Taco Shredded Chicken (now easier)

If you listen to any Hollywood “body transformation” stories, one common theme you’ll hear is people being tired of eating “boiled chicken breast”.  The thing about chicken breast is that it’s very low fat and has no carbs in it, so it’s almost all protein.  The problem is that it doesn’t have much flavor has a tendency to dry out easily.  Even if you’re on a relatively “low” protein diet for a fitness person (0.82 – 1g per pound of bodyweight, at 175 pounds, you’re still eating between 150 to 165 grams of protein daily.

That’s a lot of protein, and chicken breast is one of the easiest ways to get that protein, even if it’s not the most fun.  This particular recipe makes boiled chicken delicious, moist, and easy to eat.  I first learned about it in this particular form Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast, although the basic concept is quite common.  Basically you’re making crockpot chicken breast, and then shredding it.

Ingredients

  • 2 – 4 pounds chicken breast (if you use more, you’ll probably need more of the other ingredients)
  • One jar of salsa (I usually use Trader Joes green tomatillo salsa, but feel free to experiment)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (if you want to up the ante, add the zest one of them)
  • 1-8 garlic cloves
  • Chili powder to taste (I usually do 2 tablespoons; Jack’s original recipe uses “taco seasoning”) (see instructions below for an easier method than making your own chili powder)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I usually don’t use salt here, and add it to whatever I use the chicken with)

Chili powder the easy way

I used to make my own chili powder Altona Brown style.  Now I just toss the component’s into the crockpot

  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
  • As a bonus toss in some dried  chile’s like Ancho and guajillo. (I do 2 of each)
  • Optional: cayenne pepper or Chipotle

Instructions:

  1. Turn the crockpot on high.
  2. Dump the jar of salsa, lime juice, garlic cloves, and chili powder into a large crockpot.  Stir together.
  3. Optional: Wait about 5-10 minutes until the mixture is hot
  4. Place your chicken breasts in the crockpot, and make sure they are coated with the mixture.  One easy way to do this is to put them in upside down, and then flip them over.
  5. Cover with lid (very important; crockpots don’t work right if you forget this step)
  6. Wait 4 hours.  Remove Lid.
  7. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred with two forks.
  8. Dump the rest of the liquid mixture on top of the chicken and mix until even.
  9. Done.  Use as is or refrigerate for future use.

So what are the macros on this thing?

95% of the calories come from the chicken breast, so I completely ignore the calories from the salsa.  A jar of Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde has about 110 calories in it, and you’re spreading it out over 3-4 pounds of chicken, but if you really want to track every calorie, knock yourself out.  To figure out the calories

  1. Weigh the raw chicken.  Let’s say it’s 1560 grams.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, and you’ve added the liquid back in, weigh it again.  Let’s says it’s 1740 grams.
  3. Divide the raw weight by the cooked weight, and you’ll get a decimal.  In our case 1560/1740 = .8965 or round it to .9.
  4. WRITE DOWN THAT NUMBER!
  5. Now let’s say you want to use 400 grams of chicken breast for a recipe, just divide 400 by the number in step 3.  400/.9 = 444 grams.  That’s how much of our final prepared product you should weight out to get 400 grams.
  6. Log 400 grams of raw chicken breast in MyFitnessPal (or whatever you use.)

So how do I use this stuff?

Use it like chicken.  Eat it.  But in case you’re imagination deprived, here’s a couple quick meals:

Shredded Chicken Bowl

This kind of mimics the main ingredients of a Chipotle Burrito bowl (minus the sour cream and corn).  It has a huge amount of protein in it, and when you see this in the bowl, you’re going to think, “there’s no way I’m going to finish all that.”  It’s a great first meal, because it’s high in protein with moderate carbs, and relatively low fat.  It’ll provide a large proportion of your daily protein intake while leaving you tons of calories for the rest of your day.  To reduce the carbs and calories you can leave out either the rice or the tortillas.  If you want to up the fat a bit, use tortilla chips instead of tortillas.

Calories and Macros:

  • Calories: 937
  • Protein: 114 grams
  • Carbohydrates 82 grams
  • Fat 15 grams

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams of chicken breast (raw weight using the calculation technique above)
  • 3/4 cup of cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup of canned black beans
  • One ounce of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 small corn tortillas

Mix the first four ingredients together.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Eat along with the tortillas.

Shredded Chicken Omelet

This doesn’t really look like an omelet or taste like one, but it has egg in it, so…whatever.  This is kind of the opposite of the recipe above.  It’s got a relatively small amount of protein, almost no carb, and a decent amount of fat.  You could reduce the fat by leaving the butter out, but why would you want to.  It’s a great “small meal”.  You could also leave out the butter and egg and use the mixture to make chicken and cheese quesadillas.

