Perhaps the most brilliant thing about cooking chicken in a slow cooker is that you can simply fling the chicken from the packaging into the pot, without having to touch raw chicken. It’s almost a bonus that the chicken comes out fork-tender, to boot. Not only are these recipes almost completely hands-off, they all also only require five ingredients at most—and you may even have them on hand.
1. Chicken tacos: Philia Kelnhofer of The Sweetphi Blog is all about five-ingredient meals — she even has a Five-Ingredient Friday series — and her five-ingredient slow-cooker chicken tacos dish clocks in at just two ingredients for the filling (salsa and chicken) and two for the topping (sour cream and queso fresco cheese), plus, of course, the tortillas. “Some days the last thing I want to do is spend hours prepping dinner,” she told TODAY.com. “That's where my favorite tacos come in, prep time is literally less than a minute.”
2. Barbecue chicken: Most Crock-Pot cooks know the pulled pork slow-cooker trick, but barbecue chicken is also a dream to shred after an afternoon of cooking low and slow. To make her prized “Best Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken,” food blogger Corey Valley of Fresh Family Meals adds three secret ingredients in addition to store-bought barbecue sauce (Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce).
3. Chicken teriyaki: Ordering takeout may literally take longer than prepping this Crock-Pot chicken teriyaki from Arlene Mobley of the blog Flour on My Face. She pours store-bought teriyaki sauce on chicken breasts, flips them over, and then turns the slow cooker on. Oh, and she pairs it with some rice and quick-cook frozen veggies. Done and done.
4. Chicken Stroganoff: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts make this spin on a Crock-Pot favorite slightly lighter than the beef version. The recipe is from Texas-based bloggers Amanda and Scott Coers, who have lost 100 pounds between them. They’re also parents to eight kids, ranging in age from one to 16, so they know a thing or two about pulling off a quick dinner. (Note that while the recipe calls for frozen chicken breasts, the USDA advises fully thawing all meats before slow-cooking, so be sure your chicken is safely defrosted before adding it to your slow cooker. Read the USDA guidelines in this PDF.)
5. Hawaiian chicken: Another freezer-friendly option is this Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Chicken from wellness coach and blogger Kelly McNelis’ new cookbook, "No-Cook Freezer Meals." She simply layers in the ingredients in a plastic bag, freezes them, then thaws them in the fridge the night before she wants to cook the dish. Instead of rice, serve the chicken and pineapple as she does, with quinoa and greens.
This article was originally published Mar. 20, 2015 at 2:37 p.m. ET.