CIC: Pineapple & Sweet Potato


I’m {finally} back with another Crazy Ingredient Challenge!

This month’s mission: to combine pineapple and sweet potato. Two of my husband’s favorite ingredients.

At first I was thinking of some sort of savory/sweet empanada, which does still sound insanely delicious. But as things have their own way of developing, pizza became the final answer.

I made slow cooker pineapple barbecue pulled chicken on one of our 100 degree days when preheating the oven seemed like the worst idea on the planet. We served that chicken over rice. The leftovers had gone to work with my husband for 3 days. Firecracker and I loved it re-purposed as nachos, too.

As I sat there with still an insane amount of chicken in my fridge, the light bulb went off. (Not the one in my fridge.) I had half of the CIC challenge done! Now to incorporate the sweet potato. Ding! Pizza!

I made a gluten free pizza dough out of a white sweet potato. (Hello sneaky veggies!) Topped it with barbecue sauce, cheese, the leftover chicken, and some extra pineapple for good measure. The pizza dough was incredible easy to make and held up to the heavy toppings I layered on top. Maybe I’ll make it again using an orange sweet potato for Halloween!

sweet potato crust

This recipe makes 2 servings.

Pineapple Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust


  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2/3 C rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-1 tbsp olive oil
  • barbecue sauce
  • 2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • leftover slow cooker Hawaiian barbecue chicken, finely chopped
  • fresh pineapple, diced


  1. Peel potato. Cube. Place in a pot covered with salted water. Boil 10-15 minutes, until potato is fork tender. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place cooled potato in a food processor along with the rolled oats and the egg. Process until smooth.
  4. Using wet hands, transfer the pizza dough to the prepared baking sheet. Form into a circle, 1/4-1/2″ thick. Bake 25-30 minutes. Allow crust to cool. Flip the crust, peel off the parchment, and brush with olive oil. Bake another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Top pizza crust with barbecue sauce, cheese, chicken, and pineapple. Bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the toppings are warmed through.

*The crust recipe is modified from Lindsay at*

Pineapple Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

Countdown to 2017: Most Popular

unnamedWe’re polishing off the year with the five best recipes of 2016.

I skipped yesterday’s Best Slow Cooker Recipes because, believe it or not, I didn’t blog a single one! I’ve used my Slow Cooker plenty but always remaking something or not finding the dish blog worthy. Ah well. There’s always next year.

This blogging countdown party is hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.

2016 was an interesting blogging year for me. I’ve struggled to find my rhythm ever since our move in the spring. We’ve been in California 8 months now, I can’t keep using the move as an excuse! We are enjoying California living and are looking forward to the boys growing and the opportunities we have for exploring the West coast.

I’ve been contemplating whether or not I want to continue blogging. It’s hard not getting caught up in the numbers. I’m part of a lot of blogging groups and some support groups on Facebook. Comparing my little piece of the internet to all of these other “more successful” bloggers brings me down a little bit. I’ve taken a step back from those pages and am just enjoying being me.

It’ll be fun (hopefully?) to look at my annual stats from WordPress.

Well, it could have been fun, however the annual stats report hasn’t come in yet (as of 8:30pm PT on 12/30) and I’m hitting “schedule” on this post soon! If the report comes in and I’m available, I’ll edit this post as needed.

Sew You Think You Can Cook was viewed 40,349 times – that’s 2,535 more times than last year! Definitely not as big a jump as between 2014 and 2015, but my social media presence has been gaining great ground. My Facebook page has reached over 1,000 followers; if you’re one of them I thank you – keep clicking and please keep sharing!

Last year, the majority of my referrals came from Foodgawker. I’ve been quite proud of my photography skill advancement this year thanks to my new macro lens (sure, it’s still got ways to go), but the time and effort I’ve been able to expend towards submitting to Foodgawker and other similar “food porn” sites hasn’t been up to what it used to be. My acceptances have had a higher percentage, but I’m simply not submitting as often as I like or should. I’ll work on getting my images into more public spaces in the future.

This year, my most popular referrer were search engines (mostly Google and Bing), funnily enough though I don’t know what people are searching to reach me!

