Tag Archives: dinner

Tasty Tuesday – Crock Pot Pulled Pork

I love Pulled Pork and I’ve been craving it for weeks, but I can’t find my recipe.  Yes, ridiculously organized me can’t find something.  It’s not that I don’t know where it is, it’s that I don’t feel like digging through the boxes to find my recipe folders.  I found my recipe in a cooking magazine (either Rachael Ray’s magazine or the Food Network magazine) a few years ago, and we really do like it.  I’ve looked all over Pinterest, trying to find a close approximation to my recipe, but I haven’t been able to locate the right one.  However, the craving got to be too much, and I resorted to using what promised to be a simple yet delicious crock pot version…

The recipe was as easy as the pin promised.  I gathered the ingredients and put it together in less than 10 minutes before I left for work.  It calls for 1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, 4 pounds of boneless pork riblets (I used boneless country style ribs), 3/4 brown sugar (this is optional, but my other recipe calls for it, so I used it), 1 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Ingredient

You dump half the bottle of BBQ sauce in the crock pot, then add the meat.

start with BBQ sauce   add boneless pork

Next, you add the rest of the BBQ sauce, the mustard, the garlic powder, and the brown sugar.

mustard   garlic powder   brown sugar

I stirred everything around to get the meat completely coated, and set it on low to cook for 8 hours.  (The recipe said to cook it on high for 4 hours, but I was going to be gone longer than that, so I adjusted my cooking time.)  When I got home from work, I used tongs to shred the pork and served the sandwiches on soft buns.

pull the pork   pulled pork sandwich

My dinner guests really enjoyed them, but I still like my original recipe better.  Guess I better get cracking with the renovations, so I can finally unpack the remaining boxes and find the stuff I’m still missing.

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Tasty Tuesday – Panko Crusted Ricotta Stuffed Chicken

Wow, I sure do eat an incredible amount of chicken.  I don’t (actually can’t) eat beef these days, pork is all good (but tends to require extensive care to insure it isn’t dry), and I like seafood (but not everyone in my house is a fan).  Which leaves me with chicken as my go to option…  That being said, I really do enjoy it; however, I’m always on the look out for different was to mix things up a bit.  I love Pinterest for just this reason!  I found this interesting recipe for Panko Crusted Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts while I was searching for something more diverse thank another sauce or marinade for chicken breast.

Tomatoes are a definite no go in our house, so I had to revise the recipe slightly, but it wasn’t a very big change, more of a simple omission.  I got everything I needed together: 1 cup of low fat ricotta cheese (I used regular), a handful of chopped baby spinach, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, 2 chicken breasts, Italian seasoned panko crumbs, 2 tsp olive oil.

Stuffed Chicken Ingredients

Once I had everything together, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and got my heavy oven safe skillet out.  Then it was time to put together the stuffing.  I combined the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a glass bowl and set it aside.

ricotta chopped spinach grated cheese fresh basilminced garlic salt pepper Spinach & Ricotta Stuffing

When that was all set, I moved on to prepping the chicken.  I rinsed each piece, trimmed it and then butterflied the breasts.  That means I cut a slice through the middle of each one longways without going all the way through.  It makes a pocket of sorts, which I then filled with the stuffing.

Butterflied Chicken Boobs Stuffed Chicken Breast

Next it was time to apply the crust.  I filled a bowl with the panko crumbs and rolled each stuffed breast to cover all of the chicken.

Panko Crusting

Once they were coated nicely, I brought the chicken over to the stove and heated the olive oil in the skillet I took out earlier.  When the olive oil was warm, I placed the chicken in the pan and let it cook for 3 minutes or so.  Then I turned it over and put the entire skillet in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

heat the olive oilSear the 1st side turn them over and bake

I loved this recipe, and will definitely be making it again!  Who wants to join me for dinner?

Panko Crusted Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Chicken

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Tasty Tuesday – Pork and Sauerkraut

I was introduced to a new dish this past New Year’s Day, and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to try and recreate it for Gwen.  It is a traditional New Year’s meal here in Akron – you know the whole cows stand still, chickens scratch backwards and pigs push forward thing.  I found a close approximation on Pinterest, and with a few minor changes I recreated the meal I so enjoyed this winter, Pork and Sauerkraut.

It’s a fairly simple meal to prepare.  The trick is that it needs to cook low and slow, which is why the recipe say to cook the meal in a slow cooker.  I gathered the ingredients the recipe called for: 1-2 pounds of boneless country style pork ribs, 2 pounds of undrained sauerkraut, and 1/4 cup of water.  I adjusted the recipe slightly by adding the secret ingredient that the person who made it for me boasted about, a 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and an onion for bit of balance against the sweet of the brown sugar.

Pork and Sauerkraut Ingredients

I followed the recipe’s directions and first layered in the pork ribs.  Then I added the onion and covered everything with the sauerkraut.

Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs  Add an Onion   Cover Everything with Kraut

Next I added the brown sugar and the water.

Add the Secret Ingredient   Now a little Extra Liquid

When everything was in the crock pot, I turned the heat to low and let it cook away for 8-10 hours.  I have to tell you that the house smell amazing when I got home from work!

Traditional Pork and Sauerkraut

I served it in a shallow bowl with a nice hunk of crusty bread to sop up the tangy juices.  Are there any traditional holiday meals that you serve at other times of the year?

 

 

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Tasty Tuesday – Crock Pot Chicken Philly Sandwiches

I’m so excited about this week’s recipe!  I love Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, but beef does not love me.  So, I was really happy when I found a recipe on Pinterest for a chicken version of these delicious sandwiches.  What made it even better was that it’s a crock pot recipe!  Great for a night when I have to work late and still need to have dinner for everyone when I get home.

This particular recipe is designed to be a healthy option (the original author gives it Weight Watcher points), but I didn’t use the reduced fat ingredients.  I went with the regular options.  I gathered the chicken breasts, green peppers, sweet onion, steak seasoning (I used homemade Outback style seasoning), butter, provolone cheese, and hoagie rolls.

crock pot chicken philly ingredients

First I put 2 tablespoons of butter in the bottom of the crock pot.  Then I cut up the onions and put them into the slow cooker.  Next came the sliced bell peppers.

butter as the base  slice the onion  put the onions on the butter  slice the peppers  add the peppers to the crock pot

Once the veggies were in the crock pot, I moved on to preparing the chicken.  I sliced it and put the chicken into a Ziploc baggie with some of the steak seasoning.  Then I squished it around to coat the chicken with the seasoning.  When it was all covered well, I added it to the peppers and onions.

clean and slice chicken   add seasoning to chicken   smush chicken to coat with seasoning   put everything in crock pot

Then I set it on low for 4-6 hours and went to work.  When I got home, I cut the rolls, added the cooked chicken and veggies, then put some sliced cheese on top of each sandwich.  Once I had the hoagies set, I put them into the oven at 350 degrees for 4 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp the bread.

cooked chicken philly cheese covered chicken philly sandwich

The sandwiches were really yummy!  I can’t wait to try these again.

 

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Tasty Tuesday – Steak with Mushroom Merlot Sauce

I’ve been exploring different kinds of wine recently, and it’s been an interesting journey.  I’m by no means a connoisseur, but I am developing a taste for red wine.  This week I happened to be trying out a bottle of Merlot that we got as a Christmas gift, and there was no way I could finish the whole bottle by myself before it went bad.  What was I going to do?  I’ve been cooking with wine for ages now, and I know that reds tend to pair best with beef, and I happened to have some steaks in the freezer.  Which meant that I was in search of a recipe, and where do I go to find those?  Why Pinterest, of course…

I happened upon a plausible solution in the form of Steak with Mushroom Merlot Sauce.

I was a pretty straightforward recipe.  Now don’t get me wrong, I made some distinct changes and substitutions.  I got together the ingredients for the recipe: the steaks, 1 cup of Merlot, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, 3 shallots, 4 cloves of crushed garlic, 1/3 cup heavy cream (I used 2/3 of a cup of whole milk), 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (I left this out), salt & pepper.

Once I had everything at the ready, I actually read through the directions and figured out that I only needed the ingredients for the marinade to start with…  Grrrr.  So, I combined the wine, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the thyme in a pyrex measuring cup.

Making the marinade - wine  Making the marinade - olive oil   Making the marinade - thyme

Then I rinsed and dried the steaks, and put them into a shallow glass dish with a cover.  Next I poured the marinade over the steak, and covered the dish.  The recipe said to turn the steak to cover it with the marinade, but I just shook the container to get a more thorough coating.  Now I got to take a 2 hour break, and enjoy a nice glass of Merlot, because the steak needed to be refrigerated for at least that long.

Marinating Steak

After I had enjoyed a nice relaxing glass of wine and a good movie, I took the steak out of the marinade and set it aside.  Then I put the other tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan.

heat the oil

Next I sauteed the shallots and garlic in the heated olive oil.

sauteeing shallots and garlic

When they were nicely heated through, I added the marinade to the pot and brought it to a boil for about 10 minutes until it reduced slightly.

Heat the Remaining Marinade

Next, I reduced the heat and added the mushrooms.  They cooked in the wine sauce for about 5 minutes.

Cook the Mushrooms in the Wine Sauce

Once the mushrooms are soft, it’s time to add the cream, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  I used whole milk and omitted the tomato paste.

add the cream and simmer  Simmer the now creamy sauce

While the sauce is simmering, preheat the broiler (or grill pan – which is what I used).  Let the steak cook to medium rare.

grilling steak

I served it over a crusty Italian bread, with yet another glass of the lovely Merlot.

Mushroom Merlot Steak

The thing I learned from this meal is that the cut of steak matters just as much as the age and vintage of wine.

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Tasty Tuesday – Turkey Breast of Wonder

It seems that a great number of the people in my life thought I would be cooking a great deal over the winter, and I have somehow inherited both a frozen turkey and a frozen turkey breast.  (Not to mention the 2 hams and the 2 bags of shrimp.  Thank goodness I have a big freezer!)  So I have been in search of a couple of interesting turkey recipes.  Where would I look for an interesting turkey recipe, you ask.  Why Pinterest, of course.  So off I went to scower the pins and boards for something different!  It didn’t take very long to find an interesting recipe for the turkey breast.  Heck anything referred to as “Turkey Breast of Wonder” is at least worth a shot, right?

I’m usually really skeptical about things that claim to be overly amazing, but I was willing to take a chance on this, because it meant that I didn’t have to hang out in the kitchen for 3+ hours cooking the turkey.

I gathered my ingredients: a (defrosted) frozen turkey breast (mine was boneless, but bones are ok too), a can of cranberry sauce (the original recipe wanted whole berry, but nobody in my house likes that kind), a packet of onion soup mix (usually I’d use my homemade version, but I was out, so we made do), 1/2 cup of orange juice, salt & pepper.

Turkey Breast of Wonder Ingredients

OK, first things first – make sure the turkey is defrosted.  It won’t work if it’s still frozen.  Also, make sure there aren’t any surprises in the package.  Mine came all wrapped up in kitchen twine (which I left on), because it was boneless.  It also had some weird gravy Mix packet stuck in with the meat.  Once you have your thawed turkey breast all set, rinse it off and stick it into the crock pot.

Turkey boob in crock pot

Then it’s time to make the sauce.  In a separate bowl dump in the orange juice, then the cranberry sauce, and last the onion soup mix.

Time to make the sauce - OJ  Add the cranberry sauce  Now the onion soup mix

Then you mix them all together and pour over the turkey breast in the crock pot.

Interesting Color, huh?

Once everything’s in the pot, turn it on low and let it cook for 8-9 hours.  Mine took about 8.  It was a smaller breast.

Doesn't it look yummy?

Once it was finished cooking, and I had made the side dishes, I took out the meat and carved it.

carving the turkey

I have to say that this one actually lived up to it’s overly boastful name!  I was really good!  I may actually have to go out and buy a turkey breast, just to make this dish again.

Thanksgiving Diner in March?

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Tasty Tuesday – Grilled Flank Steak with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

We had a bit of a dinner party this week in honor of Valentine’s Day, and needed something on the fancier side of life, that we could serve as individual plates (instead of family style).  I had found a recipe a while back when I was surfing, you guessed it, Pinterest that I thought would work well.  It was for Grilled Flank Steak with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce.

It was a great recipe and worked really well within the prep time I had available for the dinner.  (It only took 30 minutes to put together, including plating.)  First thing I had to do was make sure I had all the ingredients.  I gathered the 1 1/2 pound flank steak, 1 tbsp of butter, 1 cup heavy cream (we used 1/2 cup cream & 1/2 cup of milk), 1 minced shallot, 1/4 pound of gorgonzola (blue) cheese, salt & pepper.  I also pulled out some fresh baby spinach to use on top, and we made cauliflower “mashed” potatoes to complement the meal.

gorgonzola cream sauce ingredients

I took out my grill pan and set it up on the stove to preheat.  I brought it up to medium high heat to get a nice sear on the steak.  I seasoned the steak with salt & pepper on both sides and put it on the grill.  It works best if you jut set it down and leave it be for about 8 minutes, and then flip it over and leave it for another 8 minutes on the other side.  (It comes out nicely cooked – in the medium to medium rare range.)

grilling flank steak - side 1  grilling flank steak side 2

While that was working away, I made the cream sauce.  First I melted the butter, while sauteing the shallots.

working the butter and shallots

Then I added the milk and cream mixture and reduced the liquid by half.

add the cream

Once that was reduced, I added the Gorgonzola cheese and melted that into the mixture.  (Sorry for the bad picture, but it was a timing issue at this point.)

add the cheese

As the cheese was melting, I removed the steak from the heat and set it aside (covered) to rest.  Once the sauce was finished, I sliced the steak, grabbed some baby spinach and the mashed cauliflower.  It was time to make the plates pretty!  First I took a scoop of cauliflower and put it in the middle of the plate.  Next I took 3 slices of steak and stacked them on top of the cauliflower, then I added some spinach.  When all that was piled up prettily, I covered it with a good spoonful of the Gorgonzola cream sauce.

grilled flank steak with gorgonzola cream sauce

I was a ridiculously decadent sauce!  And it wasn’t too expensive to make, now the steak on the other hand was a bit ridiculous.  What’s with the price of meat these days?  What do you like to serve for a fancy dinner?

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