A classic during any game season, buffalo chicken is always a crowd pleaser. However, depending on how it is made, it can make you question just how much to indulge. Do not fret though! You can indulge guilt-free with this healthy(er) variation.
By using nonfat Greek yogurt and neufchâtel cheese (⅓ less fat than cream cheese), substituting butter with olive oil, and adding a healthy amount of spinach, this buffalo chicken is worth going back for seconds...or dare I say...thirds! In the end, the most indulgent part of this dish is the gorgonzola crumbled on top, but do not feel pressured to add it. It is just as tasty without it! (IMPORTANT NOTE: Just eat the damn cheese!)
And you cannot make buffalo chicken without hot sauce! Frank's RedHot Original Hot Sauce was a favorite in my house growing up and still graces the refrigerator in my apartment today. Now I know there are a lot of hot sauces out there, but when you find your taste mate you stick together until the end.
SHREDDED CHICKEN: 2 split chicken breasts w/ ribs (~2 ½ - 3 lbs)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp rosemary infused olive oil
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ sweet onions, thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, peeled
BUFFALO CHICKEN: 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded slow cooker chicken
¼ cup water
8oz frozen spinach, cooked & drained
½ cup Frank’s RedHot Original Hot Sauce
Zest of ½ a lemon
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
5.3 oz plain Greek yogurt, room temp
4 oz neufchâtel cheese, room temp
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely diced
½ tbsp fresh sage, finely diced
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup white sharp cheddar
¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola
In a small bowl, mix the salt, garlic powder, rosemary, sage, and pepper until well combined. Place the onions and garlic cloves in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oils. Slowly work your fingers under the skin of the chicken breasts to separate the skin from the breast, careful not to tear the skin. Rub the olive oil mixture under the skin, covering the entire breast as evenly as possible. Then rub the outside of the skin with the dry rub mixture.
Place the prepared chicken breasts on top of the onions and garlic in the slow cooker and set the slow cooker to low. Cook until the meat is falling apart, 6 to 8 hours.
Turn off the slow cooker and remove the chicken and any bones from the slow cooker. Remove the onions and garlic from the juices with a slotted spoon and discard or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pull the meat off the bones and shred the chicken with two forks on a cutting board. Place the shredded chicken back in the juices in the slow cooker, stir, cover, and set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, add the water and frozen spinach. Bring the water to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain into a sieve and allow to cool. Squeeze the spinach to remove as much moisture as possible and place into a separate bowl. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shredded chicken and hot sauce until the sauce has thickened and reduced by half, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rosemary, sage, and black pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Turn off the heat and add the spinach, lemon zest and juice, Greek yogurt, and neufchâtel cheese until combined and the neufchâtel cheese is melted.
Immediately sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola and serve as a sandwich or as a dip.