Sunday, December 23, 2012

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

A super easy and moist crockpot chicken and dressing, made using a packaged stuffing mix like Pepperidge Farm, adding in sauteed onion and celery, cooked chicken and cream soup, blended with chicken stock.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

The concept of slow cooker dressing certainly isn't unique to me - you'll find a multitude of recipes online and at other blogs and websites, all slightly different from one another.

This method actually dates back to the late 70s in my recipe box, a time when convenience products and crockpots were all the rage with us working women. I used to rely on my crockpot a lot back then, but then fell away from it for years because I got bored with the way they cooked. Then I started blogging, finally upgraded my slow cooker, educated myself a little bit better on slow cookery and slowly started to build up my collection of recipes again.

This is a great shortcut recipe because it uses cream soups and packaged stuffing mix (such as Pepperidge Farm), but don't scoff at that, because they are both great time savers. Packaged stuffing mix is simply cornbread or bread that has already been crumbled or cubed, toasted and tossed with seasonings - nothing weird, that's it. Using them makes this not only super easy to make, but also results in a wonderfully tasty and moist dressing, whether you use it with chicken or turkey added in, or not.

You can certainly make up your own cornbread and bread for this recipe, breaking it up and toasting it, or even use my recipe for homemade chicken and dressing and layer that in the crockpot too, but this version just saves a few of those steps. Now.... there is one very important thing to note.

As with any packaged product today, you do need to take into consideration the seasonings that are included, and the higher sodium levels of a packaged product - which frankly, seems to have gotten a lot more salty to my taste-buds the past few years. Everything packaged - from boxed convenience meals to chips - all taste so highly salted to me, and I'm guessing that the salt is replacing some of those nasty preservatives that consumers demanded be removed. Luckily, I've experimented with the cream soups and discovered that while the reduced sodium and fat versions may not work as well with some casseroles, they do seem to work well with this slow cooker dressing. I also recommend using a lower sodium chicken broth when using the packaged stuffing, but not using freshly toasted bread or cornbread.

I had a package of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing in my pantry that needed to be used, so that's what I used today, but their herb bread stuffing is just as good, if you prefer that. A combination of the two is also very good. Like so many other products today, the large bags of stuffing have also shrunk from its original 16 ounce bag, but the recipe still seems to hold its own, despite the loss of a few ounces, though you may want to use part of a partial bag to make up the difference to stay true too the original recipe. I do not recommend the cubed style version of stuffing mix because the liquid to bread ratio has not been adjusted for that and your dish may be too dry. If you use a boxed stuffing (like StoveTop) please understand that those are generally only about 6 ounces, so you will need several of them.

If you prefer to use fresh bread or cornbread instead, crumble the cornbread or whatever breads you are using and toast them first. Use the regular great for cooking cream soups and regular chicken broth, rather than the low sodium products, add a little poultry seasoning and bump up the herbs to make up for the loss of seasoning in the Pepperidge Farms mix.

Like my regular oven baked stuffing, I use a bit of the Bell's seasoning in place of plain sage. Bell's is a mixture of several seasonings, including rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and marjoram, and really adds a nice flavor punch to any dressing. If you don't have access to Bell's, or you don't feel like making up a copycat batch, just use plain sage, or add a couple tiny pinches of some or all of those seasonings.

Sage is a highly pungent, musky herb and it only takes a little to add flavor, so unless you already know you love an extreme sage flavor, go very light with it. You'll only need about 1/2 teaspoon of dry rubbed sage for this recipe, or about 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped sage leaves. As always, season lightly first with all seasonings and herbs, then taste and adjust. You can add, but you cannot take away.

I've written this from the way that I used to do it years back in my 3-1/2 quart, round slow cooker, and still do for just The Cajun and me. To make it for a holiday, double the ingredients and cook it in a larger 6 quart slow cooker.

While a lot of folks rely on their slow cookers for dressing on the holidays when the oven is otherwise occupied, you really don't have to wait for a holiday to enjoy a nice chicken and dressing supper. Let the slow cooker do the work for you, add a green vegetable and a salad, and some sweet tea, and you've got a nice and easy meal anytime of the year.

This really is the easiest dressing ever, it's always well received, and there's nothing to it. Frankly, nobody but you needs to know just how easy it was.

Here's how to make it.

First, I do like to saute the veggies, so add 1/2 cup of chopped onion and 1/4 cup of chopped celery to a skillet with a half stick of melted butter, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soups and chicken broth; set aside.

Add the stuffing mix, poultry seasoning and sage to the sauteed veggies and toss. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

Start layering, in a 3-1/2 quart round slow cooker, with 1 cup of the stuffing mixture, topped with 1 cup of the cooked and shredded chicken.

