Pulled Pork Two Ways For The Slow-Cooker

Slowcooker pulled pork

This recipe is so simple and so very good. It’s great to make and then have ingredients for sandwiches all weekend. Eat cold or reheat, both are good.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

  • 2-3 lb boneless pork roast
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne or red chili pepper flakes (opt)
  • red wine vinegar
  • favorite barbecue sauce (JeffreyW and I are both fond of Sweet Baby Rays – I like the spicy)
  • favorite rolls (I like multi-grain hoagie rolls)

Slow-cooker

Remove the string ties from the pork roast. Spread the roast out, season all sections with salt, pepper and if you like, cayenne or chili pepper flakes. Roll back up and place in the slow-cooker (don’t tie it up again). Add red wine vinegar (about 2 tbsp or more as desired). Cover and cook according to slow-cooker directions – usually 8-10 hours on low. Keep that lid closed.

Once its cooked, remove the roast and pour off all but about 2 tbsp of the liquid and fat. Shred the roast and return it to the slow-cooker, add barbecue sauce, start with 1/4 cup and add more as desired. I eventually used about 1/2 cup and a little bit more each time I reheated.

Don’t want barbecued pork, how about Carnitas? Just change out the spices:

  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 orange, cut in half

Mix together spices and oil and rub over the roast liberally. Add the roast, garlic and jalapeno to the slow-cooker. Squeeze the orange over the meat before adding it as well. Cover and cook as above. No need to drain, just shred the pork and serve on tortillas.

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Fun with Gadgets

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When I was sick last month, I watched a lot of cooking shows while resting on the couch. One that caught my imagination was different things that can be made in a waffle iron. That spurred the idea for tonight’s recipe exchange. Unexpected recipes for various cooking appliances.

First up, Biscuit Breakfast Sandwiches made in the waffle iron. Not as elegant as JeffreyW’s delicious looking waffle, bacon and egg sandwich pictured above, but it’s a quick- less than 10-minute – tasty breakfast. Click here for recipe and directions.

One of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time is Grilling Pizza outside on the grill. Recipes and instruction here.

And finally, make a spinach lasagna in the slow-cooker that tastes like it was oven-baked, with this recipe for Slow-cooker Lasagna here.

What’s on your plate this weekend? Anyone else have unusual recipes for kitchen gadgets? Anyone harvesting from their garden yet? It’s just about time for my favorites here, peas and new potatoes, along with lettuce, spinach and asparagus.

Tonight’s featured recipe solved my biggest issue with hash browns, how to make them easy, quick and crisp. The waffle iron was the unexpected answer.

Cooking the hashbrowns

It’s so easy.  The best part is, there is no need to wring the water from the shredded potatoes, my least favorite step of making hash browns. It’s messy, but without that, skillet fried hash browns never crisp up properly, even with my cast iron press.

The waffle iron to the rescue. Mine is 7 inches across and enough for one potato, but it’s so fast, it was easy to make enough for everyone. I just put the finished ones in the oven to stay warm.

I shredded the potato and lightly patted the shreds with a paper towel, I mixed in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, shredded onion and garlic powder. I brushed oil on both plates and pre-heated the iron, mine has temp settings, so I put it on the highest setting. I spread the shredded potato thinly over the iron, closed the lid tight and let cook for 2 minutes, checked on them, then removed when they were crisp enough. Over the four potatoes I made, the longest time was 4:30 minutes, shortest time was a little less than 3 minutes.

Waffle hashbrowns

It was so easy and the cleanup  was basically wiping out the waffle iron with a paper towel. The next time I do it, I think I’ll add some shredded green or red pepper. It’s definitely a good way to put my waffle iron to use.

That’s it for this week. No Bixby update, although he learned how to use a drinking fountain yesterday. Pretty damn cute. I’ll try to get video for next week. Hope you have a good weekend – TaMara

 

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Fun with Food: Slow-cooker Spinach Lasagna

Slow-Cooker Lasagna 2

This week I’m having fun with unusual recipes in unusual gadgets. Here’s one from December 2012:

This is a great take on spinach lasagna, using a slow-cooker. This entire dish completely surprised me. I was at work, one day, in our morning meeting – which was actually an excuse for the guys to wow me with their cooking ideas – when Vern told me about the slow-cooker lasagna he’d made the night before. I was skeptical. Lasagna in a slow-cooker sounded like it would have the consistency of canned ravioli. But he insisted it was really good. So I set out to see for myself. I have to say, he wasn’t wrong. It had a great flavor, the texture was very similar to having cooked it in an oven and the top was nicely browned and the cheese perfectly gooey. The only caveat is that it cooks in about 4 hours, so you can’t put it together in the morning and have it ready when you get home at the end of the work day. It would be burned to a crisp, even on low.

