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Adventures in crockpotting – Crockpot Applesauce Chicken

Ever since I met Stephanie O’Dea at the BlogHer conference, who blogs at A Year of Crockpotting, I’ve wanted to try a crockpot recipe. Only, I don’t own a crockpot, which made it a little hard. So I called up my mother, who is the warehouse supervisor for the miscellany of our lives, and behold, she conjured up a crockpot from the back storeroom (aka her 2-bedroom apartment)!


Note its olive green complexion, which was as popular in kitchen appliances in the 70’s as disco and wide lapels. This crockpot was a wedding gift that outlasted my parents’ marriage. I decided to test how well Rival built their slow-cookers with the Crockpot Applesauce Chicken from Stephanie’s site.

4 frozen chicken breast halves or thighs

1 1/2 cups of applesauce

1 T dried onion flakes, or 1 yellow onion, chopped finely

1 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Put the frozen chicken pieces into your crockpot. Add the onion (if you are using the dried onion, wait and add it to the applesauce). In a bowl, mix the applesauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices together. Pour on top of the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4. Serve with rice or quinoa.

I reached into the fridge to grab the onion I’d been storing in a Tupperware container, only to discover a grotesque, slimy concoction that was too horrible to photograph. Right, so no onions this time. I decided to halve the recipe, so I started by placing two chicken breast halves in the crockpot. Please note, this is also the fastest way to summon cats to a kitchen counter.

Kitties and the crockpot

Chicken? Did somebody say chicken?

Then I mixed up the applesauce mixture in a bowl and poured it over the chicken.

Applesauce mixture

The next step is to turn the crockpot on. The dial on the front of the appliance had three settings: Off, Low and High. I plugged in the crockpot, flipped the dial to high and waited. I had no idea if the device was actually on. There was no light that lit up when I turned the knob and I couldn’t feel any heat coming from the pot. I purposely chose to do a test run of the crockpot while I was home so I didn’t accidently burn down the house while I was away, but that would be impossible if the thing wouldn’t heat up. I came back 10 minutes later and saw condensation forming under the lid and knew the crockpot was still working.

Three hours later I pulled this out:

Applesauce chicken

The applesauce chicken was pretty good and juicy. I’ll probably try some other crockpot recipes. Perhaps I’ll upgrade to a model that is younger than I am so I can schedule meals to be ready when I come home. That’s the real appeal of the device, because on most days I want to collapse in bed by the time I get home. I haven’t had the energy to cook something without instructions printed on cardboard for a long time.

Applesauce chicken

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Sarah • October 12, 2008 at 4:03 pm

My huband and I inherited this EXACT crockpot from his mother, only ours is a beautiful burnt orange color on the outside – with the same design on the bottom. It has outlived the one we got for our wedding a few years ago. Guess they don’t make ’em like they used to!


Kari • October 12, 2008 at 4:56 pm

*gasp* No Crock Pot until now? You don’t know what you were missing! I love my slow cookers. I have a 4-quart that was a wedding gift and a 2-quart that I bought at Value City. I love them both but the 2-qt has been far more useful to hubby and I because it makes 2-3 servings without leftovers. I think Rival makes a 3- or 3.5-qt with the automatic timing functions for about $30. I just use a normal digital light timer to turn mine on at a later time so it’s just finishing up when I get home. I only do this with meatless dishes, things that involve meat that is already cooked, or when I am using frozen meat, just for safety’s sake. I usually time it to come on around 10am-noon. This works pretty well. I have a ton of awesome Crock Pot recipes if you’re interested. :)


WebRover • October 12, 2008 at 4:56 pm

This looks really good. Did you use boneless skinless chicken or chicken with bones &/or skin? Also, did you use applesauce with or without added sugar?

Thanks, WebRover


Melsky • October 12, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I really love crock pot cooking. It’s worth it to get a new crock pot with a crock that you can take out to wash.


PastaQueen • October 12, 2008 at 5:02 pm

@WebRover – I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and no-sugar-added applesauce.


