Although I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that if you don’t eat bland chicken and broccoli all the time, you won’t reach your weight loss goals, it is hard to deny the fact that the bird and its breasts are great source of lean protein. It’s because of this fact that we eat chicken every day in our household.
Justin and I are in the middle of leaning out for our first competition, and I devote one, (yes, just one) of our six meals to chicken and vegetables. I don’t know about you, but if I know I am going to have to endure anything, especially boring ol’ chicken breast, every day for an extended period of time, it better damn well taste good!
I think it’s safe to say after 2 months of eating the same shredded chicken recipe, that I have finally found a winner! It’s ridiculous how easy it is to make and I love how versatile it is. The recipe is comprised of simple ingredients, and can be easily transformed into just about any type of flavor you want.
- Chicken Breasts, trimmed and cut into large sections
- 3 Celery Stalks
- 1 Onion, sliced
- 1 cup Baby Carrots
- 2-4 Cloves Garlic, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth, enough to cover the chicken
- Salt and Pepper
- Trim your chicken breast and cut them into large pieces. Usually 3-4 pieces per breast depending on the size.
- Add the celery, onions, carrots, garlic and bay to a crock-pot along with the chicken pieces.
- Season with Salt and Pepper. (Add additional flavors here as well)
- Pour enough chicken broth to cover the chicken completely
- Cook on low for about 6 hours.
- Remove chicken from crock-pot into a large bowl.
- Let cool, then shred with two forks.
- Add at least 1 cup of the broth from the crock-pot to your shredded chicken for added moisture and flavor.
- Add additional seasoning if needed.
- Save the flavors! Add a few of the onions to the shredded chicken if you like. Keep the carrots, they are damn good and my kids love them.
- Lastly, drain off the stock and use it for next time. Pour the remainder of the crock-pot into a bowl or some jars by using a strainer to separate the rest of the undesirables. Then let the solids settle to the bottom (using a fat separator perhaps) then carefully pour the yummy stock into another vessel for safe keeping!
This recipe is great as is, but if you eat the same protein for weeks on end, a little variety in flavor never hurts! Here are a few of my favorite additions that transform this recipe with ease.
Add 1 heaping spoonful of Whole Grain Mustard before cooking. Add a little more as a garnish before serving for an added kick!
Rosemary Thyme Chicken
Add 2-3 fresh sprigs of fresh Rosemary and Thyme before cooking. Discard the sprigs before shredding.
Add dried Cumin and Oregano before cooking. Add chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice after shredding. Serve over rice or in a soft/hard shell with guacamole.
Replace regular chicken broth with Swanson Thai Ginger Flavor Infused Broth. Serve with stir- fried Zucchini and Red Peppers (julienned) and garnish with sliced fresh Jalapenos (optional) and a dash of Toasted Sesame Oil.
Chicken “Fried” Rice
Add Chinese 5 Spice, and Toasted Sesame Oil after shredded. Serve with stir fried vegetables and brown rice. Throw some quick scrambled eggs in with the rice too for good measure.
Add about a cup of Franks Red Hot Original or Buffalo Wing Sauce after shredded. Serve with sliced celery, carrots and crumbled blue cheese. Transform this dish into a dip by adding some Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese, Lite or Fat Free Ranch Dressing, and blue cheese crumbles. I made this for Superbowl Sunday and it was so freaking good! (You might want to save dip version for a high fat day and dip into it with celery sticks instead of chips. Just sayin’!)
Besides the fact that this is a truly easy, almost effortless, recipe, it freezes really well so you can make a ton and be set for a couple weeks. AND it can be added to soups, pastas, sandwiches and wraps in a snap. (Basil Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Soup for example!)
I will continue to experiment with this recipe, especially since we have six more weeks of contest prep left. Yikes. I don’t know if that’s too much time or not enough! I encourage you to experiment as well. If you come up with something you love, share it with us on Facebook!