Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken with Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce

As summer vacations are winding to a close there’s some denial in the “back to the grind” busy schedules. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on perfect summer fare just yet!

Pulled meat (typically pork) sandwiches slathered with barbecue sauce are one of those meals that have you thinking of picnic tables and summer get togethers.

I have adjusted an Anne Burrell recipe from the January/February 2014 edition of Food Network Magazine (Anne Burrell’s Pulled Pork Sliders) to utilize the slow cooker, meaning you don’t need to turn on the oven or be stranded at home while it roasts away. You could even make the BBQ sauce in advance if you didn’t wan, or have the time, to be at the stove 30 minutes before dinner. I used chicken instead of pork because that’s what I already had in my freezer, if you want pork she used a 3 lb Boston butt pork roast.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken


  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) beer (I used a summer ale)


  1. Season chicken with S+P. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
  3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
  4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap or salad with thinly sliced apple, red onion, lettuce, and apple cider vinegar bbq sauce (recipe below).

Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce


  • 1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed (I used 1 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic paste)
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved (I used 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden lightly dried chili pepper)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard


  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken with Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce | Sew You Think You Can Cook


Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

I have one more tried and true recipe from April’s edition of Food Network Magazine for this month.

It comes from their “Weeknight Meals” section.

In fact, it looked so good and so easy that I actually made it the same week I received my magazine in the mail!

They suggested serving it with grits, but I went with the more classic mashed potatoes. So I know that my nutrition facts are different from theirs, which indicated this meal is only 483 calories with 45 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat. (To achieve their numbers serve the pork chops and onion gravy with 3/4 C quick-cooking grits and 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese.)

I am not a huge fan of gravy, and only ever “indulge” in it on Thanksgiving, but I have to admit this onion gravy was spot on. I do love onions so I’m sure that had something to do with the happy dance my taste buds were doing.

Pork Chops with Onion Gravy


  • 4 3/4″ thick pork chops
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Season pork chops with S+P. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of pork chops in vegetable oil, 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add onions to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the flour, cook another 2 minutes. Add the broth and bay leaf until thickened. Add the vinegar.
  3. Return pork chops to the pan and cook until the pork is cooked through.
  4. Serve pork smothered in the onion gravy and garnished with fresh parsley.


Nutella Coffee Cake

As promised I have another April Food Network Magazine recipe.

The first Monday in April kicks of National Baking week. And April 7th is National Coffee Cake Day. Two birds, one stone.

In every edition of their magazine, Food Network features a “Mix & Match” concept. Whether it’s a cake, bread, pasta, or something else. I really like this concept as they provide for you the basics of a recipe but allow you to be the mastermind behind which flavors you want to combine. It’s a great way for new recipe makers to learn how to adapt recipes to suit your tastes while still having the “science” at hand.

This month: Coffee Cake. I opted to use cocoa powder and oats in my topping and chocolate-hazelnut spread as my filling. I did contemplate making a raspberry coffee cake instead – and I just might! But when I flipped through this page it was Nutella that was on my mind – so that’s what I went with. But while making it my sweet tooth started putting up a fight, requesting raspberry instead. Too bad sweet tooth, you lost the battle to my pantry items. And while I write up this post my stomach is growling waiting for the cake to come out of the oven. Let me tell you, it smells fantastic – the cinnamon in the topping mixed with the chocolatey filling… is my hour up yet? (for the record there are 10 minutes remaining – I just hope it’s really ready!)

Nutella Coffee Cake

Ingredients for topping:

  • 3/4 C flour
  • 2/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C rolled oats

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C yogurt (original recipe called for sour cream, but I didn’t have any)
  • 8-10 tbsp chocolate-hazelnut spread


  1. Make the topping: whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using your fingers, break the butter into small pieces and combine with the topping. After combined add the cocoa powder and oats. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8″ square cake pan with foil and grease.
  3. Make the cake: In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla.
  5. Incorporate a third of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once combined add 1/2 C of yogurt/sour cream. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Once combined add the last 1/2 C of yogurt/sour cream. Add in the final third of the dry ingredients.
  6. Assemble the cake: Place half of the cake batter in the prepared cake pan. Spread the chocolate-hazelnut spread and top with remaining batter. Top the cake with the topping from step 1. (Note: I did not use all of the topping.)
  7. Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife comes out cleanly.
  8. Allow cake to cook for 5 minutes and remove the cake from the pan by the foil. Serve your cake with some fresh fruit and a cup of coffee!

