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Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes: A Cookbook by Gina Homolka, Heather K. Jones R.D., Hardcover

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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, 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!
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

Serves 6

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
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.

FAT 8.5 g
FIBER 1.5 g
SODIUM 1,140 mg

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