Save time and cut down on fat and calories by preparing light, tasty chicken dishes in a slow cooker, which retains flavour and moisture. Choose the leanest parts of the chicken and select vegetables and herbs for seasoning. Add a low-fat cooking liquid, choose a heat setting, and let the slow cooker take care of the rest. Test for doneness and enjoy a flavourful chicken dinner, assembled ahead of time and ready at meal time.
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Things you need
- Cooking spray, olive or vegetable oil
- Vegetables and seasonings
- Cooking liquid
Choose skinless white meat for the lowest calorie and fat content.
Trim any visible pockets of fat.
Sear the chicken, sealing in the juices, in a pan coated with cooking spray or a small amount of olive or vegetable oil.
Use the knife to cut up vegetables to be cooked with the chicken.
Use onions, garlic, tomatoes and other aromatic vegetables to season food without adding fat and calories.
Sear vegetables if desired.
Place chicken, vegetables and other seasonings such as dried herbs or Italian, Asian or other ethnic spices according to taste in the slow cooker.
Stir to combine.
Wait to add fresh herbs, if using, at the end of cooking.
Add low-fat broth, vegetable or fruit juice or low-fat soup.
Make sure the liquid brings the contents of the cooker to no more than three quarters full and no less than half.
Leave a space of at least 2 inches at the top of the cooker.
Set the temperature according to the recipe instructions.
Use lower temperature if using a newer cooker, since they cook hotter than older models.
Reduce cooking time given in a recipe if using a smaller cooker to prepare a recipe written for a larger cooker.
Test for doneness at the low end of the range given for cooking time in a slow cooker recipe.
Check by probing the chicken with a fork at its thickest part. Juices should run clear.
If not done, check again at the high end of the timing range.
Tips and warnings
- Don't peek until checking at the beginning of the timing range. Slow cookers lose 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time every time the lid is lifted.
- Use the insert to assemble ingredients the night before, if the slow cooker came with one. Place the ingredients in the insert, refrigerate until ready to cook, place insert in slow cooker and use the heat level and timing suggested in the recipe.
- Use slow cooker recipes, designed specifically for them. If adapting a conventional oven recipe,
- the low setting equals 200 ° F and the high setting 300° F.
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