Chicken and Your Crockpot – A Perfect Low Carb Match
When eating a low carb diet, chicken becomes more than a staple; it becomes an obsession. The majority of low carb meals you find will focus on this protein for three reasons – it’s easy, inexpensive, and versatile.
You also need three things when eating chicken as often as you do on a low carb diet – great flavor, excellent texture, and wonderful variety. This is what the low carb dieter is looking for when choosing a chicken recipe, and that’s where the crockpot comes in.
Let’s take a look at how the crockpot can become your best friend when cooking that low carb protein mainstay we know and love – chicken.
>> Chicken White Meat <<
Many low carb dieters have the same complaint when it comes to chicken, and it goes something like this; “If I have to hear the words ‘boneless skinless chicken breasts’ one more time I think I’ll choke!” Or, something on that order. You get my drift. This particular piece of chicken is not exactly tasty or juicy or anything. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty bland. But, most low carb dieters find it easiest to turn to this simple protein over and over again, which usually means the danger of chicken fatigue is fast approaching.
The crockpot can definitely help with this one. If you stocked up on ‘boneless skinless chicken breasts’ when you started your low carb diet, rather than push them further back into the freezer, go ahead and try them in the crockpot.
The white meat of a chicken has very little flavor on its own. The beauty of the crockpot is that the ingredients all cook slowly together in a sealed compartment, forcing the flavors to blend together. If you choose your ingredients wisely, your chicken breast can have tremendous flavor, even better than grilled, poached, or baked. Include lots of vegetables like celery, onions, tomatoes, and even radishes to start the tasty infusion. Add herbs and spices, but be careful because the flavors enhance as they cook. The wonderful news is, the chicken breasts will absorb that flavor all the way through.
One thing to remember is that liquids added to the crockpot will not evaporate. You will actually get more liquid as the meal cooks in the crockpot. For that reason, use heartier liquids when possible, such as chicken stock instead of chicken broth, or tomato paste instead of tomato sauce. Again, you want the chicken breasts to absorb all those good flavors, so make sure the liquid remains rich and not watered down.
You can easily turn a simple crockpot chicken breast recipe into a truly decadent dish by adding cream. You may want to add cheese and fresh herbs along with the cream, but be sure to do so only after the cooking time is over.
Cooking chicken breasts slowly in a moisture sealed environment at low heat makes sense. The crockpot can’t help but keep chicken white meat moist when you use this method of cooking properly.
>> Chicken Dark Meat <<
Many low carb dieters also become fans of dark chicken meat for the same reason we mentioned above; boneless skinless chicken breast fatigue. The dark meat of the chicken has a couple advantages over white meat because it has more flavor and is naturally moist. If you have added dark chicken meat to your low carb diet, the crockpot is perfect for you.
The more flavorful dark meat adds a lot to a slow cooked soup, stew, chili, or any dish you like in the crockpot. Dark chicken meat holds up well during the long cooking time, maintains its texture, and lends its flavor to the whole pot.
Unlike white chicken meat which takes flavor from the other ingredients during the long cooking time in a crockpot, dark chicken meat actually gives flavor. That long slow cooking time is an excellent method for this dark, rich meat. You also don’t have to watch the crockpot as closely when cooking dark chicken meat. It’s very forgiving even when cooked for much longer than planned.
Another thing to consider with dark chicken meat is the fat content. The rich flavor of the dark meat comes in part from the natural fat. Low carb dieters know they need some fat in their diet to feel full. Adding dark chicken meat to the crockpot can really help make a meal heartier and more satisfying.
Along with great texture, rich flavor, and added heartiness, dark chicken meat is also much less expensive. Low carb dieters need to be able to fill their tummy without the use of carbohydrates, often meaning having larger portions of proteins and vegetables. With the less expensive dark meat, you can create nice big satisfying low carb meals in the crockpot.
When first going on a low carb diet, many folks turn to the easiest recipes they can find. These recipes very often involve chicken. This versatile, inexpensive protein is a mainstay for the low carb diet, but it does need a little help. When faced with the thought of one more piece of plain grilled chicken for your low carb diet, stop and remember that convenient appliance you used to love – the crockpot – and turn that plain chicken into a fabulous dinner!