Nutella Coffee Cake 1

Now that my cake is out of the oven I might suggest using a 9×9″ cake pan instead. My personal opinion – the cake was too tall. With a shorter slice of cake you could eat a bite with both topping and filling. Additionally, with a larger cake pan size I would have used more of the topping!

Nutella Coffee Cake

Stuart declared this better than any coffee cake you can buy at the grocery store bakery and now expects it every weekend. (Yea, good luck with that!)



Pancakes vs Waffles

When I received my Food Network magazine for April I didn’t wait for an excuse (such as a road trip) to break into it like I usually do. The lure of multiple slow cooker meals and the temptation of spring dishes was enough for me to plop on the couch and start dog-earring pages. In fact, this month you’ll find quite a few of my posts coming from this particular magazine edition!

In every edition they have a spread of two similar recipes – whether it’s a “He Made, She Made” or a “Pick a Side” – encouraging readers to try both. I’ll usually mentally pick a side based on the recipe/photograph and that’s that. But this month the choice was between Buttermilk Pancakes and Sour Cream Waffles. One weekend I made the pancakes and the next the waffles. As I expected, Stuart preferred the pancakes while I preferred the waffles. (Food Network fans were split 52/48 in favor of buttermilk pancakes.)

Stuart said he preferred these pancakes to my trusty pancake recipe. So what’s different? For starters, the buttermilk. These pancakes were fluffier (and therefore absorbed more syrup) and surprisingly not very sweet. The use of whole-wheat flour added great texture too. They happily accept spreadable butter and maple syrup.

While I did prefer the waffles to pancakes – I just love love love waffles – I didn’t like them more than my recipe. For including both butter and shortening in the batter I was expecting very decadent waffles. But honestly, I couldn’t really find much of a difference in the taste department – the sour cream probably cuts through the richness. Fluffing up the egg whites created a fluffier texture to the waffles and the exterior crisped up beautifully.

Buttermilk Pancakes


  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 C buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted


  1. In a medium bowl whisk flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and sugar. Once foamy add the melted butter.
  3. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet.
  4. On a hot buttered griddle drop 1/4 C of batter into pancakes. Flip pancakes when batter starts to set and bubbles form in the center of the pancake. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

Buttermilk PancakesSour Cream Waffles


  • 2 C cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 C sour cream
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 C vegetable shortening, melted
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar


  1. In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks, sour cream, milk, and vanilla. Once smooth whisk in melted butter and shortening.
  3. In another medium bowl beat egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the brown sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Combine egg and milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  5. Into a hot greased waffle iron drop 1/3 C of batter and cook until golden.

Sour Cream Waffles

Taco Popcorn

This week I will be bringing you 4 different popcorn flavors. Perfect for your Super Bowl party!

I want to start with one that can kinda-sorta fall into my Mexican Monday theme.

This popcorn comes from Food Network Magazine’s January/February 2014 booklet of 50 Flavored Popcorns. Popcorn is tossed with corn chips, butter, and chili powder. Then quickly baked with cheese and scallions.

Taco Popcorn


  • canola oil, enough to coat bottom of pot
  • 3/4 C popcorn kernels
  • 3 C corn chips
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions, chopped


  1. Put canola oil in pot along with 2-3 kernels of popcorn. Cover and stand by. Once you hear the kernels pop, add the 3/4 C of popcorn. Cover and cook over medium heat until popping slows. Gently shake the pop during the popping process so as not to burn the popcorn at the bottom. Remove from heat and remain covered until popping has ceased, unless you want to be pelted with popcorn. (If you have another method of popping popcorn, feel free to use it.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
  3. In an extra large bowl toss together popped popcorn and corn chips. Toss with chili powder. Toss with melted butter.
  4. Place popcorn mix on a baking sheet in an even layer. Top with shredded cheese and scallions. Bake for 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Season with salt to taste.

Taco Popcorn 1 Taco Popcorn 2 Taco Popcorn 3 Taco Popcorn 4

Breaded Chicken with Mustard and Sherry

For Christmas I received Alex Guarnaschelli’s cookbook Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to CookWhen it was announced that Alex (yes, we’re on a first name basis) was releasing a cookbook I knew I had to have it. If you’ve ever watched The Best Thing I Ever Ate or Chopped on Food Network you know that Alex has a way of speaking about food in such a poetic way. She genuinely loves food and can describe a dish in a way that will bring you to your knees. And as the newest Iron Chef, there’s no doubt (not that there was any to begin with) that her skills in the kitchen are even more impressive. One of my bucket list restaurants is her’s, Butter, in NYC.

