cooking novice.

I was fortunate enough to grow up with a mom who was a great cook. And she was fortunate enough to grow up with a mother who was a really great cook. And I think I’m correct in assuming that for many generations and centuries and eons and wow… for a really long, long time, there were great cooks in my family passing down their secrets. — I’m starting to crave chicken and dumplings right now…

Then there was me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a horrible cook. At least I’ve been told that I’m not a time or two. I make a mean meat loaf and I think I have finally perfected the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the toll house semi-sweet chocolate chip bag because my husband LOVES them and I like to make him happy. But I’m certainly not a great cook like my mother and grandmother who can whip up corn bread, fried okra, crab legs, beef stew, pork chops, apple pie, whatever you want, whenever you want, without sweating and it’s always amazing.

Well, when Andy and I started dating, I started cooking. I had a few tricks up my sleeve before then, but it wasn’t until I started falling for him that I knew I better start learning to cook more than meat loaf or Kraft mac ‘n cheese if I wanted to keep him around. Not that he particularly required this of me, but for some reason my domestication switch was flipped at that point and I was determined that I was going to be a good cook like my mom. (By the way, mom since we weren’t able to spend Thanksgiving together, I made gravy for our Crum Family Thanksgiving dinner this year the way you told me to and it turned out great!) So, I started cooking things like this:

2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed, mixed greens, strawberries, almonds, and mandarin oranges

It’s a salad. Down there in the bottom right hand corner. It was a good salad, but it’s just a salad.  I wanted to do better than that. No one has ever inspired me to cook other than Andy. I needed to do better than that. I had to.

So I started reading books and asking for recipes and researching how to put together meal plans. (I’m still working on that last one.) And I now have spurts of kitchen joy and kitchen frustration. Kitchen joy for those times where I am just really really excited about cooking and grocery shopping and meal planning and when I’ve found a great recipe that I like and that Andy asks me to make again. And kitchen frustrations like the time Andy asked me to make jerk chicken and coconut rice for him like we ate in Jamaica on our honeymoon and it turned out like dry, dark, pasty, mystery meat on a mountain of too sweet to eat undercooked rice. It was that bad, I promise. Andy ate it…. I couldn’t make myself do it. Makes me want to just throw in the towel. (sometimes it’s more appetizing)

But I keep cooking because well… we have to eat and I can’t consume the volume of frozen corn dogs that my husband is okay with consuming on a weekly basis. Frozen pizza… that is a different story, but I wouldn’t dare make Andy eat it as much as I want to… which is usually about once a day.

So, in all of this research and asking around for recipes and trying to cook new food I came across this really delicious recipe for pulled BBQ chicken that is just yum yum yummy. It’s made in a crock pot, one of the seven wonders of the world, where you just toss everything in on your lunch break and turn it on and it’s ready to eat at 6 when you come home from work! It’s a miracle.

So, I would like to share the recipe with you because I think you will love it. If you don’t eat meat or something I apologize… but only a little because I think you would really like this BBQ chicken if you ate it and pretended it was just tofu.

4.5 lbs. chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 (18 oz.) bottle honey barbecue sauce
-being born and raised in Cincinnati, OH I prefer Montgomery Inn barbecue sauce to any other-
1 c. italian salad dressing
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. worcestershire sauce (we called it worshiper sauce growing up because we didn’t know how to pronounce it)

Place chicken in a greased 5-6 qt. slow cooker (that’s fancy talk for crock pot) and sprinkle with garlic powder. Combine the barbecue sauce, salad dressing, vinegar, worcestershire sauce; pour over chicken. The first time I made this, I just dumped it all in the crock pot without messing around because I was in a hurry and I didn’t want to dirty another bowl and it turned out just fine.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender. When cool enough to handle, remove chicken, shred meat, and return to slow cooker; cook through.

(This is modified from a recipe found in Taste of Home August/September 2010 issue where they suggest serving the chicken over baked potatoes with bleu cheese and green onions… sounds good if you like bleu cheese and green onions, but I don’t)

Here’s what it looks like. Pure deliciousness:

served on slices of wheat bread because we didn't have buns...

Try it out and tell me what you think! Just don’t use too much cider vinegar… I did that once and it was awful.

Feed someone who’s hungry just to see the smile on their face

One Response to "cooking novice."

  1. Mandy says:

    Love your blog! Can’t wait for the redhead post. 😉

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