Tagged: bbq

Hello 2013

Well hey there. Long time no blog. Life happens, ya know. Mine’s been pretty swell lately, thanks for asking. Since my last post…ya know… over a year ago…lots has happened!

Quick Summary: Planned my wedding, married my best friend, had the best wedding ever (please don’t try and argue that with me 🙂 ),  honeymooned in New England, got promoted, got healthier, became obsessed with Zumba and Yoga, Quincy turned 3, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So there you have it, my last year in a nutshell. But here I am, back again, ready to share some food and recipes with you!!!

Over the last year, my husband (heh – still not over getting to say that and it’s been 3 months!) and I have become much more involved in living a healthy lifestyle. When we get home from work, it’s usually about 5:45 and I like to try and leave for the gym by 6:45 for whatever class I have that night. That means I have 1 hour to throw together a meal that won’t weight us down and will keep us going through our workouts, clean up, change, and get out the door. Tonight’s dinner was sooooo easy it came together – literally – in 10 minutes. You are going to LOVE this recipe if you’re as on the go as we are.

BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizzas

This recipe serves 2 people 1 1/2 “pizzas” each or one hungry person 2 pizzas and one less hungry person 1 pizza

  • 3 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce (whatever you use!)
  • 1/2 bag prewashed baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
  • Scallions, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place tortillas directly on the oven rack for about 2 minutes until they start to brown. (Don’t be alarmed if they puff up, you can poke holes in the bubbles in a minute!)

Saute spinach, garlic, and chili flakes in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until wilted. Set aside.

Place warm tortillas on a baking sheet. Release any air bubbles with a knife.

Spread 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce on each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 1/3 of the chicken, spinach, bell pepper, and cheese.

Place baking sheet in the oven for about 6-8 minutes until the cheese is melted, edges are brown, and the chicken is warm.

Serve immediately topped with scallions if desired.


Happy (Belated) Birthday, America!

Hey, y’all!

How did you spend YOUR 4th of July???

Did you BBQ with friends and family? I sure hope you didn’t get stuck working!! This year was the first in I can’t even tell you how long that I didn’t need to battle with my boss to get the evening off. *Contented Sigh* The joys of an office job.

The 4th of July is absolutely 110% my favorite holiday.

I know, I know. “What about Christmas, Jen?!”

Christmas is delightful, and it’s a super close second, but the 4th of July has the four F’s that I love ever-so-much.

What are the four F’s you ask??

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Food
  4. Fireworks


How did I spend my 4th of July, this year? I thought you’d never ask!!

I MADE BEER CAN CHICKEN! The one on the left is Benjamin and the one on the right is George. Hehehehe. Aren’t they cute?? They were delicious, I assure you. I was lucky enough to spend my holiday weekend with some great friends and some awesome food.

What you see above was my first ever attempt at beer can chicken, and I can’t lie to you, it was PERFECT! I was so happy with how they came out and it was SOOOOO easy to do!! I also made my Panzanella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette , Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob, Ball Park Hot Dogs and a Strawberry & Blueberry Crisp. Melinda made her famous Apple Pie…here we are looking adorable and patriotic in our Harrisburg Senators shirts! [Speaking of patriotism – quick shoutout to my baby brother who’s in bootcamp right now, preparing himself to serve our country, and all of the soldiers out there. Now THAT’S American. My sincerest, most heartfelt “thank you” to each and every one of you.]

The day would have been perfectly American if we actually got to go to the Senators game. 8,000 other people thought it would be pretty American, too, so the evening didn’t go quite as planned…but it was still ever-so-delightful to watch the fireworks right on the riverfront.

Now, of course, I cannot leave you without sharing my beer can chicken recipe. So here it is, I urge you to try it! It may seem intimidating and everything…putting a beer can up a chicken bum and throwing it on the grill…but it seriously takes 10 minutes to prep everything and the rest happens all on it’s own!

Jen’s American


  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs), giblets and such removed
  • 1 can of beer (your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce

*Note: This recipes requires indirect grilling.  The methods are similar, but slightly different for charcoal and gas grills, so check out that link to learn more about itEssentially, you’ll want a big ring of charcoal around your grill, get it nice and hot, and place a drip pan in the center. For some extra flavor, if you’re feelin crazy, toss some hickory wood chips [soaked in water for 30 minutes] on your prepared charcoal *

Begin by preheating your grill, using the indirect grilling method.

Rinse your chicken, inside and out, in running water. Pat dry thoroughly.

Mix together brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and black pepper in a small mixing bowl. (Now you have your rub!)

