Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4521 on Whisk Together Label

I made these on homemade baguettes.  That recipe will be next!  Why homemade baguettes?  Because I’m too lazy to run to the store when I can dump the ingredients into my bread machine.

Quick Baguette-4528 on Whisk Together

These sandwiches are awesome and you DON’T need to make your own baguettes!  You DO need to make these sandwiches.  Please, pretty please.  They are delicious, and easy and great for leftovers.  Add the chicken to soup, or a tortilla or keep making sandwiches!  Freeze the contents and always have sandwich fixin’s on hand.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4522 on Whisk Together
(I forgot to add the cheese before taking the photo!)

This recipe will easily feed a crowd as well – just increase the cooking time and add more of everything.  Slow cookers are great to serve from since they keep things hot.  Serve with fries, slaw, chips, veggie sticks, salad or with a soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 tsp. paprika (regular or smoked, I like smoked)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), sliced into strips
  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced into strips
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
  • sliced provolone
  • baguettes or hoagie buns
  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  2. Add the peppers and onion to the slow cooker. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on top.
  3. Add the chicken onto the peppers and onion. Sprinkle the rest of the spices on top.
  4. Pour the water or broth into the slow cooker on the side so that the spices don’t come off the chicken.
  5. Cook chicken breasts for 3-4 hours on low. Cook chicken thighs for 4-5 hours on low.
  6. Towards the end of cooking time, slice the buns or baguette in half lengthwise. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker with some tongs and place on top of the bun. Add cheese. Top with a bun, or broil it with the cheese and then place the top on.
Recipe slightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe




Slow Cooker St. Louis Style Ribs

Slow Cooker Ribs-2623 on Whisk Together

Happy June Everyone!

Books:  I started Brenda Maddox’s book “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Side of DNA” which is a biography of the woman behind the famous “X” photograph of the crystallized DNA molecule.  This photograph led Watson and Crick to the structure of DNA and the Nobel Prize in 1962.  Since Rosalind died of cancer in 1958, she was never even nominated.  

Exercise:  I’m going to try and update the Exercise workouts I like.  I have already posted all of my DVD’s here on the blog.  The following workout is Tabata style – where you work hard for a certain amount of time and then rest for 10 seconds.

45 Minute Total Body Tabata Workout

Plus, it’s free!

Slow Cooker Ribs-2628 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  I am all about the slow cooker during the summer.  It heats up our food and doesn’t heat up the house!   This recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen “Slow Cooker Revolution”.  The slow cooker is perfect in breaking down the connective tissue in ribs as well as developing a nice tender cut of meat.

I get the St. Louis style ribs not because I’m from St. Louis, but because I like the cut.  The meat seems more substantial than baby back ribs as well.  St. Louis doesn’t have anything to do with how they are cooked.  This cut of rib is a spare rib with the sternum bone, cartilage and rib tips removed which create that nice rectangular rack.  Sometimes you can find them with a seasoning already rubbed in.  If so, simply skip the spice rub step and go directly to putting them into the slow cooker!  Grab some cole slaw and corn on the cob and LOTS of napkins for a full summer meal.

For the BBQ sauce, I use my homemade no-cook sauce.

Slow Cooker St. Louis Style Ribs
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 pounds St. Louis style ribs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
  • cooking spray
  1. Spray the inside of a 5-7 qt. slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the spices together: paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Rub onto the meat.
  3. Place meat into the slow cooker with the meaty side facing outward.
  4. Pour half of the BBQ sauce onto the ribs.
  5. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  6. At this point, you can remove from the slow cooker and serve with the rest of the BBQ sauce.
  7. Alternatively, at this point you could move them to a foil-lined cookie sheet and tent with foil. Meaty side DOWN.
  8. Broil the ribs 10″ away from the heating element. Skim the leftover liquid in the slow cooker of fat and discard. Brush some of the leftover liquid onto the ribs. Broil about 3 minutes – until browning occurs. Flip and brush again with liquid. Broil another 10 minutes – until browning occurs. Rest 10 minutes. You can boil and reduce the liquid more to serve on the side.
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “Slow Cooker Revolution”


Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

BBQ Pulled Chicken-2251 on Whisk Together

Book:    Still nothing yet.  Though I think I have concluded society’s whole problem.  It boils down to a lesson that my kid actually did back in first grade.  They had to put things into two categories:  wants and needs.  The problem is a lot of our “needs” are actually wants.  Some people would argue up and down and even fight for that “need” which…. is a want to begin with.  One of the items on the assignment was “milk”.  We had an interesting little discussion on whether milk was a want or a need.  And I mean need.  Do we NEED milk?  I am all for milk.  I bake and drink and love milk.  But will I survive without it?  Yes.  Could I thrive without it?  Probably.  So we put it under the “want” category.  I’m not arguing about dairy – just an example of something to get the wheels turning.