I’m fairly positive that my busiest day of the year was December 1st when I wrote about having lost our Christmas ornament box. Thanks to fellow military spouses who connected to my pain and shared my post on their own Facebook pages. It was my highest grossing Facebook post ever, reaching over 2,000 people alone! While I don’t think we’ll ever get our box of Christmas memories back, I’m blessed to have the people in my life who can help me make new memories and remind me that it’s still just “stuff.” I was touched when I received a surprise package from my mom’s step-sister with a kind note, a brand new Auburn ornament, and a sweet book for the boys.

And now for the top five recipes of 2016, these are in ranking order:

  1. BBQ Pulled Pork Pasta: A perfect way to use up leftovers!
  2. Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork: A tangy spin on slow cooker pork!
  3. Pot o’ Gold Cookies: Save these addicting cookies for St. Patrick’s Day!
  4. Chocolate Cherry Brownie Pie: This decadent pie was one of my favorite desserts this year, too!
  5. Cappuccino Crinkle Cookies: Save these caffeinated cookies for the adults!

Top 5 posts of 2016 | Sew You Think You Can Cook |

To see more popular recipes click here: An InLinkz Link-up

BBQ Pulled Pork Pasta

Once upon a time I saw a bbq spaghetti on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I couldn’t shake the urge to try it, so when we had a lot of leftover pulled pork from the Super Bowl I knew I’d have to make some barbecue pasta sauce. Because I stored the leftover pork and sauce separately I used a bottled barbecue sauce instead of the Carolina BBQ for this recipe.

I just loved this mashup of cuisines. It takes your tastebuds a moment to get over the “culture shock” of a spicy, smokey, sweet sauce instead of the expected acidic tomato sauce.

I urge you, the next time you have leftover pulled pork, do something a little different and try this barbecue pasta instead!

BBQ Pulled Pork Pasta


  • 3 1/2 C dry pasta
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 3/4 C barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh basil (I used Gourmet Garden lightly dried herbs)
  • 2 C cooked, pulled pork
  • 2 scallions, sliced


  1. Cook pasta in boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, water and tomato paste. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the herbs and pulled pork.
  3. Put drained pasta into the pasta sauce. Garnish with the scallions.

*This recipe is adapted from Anna at*

BBQ Pulled Pork Pasta is a fantastic way to use up leftover pulled pork! From Sew You Think You Can Cook

BBQ-Ranch Pork Pizza

Do you remember that Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork we enjoyed during the not-so-enjoyable Super Bowl? (It’s okay, Cam, I still heart you.) And do you remember how I said we had a LOT of pork? Seriously, we ate pork for a full week. As much as I love pork, we needed a good break from it after that.

One of the leftover ideas I had was to make pizza. Seriously, this pizza might be my favorite pizza I’ve made at home. I used a store bought crust to make life a little easier but made my own sauce using the Carolina BBQ as a base. It was fun!

An Original Recipe

BBQ-Ranch Pork Pizza


  • 3/8 C Carolina BBQ sauce
  • 1/8 C buttermilk ranch dressing
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 (11 oz) refrigerated pizza crust
  • 1 C Carolina pulled pork
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp diced red onion
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley (I used Gourmet Garden lightly dried herbs)
  • 1 scallion, green parts only


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place pizza dough on a baking sheet.
  2. Make sauce: In a small bowl whisk together BBQ sauce, ranch, tomato paste, and molasses.
  3. Spread sauce on pizza dough, leaving a 1″ crust. Top with cheese, pork, onion, and parsley.
  4. Bake 10 minutes. Allow pizza to cool 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped scallions.

BBQ-Ranch Pork Pizza  Sew You Think You Can Cook

A BBQ Potluck

This month a smaller than normal group got together for some barbecue food. Due to scheduling conflicts with the neighborhood clubhouse we had to meet on a Thursday instead of a Tuesday. It’s also travel season now that school’s out. But that didn’t stop us from having some fantastic food!

BBQ potluck

Here is a sampling of the recipes brought to the BBQ potluck:

I am really excited for our meeting in a couple of weeks when we’re having breakfast!!

