Slow-cooker chicken and dressing brings holiday taste to your everyday table

We all love our chicken and dressing, but it is so much trouble to make a "holiday" dinner, few would consider having this favorite on a regular weekday night; but, give this slow-cooker recipe a try, and get that holiday taste anytime of the year without all of the muss and fuss.

Who does not love holiday meals? So, why are some of our favorites—like chicken and dressing—relegated to "holidays only" status in many of our homes? Probably because we see them as being so much work—and they are! But, did you know that you can do a great chicken and dressing in the slow cooker?

Until I tried it, I simply could not believe that something as yummy as chicken and dressing could be dumped in a slow cooker and left to do its thing all day, and come out on the other side as not only an edible supper, but a delicious one, as well. But, it is true! When we make dressing at Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is always such a big production, what with cooking the turkey or chicken, making the gravy and getting the dressing done around those things. It is always worth it, but the whole process just does not lend itself well to a busy workday. This recipe, however, does.

The next time you have leftover chicken, or just have a hankering for a taste of the holidays, give this recipe a try. I suggest making your dressing the night before if you need to get out the door in the morning, so you can just dump it and go (not to mention the seasonings will have time to comingle and get extra tasty). Don’t worry about sautéing your veggies beforehand—remember, this is going to be cooking all day long, so it will all get done! Just mix it, dump it and go! Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and rolls, and you can feel like it is a holiday any day of the week! And, by the way: Get an extra jar of that gravy to serve over top of, well, whatever you might like your gravy served over top of. And, of course, add your own special touches: If you have a special seasoning routine for your dressing that your family just loves, go for it! But, this is the one that works great for me.

You will need:

  • 1 (9 x 13 inch) pone of cornbread, crumbled (If you would like to use a Jiffy mix, two boxes will work).
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. savory
  • ¼ tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 (12 oz) jar chicken gravy
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded chicken (I like to just poach three or four boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can use whatever type of chicken you like, of course; a rotisserie chicken would no doubt be a good option.)
  • Chicken broth as needed

Directions
Mix crumbled cornbread with onion, celery, garlic and butter. Mix in seasonings and taste. Add more seasoning as desired. Mix in gravy. Mix in egg. Mix in chicken. If more moisture is needed, add chicken broth. Dressing should be moist, but not soupy.

Set cooker on High and cook for one hour, then set to Low and cook for at least five additional hours (I have also just set on Low if doing this early in the morning, and let cook all day, so that is an option, as well, if you need to head out the door).

I have had this right out of the slow cooker, and I have also taken it out of the slow cooker, put it in a 9X13 pan, and broiled to get the top brown and crispy; either way is delicious, it is up to you and your family's personal preference if you want to take that additional step.

Enjoy!

Huliq readers, what seasonings do you think are absolutely essential in good dressing? Comment below!

Image: Kitchen of Mechele R. Dillard

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