Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pulled Chicken in a crock pot

Over the holidays last year that I figured out that I hate my gym. I was tired of going and every machine taken over by some sweaty guy with a sweaty towel. Then I would go downstairs to the cardio room, now filled with the skinnier version I wanted to be, and try to get 60 minutes of exercise in. Even with TVs, an Ipod and a book, it was the longest 60 minutes of the day. Then I tried to hit up some classes, but after a month I found those dull too.

So I did something I thought I would never do, ready?
It's a little crazy - ok, a lot crazy:

I trained for a triathlon.

I told you it was crazy! But I like to swim, able to ride a bike and I knew running was the best way for me to get the body I had been coveting since high school. The multiple disciplines were exactly what my boring workout routine needed. I talked to a few people and joined a popular group for beginners. Thinking I would be in fair shape from my gym time I was surprised at the exercise load and struggled to keep up even in my beginner C group. But at the end of 6 months I finished not 1, but 2 triathlons. I am healthier than ever and looking forward to more training. Crazy? Maybe, but it works for me.

I also discovered other things about training for a triathlon. Did you know training sucks away all your spare time? and makes you so exhausted that all you want to do is fall in a heap in your living room floor? Seriously, I did it at least once a week. But training is half the equation, eating properly is the other half. I had an appetite so huge that even my co-workers were noticing that each day I was sucking down anything not nailed down. I also discovered cooking is hard to do when you are in a heap on your living room floor staring at the ceiling wishing for someone to spoon fed you and carry you to bed. So in the 6 months of training I discovered I could starve, go poor eating out or I could make great use of my slow cooker. 

Training makes me crave protein. Chicken in particular. Of course, I don't really have time to roast a chicken in the oven; although I have been dying to try this recipe. Truth be told when I roast a chicken I only enjoy eating the breast anyways. Lucky for me the slow cooker works while I sleep, or while I stare at the ceiling from the living room floor. And I never have to worry about burning down the house. I am an avid reader of the crockpot lady's blog and it has prepared me with enough knowledge to fake a pulled chicken recipe.

Mediterranean- Style Pulled Chicken
1-2 lbs of chicken breast (I had boneless, skinless around but you can use any chicken parts you like)
juice of 1 large lemon
1 small onion, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed or chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a plastic Ziploc bag or any other marinating container you have around. Swish it all around and let marinate for 30 minutes or 3 hours (not overnight or the lemon juice will cerviche your chicken). Dump everything into the slow cooker, turn on low overnight (or high for 4-6 hours). You are done when the chicken falls apart whenever you reach in to stir or check on it.

Note from fantastic slow cooker blog: if its too dry then cook it more, I know it sounds weird but it works, trust me... ummm.... her.

Separate chicken meat and juice. Shred chicken with 2 forks and let juices settle to skim off the fat (if you are so incline). Mix it back together until you get the consistency you want for your chicken. I skimmed the fat and stirred all the remaining juices back in because I love lemon and since I was serving it over barley it made a great sauce. Taste, season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Eat. Or in my case, eat some for lunch, then make enchiladas with the rest.

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