Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Crock-Pot Buffalo Chicken in Lettuce Tacos

One of my deepest, truest loves is Buffalo Sauce.  I love it on wings, pizza, in dips or on sandwiches and veggies.  There is something about the spicy, tangy, salty kick that makes me so happy.  With that said, I am always thinking of how to use it in healthier ways.  While the chicken wing is incredible and low-carb, they do come with a bit more fat and can be a little challenging to prepare.  I wanted to come up with a recipe that was super easy, healthy and could be used in a multitude of ways.  Enter the trusty Crock Pot, chicken breasts and buffalo sauce.  I absolutely love the taste, texture and versatility of shredded chicken, and preparing it in a Crock Pot is a super easy and healthy way to get it.  Keeping on the low-carb kick, I use beautiful butter lettuce as a vessel for my chicken and stuffed it with all the usual Buffalo Wing accoutrements like carrots, celery, blue cheese crumbles and dressing.  This is a huge hit at my house.  I make it all the time for my family and for guests when entertaining.  This is exact recipe is on my menu for the Super Bowl.  But the great thing is the Crock Pot buffalo chicken is so easy and versatile.  You can literally do anything you want with it, like adding it to rolls for a sandwich, on a salad, pizza or nachos.  Whether you are eating low-carb, or not, you have to give this recipe a shot.  It is so easy and so yummy and you can do so many fun things with it. I know it will be hit at your house.

This is what you need:

1 lb Chicken Breast ( 3-4 small to medium size breasts)
1 1/3 cup of Buffalo Sauce ( I use Franks Red Hot Sauce, but use whatever you like)
Lettuce ( I use Butter Lettuce but use what you have or prefer)
1 medium Onion- chopped
2 cloves Garlic - chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:
Shredded Carrots
Green Onions
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing
Shredded cheese

This is what you do:
Add the onion, garlic, olive oil to Crock Pot, the place the chicken on top of that.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook on High for 3-4 hours.  When cooked, shred the chicken with a fork and place in the lettuce cups.  Add the toppings of your choice and enjoy!
Serves: 6-8 (you can easily double this recipe to serve more)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 Hours
First thing to do is rough chop the onion and garlic and add it to the bottom of the Crock Pot.  Then pour 2 tbsp of olive oil on top of that.
We add all of this for flavor, but it also adds moisture and gives the chicken a bed to lay on so it does not overcook.

Next add the chicken breast and a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired.  Pour 1 1/3 cup of buffalo sauce all over the chicken.  So my Crock Pot is not only ancient, but tiny, (3 quarts).  I got it when it was just my husband and I and it has done the job ever since.  If you have a bigger one, just spread out the onions and chicken. 
You want the chicken to be mostly submerged in the sauce.  If it seems a little low, you can add a little chicken stock or water too.

Set the heat at high and take a 3 hour break.  Then you can get your choice of toppings and lettuce taco cups ready. 
 I like carrots, cucumber, celery and green onions in mine.
Obviously, I have to have Blue Cheese crumbles and salad dressing, but use what you like or none at all.  If you have not tried Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressings, you should give them a try.  They are fantastic and so low in fat, calories and carbs.  Highly recommend and I get them from my big name supermarket.
For this recipe, I love to use Butter Lettuce.  You purchase it with the roots still intact so it is always very fresh.  It is a delicate tasting lettuce and provides a nice cup shape for the taco.  But honestly, whatever lettuce you like or have on hand will work perfectly.

I cook my chicken for about 3 1/2 hours on high per pound or so of chicken.  If you have a larger Crock Pot, check it around 3 hours.  Let it cool for a few minutes and then take a fork and begin to shred.  It should just fall apart with very little effort. 
 Literally just falls apart.
When it is all shredded, mix it altogether with all the sauce and onions and garlic.  Taste to see if you want to add more salt and pepper. 

Now, you can build your taco.  A fun way to serve this is to set up a "Taco Bar."  Put the lettuce out and all the toppings in separate containers in a line so everyone can serve themselves.  You can also add some buns, tortillas or chips for those who are not watching carbs.  
 I probably ate about 6 of these in one day.
I mean, can you blame me?  They are so good. 

I really hope you give this recipe a shot.  It is almost too easy from start to finish, with very little prep and clean up.  It tastes amazing, is super healthy and so versatile.  Let me know what you think!