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Chef's Hat: Don't fret when the oven breaks

I have gathered several recipes for slow cooker crockpot chicken and dumplings. By combining and using a few different seasonings, I came up with a recipe that suited my tastes. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you could replace those with boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat. PineandLakes.com Illustration

The last time I used the oven I noticed the element turned a bright red. Never a good sign. The next time I turned the oven on, nothing - no heat, and of course, no way to use the oven to cook anything. Well, actually the broiler still works and all the burners on top work. It just isn't able to bake anything.

So for a few weeks baking is not an option. Again, not a big deal as there are many alternative ways to cook. Grilling is still an option, that is if it isn't raining. Sandwiches and salads don't require an oven, and, of course, slow cookers are a great substitute for cooking something in the oven.

I have gathered several recipes for slow cooker crockpot chicken and dumplings. By combining and using a few different seasonings, I came up with a recipe that suited my tastes. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you could replace those with boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.

And if you're in a pinch, you could use a rotisserie chicken, but you'd need to adjust the cooking time.

The traditional chicken and dumplings uses a combination of carrots and peas. But you can replace those vegetables with about any,such as cauliflower or corn. This was a fairly easy recipe, and other than the cream of chicken soup, all of the ingredients were in my cupboards.

For some reason I had a lot of chicken in the freezer. So not only was this the week to try new slow cooker recipes, but all of my recipes relied on chicken. The next recipe I tried was French onion chicken. This takes a bit of prep time, as you have to sauté the onions before putting them in the slow cooker. But after that 10 minutes or so, this recipe is quick to prepare.

And last but not least is an extremely easy buffalo chicken wings recipe that are great for those game days.

So don't fret if one of your appliances quits working. There are always alternatives. Enjoy the brisk autumn days and Happy Eating!

Crockpot chicken and dumpling

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tube refrigerator biscuit dough
  • Place the chopped onion evenly across the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the chicken breasts on top of the onion. Season with the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.

Pour the soup and chicken broth over the chicken/onion. Place the bay leaf in the liquid. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. After cooking for an hour (high) or 2 hours (low) add the carrots. Cook just until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Take the chicken out and shred into bite sized pieces. Put chicken back into the slow cooker. Add the peas and sprinkle the garlic powder over the mixture. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Top the chicken mixture with the biscuits.

Cook on high for another hour. Once the vegetables are tender and the biscuits are cooked through, the dish is done.

Slow-cooker French onion chicken sandwiches

Adapted from pilsbury.com

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 hoagie buns (pretzel buns always work well for this recipe)
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • Lettuce and tomato slices, optional

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, salt, pepper and thyme; cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and golden brown.

Spoon the onions into a 4 quart slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the onions. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 to 3 hours. Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center.

In small bowl, stir cornstarch and water until well-blended. Stir into chicken mixture. Cover; cook on high heat setting 5 to 8 minutes or until thickened.

While chicken is finishing cooking, set the oven to broil. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Open the buns and place them on the prepared sheet. Sprinkle the buns with the Swiss cheese. Broil 3 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes, just until cheese is melted and buns are slightly browned.

Remove from heat. Place chicken onto the buns. If desired, top with lettuce and slices of tomato.

Crockpot buffalo chicken wings

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 ½ cups hot sauce (Frank's or your favorite hot sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal chicken seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Blue cheese dressing optional

Cut chicken wings at the joints. Discard the tip section. Rinse chicken wings and towel dry. Place into slow cooker and cover with lid. Cook on high for 2 ½ hours. With a spoon, turn chicken wings every 20 minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the slow cooker. After cooking, remove lid and drain any accumulated grease off the wings.

In a medium size bowl, combine the hot sauce, butter, Ranch seasoning mix, Montreal chicken seasoning and paprika. Mix well. Pour over chicken.

Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If desired, serve with blue cheese dressing.

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