Sprinkle the rub on your chicken and spread it evenly, making sure your chicken is nice and coated. Don’t forget to sprinkle some on the inside, too.

Take your beer…and dump out (er…drink) half.

Sprinkle some rub into the can.

Place the chicken on top of the beer can, sticking the can up inside of the chicken’s cavity.

Place the chicken in the center of the grill, using the legs and can like a tripod to balance it.

Cover, and cook for 1 hour.

After one hour, remove the lid and baste with some of your favorite barbeque sauce. Replace the lid and cook 1 hour more.

You chicken is done when it’s reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part of the bird or when you pierce it between the leg and thigh and the juices run clear.

CAREFULLY remove from grill (you may need some assistance) let sit for ten minutes before cutting, serving and enjoying!



I Miss BBQ

Holy beans! I feel like it’s been a century since I’ve posted!

I’m sorry if you’ve missed me , folks. Since I got back from my vacation, which I will go into more detail about in a moment, I’ve been working ALL night shifts. How lame is that??? Thanks to my awesome schedule I have had very little time to cook anything of interest. (I guess I did actually make myself an outstanding caramelized onion and mushroom risotto… but it was after my only shift where I was out before 10:30 pm last week and I was stressing big and needed some kitchen therapy. You didn’t miss much though, it’s exactly the same as my Spring Vegetable Risotto… just with caramelized onions and mushrooms instead of asparagus and peas. Yum.)

So anywho, I apologize for the delay in my return, but now I’m back and I get to tell you all about how much I miss BBQ!  Sure, I have a grill. I could technically “BBQ” things if so desired. But the outcome will not be the same on my puny little charcoal grill as it is in a gargantuan smoker out in the back of a dinky looking BBQ joint somewhere West of Knoxville, Tennessee. For you to truly understand what I mean you need to see this…

The image, well, it’s from my cell phone so it’s not the greatest quality. HOWEVER, what you’re seeing is an enormous baked potato stuffed to maximum capacity with nearly half a stick of salted butter, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh chives and a healthy portion of pulled pork all smothered in a delectable sweet and spicy bbq sauce from Big Boy’s BBQ in Crossville, Tennessee.

A family owned and operated business since 2000, Big Boy’s specializes in pulled pork and chicken, smoked fresh daily, as well as ribs and brisket (which I am sad to say I was unable to sample because they only serve it on Wednesdays). This “Big Stuffed Baked Potato”  will only set  you back $4.99 and is not only guaranteed to stuff you until dinner time, but is insanely delicious. So insanely delicious that in the six days Johnny and I spent in Tennessee we elected to get Big Boy’s not once, but twice. 🙂

I also think it needs to be said that Jennifer Romanchak DOES have will power…because she only ate hush puppies once the whole trip. My heavens I love those things. Heh.

Aside from eating, whichI did quite a bit of, my vacation was spent relaxing, hiking, paddle boating and spending some much needed alone time with my love and some awesome friends. And after our time in Tennessee, Johnny and I packed up the car and drove 10 hours to Pittsburgh!

Here I am in Pittsburgh!

After driving 10 hours Johnny and I met up with his parents and sister to explore the city for the day. I think it needs to be said that I think Pittsburgh is SO underrated!! I thought it was one of the niftiest cities I’ve been to in a really long time! Of course, while in Pittsburgh we stopped by a Primanti Brothers for their “almost famous” sandwich! In case you’ve never heard of them, these sandwhiches are a combination of your choice of meat (I opted for grilled cajun chicken breast) with provolone cheese, a sweet and sour vinegar based cole slaw, fresh sliced tomatoes and FRENCH FRIES all sandwiched between two slices of italian bread. I’m not sure there are words that can truly express what the experience of eating one of these sandwiches is like. The combination of flavors are extremely innovative, they hit every part of your taste buds. Sweet, sour, salty,spicy…all at once! You really need to find out for yourself!  Here is a photo from their web site of the glorious sandwich!

We ended our trip at PNC park. We tailgated with some subs that didn’t thrill me too much, un-thrilling enough that I don’t even remember the name of the place where we got them. Heh. No big deal really, because we also had mini bottles of White Zinfandel so it was still a fun time. It stinks to say that we watched the Mets lose to the Pirates.


My first ever baseball game where my team lost.

Sigh. Again.

Regardless of the loss, I really had an outstanding time getting away for a while! Traveling is a relatively new love of mine, but it’s one that I know won’t diminish anytime soon! Now that I’m home, though, I  can’t wait for my work schedule to get back to normal so I can get back in the kitchen!!