If you want pulled chicken, pork or beef – the slow cooker is the way to go.  Unless you own a smoker of course.  Low and slow, the trusty slow cooker will turn your chicken to shreds which is what you want here.

Why 2-3 hours on low?  Because that is when you’re chicken is done and why chicken that sits in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours tastes gross, dry and overcooked.  So how do you have this ready to go when you are home from work?  I would make a batch on the weekend and freeze or fridge the leftovers.  Cooked chicken is good for 5-7 days in the fridge.  Raw chicken is only good for 2-3 days, so might as well use it up.

(Okay, technically this might not be considered BBQ because it is just meat with BBQ sauce… I get it. )

Why I like this recipe:

1.  Easy and delicious.
2.  You get that smokey flavor without the wait time.
3.  Great for small or large families.
4.  Freezer friendly.
5.  Kid approved!

BBQ Pulled Chicken-2253 on Whisk Together

Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (or about 1 small can) of tomato paste
  • 5 tsp. chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 Tb. mustard
  • 4 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp. hot sauce (or less for less heat)
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 4 – boneless skinless chicken breast
  • salt and pepper
  • sandwich buns
  1. Put all of the ingredients from onion through cayenne pepper in a medium microwave bowl. Pop it in the microwave for about 3 minutes. Stir once or twice before the three minutes is up and the onion should be a little soft.
  2. Add this hot mixture to the slow cooker. Add the ketchup, molasses, mustard, and cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add chicken to the top and nestle them in the sauce. Cook on low about 2-3 hours or until it shreds easily with a fork.
  4. Whisk in the hot sauce and liquid smoke. Serve on buns.
BBQ sauce recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen


Crockpot Jambalaya


Book update:  This week in positive psychology we are discussing meditation and part of our homework is to meditate three times this week.  Husband will be in Los Angeles … we’ll see if we can find time for our homework.  Meditation does look like they are doing nothing, but it isn’t and it is more interesting than I had thought.  I better go… these legos won’t put themselves up.

I wanted to make some jambalaya for Mardi Gras and here is what we did.  The dish was very flavorful and easy to put together.  I have no doubt this could have been a freezer meal since all the ingredients were freezer friendly.  It does make a LOT.  Next time, I may cut the recipe in half for our 2 adult and 2 small children household.

Crockpot Jambalaya
yield 12 servings

1 lb. (about 2) skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced (I used turkey smoked sausage)
28 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. cajun seasoning (homemade recipe here)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. frozen cooked shrimp (no tails)

1.  Put everything into the crockpot EXCEPT your shrimp.
2.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  A half hour before time is up, stir in the shrimp.
3.  Serve over some rice for a great all in one meal.

Recipe from

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Recent Reads:  I finished “The Boy with the Striped Pajamas” by John Boyne as part of my Young Adult reading list.  It was really good and I advise everyone to read it.  Please make sure you have tissues towards the end.  The perspective on the holocaust is powerful and the questions that the author brings forth with the text are really soul-searching.

I have started week 2 of Positive Psychology and apparently forgot how intense graduate courses are.  It never seemed this intense when I had nothing else better to do than study, go to class, eat and sleep.  Fun things I’ve learned are how to have increased well-being:  write 3 things down each night that went well and why they went well.  It takes just 10 minutes, but studies proved people were less depressed, more hopeful and had increased well being because of doing this.  If you want to feel better?  Try a random act of kindness.  It is one of the single most powerful tools that is within your power.  Bake cookies for a neighbor, pay for the guy behind you in the drive through, etc.  It’s really fun!

The Recipe:  This was really good and I’m sure I’ll make it again.  I haven’t had great luck with chicken in the crock pot in the past.  Putting the chicken on top with a lot of liquid underneath worked very well.  I used the santa fe chicken on my corn tortillas and I ate it plain.  Both ways were yummy.  Trader Joe’s corn tortillas were only 60 calories each with no preservatives, so that is what I used.  The original recipe was altered because I have never seen anything bake so long with cilantro.  For maximum flavor, I always add my green onions or fresh cilantro last.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
yields 6 servings

15 oz. can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. frozen corn
14 oz. (about 1.5 cups) chicken broth
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or increase for more spice/heat)
salt and pepper to taste
1.5 lbs. chicken breast (I used 2 big ones)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3-4 scallions (green onions), chopped

1.  Into to your crock pot dump:  tomatoes, black beans, corn, broth, powders, cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper.
2.  Lay the chicken on top.
3.  Cook for 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high.  Shred chicken, stir and DONE.
4.  Before serving, top with cilantro and scallions.  I added some shredded cheddar cheese to mine.  You could add sour cream or salsa even.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken_1

Recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste

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