Have you guys ever used your slow cooker to cook a whole chicken? It is pretty much my favourite thing. We’ve been buying whole chickens in a case of 12 for a while now, and it is one of the easiest, tastiest meals you can make during the week. A whole roasted chicken isn’t something most people think of when they think “quick, weeknight dinner”, but it can be!
This post isn’t even about slow cooker chicken. It’s about slow cooker chicken leftovers (though I’ve included instructions for using raw chicken breasts as well).
If you’d like to try making a whole chicken in the slow cooker, just throw it in with a couple cups of water or broth, season it with seasoning salt, garlic, barbecue sauce, whatever you like and set it on low for a good 10 hours. I wouldn’t want to do it any less than 10 hours, unless your slow cooker is on the hot side.
So anyway, the day after we had this slow cooker chicken, I had all this wonderful, chopped, cooked chicken sitting in my fridge and absolutely zero inspiration. I mean zero.
I get home pretty early from work (2:45) so I usually have lots of time to make supper. Lots of time to plan ahead. But instead of taking anything out or figuring out what I was going to make with it, I just sat on the couch surfing Pinterest for inspiration while my daughter watched cartoons.
I finally stumbled across this recipe I had made once for a sausage-alfredo-type one-pot pasta. I thought it would be pretty tasty with chicken and bacon.
**Here’s a tip: once I open a package of bacon and take out what I need (provided we’re not consuming the entire package), I line a baking sheet with wax paper, and fold each slice of bacon in half twice lengthwise, making a neat little stack. I freeze them all without touching, and then pop them in a freezer bag. That way when I need just two slices of bacon, I don’t have to thaw the entire bag. It’s also super easy to chop frozen!
I started this recipe following it relatively closely. When I tasted it at the end, I just needed something more…..
I started scanning the contents of my refrigerator.
In a pasta?
It’s a little ridiculous.
I went back and forth about it for a bit. But then I figured, it goes with pizza, which is a grain, so this is pretty much the same thing, right?
We really liked it! There’s not so much barbecue sauce in it that the noodles are smothered in it, it just adds a nice sweet, smokiness to the sauce. The BBQ flavour is still subtle.
And it’s made completely in one pot! Do you know how much I love that??
If you don’t have cooked chicken and want to use raw, you can still cook it in one pot, just make sure you check the note at the bottom.
Give it a try, and be sure to let me know what you think!
A quick, easy weeknight meal made completely in one pot!
- 2 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups whole wheat rotini (or other short pasta)
- 2 cooked, chopped chicken breasts (for raw, see note below)
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, marble or mozza cheese
- In a large pan, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until bacon is browned. Drain as much of the fat off as you can.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add the broth, tomatoes, milk, pepper flakes, salt and pasta and bring back to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir, then replace cover and cook another 5 minutes. Stir and continue cooking 4-5 minutes uncovered, until noodles are cooked.
- Stir in chicken, barbecue sauce and cheese and cook 1-2 minutes until heated through.
*To use raw chicken breasts, chop into small pieces and cook with the bacon and onions until cooked through. This should only take about 5 minutes. Always check your chicken's doneness by cutting a piece open and taking a look. Or, cook them in the pan first, then remove and add back in at the end.
Recipe inspired by this pasta from A Bitchin’ Kitchen.