Calories and Macros:

  • Calories: 456
  • Protein: 49 grams
  • Carbohydrates 2 grams
  • Fat 28 grams

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams of chicken breast (raw weight using the calculation technique above)
  • 10 grams of butter (I prefer Kerry Gold)
  • 2 slices of reduced fat cheese (44 grams; I use Finlandia variety pack from Costco.)
  • 2 eggs

Melt the butter in a pan over medium and cook the chicken until it begins to dry out a bit.  (Personally I hit the chicken with some extra chili powder for extra flavor.)  Place the 2 slices of cheese on top and wait until it melts.  Use a spatula to mix the melted cheese through the chicken.  Scramble two eggs in a glass along with some salt to taste.  Pour the eggs over the chicken and immediately begin stirring the egg throughout the chicken so that’s it’s evenly dispersed.  Turn the heat to low, and once the egg is mostly congealed, form a flat chicken/egg patty and allow to cook for about 30 seconds.  Flip and allow the other side to cook to desired doneness.  Serve.

December 2013 Newsletter

It has been 4 years since our last newsletter. As you may recall, we were just preparing for the birth of our first son at the time. Logan was born right on schedule, March 25th, 2010, and our lives have never been the same since. Logan has blessed us in more ways than we could have imagined. He was a very happy and easy going baby who started walking at 9 months of age. He is now almost 4 years old and just started attending preschool this summer. He really seems to enjoy school and showing off all he learns. He knows the alphabet and phonics sounds, spells/reads many words, identifies colors and shapes, and counts all the way to 1 billion!!! Just to name a few. He also has a very impressive ability to remember and recite lines from his favorite songs and shows. Despite being delayed in communication and language skills, he is actually quite the talker! This past October, he started attending an ASD special education preschool program offered through our public school system. After just a few months, he is making noticeable progress in expressing his needs/wants, potty training, self-feeding, and interacting with his peers. We hope he continues to benefit from this program and pray God will equip us as his parents.

Despite these last 4 years of harder economic times and high unemployment rates, we praise God for the very good secure jobs he has provided us. Pat was promoted to Associate Dean at PBA school of nursing several years ago. This year he worked very hard developing a proposal for a doctoral level nurse practitioner program at PBA, which was recently approved by the Board of Trustees. He also was distinguished as one of UF’s Young Alumni award recipients. Last October, Jen was able to start doing her VA pharmacy job from home (telework). Although working from home can be challenging with young children, thanks to our excellent nanny helpers, it has been working out fairly well. Jen really enjoys being able to maintain her full time career while also being able to stay connected with the kids at home during the day.

With Jen working from home, living close to the VA was no longer a priority. So when the real estate market picked up last year and we were expecting our 2nd child, we felt it might be a good time to try to sell our home and relocate out west (30 minutes) to be closer to family and friends. After many months of intense house hunting and with Jen 7 months pregnant, we were almost discouraged enough to give up the idea all together. It was then, that God answered our prayers by providing a home that was as close to everything we wanted as we could hope for. Not only did the sellers accept our offer, but we would be able to move in before baby’s due date…3 weeks before. Even though that wasn’t much time, we felt like that would work better than trying to do it after the baby was born. We then put our house up for sale, and found a buyer within 24 hours! That’s how crazy the South Florida real estate market can be. Fortunately for us, it all worked and we moved into our new home as planned the last week of April. Thanks to the generosity of our friends and family who helped us, we quickly got settled in our new home. Only 1 week later, our son decided to make his early arrival. Although we were not planning on having a baby that weekend, it worked out well since Jen’s mom was already staying with us at the time and was able to be there for the birth. Needless to say, our house-warming party plans have been put on hold for awhile.

For those who have not already met our newest addition, the youngest little guy there in the photo is Corban Patrick (or Corban Dallas Multipass as Pat prefers). Like his Dad, he apparently has a flair for drama and a mind of his own as evidenced by his decision to be born early on International Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you…get it?), rather than share a birthday with his Dad on May 15th, which was his official due date. Even though he arrived early, he was heavier at birth than his big brother was. He is a very happy boy, doing great in all areas, following in Logan’s footsteps (literally) by standing and cruising at only 7 months of age. He really seems to admire and adore Logan.

Some of you may recall our “1st child” the Doberman named Glory. As happens to many Dobermans as they age, Glory developed large tumors on her body. One in particular was the size of a bowling ball attached to the side of her abdomen. Because she was 14, there was nothing that could be done for a tumor of that size, so we eventually made the very difficult decision of putting her down. Although she is no longer with us in body, she will always have a place in our hearts.

For videos and photos, check out www.patheyman.com
We wish the best to all of you and look forward to hearing from you soon. Pat, Jen, Logan, and Corban