So, here is tonight’s featured recipe, my version of slow-cooker lasagna:

Slow-Cooker Spinach Lasagna

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (opt, you can skip to keep this vegetarian)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 carrot shredded (this cuts the acidity of the sauce, adds a touch of sweetness)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 28 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp of dried basil, crushed
  • 12 ounces ricotta cheese (you can sub in cottage cheese if desired)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and rough chopped
  • 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked (I used brown rice pasta to keep it gluten free)

Sauce: Brown ground beef, along with onion, garlic, carrots and green pepper in a saucepan (if you are omitting the beef, sauté vegetables in a tbsp of olive oil). Add tomato sauce, paste and spices. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer on low while preparing remaining ingredients.

Mix together ricotta cheese and egg, until well combined. Fold in spinach.

In the slow-cooker, spoon a layer of sauce onto the bottom, add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with a portion of the ricotta mixture and then a portion of the mozzarella. Add sauce, then a single layer of noodles, ricotta and mozzarella and repeat layers until ingredients are all used up. (Because slow-cookers vary in size, I unfortunately can’t give you precise layering, as I can with the traditional lasagna. You’ll have to eye it. The good news is, it will all cook together and be just fine regardless).

Finish with sauce, mozzarella and then shredded Parmesan.

Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

 

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Full Menu: Slow-Cooker Pot Roast and Ice Cream Delight

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Pot Roast and Veggies, photo by JeffreyW

Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so of course I wanted pot roast. I love pot roast. Throwing the ingredients in the slow-cooker and coming home to a true comfort food dinner is just what this week needs. 

You can substitute beef broth for the wine if you like.  The frozen pie is the favorite of a friend of mine, I’d never even heard of it before, but she said she grew up with it.  It is easy enough to make and I love chocolate and mint together, so it was a no-brainer when she suggested it.

On the board tonight:

  1. Slow-cooker Pot Roast
  2. Tossed Salad
  3. Ice Cream Delight

Slow-cooker Pot Roast

  • 4 lbs Pot Roast (chuck roast)
  • ¼ red wine
  • ¼ cup beef broth or water
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • ½ tsp salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 6 medium potatoes, quartered
  • 1 lb bag baby carrots

slow-cooker

Optional:  coat roast in 1 tbsp flour and brown on all sides in 2 tbsp oil in skillet before adding to slow-cooker.  Nice, but not necessary for great flavor.

Add roast & liquid to slow-cooker.  Sprinkle rosemary, dill, bay leaves, salt & pepper on top of roast.  Add in order: onion, potatoes and carrots (this keeps carrots from over cooking).  Cover & cook according to your slow-cooker directions (they vary considerably) usually 8 to 10 hours on low.

Gravy – When I use a slow-cooker, I usually cheat a bit on the gravy.  I take ½ cup of beef broth and mix with 1 tbsp of flour, stirring well. I then bring the beef juices (about 1 cup, if more, you’ll need more flour) in the slow-cooker to a boil and stir in the flour mixture, stirring at a boil until thickened.  Then I reduce the heat back to low and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Not as tasty as a gravy started with a roux, but it does the trick and you’ll never have lumps.

Ice Cream Delight

  • 8 oz Oreo style cookies
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 qt. mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 6 oz chocolate topping
  • 4 oz whipped cream (I go for the real thing)

8×8 baking dish

Crush cookies in a blender until fine crumbs.  Mix ½ of the crumbs with melted butter, spread on the bottom of baking dish, don’t pack down.  Cut ice cream into 1-inch thick slices and layer on crust (or let melt enough to be spreadable and spread with a large spatula).  Spread chocolate, then whipped topping on top.  Sprinkle remaining cookie crumbs over top.  Freeze.

Shopping List:

  • Salad fixins’
  • 4 lbs Pot Roast
  • 2 oz red wine
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1 lb bag baby carrots
  • 8 oz Oreo style cookies
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 qt. mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 6 oz chocolate topping
  • 4 oz whipped cream (I go for making my own or the canned cream in the dairy section)

Also: beef broth, rosemary, dried dill, 2 bay leaves, salt & pepper,

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Crockpot Italian Pork

DSC_6679 [1600x1060]After enjoying the Italian beef from that top sirloin roast the other day I decided to do a pork shoulder in the same manner.  This time I used a big slow cooker to do the cooking but the seasonings were much the same.  I rubbed the shoulder with salt and dried Italian herbs, poked garlic cloves into slits cut into the meat, and tossed some fresh oregano and rosemary into the bottom.  No additional liquid was used and I poured off the liquid the pork shed while cooking hoping to get what browning I could.  I skimmed the fat from the drippings and reduced the remainder for gravy.DSC_6683 [1600x1060]A nice chunk of the pork featured in a dinner that included steamed veggies, garlic mashed potatoes, and buttered hot rolls.  There was a lot of meat left for a sammich for lunch today:DSC_6686 [1600x1060]That big jar of giardiniera has a nice dent in it but there is plenty more yet.

