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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

February 18, 2014

BuffaloChickenSandwich_2

Note: After my post about switching from eating vegetarian to eating meat, I thought an update was in order. After about two months my body really started to reject eating paleo-style. I began to crave the vegetarian fare (and whole grains!) that I was so accustomed to. I have since decided that while it was interesting to give paleo-style eating a go, it isn’t for me and my body. I plan to write a full recap soon, but I wanted to get that out there for honesty’s sake.

Although I’m no longer eating meat, I will continue to be cooking a lot of meat, as I always have. Since I’m not ethically against eating meat, I do try everything that I prepare and share on this blog to make sure that it’s worth posting. My husband, of course, is also a fantastic resource and is always willing to provide his opinion on what he likes and doesn’t like. In this case, Joe was a huge fan of these Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches.

These sandwiches are incredibly easy to make and require very little hands-on time, meaning you can go do other things, like play with your puppy or paint your nails, while your dinner cooks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the key to good slow cooker chicken is to use a cut with a little bit more fat, like these boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They become incredibly tender and moist in the slow cooker and shred easily for sandwiches.

Since we love spicy food at our house, I added in a can of diced green chiles to the mix. And a little bit of brown sugar, which I think really rounds out the flavor of the sandwiches and balances the heat of the buffalo sauce.

Oh, and one more thing! A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe over at Pinch of Yum which suggested that you shred your meat and broil it after slow cooking to give the meat pleasant crispiness resembling barbecue. For the longest time my biggest complaint with slow cooker food was that it tasted mushy and, well, slow cooked. This step of broiling the meat was a total game changer. Give it a try and be impressed!

BuffaloChickenSandwich_1

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Recipe type: Slow Cooker Entree
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This recipe is incredibly easy and makes a great weeknight dinner. I love shredding the meat and broiling it once it has cooked for a little extra texture and smoky flavor. It prevents the meat from tasting like, well, a slow-cooker recipe.
Ingredients
  • 1 package (20 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1½ cups buffalo wing sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot brand)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Whole wheat bakery buns or rolls
Instructions
  1. Place chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Cook on High 2 hours or Low 4 hours.
  2. Use two forks to shred the chicken in the slow cooker. Stir in the green chiles and brown sugar and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes more.
  3. Turn oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place shredded chicken on baking sheet and broil 10 minutes or until the ends of the chicken become slightly charred and crispy. Serve on sandwich buns.

 Madison

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

March 23, 2012

You know me. I’m all about simple weeknight meals. In fact, I think everyone I talk to is looking for more easy meals that don’t require a bunch of ingredients or a lot of time. This is especially true when it comes to meat. Being a vegetarian, most of my meals are quick to prepare. Roasted veggies, sauteed tofu, loaded up salads – they’re all quick and easy. So it’s probably no surprise that I have less patience when cooking meat for the hubs on weeknights.

Before we got married, I had never cooked with a slow cooker. After seven months of being married, I’m not sure I could give mine up. Singe Joe is happy to eat meals that are much heartier than my preferred fare, the slow cooker is my savior. It cooks meat to absolute tenderness and does everything for me while I am away at work.

This ‘pulled pork’ (I’m using the term loosely for the barbecue purists out there) was a big hit tonight. Yes, it uses bottled barbecue sauce, ketchup and a tenderized pork loin. But it’s also practically ready to eat the minute you walk in the door. All you have to do is mix together the ingredients for the sauce and shred the pork. It’s really that easy.

And what did I have for dinner you might ask? Greek yogurt, Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, peanut butter and mixed berries, of course. :)

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches
*1 Hormel Always Tender Pork Loin (27 ounces)
*1 cup beef broth
*3 cups water
*Salt and black pepper
*1 cup bottled barbecue sauce
*1/2 cup ketchup
*1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
*1 tablespoon brown sugar
*Hamburger buns or kaiser rolls

Instructions
*In a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, combine the pork loin, broth and water. Set the slow cooker on low. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours, until the loin shreds easily when pierced easily with a fork.
*Remove the loin from the slow cooker. Discard the liquid. Place the loin in a large bowl and shred with two forks. Add in the barbecue sauce, ketchup, white wine vinegar and brown sugar and stir into the meat until evenly combined. Transfer shredded pork to buns and serve immediately. Store unused pork in an airtight container in the fridge. Makes 4 to 6 servings

