Friday, April 1, 2011

It's That Whole Cook Once, Eat Twice Thing Again...

Yup, I am harping on that whole "planned-overs" idea again. What can I say?  It works.  At this house, by the time 5:00 pm rolls around,  kids are getting hungry and cranky as  we are trying to wrap up the afternoon activities. Usually, it's been a busy day - who wants hours of complicated dinner prep?  NOT me.    To this end, the crockpot has finally become my friend. We had a tricky beginning, crockpot and I.  One too many pot roasts turned to bland mush, pushed me over the edge and I shoved crockpot to the very back of of the cabinet.  The thought of drowning meat in cream of anything, leaving it to burble for hours as it turned into sludge with the consistency of drywall paste gave me nightmares.

Crockpot however, has many charms..  The idea of prep work on the front end, and easy dinner hours later seemed such a simple solution to the 5 o'clock crazies.  A couple of months ago, I cautiously dug crockpot out of the dark corner where he'd been abandoned and we've been finding our way to a tentative friendship.This time though, there's no cream of mushroom hanging around to complicate things.

The first crockpot recipe here is as simple as they come with all of three ingredients. Easy and and tasty, it's something my kids love.

BBQ Chicken in the Crockpot
6 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups BBQ sauce
1/4 cup bottled Italian dressing

Edited to add:   Optional (and tasty) additions to this are, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce.  If you decide to use these, stir together with BBQ sauce and Italian dressing before pouring over chicken.

Place frozen chicken breast in crockpot.  Pour BBQ and Italian dressing over chicken.  Cover with lid and cook on high for 4 1/5-5 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.  Take chicken out of crockpot and using two forks, shred chicken.  Place back into crockpot with cooking liquid.  At this point it will seem to have way too much juice.  That's okay - it will absorb back into the chicken.  Cook on high for another 45-60 minutes or until sauce is mostly absorbed.  Serve heaped on buns for a delicious pulled chicken sandwich.  We like our sandwiches layered  with carmelized onions and/or pickles.  This recipe makes a huge pile of pulled chicken!  So you can either feed a crowd of people or save your delicious leftovers for recipe #2. Later in the week, pull out your chicken leftovers to top a BBQ chicken pizza.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
If you really don't want to mess with making your own dough, many grocery stores (Publix) will be happy to sell it to you, freshly made.  But it is so easy to stir together your own.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water
 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey or sugar

In small bowl, mix together flour, yeast and salt.  Add in warm water, olive oil and honey.  Stir until mixture comes together.  Dump the whole bowl, floury clumps and all onto a floured counter top and knead into a nice ball.  This should take about 5-7 minutes or until dough feels smooth and elastic.  Set aside to rise for 1-2 hours. 

1/2 cup BBQ sauce
3 cups leftover BBQ pulled chicken
1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
One onion, sliced thin (optional)
1 cup colored bell pepper slices (optional)
2-3 cups shredded co-jack or monterrey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.If using veggies, saute onions in olive oil over medium heat for a good 10 minutes or until softened.  Add in peppers and saute for another 5-10 minutes.  Punch down pizza crust dough and roll out thinly to cover pizza pan.*Tip: if your dough is hard to roll out, springing back instead of staying put, just give it a minute.  Stop.  Walk away.  Let it sit there.  This allows the gluten in the wheat to relax and then try again.  It should behave much better after a time out and be easier to work with.

Sprinkle pizza pan with 2 tablespoons cornmeal. This prevent crust from sticking to pan. Place rolled crust onto pan.  Put on a layer of BBQ sauce, then a layer of pulled chicken.  Place in hot oven and bake for 8 minutes.  Pull out, top with sauteed onions and then the cheese.  Pop back into oven and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Perfection!


  1. Looks tasty; I will have to try these. I love using leftovers for a completely new dish. Do you do any freezer meals? I'm always looking for new tried-and-true recipes I can easily double--one to eat, one to freeze for days we are sick, snowed-in, or harried.

  2. I do use freezer meals. Anything I can do to un-complicate life is good! :)

  3. I twseaked it just a bit. Bone in split chx breats were on sale this week a Bi-lo, so I bought those. I slowed cooked them on high for 2 hours, then low for 2 hours, then i pulled the meat from the bones and cooked for another 2 hours on "keep warm." (they were thawed to begin with.) It turned out perfect. I had a lot of leftovers so i think we will get 3 meals out of this:) I will make the pizza tonight. I am making the dough in the bread machine now. Then, I will let it sit in the fridge all day before I use it. I saved the chx bones and will make chx broth with them in order to make Brunswick stew with the last bit of meat. Thanks so much for getting me started! ---Sara

  4. Wow! I'd say you got alot out of those chicken breasts. Cool that you used the bone-in chicken. I will try that.

  5. Hey! I tried the crockpot chicken last night for dinner. My family loved this one, too! Douglas raved over it! I also tweaked it a little; I didn't have any Italian dressing, but I had a different but similar dressing called Three Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing (found at Aldi-has no fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils). It was Scrumptous! Please keep the yummy recipes coming!

    Crystal Groff

  6. I'm so glad your family enjoyed this:) It's such an easy-peasy, kid friendly recipe...Thanks for the Aldi's dressing tip!