This week was the first week of classes and first week of teaching lessons, so both work and school were crazy for both of us! Thankfully, Will had planned to make a whole chicken in order to feed us for several days without having to worry about cooking while getting back into the swing of things. This recipe was fairly new to Budget Bytes and it definitely helped us keep our grocery bill down this week as well, since the last week of the month is always a bit…tight.

As far as the food went, the chicken was really tender and delicious the first night. By the third or fourth day, it had dried a bit, but with a good zap in the microwave it still ended up tasting fairly good. For the most part we ate the chicken with Skillet Potatoes and some cooked carrots most nights. Overall, it fed us for several nights and even though the upfront cost of a whole chicken seems a bit pricey, when you account for how much food it provides, it makes sense budget-wise.

From this recipe, Will also made homemade chicken broth, per Beth’s suggestion at Budget Bytes. I’ve included that recipe as well. We haven’t tested it yet, but I would imagine it’s going to serve its purpose just fine!

Cooking Notes for Slow Cooker Chicken: Will used rosemary and thyme in addition to the parsley when he stuffed the chicken. He seasoned the skin of the chicken with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Slow Cooker Chicken (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 8)
3-5 lb. whole chicken (depending on the size of your slow cooker-ours was about 4 lbs)
1 medium lemon
3-4 cloves OR 1/2 bulb garlic
1/4 bunch parsley

Remove the chicken from its packaging over the sink and let the juices run out. Remove the giblets from the cavity and discard them. Fold a long piece of foil lengthwise to form a sturdy sling and place the chicken on it. Cut the lemon in half and then cut one of the halves into quarters. Stuff the quarters inside the cavity of the chicken. Peel the garlic cloves and stuff them into the cavity along with the whole sprigs of parsley, rosemary and thyme.

Take the second half of the lemon and place it face down in the center of the slow cooker. Using the foil sling, lift the chicken into the slow cooker, placing it on top of the lemon. Fold the sides of the sling into the cooker, secure the lid, and cook on high for 4 hours.

Once it’s done cooking on high, carefully lift the chicken out of the slow cooker using the sling and place it on a baking sheet. Set the broiler to its low setting and cook the chicken under the broiler until the skin is golden brown and crispy (5-10) minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting or serving!

Recipe: Budget Bytes: Slow Cooker Chicken

Cooking Notes for Homemade Chicken Broth: Will had been stashing veggie scraps in the freezer for several days, but any combination of what you have on hand should work (as long as the veggies go together). He also used some empty parsley stalks that were still in the pot, but that he had previously picked all the parsley off of!
Homemade Chicken Broth (adapted from Budget Bytes)
Vegetable scraps from previous meals (we used onion, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes)
Chicken carcass and herbs
Chicken juice from slow cooker and baking pan
Parsley stalks
Pick the skin from the chicken carcass and make sure you’ve gotten all the good meat off. Leave the cartilage as this will “melt” into the broth, adding flavor. Make sure your veggie scraps are clean by rinsing well with cool water. Place chicken carcass and veggies scraps into slow cooker with any leftover chicken juices from the slow cooker chicken, fill with water and cook on low overnight.
The next morning, let broth cool some before straining veggies out. First, strain broth through a colander to get large veggies out. Then strain the broth through a strainer OR cover the colander with a cheese cloth to pour broth through to remove smaller particles. Once strained as much as possible, divide into smaller containers (Mason jars are great) and refrigerate. Once cold, transfer to the freezer to store until ready to use.

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