken Cacciatore. All you do is plunk the seasoned bird into the slow cooker and cover it with the sauce. Really good!

  4. Posted by: Kristina Petersen Migoya

    I think you are in the NYC area and if so Maya Kaimal has Indian simmer sauces I found to be excellent for chicken in the slow cooker. Throw in some spinach -fresh or frozen just before serving.
    I am with you, I have yet to find a slow cooker cook book that yields consistent results and has flavor/texture combinations that work for my family. (“Hospital food” cracked me up!)

  5. Posted by: Laurie

    Yolanda, girl- you are genius with these slow-cooker ideas. Maybe YOU should be the one to write the ultimate easy yet distinctive slow cooker cookbook 😉 I have the “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker” original and entertaining and have gotten some good recipes from those. I’ve never tried a whole chicken in the slow cooker. I’ve heard it comes out kind of pale and sickly-looking, because of course, you don’t get the skin browned. Has anyone tried broiling the skin covered with EVOO before throwing it in the slow cooker? Just curious.

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