What’s For Dinner (And Lunch!): Slow Cooker Chicken and BBQ Shredded Chicken Wraps

iris-mcallisterIf I was given the bold task of proving to the world that cooking is simple, it would come down to just one word: the slow cooker. The kitchen appliance makes life far easier for all of us who find ourselves in the kitchen- whether college students or moms who haven’t slept for days. Because of the slow-cooker, cooking can be hands-free, delicious, and easy.

You can snicker all you want if you believe the lie that you are never meant to walk into a kitchen (even if you catch things on fire), but you are certainly mistaken. Practice makes perfect, and slow cookers make learning far more simple than trying to replicate recipes by Julia Child or Giada De Laurentiis. You can throw anything into a slow cooker. You don’t even have to defrost your meat if you do not have the time or the know-how. Put in a roast, chicken, macaroni, breakfast oatmeal, or even a pie (please not all at once), and when you wake up the next day or return from a long day at work–voila!–there is a masterpiece waiting for you to devour! And, you didn’t have to do a single thing to it, which is simply code for: You cannot ruin a meal in a slow cooker. This week’s recipe for all you mommas short on time- or especially those of you who do not think you can cook- is slow cooker chicken breasts and veggies that are delicious for dinner, and then can be shredded quickly to stuff the inside of a wrap for your kid’s lunch.

Throw It All In the Slow Cooker Chicken:

–      5 Chicken Breasts (you can thaw if frozen, but not necessary)

–      Salt

–      Pepper

–      Garlic Salt, Powder, or Clove- Use whatever you have

–      ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar (I use Central Market Organics)

–      Cup of Water

–      Brussel Sprouts (5 per person is a proper serving)

–      Carrots (1 bag)

Spray the bottom of your cooker as you would if it were a skillet (I use organic olive oil spray, but butter or bottled olive oil works great too.) Place your chicken breasts in first. Poor the water in over the top of your chicken. There should be a quarter to a half inch of water. Your chicken will dry out if not. Next, add in the balsamic vinegar. Lay your veggies around the edges of your chicken. Depending upon the size of your pot, they may cover your chicken. This will not effect the final product at all. Finally, sprinkle the top generously with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Yes, this is it. Turn on for a cook time that works best with your schedule. A slow cooker usually has three settings: low, medium, and high. High cooks for four hours, low cooks eight to ten. Once the cook time is complete, it turns off and goes to the warmer setting. (So, no over cooked meals here!) Once you’ve picked a cook time, either go to bed and wake up to your family’s dinner for the upcoming night or leave for work. No worries at all about a stove top on while you are out.

After you have devoured your one-pot meal, you have spare chicken for lunch the next day! This leads us to the follow up recipe: a yummy BBQ chicken wrap.

BBQ Shredded Chicken Wrap:

–      Favorite BBQ Sauce (The best, in my opinion is Sweet Baby Ray’s)

–      Leftover Chicken

–      Wheat Wrap, Pita, or Tortilla

–      Sliced Cheese of Choice

–      Celery Stalk

Warm your leftover chicken, and take a fork to it, pulling at it with the prongs vertically. Next, warm your wrap item of choice with the cheese until melted. Slice the celery into very thin pieces (the thinner, the less noticeable it is in your child’s food). Mix in the BBQ sauce to shredded chicken, adding in the sliced celery. Dash with salt and pepper and pour into the wrap. To ensure your child’s wrap stays a wrap, tooth picks are a great way to seal it up if your kid is old enough to remove before engulfing. Pair this treat with carrot sticks or a piece of fruit for a nutritious and delightful lunch. Most importantly, stop believing you cannot cook or do not have the time. Slow cookers make cooking possible for anybody on any schedule. So with that, all I have left to say is, “Happy slow cooking moms!” Keep making those healthy dinners and easy lunches for your kids.

Hannah Cheves is a D Moms intern.

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