    Paprika Pork Tenderloin

    When I made the baked beans for yesterday’s #SundaySupper post I needed the perfect entree to serve them alongside. I went deep into the archives (over four years ago) to a favorite I used to make often back in the days before the blog. This pork tenderloin is inspired by something Bobby Flay made on his Food Network show Barbecue Addiction.

    On the show Bobby used a 4lb rack of pork and put it in a brine for 12 hours. He then made a rub and grilled it. He also made a barbecue sauce. I altered this. I used a 2lb pork tenderloin, omitted the brining part of the prep, adjusted the rub, and baked it in the oven after a sear. I did make the barbecue sauce though!

    When I made this pork last week we got to take advantage of the cast iron skillet – which saved us one dirty dish – woohoo! I also no longer had fennel seeds, but they weren’t missed.

    Corn on the cob makes a perfect side to accompany this pork when it’s in season. As do sweet potato fries. And of course, some Whiskey Bacon Baked Beans!

    Paprika Pork Tenderloin


    • 2 tbsp paprika
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp ground mustard
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 2 lb pork tenderloin
    • 1-2 tbsp canola oil


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
    2. In a small bowl combine all of the spices. Rub mixture over the pork.
    3. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot sear the pork on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side to create a crust.
    4. Transfer skillet to the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. (An internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F) Let pork rest 5 minutes before serving.

    Note: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet or another oven save skillet simply transfer the pork loin to a lightly greased casserole dish.

    Paprika Pork

    Sherry Paprika Barbecue Sauce


    • 1 C ketchup
    • 1 C cooking sherry
    • 1/2 C chicken stock
    • 1/2 C dark brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp mustard (I used El Diablo Texas Chili)
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 2 tbsp paprika


    1. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to reduce and thicken to desired consistency.

    Slow Cooker Hoisin Chicken

    As I sit here, trying desperately to come up with a Next Food Network Star style story behind the dish I find myself coming face-to-face with writer’s block.

    I don’t have any personal connection behind this dish. And it has all of the usual selling points: Slow Cooker, Chinese food, Barbecue, chicken. Easy, fast, delicious. Wait? Chinese food and barbecue in the same dish? Absolutely!

    Hoisin sauce is used in China in a similar manner that Americans use ketchup or barbecue sauce, and by shredding the chicken you get the same versatility you get with pulled pork barbecue. You can turn this slow cooker meal into lettuce wraps like the original recipe, serve it atop steamed brown rice like I did, or even make it into a sandwich.

    Slow Cooker Hoisin Chicken


    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 jar (8.5 oz) hoisin sauce
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp water
    • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
    • 2 scallions, chopped


    1. Place sliced onions and peppers in bottom of slow cooker. Season chicken with S+P and place on top of vegetables.
    2. In a small bowl whisk together hoisin, soy, water, ginger, and garlic. Pour over chicken.
    3. Cook on low 5-7 hours.
    4. Shred chicken and return to sauce.
    5. Serve with steamed rice. Garnish with scallions.

    *This recipe is adapted from Rebecca at *

    Hoisin Chicken

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

    Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

    With Memorial Weekend here, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite lemonade recipes for you to make and enjoy at your holiday barbecue. I make this every year for the 4th of July along with blueberry and original flavors.

    Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

    Ingredients for the simple syrup:

    • 1 C water
    • 2/3 C sugar

    Ingredients for the strawberry syrup:

    • 1 heaping C quartered strawberries
    • 2 tbps sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 1 tsp lemon juice

    Ingredients for the lemonade:

    • 1 1/4 C fresh lemon juice
    • 4 1/2 C plain seltzer water


    1. Make simple syrup: in a saucepan heat water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
    2. Make the strawberry syrup: in a blender puree all ingredients until smooth. Strain into pitcher and discards the remaining seeds/pulp.
    3. Make the lemonade: combine simple syrup, strawberry syrup and lemon juice. Keep in fridge until ready to serve. Before serving add the seltzer water.

    *This recipe is adapted from Annie at*

    Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

    BBQ-Pineapple Pulled Pork

    Thanks to the invention of the slow cooker there couldn’t be any easier dinner than pulled pork.

    It’s great for a crowd and fool proof. And all you need are two essential ingredients – pork and barbecue sauce. From there you can add even more flavor with a dry rub if you so desire. And sometimes it’s fun to add an extra ingredient or two.

