Tag Archives: BBQs

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches that Pack a Punch

I’ve been seeing a lot of references and recipes lately for pulled pork. I love pulled pork sandwiches and after seeing all of those recipes with pictures of juicy, tender, sweet, and spicy pulled pork, I wanted some! But you know what Japan doesn’t have? It doesn’t have a good place to go for BBQ—shocking I know ;). So I had to come up with a way to make it on my own.

Believe it or not I used to hate pulled pork (remember I used to only eat mac and cheese?). Now that I’m older I realized that most things I used to “hate” when I was younger are things I had I either a) never tried and just decided I didn’t like them or b)I had one bad experience with that food at some point in my life, thought it was gross, and swore it off forever. Luckily I’m not too stuck in my ways and have rediscovered that many of those “disgusting” foods are actually quite delicious :). (Not salmon though. I still don’t like salmon.)

I first fell in love with BBQ when I was a freshman in college. My college roommate, Laura, is from Houston and introduced me to Texas BBQ when I went to visit her one summer. Honestly, I have never been a huge fan of meat. I’ll pick a vegetarian option over meat any day. I don’t know why, I just never really loved it. So when Laura said we had to go to Rudy’s BBQ, I wasn’t that excited about it. But oh man was I wrong about that one—that stuff was amazing!! I got the turkey and honestly I could not believe how good it was. I don’t even really like turkey, and only eat it at Thanksgiving because it’s tradition, but man was that stuff gooooood!

My husband and I lived in San Antonio for a little less than a year after we graduated from college and we frequented Rudy’s quite often. Who doesn’t love white Wonder bread with lots of meat and BBQ sauce? It’s pretty much the opposite of anything I normally eat—the only “veggies” in site are pickles—but that’s probably why I loved it. And sometimes, just sometimes, I still crave it and really wish I could have some BBQ.

The other day was one of those days when I was really craving BBQ. I wanted it, but didn’t have a pork shoulder on hand (weird, right?), so I decided to try making some pulled chicken sandwiches instead. I have to admit, they were pretty darn awesome. We loved them and I wanted to share the recipe with y’all ;).

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
*Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray and Williams-Sonoma

2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp brown sugar (I used evaporated cane sugar)
1 tbsp grill seasoning (I use McCormick’s)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
chicken tenders (about 2 per person)
1/2 cup apple juice (divided)
1/2 medium to large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
squeeze of honey or maple syrup

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Combine brown sugar through onion powder in a shallow dish (reserve 1 tbsp). Dredge chicken tenders in spice mixture and place in skillet. Pour 1/4 cup of the apple juice in the skillet while it’s cooking. Sauté until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

While the chicken is cooling, heat a little more oil in a small sauce pan and cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add the tomato sauce, the other 1/4 cup apple juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey or maple syrup, and the reserved tablespoon of the spice mixture. Cook over low heat until heated through.

Once the chicken has cooled, shred it and place in a small bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to coat the chicken.

Serve the chicken on dinner rolls or hamburger buns with sauce on the side.


We ate these sandwiches with a side of the roasted potatoes with bacon and blue cheese that I linked to in Sunday’s post.

**We both loved this meal, but think it would have been even better if we let the chicken sit (with the rub on it) for a couple of hours, and also if we had grilled the chicken to get a nice charred taste on it.**

Question: What is one food that you used to “hate” but now love?



Filed under Main Courses

Roasted Eggplant and Feta Dip

Before I get started on tonight’s post, I want to let you all know that tomorrow we will be starting a regular series on Mind Your Bees and Trees with an awesome guest blogger so stay tuned.  I promise—you don’t want to miss it!

It’s summertime and summertime means BBQ season.  Who doesn’t love a good BBQ?  My favorite part about BBQs is, of course, all of the great food!  There are always so many great appetizers, side dishes, salads, and desserts, not to mention the meat, but honestly I’m usually much more excited about all of the other goodies.  It is a rare occasion when the meat at a BBQ wins me over.

When we go to BBQs, I almost always make a dessert (or two!).  Dessert is my specialty—a trait I inherited from my mom.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I love to bake and I love to share my baked goods with others.  As my mom always says, “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach” :).

Since I’m not eating any processed sugar this summer, I can’t turn to my old favorites when I’m looking for something to make for a BBQ.  I told Amanda that I thought going to BBQs and not eating all of the yummy desserts would definitely be the hardest part of this challenge for me.  Well so far we have been to a few BBQs and parties this summer, and although it has been a little hard not to eat any dessert, it has not been as bad as I imagined it would be—especially when there are delicious savory goodies to munch on like the Roasted Eggplant Dip I made for a 4th of July party at our friend’s house.

The cake I made for our 4th of July party last year. It looks like it's waving in the wind because I dropped it on the floor before I frosted it! It landed right-side up, but I lost a big chunk from the middle. Oopsie!

I saw this recipe on Courtney’s blog and immediately knew I had to try it.  Giff and I pretty much love anything with eggplant in it (and I love anything with feta) so I figured it would be pretty awesome.  If you think you don’t like eggplant, then you probably haven’t had it cooked very well because eggplant is excellent when it’s cooked well.  I promise to post some more of our favorite recipes using eggplant in the future, but for now, let’s focus on this dip.

Last summer I made Ina Garten’s eggplant dip for a party and it was a huge hit.  I loved that dip so much that I was slightly worried that this new eggplant dip might not live up to the other one, but it definitely did.  Ina’s dip is pureed and although it has an excellent flavor, you can’t specifically taste the eggplant since everything is mixed together.  The eggplant and feta dip is not pureed so it’s more salsa-like.  I loved the chunky texture of the dip and it was excellent with either fresh veggies or crackers (side note: I was excited to find some crackers at the store that don’t contain sugar!).  Although I pride myself on always bringing awesome desserts to parties, I think I could get used to the savory thing too.  My dip was one of the first savory items to go so I’m going to go ahead and say that it was a hit :).

Roasted Eggplant and Feta Dip

*Recipe adapted from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life


▪       1 medium eggplant, (about 1 pound)

▪       2 tbsp lemon juice

▪       3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

▪       1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled

▪       1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

▪       1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

▪       2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

▪       1/2 tbsp dried parsley

▪       1/4 tsp chili powder

▪       1/4 tsp cumin

▪       1/4 tsp smoked paprika

▪       1/4 tsp garlic powder

▪       1/4 tsp salt

▪       Drizzle of honey (optional)


  1. Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam. Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
  3. Put lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh into the bowl, tossing with the lemon juice to help prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir with a fork until the oil is absorbed. (It should be a little chunky.) Stir in feta, onion, bell pepper, basil, parsley, spices and salt. Taste and add honey if needed.

Question: What is your favorite thing to bring to a BBQ?  What is your favorite thing to eat at a BBQ?


Filed under Appetizers, Vegetarian