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Slow-Cooker Make-Ahead Chicken

slow-cooker make-ahead chicken Entree
Slow-Cooker Make-Ahead Chicken
  • Prep 15 min
  • Total 3 hr 45 min
  • Servings 8

Juicy, cooked chicken is the start to so many favorite meals, from cold chicken salad to warming bowls of chicken noodle soup. That’s why we adore this recipe. Its seasoning is neutral enough to go with most any dish and, parceled out in bags in the freezer, it’s a dinnertime game changer. With two easy methods, it’s easy to make this recipe just about any time. Start it while you’re prepping dinner on a Tuesday night, and it’ll be done cooking and cool enough to put away by the time dinner’s over. Or, go the slow-cooker method, and you can run out the door to do errands, pick up kids or dare we say it—just relax—while your chicken is cooking away! With bags of already cooked chicken parceled out in your fridge, there’s no cold that can’t be soothed or sandwich that can’t be filled. MORE+ LESS-

Updated June 25, 2019

Ingredients

2
tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2
teaspoons salt
1/2
teaspoon garlic powder
1/4
teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 1/2
lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

Steps

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  • 1
    Spray 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix oil, salt, garlic powder and ground red pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat.
  • 2
    Add chicken to slow cooker; pour 1/4 cup water over chicken. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until chicken is tender and easy to shred.
  • 3
    Transfer chicken to cutting board; cool slightly. Shred chicken, then toss with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard remaining liquid.
  • 4
    To Freeze: Divide chicken into 2 portions (about 2 cups each). Place each portion in freezer container or resealable freezer plastic bag. Label with date. Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 1 hour. Transfer to freezer; freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight or until completely thawed. Use in recipes calling for cooked chicken.
  • 5
    To Make in Oven: Heat oven to 425°F. Place rack in large rimmed sheet pan. Spray rack and pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix oil, salt, garlic powder and ground red pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat. Place in single layer on rack in pan. Roast 33 to 38 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of largest thigh reads 180°F and meat is tender enough to shred. Remove from oven; let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Shred chicken with 2 forks. Toss shredded chicken in pan liquid to coat.

Expert Tips

  • When using the oven method, there probably won’t be 1/2 cup of cooking liquid in the pan, so shred the chicken directly in the pan, and toss with the leftover liquid.
  • When preparing meats for the slow cooker, we prefer to coat them in oil and seasonings in a separate bowl, instead of using the insert. Even though coating in the insert saves a bowl, it leaves a mess on the sides of the insert, which can burn and affect the flavor of the food. Plus, it takes more elbow grease to clean a burnt insert.
  • While chicken thighs are safe to eat at 165°F, cooking them to at least 180°F makes the meat more tender and easier to shred.
  • This chicken is great hot or cold in chicken salads, pasta salads, hot pastas, soups, sandwiches, enchiladas, quesadillas, grain bowls, chilis and more!

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: About 1/2 Cup
Calories
210
Calories from Fat
90
% Daily Value
Total Fat
10g
15%
Saturated Fat
2 1/2g
12%
Trans Fat
0g
Cholesterol
135mg
45%
Sodium
550mg
23%
Potassium
240mg
7%
Total Carbohydrate
0g
0%
Dietary Fiber
0g
0%
Sugars
0g
Protein
29g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
0%
0%
Vitamin C
0%
0%
Calcium
0%
0%
Iron
8%
8%
Exchanges:
0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 4 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
0
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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