Tag Archives: slow cooker

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 – 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 – 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 – Crock Pot Beef Stew

It’s tax day in the United States, and I needed to find an easy to prepare crock pot meal, because this year’s taxes were a bit more time consuming than usual.  I chose a crowd pleasing favorite, at least according to Pinterest – Beef Stew!

This particular recipe has a couple of options as to how to prepare the stew.  As I mentioned before, I was in a bit of a hurry, so I went with the faster option.  First, I gathered my ingredients: 2lbs of stew meat, 4 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tsp minced garlic, 10-15 small red potatoes, 1 medium onion, 2 cups of sliced carrots, 2 cups of sliced celery, 1 cup of red wine, 1 can of diced tomatoes (I left these out), 1 bay leaf (I left this out, too), 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp allspice, and an 8 oz. container of mushrooms.

Beef Stew Ingredients

Once I had everything together, I turned the crock pot on low and started assembling the stew.  I used pre-cut beef, but I had t0 chop up all of the veggies (carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and potatoes).

add the beef  the potatoes  the carrots  the celery  the mushrooms

Now that all of the large stuff was in the crock pot, it was time to make the sauce.  In a separate bowl I combined the oil, spices, wine and beef stock.  I whisked it to combine everything, and poured it over the meat and veggies.

olive oil  minced garlic  minced onion  red wine  beef stock  thyme   parsley  allspice  whisk to combine  pour in the juice

Then I set it and went about my business…  for 10 hours or so.  I smelled delicious the entire time.  The finished product wasn’t too shabby either.  The longest part of the entire process was chopping up the veggies.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

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Tasty Tuesday – Crock Pot Loaded Potato Soup

Being of significant Irish heritage (I’m Irish on both sides, even if my dad swore he was Italian through and through his mother’s maiden name was McCulley, I mean come on…), it seems like I’ve always know how to make corned beef and cabbage, the traditional American St. Patrick’s Day meal; however, I no longer eat beef, and Gwen is away, so this year I’m going to forgo the traditional meal.  Despite my no beef meal plan, I’m still going to tip my hat to the Irish by making this awesome Loaded Potato Soup recipe I found on Pinterest.  That’s not an Irish meal, you say?  Maybe, but you don’t get anymore Irish than potatoes…

I found this recipe on one of the coldest days this year, while I was looking for something to warm me up.  I ended up making a pot roast, but I banked this one for another time and this is the perfect opportunity to try it out.  I headed to the kitchen to make sure I had everything I needed: 7 cups of cubed potatoes, 1 cup of diced yellow onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic (I used the already cut up stuff, it’s much easier), 3 cups of chicken stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper, 1 cup of heavy cream, 6 pieces of thick cut bacon (any bacon will do, it doesn’t really have to be thick cut), and shredded Monteray Jack cheese (I used cheddar, because that’s not only what I had in the fridge, but I like it better).

Crock Pot Loaded Potatoe Soup Ingredients

Now that I had everything together, I read the recipe directions all the way through.  Man, was I surprised when I found out it wasn’t really a set it and forget it crock pot meal.  First you prep your veggies – cut up the potatoes and onion, mince the garlic (if you don’t cheat like I do).  Then put them all into the crock pot.

7 Cups of Potato   1 cup Yellow Onion   About 3 cloves minced Garlic

Then you add the salt and pepper.  The original recipe gave measurements, but I just went by eye and experience.  I also like my potatoes on the saltier side of life.  After the veggies are seasoned, you add the chicken stock.  This is where the original recipe gets sneaky.  It says to cover the pot and cook it on high for 3 1/2 hours, but if you don’t keep reading to the next direction you won’t end up with that really good cooked in bacon flavor that makes the soup taste loaded.

Fresh Ground Pepper   Salt the Potatoes   3 cups of Chicken Stock   Cover and cook for 3.5 hours

Once I had the crock pot set on high, I head over to the stove and cooked the bacon.  When It was nice and crispy, but not crunchy and burnt, I removed it from the frying pan and set it aside to cool it’s heels until the potatoes were ready to be garnished.  Then I took the bacon grease (what an amazing smell!) and added it to the crock pot of simmering potatoes.  When the bacon grease is in the pot, you can take a walk until the remaining cook time elapses.

cooking bacon   add the bacon grease

Ok, so now the 3 1/2 hours have gone by, and you’re really hungry a1nd anticipating just scooping out a nice helping of creamy soup.  Umm, no.  We never added the cream.  That’s because you now have to remove half of the cut up potatoes and puree them with the cup of heavy cream.  The recipe say to do it in a blender, but I used and immersion blender instead (it’s much easier to wash a bowl and the head of the stick blender than try and get my fingers into the blades of the regular blender).  Once that’s all cream and smooth, it has to go back into the pot and mingle with the remaining potatoes and stuff for an additional 30 minutes.

1 cup cream   1/2 the cooked potatoes   blend the heck out of it   put it back in the crock pot

30 agonizing minutes later, the soup is finally done!  I hate to say it, but it was totally worth the wait and the non-traditional slow cooker style preparations.  I dished up a bowl, garnished it with the chopped up bacon from earlier and some shredded cheese.

Loaded Potato Soup

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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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