Peggasus • October 12, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Like Sarah said, I too have this exact same one, in that orangish/persimmon color! My mother gave it to me when I got my first college apartment in the (gasp!) late 70s! Honestly, I like that one better than my newer one, a larger, fancier Rival with the removable insert like the more modern ones have. Those get too hot too quickly, and have burned some meals, and even though easier to clean, I don’t use it anywhere near as often as I do my old one. I just used it the other day to make a mess of pulled pork for our tailgate yesterday.

That one’s a keeper!


April • October 12, 2008 at 6:34 pm

That looks yummy. I love my slow cooker, it is a life saver for meals, especially during the winter when I don’t mind that it warms up the house and I get a nice, comforting meal at the end of the day. I used mine today to make potato soup.


Cindy • October 12, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Sounds great! I love my crockpot (which is a rival, but newish)… And, O.M.G!!! My Mom has that same olive green crock! Wow!


Kari • October 12, 2008 at 6:41 pm

@April – The slow cooker is actually great for summertime use too because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen like the oven or stove. I used ours a lot on the 100 degree days this July.


Jamie • October 12, 2008 at 6:54 pm

I remember my parents having one like that until they upgraded to a super big one. Crockpots are great for making stew and other things. My favorite is to throw in a whole chicken with lemon, garlic, onion, celery and a little Mrs. Dash and cook it on low until done.


Lori • October 12, 2008 at 7:03 pm

That is the exact crockpot, color and all, I grew up with. And I’m from central Indiana, too. Hmm.


Rachael • October 12, 2008 at 7:13 pm

@Kari –

I’m interested in your recipes! rachaelsellsmark@yahoo.com I have a crockpot, but haven’t used it much (I’m not much of a cook, but I’m trying to learn).


Julie • October 12, 2008 at 7:46 pm

I actually have dinner cooking in the crock pot at the moment! It’s a new to me recipe so hopefully it turns out good.

I’ve heard a lot of people don’t like the newer crock pots because they cook TOO fast.

One word of advice, spray the crock with cooking spray. Took me about 5 years of soaking/scrubbing before I had a lightbulb moment. Sheesh lol.


Sarah • October 15, 2008 at 3:07 pm

I adore my crockpot. It is one of my favorite items in my kitchen! I use it for all sorts of stuff, from stew to soup to chicken and beef. I even have a recipe for a turkey-pesto lasagna from the crockpot. My sister got me an awesome cookbok ‘Not your Mother’s Crockpot Cookbook’ that uses lots of natural ingedients rather than the cream of mushroom soup type recipes that were indicative of the 1970’s crock pot.


amy • October 15, 2008 at 7:02 pm

First, I just need to say that I just may be your most insane reader ever; I’ve read all of your archives in a week.

Second, this chicken looks amazing, I think I’ll try it this weekend with some homemade applesauce I made.

Third, bags of frozen chicken breasts are crock pots’ best friends. You can buy a bag, pull out 2 or 3, and throw them in with some sauce of your choice. SOOO easy!


RG • October 15, 2008 at 11:08 pm

For some reason, whenever I see a crockpot I think of a good friend in grad school who said she grew up with crockpot meals (presumably yucky) because her mother was a college professor. She was excited to learn how good, well-cooked food could taste. My Mom, who is my friend’s opposite, used her crockpot rarely and basically only for variants on rice pudding. Although my Mom also worked, she had other solutions to getting food on the table soon after getting home. One solution was teaching me how to make the long-cooking things (beans, rice). Another solution she had is to use a pressure cooker, which cooks much more quickly.


Sarah • October 15, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Not to be a negative nellie,

but I’ve read in a few places that it is not healthy to use frozen meats in a crock pot – you should defrost them first. Otherwise they say that during the defrost process in the crock pot they spend a lot of time in the bad zone and bacteria become rampant.


Cheryl • October 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Sounds like what I pulled out when I went looking for an onion too. Well, actually, I wasn’t looking for an *onion*, I was looking for the source of the fruit flies in my kitchen. Let’s just say I found it. [gag]


crockpot lady • October 22, 2008 at 12:06 am

Jennette? Is it possible that I never actually commented on this post? I am so terribly sorry—it was open in a firefox window for a good week, and I totally thought I had.

thank you for the link and the smiles—I loved the cats circling photo.




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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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