Stuffed baked potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods. Mix that with one of my other favorite comfort foods, barbecue, and you have comfort food heaven! On top of that, this recipe is perfect for a busy school day and, if you watch your toppings, it's healthy to boot. Take five minutes to pop the ingredients in the crock pot at your morning break and you will have the majority of dinner ready in a few short hours.
One tip: There are a few times a year you can be sure to find great sales on barbecue sauces - Memorial Day, Labor Day and Fourth of July. These holidays that revolve around grilling are a great time to stock up on your favorite sauce for cheap!!! I typically make my own sauce using a kid-friendly modified version of this yummy recipe from allrecipes.com, but when a good sauce goes on sale for $1 a bottle I can't pass it up.
Shredded Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Potatoes
3 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken breast
1 bottle favorite barbecue sauce
4 baking potatoes (about a lb one for Dad & smaller ones for the kids and Mom)
4 T butter
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
a few tablespoons of corn starch or arrowroot starch (optional)
1. Place chicken in crock pot and pour barbecue sauce over the top.
2. Cover and turn crock pot on high for 4 hours.
3. Remove chicken and allow to cool slightly. Remove skin, take chicken off bone and shred.
4. Skim sauce in crock pot to remove any extra grease.
5. This step is totally optional: If your sauce is too thin or you just prefer a thicker one, remove a cup or two and place in a small saucepan. In a separate small bowl, combine 2 T corn/arrowroot starch with equal amount hot barbecue sauce until it's completely dissolved. Pour starch mixture into barbecue sauce and raise temperature until it comes to a very gentle boil and thickens desired amount. Add more corn/arrowroot starch if needed (using the technique of dissolving first in small amount of hot liquid) to get to desired thickness. Add mixture back to crock pot.
6. Return chicken to crock pot. Turn crock pot to low, allowing mixture to simmer and all flavors to meld for 30-60 minutes.
7. In the meantime prepare potatoes (check out howtobakeapotato.com if you need help with this step).
8. When potatoes are ready, sprinkle all generously with salt and pepper. Stuff each with one tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4-1/2 cup chicken mixture with sauce and top with 1/4 cup cheese.
Thoughts on this recipe:
My first attempt at chicken in the crock pot was a similar recipe a friend shared with me that started by using boneless skinless chicken breasts. That time the meat turned out a little dry and had a bit of an odd texture. When I tried it this way, on the bone and with skin, it was juicy and wonderful...and the meat had even been previously frozen for two months.
To thicken or not to thicken...it will depend on your preference, how thick your barbecue sauce is to begin and how much water is retained in your chicken (most chicken has water added, some more than others).
You can add more seasonings to the crock pot when starting if desired. A teaspoon of garlic powder and/or onion powder can be yummy if your sauce is a bit bland. Or a kick of cayenne if you like it hot (just don't forget about the kiddos!), or an extra tablespoon or two of honey or molasses if you want a sweeter sauce.
I skip all toppings and simply use the chicken and barbecue sauce on my potato to keep calories lower. I love all the butter, sour cream and cheese but don't need it. My skinny boys, now that's another story. :)
Cost Breakdown: $6.14 (with plenty left for a mommy lunch later that week :)
$ 3.00 - chicken breast (bought on sale for $.99 per lb)
$ 1.00 - barbecue sauce (see note at top of post)
$ .75 - baking potatoes (from a 5# bag purchased on sale and with coupon for $1.00)
$ . 28 - butter (sale)
$ . 50 - sour cream (sale for $1 for pint)
$ .61 - cheddar cheese (I buy in bulk each month at wholesale club)