Top that with 1 cup of the soup mixture. Repeat, placing half of the remaining stuffing as the next layer, followed by the rest of the chicken, then half of the remaining soup, remaining stuffing and finally ending with remaining soup.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, high 3 to 4. Transfer to serving dish if desired.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 7 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 (14-16 ounces) bag commercial cornbread or herb seasoned stuffing (not cubed) (like Pepperidge Farm), or fresh crumbs (see cook's notes below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried, rubbed sage
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can low sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can low sodium cream of chicken soup
  • 1-1/2 cups of low sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups of cooked, chopped or shredded chicken

Melt butter in a large skillet and saute the onion and celery until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the stuffing, poultry seasoning and sage and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Whisk together the soups and chicken broth; set aside.

Spray a 3-1/2 quart crockpot with cooking spray and layer as follows: 1 cup of the stuffing mixture, topped with 1 cup of the chicken, topped with 1 cup of the soup mixture. Repeat, placing only half of the remaining stuffing as the next layer, followed by the rest of the chicken, then only half of the remaining soup, and ending with the remaining stuffing and topping with the remaining soup.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, high 3 to 4. Transfer to serving dish if desired. Double this recipe for a party, potluck, for the holidays, or hearty appetites, and use a larger slow cooker, approximately 6-quarts in size. Time will be approximately the same.

Cook's Notes: Please note the size of the stuffing mix that you are using as you may need part of a second package to make up for the decrease in package size. I do not recommend the cubed version for this recipe. You may also substitute day old cornbread and/or rolls or other breads for the stuffing mix, or to make up the difference, however, adjust seasonings accordingly, especially using only breads. See note below. I substitute Bell's seasoning or make a copycat, for the sage. Since this recipe is using a pre-packaged stuffing, I do recommend lower sodium products. Healthy request soups work well too. Don't be tempted to put in any additional salt, until you taste the mixture. If you prepare a chicken for this, omit the salt in your stock and reserve the broth to use some of that here. May also use leftover chicken or turkey, remember that rotisserie chickens are often very salty.

Classic Homemade Slow Cooker Dressing: Omit the chicken and substitute homemade, day old cornbread, and/or day old rolls or other breads, or use a combination of the two, crumbled and toasted. You'll need about 4 cups total of crumbs, or 8 if you are doubling. Rather than lower sodium, I do recommend using the regular broth and the great for cooking cream soups to make up for the loss of salt. Add the Bell's, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and the poultry seasoning. Taste and adjust for all seasonings. Rather than layer, simply add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, stir to combine, cover and cook.

Tip: Anytime that you make cornbread, or have leftover biscuits, rolls, or bread, crumble any leftovers you have and freeze them in a zipper freezer bag or container to use in dishes like this.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on December 23, 2012
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  1. looks delicious Mary. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

  2. I've made something similar....yummy stuff!

    1. Yeah, it's been around a long time - nice shortcut too! Merry Christmas Eva!!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Dorothy - Merry Christmas to you too!

  4. Boy, this looks good! As I type this, I have a big pan of your Special Occasion Macaroni & Cheese baking in the oven - it's bubbling and my husband and son can't wait to try it...I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas & I so enjoy your recipes and your website in general.

  5. I would love to come home to this cooking in the slow cooker after working on a cold, wintery day. I bet the house smells great.

  6. I have this in the crockpot right not and my entire house smells sooooo good! I appreciate a chicken recipe that can cook for a longer length of time. I have just come across your blog and already tried the Chicken and Dumpling casserole, too! So good! I am headed back to school full time, so I really love good, homey comfort food that everyone (including my adorable 2 year old!) will eat! Thanks so much for the taste of home!

    1. You're very welcome Cristi & hope y'all enjoy it!!

  7. This recipe is cooking in my kitchen right now! I remember my aunts making this but I couln't remember the exact proportions....but found your wesite. After looking at several of your recipes I just wanted to let you know how happy I am to have found your website....this is the real deal. This IS the way we cook in the Deep South.

    1. Aw, thanks so much Miss Barbara!! That's about the best compliment a gal like me could ask for. I hope the dressing met your expectations!

  8. Made this for a church potluck. Flavor was okay, but texture was bad....sticky and globby. Not sure if maybe I did something wrong, but I won't make it again.

    1. Oh gosh - sure hate to hear that! The pictures that you see above are of the exact recipe as noted so your result should have been exactly the same, and in fact, after receiving your message I made it and mine turned out exactly as expected. If yours was sticky and globby it sounds like you had a too high liquid to bread ratio. I am wondering ... did you use the bagged (14 ounce) stuffing, or did you use a boxed stuffing? The box stuffing mixes are much smaller - generally only about 6 ounces - so you would have needed to use several of them for this recipe - but then I would be concerned about the high sodium level with that many boxes. Also important is not to make any adaptions to a recipe until you've tried it as written at least once. If you changed or adapted anything, that could certainly affect your outcome.


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