Happy Cooking!
Madison

Chopped Green Salad Wrap

January 26, 2012
I’ve received a lot of questions from readers about what I pack for lunches and snacks when I go to work each day. I’m not going to lie, I struggle just as much as the next person. But since I would much rather spend money going out to eat with my husband on date nights, taking a packed lunch and snacks is the norm. 
A few of my favorite snacks being:
          *Lara Bars (cashew cookie, peanut butter cookie, apple pie, and pb&j being my favorites)
          *Cliff Bars (peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia and carrot cake being my favorites)
          *Greek yogurt and canned pumpkin with a dollop of peanut butter
          *Apples or pears with a few slices of cheese
          *Sugar-free applesauce with granola 
Lunch, on the other hand, is much less predictable. Sometimes I’ll tote along leftovers from dinner the night before. Other times I’ll make a quick salad with quinoa and veggies or a salad topped with lentils and feta cheese. 
This week I was looking through my fridge, trying to get inspired, and saw we had whole wheat tortillas, lettuce, pesto, feta cheese and broccoli. Never one to be a fan of raw broccoli, I found that chopping the broccoli into small pieces and tossing it with the other ingredients helped to ward off the raw flavor that I typically dislike. 
The wrap was super tasty and satisfying. So if you’re looking for a new addition to your workday meals, I would totally give this a try.
Chopped Green Salad Wrap 
Ingredients
*1/2 cup Romaine lettuce, chopped 
*1/4 to 1/3 cup raw broccoli florets, finely chopped
*1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
*1 1/2 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette or other fruit vinaigrette of your choice
*1 tablespoon purchased pesto 
*Cracked black pepper 
*1 whole wheat tortilla 
Instructions
*In a small bowl, combine the lettuce, broccoli, feta cheese, vinaigrette, pesto and black pepper. Toss to combine all ingredients evenly. Spoon mixture onto tortilla. Enjoy!
Happy Cooking!
Madison

Favorite Veggie Sandwich with Parsley-Curry Hummus

September 8, 2010

There are few things in life that bring me as much peace and satisfaction as a fully-stocked fridge. Call me weird but the ritual of cleaning out the fridge and filling it with colorful produce, milk, Greek yogurt, and yummy extras is just so settling. Maybe it’s knowing that I won’t starve if all the grocery stores in Des Moines abruptly close. Or maybe it’s because I know that I’ll be able to make sandwiches like this.

Don’t let the fact that it’s healthy to the max scare you away, because it’s also super tasty and complex, thanks to a layer of homemade Parsley-Curry Hummus, Dijon mustard and mashed avocado. Mashed avocado makes everything divine.

While we’re on the topic of sandwich spreads, let’s chat hummus: it’s creamy, adaptable, healthy, expensive to buy and cheap to make at home. The bulk of the cost comes from two cans of garbanzo beans, which cost me $0.79 each, and it stores well in the fridge for weeks. Once you’ve tried this variety, try mixing it up with roasted red peppers, jarred olives, or fresh basil in place of the parsley.

Parsley-Curry Hummus
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
*2 (16-oz.) cans garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
*1/2 cup olive oil
*2 Tbsp. milk 
*1/2 cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. curry powder
*1/2 tsp. paprika
*1/4 tsp. black pepper

Instructions
*Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 2 to 3 minutes.
*Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

Favorite Veggie Sandwich

*2 slices 100% Whole Wheat Bread
*1 Tbsp. Parsley-Curry Hummus or other hummus spread
*2 tsp. Dijon mustard
*1/2 of a medium avocado, mashed
*1/2 of a small tomato, sliced
*1/4 cup sprouts
*Lettuce leaves
*1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
*1 slice provolone or sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

Instructions
*Spread one slice of bread with the hummus. Spread the other side with the Dijon mustard, followed by the mashed avocado.
*Stack on the veggies and eat.

Happy Cooking!

Madison

Peanut Butter, Pear, and Honey Stacker

November 5, 2009

Quite often, I sit down at the end of a busy day and think about what I fixed for myself, only to feel dismayed thinking about food I find to be rather uninspiring. I’m not a chips, fast food, and junk food type of girl, but on busy days I sometimes rely rather heavily on coffee, yogurt, and Lara bars, finished off with a big plate of veggies at the end of the day to balance everything out.

A couple weeks back I was putting together this little sandwich and one of the girls in my sorority asked me, “Why don’t you ever eat normal food?” I was rather confused by her question. “What in the world are you talking about? The foods I eat are normal!” I wanted to say, but instead I simply shrugged and settled for a, “Looks normal to me.”


This sandwich really isn’t much of a recipe, but it sure does hit the spot for lunch or a light dinner. I’ve never been much of a peanut butter and banana sandwich girl, but switch the bananas out of pears and add a drizzle of honey and I’m there. Depending on how firm your pears are, it may help to saute them in a tiny bit of butter with a touch of cinnamon just to soften them up, about 3 to 4 minutes. Layer the pears on a couple slices of bread coated with peanut butter and top it off with a drizzle of honey. Pure perfection.

Happy cooking!

Madison

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