I have been using my crockpot religiously this summer. It’s been unbearably hot in Chicago and the last thing I want to do is use the oven.

The crockpot is sooo easy.  This is how I make chicken.  I put the chicken (I like chicken thighs, bone in, skin on) into a crockpot, season with salt and pepper, put the lid on, set the crockpot to high, and let it cook for about 3-1/2 to 4 hours. The chicken cooks in its own juice, and will be falling off the bone tender.  When it’s done cooking, you can remove the bone very easily, and the skin.  Drain the liquid, then use tongs to shred the meat, which will be very easy to do at this point.  Then add your favorite BBQ sauce (about 1 cup), or tomato sauce, or whatever. Chicken is done! So simple right?  **If you want to use boneless meat, cook time will be about 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

I made this recipe with left over BBQ chicken that I had made in the crockpot.  It is similar to these chicken balls I made before, with just a few tweaks.  My fiance gobbled these up fast.

Crispy BBQ Chicken Balls with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

2 cups left over BBQ chicken, shredded

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 onion, sliced and caramelized

salt and pepper

1 cup flour

3 eggs

1/4 cup cream, or milk, or half and half

1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

2 tsp smoked paprika

Combine BBQ chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions.  Allow mixture to chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.  While its chilling, get 3 medium sized bowls.  In one bowl add the flour, in a second bowl add the eggs and cream (or milk or half and half), and in a third bowl add the bread crumbs and paprika.  Mix the bread crumbs and paprika, and mix the eggs and cream.  Season the flour mixture with salt and pepper.

Once the chicken mixture is chilled slightly, using an ice cream scoop for 2 inch balls and set on a plate. Next dredge the chicken balls through the flour, then egg mixture, then ending with bread crumbs.  Set on a cookie tray, and drizzle with olive oil.  Once you’ve dredged all of the balls, place them in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the balls are hot, the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are golden brown.

Serve along side ranch or blue cheese dressing for dunking.

Look at that gooey bite!