AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Now that the holidays are over, a lot of you home cooks may crave time off, just for a bit. But you and your family, you still got to eat. And the convenience and, frankly, the taste of fast food may be pretty alluring to you right now. Well, we'll help you resist with today's Found Recipe suggestion.
STEPHANIE O'DEA: The slow cooker is the easy bake oven for grown ups.
CORNISH: That's blogger and cookbook author Stephanie O'Dea. She's a busy mother of three young girls and owner of 14 slow cookers. Slow cookers also known as crock-pots, a kitchen device you might associate with the '70s.
O'DEA: Before I started slow cooking regularly, I kind of thought of the slow cooker as a glorified pot roast machine. It seemed like everything I put in it sort of tasted the same. The carrots got a little mushy and the pot roast tasted like Lipton onion soup and a can of Campbell's chicken and mushroom soup.
CORNISH: Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hey, there's no judgment here. Stephanie O'Dea, however, she wanted more.
O'DEA: I really started thinking outside of the crock.
CORNISH: So for one year, she challenged herself to make something different in her slow cooker every single day.
O'DEA: You can steam fish beautifully in the slow cooker. You can make delicate deserts like cheese cake and crème Brule. You can roast a duck. You can make barbecued shrimp.
CORNISH: You can also make a gluten-free version of KFC. Yes. A new deal, a Kentucky non-fried chicken in every crock-pot and for today's found recipe, Stephanie O'Dea has this takeout fake out.
O'DEA: We happen to be a gluten-free family. My daughter, age 9, was diagnosed with celiac, an intolerance to gluten, and we were watching The Food Network and the chefs were trying to recreate a KFC inspired chicken rub and my daughter said, I don't know what that tastes like. And it dawned on me, she doesn't know what that tastes like.
I took it upon myself to see if I could recreate a similar seasoning at home and cook the bird the way I always cook, in the slow cooker. We are not absolutely certain what the actual spices are in Colonel Sander's secret recipe because, of course, they are under lock and key. But in the O'Dea kitchen, it encompasses paprika, some garlic salt, onion powder, thyme, oregano, sage, black pepper, ginger, marjoram, salt, cardamom and the twist in the seasoning rub was adding white sugar to combat the garlic and the salty flavor.
Skin the chicken, rub it down inside and out with a seasoning blend and then put it in the slow cooker breast side down. The chicken, cooked in its own juices with the seasoning blend. Do not add any water. Cook on high for about four hours or on low for seven to eight hours. This is one of the most moist chickens you will ever have and it literally falls from the bone.
My daughter was thrilled with this takeout fake out. I think she ate both the drumsticks, a wing and a half of a thigh that night. It was a really successful meal for our family.
CORNISH: That's Stephanie O'Dea. Her cookbook is "365 Slow Cooker Suppers." You can get the recipe for her KFC inspired chicken on our found recipe page at NPR.org.