    In this instance, the addition of pineapple juice into the barbecue sauce! My mom actually made this and pureed some fresh pineapple in place of the juice. Dad said that he could actually taste the pineapple. When we made it using juice I couldn’t pick out the pineapple, but I’m sure it added to the sweetness.

    Another wonderful thing about pulled pork, is that it makes for fabulous leftovers whether you simply reheat and place on a bun for more sandwiches or re-purpose it in a quesadilla like I did. Other great ideas include stuffed baked potatoes or pizzas!

    BBQ-Pineapple Pulled Pork


    • 1/4 C brown sugar
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1 2 1/2 lb pork loin
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 C pineapple juice or pineapple puree
    • 1 C barbecue sauce
    • hamburger buns


    1. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, S+P. Rub over pork.
    2. Place pork in a lightly greased slow cooker.
    3. In a small bowl combine garlic, pineapple, and barbecue sauce. Pour over pork.
    4. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. (If you’re home, flip pork loin halfway through cooking time)
    5. Shred pork and serve atop hamburger buns.

    *This recipe is adapted from Danelle at*

    BBQ-Pineapple Pulled Pork

    Fall Off the Bone Baby Back Ribs

    I love baby back ribs. There, I said it. But I also hate baby back ribs. What?? There is one place back home (Rib City) that has the best, hands down, ribs ever. I’ve tried ribs in the South, and they’re awful. Okay, they’re clearly not awful because everyone else seems to love them. So here’s what I’ve learned about my bi-polar opinion. If the ribs aren’t cooked in sauce, then I’m not going to like them. I used to think it was smoking – I don’t like the Liquid Smoke that is really popular in the South and find my taste buds to be very sensitive to it.  I think if the ribs are coated in sauce while being baked/grilled, then it softens the harsh smoke flavor. Disclaimer: I’m no BBQ Pit Master, the above statements are my personal opinion.

    The first time I made ribs at home I did them in a slow cooker. The meat was cooked perfectly, but the recipe I followed seriously messed with my head. I tried Asian ribs. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t right! Every time I took I bite I was expecting the sweet, tang of barbecue sauce.

    I promised myself that the next time I made baby back ribs, I’d do it right. I made a very simple dry rub and used the Neely’s recipe for barbecue sauce.Fall Off the Bone Baby Back Ribs 1

    These babies looked like restaurant quality when I pulled them out of the slow cooker – I actually didn’t want to cover them up in sauce! (But I did eat them that way!)

    Stuart said this meal was his second favorite, almost edging out Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas.

    Fall Off the Bone Baby Back Ribs


    • 3 lb baby back ribs
    • 2 tbsp paprika
    • 2 tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 tbsp pepper
    • 2 1/2 C BBQ sauce, plus extra for serving


    1. Make dry rub with paprika, salt, and pepper.
    2. Cut rack of ribs into mini-slabs of 3 ribs each. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Rub all sides of ribs with the dry rub from Step 1.
    3. Place ribs in slow cooker so the the meaty side is facing the sides of the slow cooker, but not touching them. Pour barbecue sauce around the ribs. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Flip the ribs halfway through the cooking time.

    Fall Off the Bone Baby Back Ribs 2

    This blog post also comes with a bonus recipe for my Smokey Sweet Potato Fries.


    • 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into fries
    • 3 egg whites
    • 1 C panko bread crumbs
    • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until it looks like soapy dish water.
    3. Combine panko, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
    4. Dredge potatoes in egg white and then the panko mixture.
    5. Bake potatoes for 25-30 minutes.

    Update July 2016: These ribs are definitely one of my favorite meals and whenever they’re on sale at the grocery store I stock up! Every time I made them I said I needed to take a new picture, but I’d get so excited and completely forget about the camera, the blog, and the internet, and before I knew it I’d have a plate of empty bones and a little bit of barbecue sauce. But not this time! This time I snapped some pictures. I’m not sure how happy I am with the results, but they are better than those originals up there. I guess I’ll have to continue making these ribs and trying to photograph them again. Darn.

    Fall Off the Bone Baby Back Ribs | Sew You Think You Can Cook |