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Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes Hardcover – October 11, 2016
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From the Publisher
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
I was always happy when Mom made chicken cacciatore for dinner. We would eat it over pasta with lots of freshly grated cheese on top. Now, whenever I make this dish, I always think of my mom. Since the sauce is hearty and chunky, it’s perfect to make in the slow cooker. While any part of the chicken works great, I prefer to use skinless chicken thighs that are still on the bone. The chicken comes out so juicy and tender, and the bones add flavor to the sauce. I find that when you make this without the bone, the meat tends to be dry. Once the sauce is cooked, I remove the chicken from the bone and shred it, so you get chicken in every bite.
Season the chicken with the salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray, add the chicken, and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a slow cooker.
Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and coat with more cooking spray. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and add the tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
Discard the bay leaf and transfer the chicken to a large plate. Pull the chicken meat from the bones (discard the bones), shred the meat, and return it to the sauce. Stir in the parsley. If desired, serve topped with Romano or Parmesan.
Per serving 1 cup.
Fat 6 g.
Saturated fat 1.5 g.
Cholesterol 123 mg.
Carbohydrate 10 g.
Fiber 2 g.
Protein 31 g.
Sugars 6 g.
Sodium 319 mg.
This is great over whole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti (DeLallo is my favorite brand), as well as rice or polenta. For a low-carb option, serve it over spaghetti squash (see page 266).
- 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 5 ounces each), fat trimmed
- 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking spray or oil mister
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 large onion, chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I like Tuttorosso)
- 1⁄2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1⁄2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 sprig of fresh oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
About the Author
GINA HOMOLKA is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Skinnytaste Cookbook and the founder of Skinnytaste, the award-winning blog that’s been featured on Fitness and Better Homes and Gardens, among other media outlets. She lives on Long Island with her husband and their two children.
HEATHER K. JONES, R.D., is a registered dietitian, the author of several nutrition books, and the founder of heatherkjones.com, a weight-loss site about healing and hope instead of diets and deprivation.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I cook because I love to eat. I’m not talking about just good-for-you foods like salads and quinoa—although, yes, those are great. The foods I crave range from classic comfort dishes to global cuisine, and everything in between. At the same time, I try to eat a light and balanced diet, and these two things don’t necessarily go together. That’s what led me to start experimenting in my own kitchen eight years ago. I wanted to find ways to eat the foods I craved, but without throwing off all of my hard work to lose weight and keep it off. Plus, as a mom, I had to find a way to please not only my palate, but my picky family’s preferences as well, because cooking separate meals is just not an option for me. The results of those experiments ultimately became my blog Skinnytaste.com, and later inspired my first cookbook, The Skinnytaste Cookbook.
My mission with my first cookbook was to help people create low-calorie food without sacrificing flavor. I also wanted to help take away some of the fear and intimidation that people—especially beginners—feel about cooking. I was thrilled that the book was received so well—thanks to loyal Skinnytaste fans and so many others, it was a bestseller. What a dream come true! But, as I talked with people about the book, I kept fielding similar questions: “Are the recipes easy?” and “Are the recipes fast? I don’t have time to cook.” At the same time, I was receiving emails and Facebook requests for more superquick weeknight ideas, as well as recipes for the slow cooker. With all of this feedback, I knew exactly what my next book should be about.
Skinnytaste Fast and Slow is filled with two types of recipes: quick and easy dishes that are ready in 30 minutes or less, and those that are made in a slow cooker. With this book, no matter how busy you are, you can enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. Tasty, light, and time-saving! I want everything in these pages to help simplify your life, because I totally get it—I understand the stress of having to come up with healthy meals the whole family will enjoy on a limited time schedule. Talk about pressure!
TAKE A TASTE
In this book, you’ll find 140 recipes that are light on calories and packed with nutrients and satisfying flavors, while being simple enough to make anytime. Many of these dishes are versions of the comfort foods I loved during my childhood, and others are my current favorites. All of them have been simplified and skinny-fied, so they slim your waistline and fit into your busy schedule. I’ve spent a year testing and tweaking everything here, and I learned a lot along the way (you’d be amazed what you can make in a slow cooker . . . hello, brownies [see page 296]!). I hope that as you flip through this book, you’ll discover that you can enjoy great taste and good health, even when time is tight.
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
All the flavors you love from Buffalo wings, without all those darn calories—it’s time to get your fingers dirty! I love making shredded Buffalo chicken in the slow cooker because it’s super easy and so versatile. I use leftovers on sandwiches, over salads, as tacos, and in just about anything I can think up.
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium celery stalk
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth*
1/2 cup cayenne pepper sauce (I like Frank’s RedHot Original), plus more for serving
BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
6 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
1⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
5 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped scallion, white parts only
1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄8 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄8 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 outer lettuce leaves, such as green leaf, red leaf, or iceberg
3⁄4 cup shredded carrots
*Read the label to be sure this product is gluten-free.
1. For the chicken: In a slow cooker, arrange the chicken, celery, onion, and garlic. Pour in enough broth to cover the chicken (add water if the broth isn’t enough).
2. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.
3. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and discard the liquid and vegetables. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and return it to the slow cooker. Add the hot sauce and cook on high for 30 minutes.
4. For the blue cheese dressing: In a blender, combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese, the scallion whites, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons blue cheese.
5. To serve, put 2 lettuce leaves on each of 6 plates. Place a generous 1⁄4 cup chicken on each leaf, top each with 1 tablespoon shredded carrots, 1 tablespoon celery, and 1 tablespoon of the dressing.
PER SERVING 2 wraps
FAT 8.5 g
SATURATED FAT 2.5 g
CHOLESTEROL 82 mg
CARBOHYDRATE 5 g
FIBER 1.5 g
PROTEIN 27 g
SUGARS 3 g
SODIUM 1,140 mg
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Cons: There are recipes that I will never use, including a whole chapter on breakfast and toast. Many of the recipes use unusual ingredients--and a small amount of them--so there is always either a bottle of something in my pantry that I will never use again, or a bunch of partial ingredients that will spoil before I find another recipe for them. But my biggest complaint is that the slow cooker recipes are almost in name only. They require lengthy preparation, such as pre-cooking the meat or vegetables. Some require attention in the middle of the cooking time, followed by an additional 1-2 hours of cooking. And overall they are supposed to be cooked for odd lengths of time. For example, I'm making the slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs today. I would never have enough time in the morning before work to prepare the meatballs (shred zucchini, roll 24 meatballs) or sauce (pre-cook the garlic), so I had to do it last night. But now I'm faced with instructions to cook on low for 4-5 hours. How am I supposed to do that from work? I could use an outlet timer, but then it will sit on my counter for 5 hours either before or after cooking. I was looking for a slow cooker cookbook which would accommodate how I want to use a slow cooker: throw in the ingredients in 5 minutes, leave for 10 hours, and come home to a finished dinner. This cookbook is not that. However, if you are at home during the day and want to make healthy, delicious meals in your slow cooker, then it would be great for you.