cartoon by marc johns.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Easy Crock-Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken

BBQ Shredded Deliciousness.
This is basically the easiest thing to make ever.  Crock pots make anything super easy to make.  All you have to do is dump all four of the ingredients in - and the chicken can be frozen - and leave it on.  When you come home from work, shred the chicken and return it to the crock pot so that the spices and BBQ really soak in.  I recommend eating this as a sandwich with coleslaw and pickles.

They key to this recipe is the BBQ sauce - you have to use one you really love because that is the main flavor you get through the whole dish.  I recommend Trader Joe's BBQ sauce - I like it because it doesn't have any corn syrup in it, and it is sweet with a little kick.  But most people have a BBQ sauce they love, so use that one so that you love this chicken!  

You could also use the same recipe but switch the chicken to another meat if you want.

Also: this recipe freezes beautifully - just put in ziplock baggies and put it in the freezer.  That's why this recipe makes so much.  You can always halve (or quarter!) this recipe if you don't want to freeze any.


8 large frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts
28-32 oz. your favorite BBQ sauce (about 2 bottles)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of any type of all-purpose seasoning

To the cooking:

1.  Put the frozen chicken into the crock pot.  

Chicken in the crock pot.
Note: I used chicken breast tenders this time because they were out
of breasts.  This actually lowers the cook time necessary, but drastically
increases the time necessary to shred the chicken.
2.  Dump the all-purpose seasoning on the chicken.

All-purpose seasoning.
3.  Dump the brown sugar on top.  You don't even have to make sure the spices are distributed evenly; they will get distributed evenly while in the crock pot.

Brown sugar.
4.  Dump the BBQ sauce on top.

BBQ sauce.
5.  Cook the mixture on low for 3-5 hours (while you're at work).  Nothing bad will happen if you leave it going for longer.  (If you leave it on too long, that's obviously not true).  The sauce will look thinner, but it will thicken back up as it cools and stops boiling).

Thinner sauce & cooked chicken.
6.  Shred the chicken using two forks.  I often shred the chicken right in the crock pot.

Some freshly shredded chicken ready to be mixed into the sauce.
7.  Mix the shredded chicken into the sauce and leave the crock pot on, allowing it to cook (on low) for another hour or so.  This is so that the sauce gets into all the fresh non-sauced chicken that was revealed from shredding.  Makes 10-15 servings.  Enjoy!

The final product. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Okay, not sure how many of you remember when I made the Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies, which I loved, but I said back then that they looked like mini-cinnamon roll cookies and I wanted them to be so!  So, I worked on the idea of a cinnamon roll cookie, and this is what I came up with.  It is the same idea as the peanut butter chocolate swirl cookies, where you roll out the dough and put a filling inside and then roll it into cylinders and freeze it before you slice it into the cookies and bake it.  Guys: these are delicious.  I basically made a regular cookie dough, like I would make for chocolate chip cookies and added cinnamon.  Then I made a filling of cinnamon and sugar and coated the cookies.  As the final touch, I made cream cheese frosting (like the kind that goes on regular cinnamon rolls) and put it on top of the cookies.  (I couldn't leave off the ooey gooey frosting; it is one of the best parts of cinnamon rolls).

1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1 tablespoon
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon water

1.  In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.  

Ready to be creamed.
2.  Add the flour slowly and mix to make a cohesive dough.

Flour Added.
3.  Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in saran wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.

Ball o' dough.
4.  Roll the dough out on a piece of parchment paper.  It should be rolled to about 9x12 inch rectangle.  Make sure you don't roll the dough too thin though.

Flattened Dough.
5.  Make an egg wash - which is the egg white combined with the water.  Whisk until foamy.

Foamy egg wash.
6.  Combine the remaining cinnamon with the granulated sugar.
Cinnamon sugar mixture.
7.  Brush the flattened dough with the egg wash.

Brushing the egg wash.
8.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the egg washed dough.

Dough is ready to roll.
9.  Roll the dough into a cylinder.

The roll.
10.  Cover the cylinder in saran wrap and keep in the freezer until firm - about an hour.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Ready to freeze.
11.  Once the dough is firm, remove from freezer and slice the cylinder into cookies and set onto a baking sheet.


12.  Bake the cookies 12 to 15 minutes, until they are a light golden brown.  The cookies taste good like this, but I recommend adding the frosting.

Baked cookies.
To the frosting!

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

13.  Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric mixture until smooth.

Ready to mix. 
Frosting ready!
14.  Spread the frosting on the cookies.  Makes 30-35 cookies.  Enjoy!

The final product.
Mouth watering.
TIP: Put the frosting on while the cookies are still warm so it melts in.
Pile of YUM.
Recipe inspired by Heat Oven to 350 blog.