Thursday, August 29, 2013

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken



So, I'm in love with this recipe I first saw on Emily Bites (and while looking up this recipe and keying in that link to the blog, I found a recipe for Spinach and Artichoke dip WITHOUT MAYO that looks like it might ROCK my world!). I've made it a few times with mixed results and (as always) I've been tweaking the recipe so I'm going to post it here with my tweaks.

Here's the link for where I found the recipe: http://www.emilybites.com/2012/07/slow-cooker-buffalo-chicken.html It apparently comes from another blog that I'm being denied access to (private....makes me sad).

And here it is as I found it on Emily Bites:

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken
Source: My Kitchen Apron

Ingredients:
3 lbs raw boneless skinless chicken breasts (the original recipe used frozen breasts, but I used them unfrozen, so it appears you can do either)
12 oz bottle of Buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's Wing Sauce)
1 oz packet of dry Ranch mix (I used Hidden Valley)
2 T light butter

Directions:
1. Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker. Pour the bottle of wing sauce over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle the packet of ranch mix over the top of the wing sauce. Place the lid on your slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-9 hours until meat shreds easily.
2. Remove meat and shred it using two forks. Return shredded meat to the sauce and add the butter. Stir to combine. Continue to cook on low for another hour so the meat can soak up the sauce. Serve however you like!

Yields 12 (1/2 cup) servings. WW P+: 3 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per serving from myfitnesspal.com: 175 calories, 1 g carbs, 5 g fat, 28 g protein, 0 g fiber



Here's where I've been having problems...one time the flavor isn't quite right (and unlike Emily, I added ranch to this sandwich because of it), or it ends up soupy and I have to fish out the chicken with a slotted spoon. I've had lots of problems....even though it only has 4 ingredients. So here are my tips for making this recipe work from someone who has messed it up enough times to know:

  • Use Frank's Buffalo WING Sauce. http://www.franksredhot.com/products/buffalo-wings-sauce I mistakenly used the hot sauce the first time I made this. We're going to leave it at that. 
  • Spray your crock pot. I usually don't, but this helps with those little bits of chicken that are a nightmare to scrape off. 
  • According this this, you can use frozen breasts. I've made this 4 times now and using frozen breasts always seems to end up with buffalo chicken soup...and I'm fishing out the meat with a slotted spoon. NOT GOOD! When I last made this, I used breasts that were half dethawed and I still ended up cooking with the lid off for an hour (which might be because I did it in like 4 hours). 
  • I like my pulled meats and sloppy joes to have a seriously thick sauce, which means that I'll take the lid off and let it cook for an hour (stirring frequently) to get it thicker if you have to. 
  • Because I like a more dense sandwich and my boyfriend eats like a horse, I also increase the meat. Last night I used 4.3 lbs chicken. 
  • I added about a half cup of sliced onions. I don't know why, but I just felt it needed something else for the flavor. The onions cooks down and you don't even see them (if you're worried about kids or whatever)

I made this last night in 4 hours. I was sitting there and all of a sudden it was 6 o'clock (luckily, we run on a late schedule) I started the crock pot on HIGH while I was defrosting the 4.3-4.5 pounds of chicken in the microwave and I poured a little sauce in the bottom. I put the chicken in, added some sauce, then the ranch, tossed on the onions and the rest of the sauce. I put the lid on and promptly forgot about it for 2 hours. When I checked on it, I thought it looked a little soupy so I shredded the chicken and then cooked it for about 45 minutes-1 hour with the lid off mixing often. Then I added the butter and stirred. The boyfriend needed time to decompress after work, so this didn't get on the table until about 10:30-11 so about 4 hours.


This stuff is so great....mix it with some ranch or some sour cream for dip with chips (one of my favorites).  Mix cold chicken with mayo for a chicken sandwich.  People at my house eat it on salad.  I've put it on a wrap with lettuce and cheese and a little schmear of ranch.  It is super versatile.

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