We are all so busy in today’s world. Between work, families, friends and life in general we tend to forget we also need to take care of ourselves. One way to do that is to sit and have a good meal. Who has time for that? Hopefully this will help.
Place a chicken in the crock pot before you leave for work. Add to it water (fill the crock about half way up with water) and some herbs of your choice or instead of water you can just add chicken broth. My choices are thyme, pepper and turmeric. For a whole chicken add about 2 or tablespoons of thyme, tablespoon of pepper and at least 2 to 3 tablespoons of turmeric. It doesn’t have to be exact, I eye ball it. These herbs are in there to give your chicken flavor but not necessarily give your meal the end flavor you want. Put it on low and let it cook for 8 hours or more if needed. By now you may be asking what type of chicken do I use. I prefer a whole chicken because then I have endless choices on what I can make and it is cheaper than buying already cut chicken. It’s okay if you don’t use the entire chicken right away, use what you want and then you can freeze the rest if needed. This sets you up for a future fast meal. It takes about 5 minutes to drop the chicken in the crock pot and cover it with liquid and turn it on.
Once that chicken is cooked you are ready for meal preparation. If I am in a hurry my go to is a noodle. I prefer udon noodles because they cook quickly with less water than pasta noodles. Fun Fact too, udon noodles are the original noodle for making ramen noodles. Boil a little water, drop in your noodles. While they are boiling cut or shred some of that chicken. Drain your noodles and add the chicken. Now you can do a couple different things to jazz it up a bit.
In a small pot pour in about ¼ cup of milk, drop in a block of cream cheese and start simmering it on a low heat. If your pot does not have a thick bottom then place the pot inside a pan with an inch or so of water and place that pan directly on the heat. This will allow you to heat up the milk and cheese without burning it. This is in essence a type of homemade alfredo sauce. If you want more of a true alfredo then add parmesan cheese but me I add whatever cheese I have in my fridge. Add some pepper to this and a little thyme or rosemary or oregano – about a teaspoon or two each. I add turmeric to this usually because we like the flavor of turmeric.
You can simply stop there if that is all the time you have. On each plate add noodles, chicken and sauce. My family likes veggies though. If I am short on time I will cut up an onion and sauté it on the cast iron and add it or a nice yellow pepper or tomatoes. Basically if you haven’t figured it out yet I cut up whatever easy veggie I have and add it either raw or sautéed a little. By having flexibility with not worrying over an exact recipe it takes the stress out of cooking.
This entire meal could be made within 20 minutes if you precook your chicken in the crock pot. This meal is also healthier for you than a frozen something you bought or fast food. If you really start watching how long you stand in line to get fast food or pop something from the frozen section in the oven and wait while it heats up you will see in that same amount of time meals like the above can be made. Yes, that means we all must find time for those steps to be done but I bet if you evaluate what you are doing you can find those 20 to 30 minutes. After all, Americans, on average, spend over an hour day just on social media so maybe it is worth stepping away from it to cook a good meal. Your health and budget will improve in the end.
Until next time, Happy Cooking!