Sammich Pr0n – Italian Beef Sliders

DSC_6119 [1600x1200]We were in the local Kroger store yesterday making a quick run for odds and ends and ran across these ciabatta rolls in the deli bakery section.  I was thawing a beef roast for the Italian beef and thought them right for sliders.  They were perfect.  The Italian beef was pretty good, I had started it in the oven but saw it wasn’t going to be done in time so I transferred it into the crock pot to finish and cooked something else for dinner.  The roast had a dozen or more cloves of garlic shoved into slits and was seasoned with salt and pepper.  It did brown well while it was in the oven.  I sliced several Vidalia onions that I needed to use into the pot, added a quart of beef broth, dried basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  I let that cook on high for several more hours, taking the meat out when it was falling apart.  I dumped the remaining liquids and onions into a pot and reduced them by two thirds, then added the beef back and broke it down with forks.  That all spent the night in the fridge.  It’s always better the next day.DSC_6117 [1600x1200]

Crockpot BBQ Brisket

DSC_6088 [1600x1200]I had so much going on with the grill I decided to do a crockpot recipe for a beef brisket that I needed to either cook or freeze..  I’m a big fan of Smitten Kitchen so when a search brought me her recipe for tangy spiced brisket I didn’t look any farther. I didn’t use her list of herbs and spices in favor of using up some dry rub I had laying around but there was considerable overlap.  Also on the plate today is a simple slaw with a sweetened and spiced rice vinegar dressing, and a sour cream, bacon, and dill potato salad.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Holiday Gathering Recipes

Slow-Cooker Lasagna 2

Surprisingly Easy Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Happy day before Solstice!  With five days until Christmas, I hope you’re all set to go. Christmas Eve dinner is once again at my place, so I still have some shopping to do. The menu is set and I’m keeping it pretty simple: A classic Spinach Lasagna (recipe here), garlic-cheese bread, salad and an ice cream sundae bar for dessert. Plenty of good coffee, wine and friends will complete the evening.

Since this is a time of holiday potlucks and house guests, I thought it would be fun to highlight some recipes that are easy, but elegant.

The first recipe is a Christmas morning favorite: German Pancakes with walnut sauce (recipe here). Easy, easy recipe that will wow any overnight guests. And there is a bonus Santa Cookie recipe at that link.

And if you’re asked to bring the dessert?

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JeffreyW’s Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie

How about JeffreyW’s Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie (recipe here). Pretty to look at and delicious.

Or my ridiculously easy and festive Cranberry Upside-Down Cake (recipe here).

Expecting a house full or need a potluck dish? Our featured recipe (pictured at top) is a great take on spinach lasagna, using a slow-cooker. This entire dish completely surprised me. I was at work, in our morning meeting – which is actually just an excuse for the guys to wow me with their cooking ideas – when Vern told me about the slow-cooker lasagna he’d made the night before. I was skeptical. Lasagna in a slow-cooker sounded like it would have the consistency of canned ravioli. But he insisted it was really good. So I set out to see for myself. I have to say, he wasn’t wrong. It had a great flavor, the texture was very similar to having cooked it in an oven and the top was nicely browned and the cheese perfectly gooey. The only caveat is that it cooks in about 4 hours, so you can’t put it together in the morning and have it ready when you get home at the end of the work day. It would be burned to a crisp, even on low.

So, here is tonight’s featured recipe, my version of slow-cooker lasagna:

Slow-Cooker Spinach Lasagna

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (opt, you can skip to keep this vegetarian)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 carrot shredded (this cuts the acidity of the sauce, adds a touch of sweetness)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 28 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp of dried basil, crushed
  • 12 ounces ricotta cheese (you can sub in cottage cheese if desired)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and rough chopped
  • 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked (I used brown rice pasta to keep it gluten free)

Sauce: Brown ground beef, along with onion, garlic, carrots and green pepper in a saucepan (if you are omitting the beef, sauté vegetables in a tbsp of olive oil). Add tomato sauce, paste and spices. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer on low while preparing remaining ingredients.

Mix together ricotta cheese and egg, until well combined. Fold in spinach.

In the slow-cooker, spoon a layer of sauce onto the bottom, add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with a portion of the ricotta mixture and then a portion of the mozzarella. Add sauce, then a single layer of noodles, ricotta and mozzarella and repeat layers until ingredients are all used up. (Because slow-cookers vary in size, I unfortunately can’t give you precise layering, as I can with the traditional lasagna. You’ll have to eye it. The good news is, it will all cook together and be just fine regardless).

Finish with sauce, mozzarella and then shredded Parmesan.

Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.