Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and it may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.
Welcome to 2016! Direct Energy is here with a super flavorful and low-calorie slow cooker recipe deigned to help you and your family meet your New Year’s resolution goals.
Today’s entry can serve as an excellent beginner’s guide to energy saving meal prepping. The basic idea of “meal prepping” is cooking one or a few dishes all at once so you have those meals ready to eat in the refrigerator for the next few days.
Some dietary experts recommend meal prepping to help you make healthy lifestyle changes when it comes to cooking your food. By investing a little time and energy one or two days a week to prep meals for the rest, it eliminates the need to stop for fast food when you find yourself in a bind for time to cook or go to the grocery store. And it helps to keep you accountable for your food choices!
For proper meal prepping, I recommend you purchase a few good plastic containers you can use to store your prepped meals – make sure these containers keep a really tight seal and are rated to protect your meals when you store them in the freezer. When cooking, invest your energy usage in one or two large main course items and serve them over the next few days with sides you make the day of, or in ways that don’t require additional energy usage.
Don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated by the idea of trying to make healthy, delicious food and save energy or money at the same time. I’m making it easy for you by featuring super low energy use, easy to make meals that are health conscious all January 2016!
Today’s recipe is low fat, super high in protein and flavor, and can be adjusted a little bit more for anyone really trying to lose weight. Leave out the butter if you are going dairy free, and substitute just a drizzle of olive oil. Look at the ingredient label for calories on your chosen buffalo wing sauce (typically found on aisle with barbecue sauce at the grocery store). I like Frank’s buffalo wing sauce because it is full of flavor and has zero calories!
The rest of the flavor comes from seasoning, herbs, fresh garlic, and lemon juice. Seasonings are always a great way to impart flavor in recipes without adding unnecessary calories or extra prep and cooking time.
Pair this slow cooker chicken in different meals over the next few days that require zero or very little extra energy use. Serve it over romaine lettuce for a delicious salad along with whole wheat croutons, a sprinkle of fat free parmesan cheese, and lemon vinaigrette dressing. Try it in butter lettuce cups with edamame beans for a high-protein, no-carb lunch! Dish it up in low carb wraps with fresh cherry tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, and fresh cucumber slices!
Seriously – the options are endless. Let’s get cooking!
Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper and Garlic Buffalo Chicken
- 3 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp. Lemon Pepper seasoning
- 1 tsp. Garlic powder
- ½ tsp. Sea salt
- ¼ tsp. Paprika
- ¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tbsp. Parsley flakes
- 1 tbsp. Butter (optional)
- 4 Large garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 Fresh small lemon, juice only
- 12 oz. Buffalo wing sauce bottle (I prefer Frank’s.)
1) Season chicken breasts with the lemon pepper seasoning, sea salt, garlic powder, and paprika. If you want more heat, try the optional cayenne pepper.
2) Place seasoned chicken in the slow cooker. Slice butter into super thin slices to put a little slice on each piece of chicken. Top chicken with sliced garlic cloves and parsley flakes.
3) Squeeze lemon juice over the seasoned chicken breasts (and make sure to not get any seeds in the pot). Pour the bottle of buffalo wing sauce over everything in the slow cooker.
4) Cook on low heat for at least 5 hours until chicken easily pulls apart with tongs or two forks. This means you can cook the dish all day while your family is at work and/or school.
Serve in salads, lettuce wraps, along with carrots and celery, low carb wraps and sandwiches, in omelets, and any of the other ways listed in the above article. Enjoy serving this energy saving slow cooker recipe to kick start the new year with healthy meal prep options!
Check out more Direct Your Dining recipes throughout January 2016 for other recipes to help you with your healthy living New Year’s resolutions!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan