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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 – Chicken Broccoli Foil Packets

We’ve had a bit of a change in my house and I’ve been making dinner at midnight or so most nights.  I can’t really spend hours cooking, well actually I guess I could, but I don’t really want to at that time of night, so I’ve been hunting for hearty, quick and easy to prepare meals.  I found a recipe for a Chicken & Broccoli Foil Packet Meal that I loved so much I had to pin it to Pinterest.

This recipe reminded me of a fantastic recipe that my grandmother “created” called Chicken Thing.  It is not the same as Chicken Thing, but it does have the same homey meal feeling that I remember from my childhood.  The foils packets are also much easier to prepare, which is a big plus at 11:30pm.  I gathered all of the ingredients: 1 package Chicken Flavor Stuffing mix, 1 1/4 cup of water, 24 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, 4 cups of broccoli, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 4 slices cooked bacon, and 4 tablespoons of Ranch Dressing (I accidentally left this out).

Chicken Broccoli Foil Packets Ingredients

First I cut the foil to size and sprayed each piece with cooking spray.

Prep the Foil

Then I mixed the stuffing and water together.  Once it was combined well, I scooped some stuffing onto each piece of foil.

combine stuffing mix and water start building your food pyramid with stuffing

Next I trimmed the chicken and laid half a boneless skinless breast on each pile of stuffing.

Layer 2 Chicken Breast

After the chicken I added some broccoli.  The original recipe gave actual amounts to use.  I didn’t pay any attention to the measurements.  I went by sight and what my family will eat.

layer 3 broccoli

Then 1 crumbled strip of bacon gets added to each packet along with some shredded cheddar cheese.

Layer 4 Cheese  Layer 5 Crumbled Bacon

This is where I was supposed to add the ranch dressing and forgot all about it.  I blame the omission on the time of day I was making the meal.  Once the stuff was all stacked, I closed the packets (leaving enough room for air to circulate inside each one).  I placed the sealed packets on a jelly roll pan and stuck them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Foil Packets Ready to Bake

They were ridiculously good, and I will totally be making these again, and I may even have to break out the Chicken Thing recipe and give it a whirl.

Chicken & Broccoli Foil Packets

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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 – Shredded Buffalo Chicken

I felt like something spicy this week, so I headed off to Pinterest to find a recipe for Buffalo Chicken.  There are thousands of possibilities, and I found hundreds of options for various types of spicy food, but I’m really a creature of habit, so I went with a recipe for Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches.

After a trip to the grocery store, I gathered all of the ingredients: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 pound of boneless chicken thighs – cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces,coarse salt, ground pepper, 1 pound boneless chicken breasts – cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, 1 diced medium yellow onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 seeded and diced medium red bell pepper, 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup hot-pepper sauce, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses, hamburger buns, blue cheese crumbles (my own addition).

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken

I cleaned and cut up all of the chicken. When the thighs and breast meat were cut into 1″ pieces I browned them in the olive oil, making sure to season all of it with salt and pepper.

Brown the Chicken Thigh Pieces   Season with Salt   and fresh ground pepper

Put the Chicken in the Crock Pot

Now that your skillet is empty, it’s time to cook the veggies.  Add the seeded and diced pepper, diced onion and minced garlic to the pan and cook them stirring constantly until the onions are translucent.  When they are cooked through, add the water and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get off all of the stuck on bits and extra flavor.  Then dump the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker.

cook the veggies  deglaze the pan

Next add the crushed tomatoes, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and molasses to the crock pot.

add the crushed tomatoes   add the hot sauce   add the Worcestershire sauce   add the mustard   add the molasses

Give a nice stir to mix it all together, then cover it and let it cook.  The recipe says 4 hours on high, but I had to work, so I let it cook for 7 on low.

set it and forget it

It smelled so good when I got home, but there was still a bit to do before we could sit down for dinner.  I used a potato masher to shred the chicken.  It sounds weird, but it totally worked.  If you don’t have a potato masher, you can use 2 forks.