With Alex’s cookbook I was expecting there to be a story behind every recipe, and I haven’t been let down yet. This particular recipe is one of her mother’s. And although she says not to tell anyone I got the recipe from her, I am obligated by food blogging rules to do so. According to Alex, no self-respecting chef would ever cook skinless chicken. Well, sorry Alex, I do it all the time. But I guess that’s why you’re the Iron Chef and I’m not.

I may have one more apology to make. The recipe calls for dry sherry. I used sherry cooking wine, because that’s what I have in my pantry. And because I have no idea if that qualifies or not. Probably not. So my finished product may not be perfect, but it was still delicious. And the suggestion to serve with sliced lemon is spot on, squeeze your lemon over the chicken just before eating.

Breaded Chicken with Mustard and Sherry


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 C sherry
  • 1/2 C dry soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1 1/2 C plain breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted


  1. If chicken breasts are large, cut in half horizontally or pound until thin. (This step is optional)
  2. Whisk together sherry, soy sauce, Worcestershire, hot sauce, mustard, and oil.
  3. Place chicken in a large plastic bag, dump in the marinade and marinate, refrigerated, 3 hours to over night.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  5. In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs and melted butter. Season with salt. Mix until the texture looks and feels like wet sand, or brown sugar.
  6. Remove marinated chicken, shaking off any excess liquid. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Doing so will prevent a soggy bottom to the breaded chicken. Bake 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges.

Alex's Chicken

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

CIC: Gingerbread Spice & Onion


This month Jutta challenged us with combining gingerbread spice and onion into one dish.

Gingerbread Spice & Onion

I found myself more stumped than I thought I’d be. I considered going in a sweet direction by caramelizing the onions and putting them in a muffin. But I wasn’t sure how the texture would work out. I considered making a warm and hearty soup or stew. And then I decided on a savory bread pudding and mixing in the spice with the custard. But I was really hesitant – I’ve never had bread pudding before and for some reason I fear I won’t like the texture. Maybe I’ll get over this someday and give it a try. So, bread pudding without the eggy custard is essentially a dressing (or stuffing). That would be a perfect fit with Thanksgiving fast approaching.

I procrastinated on making my dish for weeks, blaming allergies that turned into a head cold that turned into a cough. (Which also explains the lack of posts lately) Turns out procrastination isn’t all bad. I was then handed a beautiful, perfect solution to November’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge.

Red Onion Jam Grilled Cheese

Sunday morning after church I turned on Food Network and caught the end of Southern at Heart, Food Network’s newest star Damaris Phillips’ beautiful show. She was making an onion jam with ginger and coriander. Perfect! I substituted the spices for Gingerbread Spice and used red onion instead of Vidalia to add a beautiful holiday color. This jam is perfectly sweet and an excellent accompaniment to your holiday cheese platter. You could even add it to a grilled cheese sandwich or any sandwich for that matter!

Red Onion Jam


  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 C brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp gingerbread spice


  1. Saute onions in butter with salt and lemon zest until onions are translucent. Stir in gingerbread spice. Add 1/8 C brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook 10 minutes until liquid has evaporated. Stirring occasionally.
  2. Add a little less than 1/4 C water to onions and cook another 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Repeat step 2 three more times. (A total of 40 minutes)
  4. Stir in remaining 1/8 C brown sugar until melted.

Red Onion Jam

To see the other blogs that participated in this month’s challenge click the link below:

Grape Risotto

This post accompanies yesterday’s Red Pepper Pesto Crusted Tilapia. It is also a Nikki Dinki recipe.

Risotto is my favorite thing to cook. Risotto has the reputation of being very difficult and is presented as a fancy restaurant only dish. It takes patience (something I’m admittedly not very good at) and attention. It requires tasting. It requires you to immerse yourself in the process, to trust your hand when to add more liquid and when it’s done.

