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Crock Pot Questions

I’m sure these questions are common knowledge to those of you who have been cooking for awhile but I’m just starting out and basically I need all the help I can get!

I have some frozen chicken breasts I want to cook in the crock pot. I also want to cook some vegetables with the chicken (onions, peppers, carrots and potatoes are the most popular choices with my family). Do you just put everything together on top of each other and let it all cook together? I don’t want to make a soup.. I want the chicken to be an entrée with the vegetables as sides.

I know you put water in the bottom with the chicken but do you ever add more throughout the cooking process? Is it okay to be out of water or should there always be water in the crock pot (or some kind of liquid).

Is it safe to put aluminum foil in the crock pot?

And lastly, I have this lemon herb and garlic marinade. It’s delicious and when I bake chicken I usually marinade the chicken with it and also cook the chicken in it. Can I put it into the crock pot or will it burn? Should I only marinade the chicken and not add any extra, or add it towards the end? And is this the same for all marinades/sauces/dressings? We love cooking our beef and poultry with Italian dressing.. Would the same rules apply to the dressing that would work for the marinade?

I really appreciate any help, tips, tricks and advice. I know I could just experiment and figure this all out for myself but I’m afraid some of the experiments won’t go well and I’ll end up wasting food which we just can’t afford right now. Please help! Thank you in advance :)

EDIT:// Do all the flavors blend together when you put everything in the crock pot together? The reason why I asked about the tin foil is, I make my own baby food and I wanted to put the vegetables into the crock pot to cook them so they're soft enough to mush up but I want to do more than one vegetable at a time but I want the carrots to taste like carrots, not carrots and whatever else is in there with it.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 2nd, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Many, many times, I throw all those vegetables in, put the chicken on top, pour some marinade over it and cook. Don't add any more water, it will make it's own, a lot, during cooking. I generally don't use much liquid to start and never add any. I've never done anything in foil in them, can't help there.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
Actually, I missed the frozen part, sorry. I've never put anything frozen in either.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
I ALWAYS use frozen meat (chicken or other). It just adds an extra hour or so of cooking time.

You can use foil, too, although I've only used it for fish.

Don't add extra liquid. There is always liquid that comes out of the food.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
I've used frozen roasts before with no problem, even on low. Just add a bit extra cooking time.

No clue about foil, though.

I would suggest cutting the veggies into chunks, putting the chicken on top, adding the marinade or dressing, and then cooking on low for about 8 hours or so. The marinade should be enough liquid and the veggies and chicken will give up more during the cooking process.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
I put frozen meat and veggies in my crockpot all the time.

On Monday I threw some frozen boneless chicken breasts in and dumped a bottle of marinade over top. It turned out really good.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
I edited my post to elaborate on my tin foil question, but thank you everyone for all the information so far!
Apr. 2nd, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
Yes, you can just layer the vegetables in the crock with the chicken. You will need to cook it a little longer if you start with frozen meat (as someone else said, about an extra hour). Do note that if these are boneless skinless chicken breasts they'll probably get a little dry in the crockpot. The only recipe I've ever seen turn out well using boneless skinless breasts also includes an entire stick of butter (ie, tons of fat). Usually you're better off using bone-in chicken in the crockpot.

Don't cut your vegetables too small when you're putting them in the crock or they'll overcook - potatoes and carrots cook fairly slowly, so you can cut those a little smaller than things like peppers and onions if you're putting them all in together.

Using a marinade or sauce is a great idea in the crockpot! Food tends to produce liquid in the crock, so you shouldn't need to worry about your marinade drying out or burning up. I wouldn't cook anything in plain water by choice, either. You're better off using a sauce, marinade, or broth to improve the flavor of your food.

So here's what I'd do with those ingredients:
Cut your carrots and potatoes into chunks no bigger than about 1".
Slice onions and peppers into chunks.
Toss carrots and potatoes into the bottom of the crock with some of the onion and peppers, then the chicken breasts, and the rest of the onion and pepper on top.
Pour marinade over the whole thing and then turn on the crock and forget about it for a couple of hours.

WHEW! I'm long-winded today. Well, I hope at least some of that was helpful.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
I don't have it to hand, but I recently saw a magazine article recipe for a crock pot beef stew in which they recommended cooking the veges in a foil packet, or "hobo pack", placed on top of the meat (rather than cooking them all mixed together). The purpose was to maintain the separate flavors of the carrots etc.. So, I'd say, yes of course you can do that. I haven't tried it personally though.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
I'm usually gone from the house for about 10hrs during the day and I've stuck frozen meats in the crockpot with no problem. Just give yourself about 8-10 hrs to thaw. Never tried foil though.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


What A Crock!

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