Ready to Shred   Shredding the chicken   Shredded Buffalo Chicken

When it was all pulled apart, I took a nice crusty roll and added a heaping pile of chicken, then topped it with some blue cheese crumbles.  Was it ever yummy!  I love the flavor, and it reminded me so much of sitting at the 99 in Keene with my friends!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken and Bleu Cheese Sandwich

Hmmm, I wonder what flavor or smell will transport me next?  Has that ever happened to you?


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Tasty Tuesday – Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

I’m not usually a fan of mayonnaisey salads, I’m more of a leafy green kind of girl, but this one struck a chord with me when I saw it on Pinterest.  I am a big fan of anything Chicken Bacon Ranch, so this salad was a clear must try recipe for me!

The original blog post that the recipe came from can also be found on WordPress!  I started following her blog as a result of this recipe.  I can’t wait to see what else she offers.

I was very excited to try this out, so I was very lucky to have all of the ingredients on hand!   It called for: 3 cups chicken, cooked and chopped, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (I didn’t like the way these looked, so I left them out), 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 cup finely diced red onion (I don’t like raw onion, so I left these out), 6-8 slices cooked and chopped bacon, shredded cheddar cheese for garnish.

chicken bacon ranch salad ingredients

Before I could assemble the salad, I had to cook the raw ingredients.  I cooked the bacon and chicken in a small skillet on the stove top.

cooking the bacon   cooking the chicken

When the chicken and bacon were cooked, I moved on to mixing the dressing for the salad.  I combined the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  I mixed everything until it had a nice creamy consistency.

mayonnaise  sour cream

onion powder  garlic powder  salt  ground black pepper dried mustard   lemon juice

Once the dressing was mixed, I added the cooked chicken and bacon.  Then I stirred everything together so that it was well coated.

add the chicken  then add the bacon and mix

When everything was mixed together, it was time to make a sandwich.  I cut a hoagie roll, scooped on some of the salad, and garnished it with shredded cheddar cheese.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad Sandwich

This is a definite repeat!  I think I’ll make a batch of it the next time we have a chance to take the dogs to the park for a picnic/play-date.

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Sunday Sweets – Slightly Salted Caramel Chip Cookies

I know I’ve been slacking big time on the posts recently, but life has gotten in the way of my blogging.  This week I made some cookies for a midnight snack.  Yes I know eating that late at night isn’t good for you, but when you work 2nd shift it really is just dinner time.  (and that’s as big a hint about what’s going on in my world as I am willing to share at the moment…)  I found a recipe for Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies on Pinterest that sounded interesting, so I figured why not whip them up while I was waiting to serve dinner at Midnight.

It was a pretty straight forward recipe, and thankfully I had some wrapped caramels left in the cabinet.  I gathered the ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
  • sea salt

Caramel Chip Cookie Ingredients

Once I had everything out and ready to go, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees and set about making the cookie dough.  I combined the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl and set it aside.

Combine Flour Add Baking Soda

Next I grabbed a second bowl and creamed together the butter and sugars (brown & white).

room temperature butter  brown sugar  White Sugar  cream the sugar and butter together

Once it looks like a crumb topping, add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Mix it until everything is well combined.

Add the eggs   And the vanilla

Now that all the moist ingredients were mixed together, I added the flour mixture in a bit at a time…

add flour and mix well

Once all the flour was incorporated, I mixed the chocolate chips in by hand.  After that, I stuck the dough in the fridge for about half an hour and set up my cookie sheet and cooling wrack.  While I was waiting for the dough to set up, I also unwrapped and cut up the caramels.

Add the Chocolate Chips   cut up caramels

When everything was good to go, I scooped out a nice spoonful of the cookie dough and added 2 or 3 pieces of the caramel to the top of each cookie.  Then I put them in the oven for 14 minutes.  My oven doesn’t cook like a normal oven, so it might take less time for your cookies to back.  You just want the edges to begin to brown.  The middle should still be soft.  As soon as they come out of the oven sprinkle the batch with some sea salt and let them cool.

Smash the Caramels into the top of each cookie before baking  Sprinkle with Sea Salt

These cookies should definitely be eaten warm.  The caramel gets too hard to chew if you let them get too cool.



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