Rumor has it you must remain at the stove constantly stirring and tending to the pot of rice, but I’m here to tell you that’s not true. I’m not telling you to dump in some liquid and go take a bath, but you can relieve yourself from the wooden spoon occasionally. You can watch from the sidelines as the new addition of liquid bubbles and the rice absorbs the flavors being added to it. When you stir, do so gently and without repetition – I like to trace my spoon in figure eights, zig zags, and circles.

Making risotto makes me happy. Even though I don’t find it difficult to prepare, I still feel proud. Like I did something impressive. Like I could get famous off of this. (Oh, to dream)

Grape Risotto


  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 C Arborio rice
  • 3 cans vegetable stock
  • 3/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C sliced scallions
  • 1 C grapes, halved


  1. Bring stock to a gentle simmer in a large pot.
  2. In a dutch oven, saute shallots and garlic in olive oil. Add rice and cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 C stock. Once the stock is absorbed by the rice, add in another ladleful of stock. Stir. Repeat the process until the rice is cooked and creamy. Season with salt, to taste.
  3. Stir in cheese, scallions, and grapes.

*This recipe is adapted from Nikki at*

Grape Risotto

Red Pepper Pesto Crusted Tilapia

My dream job would be to host my own show on Food Network. I know I have a long way to go and it’s something that will most likely never happen, but hey, that’s why it’s called a dream job.

Every year I watch Next Food Network Star. Spoiler Alert – I am very excited for this summer’s winner, Damaris, and her show this fall but I was drawn to Nikki Dinki from day one. This recipe, is one of hers. It’s very quick and simple to prepare and tastes incredible. I do not like Greek yogurt – I am not on the bandwagon – but I didn’t want to stray from Nikki’s recipe (I did have to switch the fish based on local availability though) so I gave it another shot. The Greek yogurt complimented the red pepper pesto perfectly. Mixing the panko with the pesto also provided a beautiful crust on top of the fish. I promise you this is a new staple in my kitchen.

Pesto Crusted Fish

Red Pepper Pesto Crusted Tilapia


  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 C pine nuts
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 4 4oz tilapia filets
  • 1 C panko
  • 4 tbsp Greek yogurt


  1. Make pesto: combine peppers, nuts, thyme, garlic, shallot, cheese, and olive oil in a food processor.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tbsp of yogurt on each filet.
  4. Mix 1/2 C pesto from step 1 with the bread crumbs. (Or you could use store bought jarred red pepper pesto instead) Press onto each filet. Bake 20 minutes on a foil lined baking sheet.

*Both recipes are adapted from Nikki at and*

Red Pepper Pesto Crusted Tilapia

CIC: Coconut & Tomato


I interrupt my recount of Hawaiian food to bring you this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge! This month the task was to combine Coconut and Tomato. Upon seeing the ingredient list I thought I was going to sit this one out as I am allergic to coconut. But then I got an idea and decided, why not! Just because I can’t eat it doesn’t mean my friends can’t be my taste buds.

My original idea was to do a play on the Bloody Mary – either make a virgin version substituting vodka for coconut water, or simply adding coconut water to the cocktail, or even making a “creamy” version with coconut milk, garnished of course with toasted coconut.

This idea was altered slightly when I searched Food Network’s website for Bloody Mary recipes. I’d never had one before! I found Rachael Ray’s recipe for Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail and thought, that’s a better idea! And I can serve it with coconut shrimp instead of typical shrimp cocktail. This way also prevents my husband from trying multiple Bloody Marys before I came up with the right recipe. I also bought cocktail shrimp so I could dip in too!

I served this appetizer during last weekend’s football game. We had some friends over and I was given the “this is addicting” nod of approval. I hope this boozy dip makes it to your next tailgate!

Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip

Ingredients for Shrimp:

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1 C flour
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 C shredded sweetened coconut

Ingredients for Dip:

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp horseradish
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2-3 shots of vodka, to taste


  1. Bring oil to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, garlic powder, and onion powder. In another bowl beat eggs and season with S+P. In a third bowl combine coconut and panko. Season shrimp with S+P and dredge in flour, egg, and panko. Fry shrimp 2 minutes on each side. It’s best to do this in batches so as not to decrease the oil temperature too much.
  3. Combine dip ingredients. Serve with celery sticks!

*The shrimp is adapted from The Neelys and the dip is modified from Rachael Ray*

Coconut Shrimp and Bloody Mary Dip 2Coconut Shrimp and Bloody Mary Dip 1

Click the link below to see other blogs that participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge!