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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches

So, this isn't really a recipe - just yet another idea for that pork roast. I just wanted to include it because it is one of my boys favorites. All I do is: Cook a pork roast in a crock pot (in beef broth) on low all day, take it out and shred it. Dump the juices, put the pork back in and add bbq sauce. I think the most important part is to use a really good bbq sauce - not the cheap stuff. Once again, I would like to promote Danielle's bbq sauce on this blog - it's great. If I use a bottled sauce, I usually add some apricot preserves to my liking (Danielle's recipe is usually sweet enough). Also, I know some people add a little pop (i.e., sprite) to their sauce, which is also good. Serve on a yummy role and I'm sure your kids will love it (or are mine the only ones obsessed with bbq sauce?).

Southwestern Pulled Pork

I got this recipe from Taste of Home. It's another one we all like. I'll have to add a picture later.

Southwestern Pulled Pork
adapted from tasteofhome

3 lb-ish pork roast
1 c. barbecue sauce (make sure it's a good one. I suggest trying the one Danielle posted - it's fantastic!)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2 cans chopped green chiles
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbl chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano

Cook the roast in 1-2 cups of beef broth, with some S&P and garlic powder in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hrs (or you can just cook the roast in all of the ingredients, if you don't care about draining off the drippings). Remove pork and shred. Remove juices from crock pot and add the rest of ingredients. Add shredded pork and continue to cook for about 2 more hours. Serve on tortillas with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.

Sweet Pork

I got this recipe from the Sister's Cafe. I am a sucker for sweet + pork anything, so it's one of my favorites.

Sweet Pork
adapted from the Sister's Cafe

3 lb pork roast
1/2 c worcestershire sauce (the original recipe calls for 1 c. - I think it's unnecessary to use an entire cup)
1/2 c beef broth (to make up for the above)
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbl minced onions

Cook all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hrs. One hour before serving, remove roast and shred it. Dump out juices, reserving about a cup. In crock pot mix 1 c. red enchilada sauce and 1 cup brown sugar, then add shredded pork. Add 1/2 - 1 cup of juices to your liking (the original recipe doesn't have you add any of the juice back in, but I think it adds to the flavor). Serve on tortillas with beans and rice, sour cream, cheese, etc.

Chile Verde

Okay. So I LOVE pork loin roasts. They are yummy, cheap (we buy the huge ones at Sam's and divide them into 3-4 smaller roasts), easy and the possibilities are endless. And, since about half our meals end up being some form of pork loin, I decided to list a few of the regulars... sorry, if it's a bit much pork to swallow.

First up, chile verde (or my americanized version anyway).

Chile Verde

3-4 lb pork roast
1 lrg can (28 oz) green chile enchilada sauce
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 or 2 cans of green chiles (when I'm in a good mood, I like to roast, peel and chop my own)
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
chicken boullion to taste (about 2 tsp)

To cook the roast you could just combine everything in a crock pot, add the roast and cook all day, but I prefer to cook the roast first without the other stuff, so that I can drain off all the fat drippings and gunk. I cook my roast in the crock pot on low with about a cup or two of beef broth, with some S&P and garlic powder on the roast, for 6-8 hrs. A couple of hours before eating, combine the rest of the ingredients in a med. sauce pan and simmer, so that the veggies are soft. About an hour before serving, shred the pork, return to crock pot, and add the sauce . Serve on tortillas with beans and rice, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, etc.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

We really, really enjoy Indian food. Since we live at least an hour from a decent Indian restaurant, I've been trying to learn to make some of my favorites at home. I've been tweaking this recipe for a few months. To be REAL Tikka Masala you would need a tandoor oven, but this comes pretty darn close. This makes enough for all of us, with a little bit for me to have for lunch the next day.

Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Marinade and Chicken:
1 cup plain yogurt (I like the 2% Greek variety, but regular is fine)
1 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled is fine)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut in half or quarters to cook faster

Combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for one hour. Grill chicken or cook chicken in frying pan, then cut into bite-size pieces. I prefer the taste of grilled chicken, so I grill it on my panini maker. Also, it's faster. Discard marinade. While the chicken is grilling, make the sauce.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 1/4 cup cream (I use plain soy milk)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic for one minute. Stir in cumin, paprika and salt, and stir until fragrant (I have learned this is one of the secrets to Indian food. It really brings out the flavors). Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken pieces and simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice. We like jasmine or basmati rice.

Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe (and I swiped her photo)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Darn good chocolate cake

I got this recipe from my sister, Steph, a while ago but since then I have seen it on various blogs as well. I'm sure it has made it into most people's recipe box's, but just in case any of you don't have the recipe, here you go. I normally steer clear of cake mixes. Not that I am too good for simplicity - I just think they're weak. But, there are two recipes that I have that use them, and doctor them up terrifically... this is one. It's super easy, and SUPER yummy.

Darn good chocolate cake:

1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1 pkg 4 oz instant chocolate pudding
4 large eggs
1 c sour cream
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 1/2 semi sweet choc. chips

Mix everything together very well, add choc chips. Cook in greased and floured bundt pan (12 cup?... whatever the bigger one is). Bake at 350 for 45-50 min, or until toothpick comes out clean... just don't overbake. Cool about 30 min before removing. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or use a chocolate glaze. Here is what I use:

Chocolate glaze:
On stove, melt 1 pkg chocolate chips, one can sweetened condensed milk and 2 tbl butter together. Remove from heat, then add 1 tsp vanilla. You may want to add a couple tablespoons of milk as well, if it is thicker than you want. Drizzle over cooled cake. Also, I usually only use half of the amount that this makes and just save the rest for something later.

** A couple of side notes:
A yummy variation of this is to use butterscotch pudding and butterscotch chips instead of the chocolate. I know that sounds weird (or yucky), but my sister did this when she didn't have chocolate pudding one time, and it was quite yummy.

Another variation I've tried is to substitute 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree for the oil and 3 of the eggs. Again, it sounds odd. I saw this on the Today show and decided to give it a try. The lady said to replace the oil and eggs in a cake mix recipe for the pumpkin. Cake mix recipes call for 3 eggs and this one uses 4, so I did still added one egg (impressive math skills, right?). Now, I'm not going to say that it tasted exactly the same, or that it was as good as the normal recipe (because I hate when people claim you can't tell the difference). But, I was pleasantly surprised. However, I did notice that it took just a bit longer to cook. I took mine out just a bit too early, and it was a little doughy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pumpkin carrot bread/muffins

I like veggie/fruit breads. I like them a lot. I make them a lot. For some reason, my mind has justified these as being 'healthy', as opposed to cakes or cookies or other baked goods. But, that's probably not quite the case, since I end up eating a good half loaf of bread or half dozen muffins vs. a couple of cookies. Anyways, since I eat them a lot, I like to come up with new combos, or new ways of cutting out some lard, while keeping in some moisture, or adding more hidden veggies in them so that I can use the word 'healthy' with less guilt. So, here is a recipe that I came up with that is moist and 'healthy'. I guess it's very similar to the pumpkin zucchini bread I posted, but it's more on the pumpkiny side and even more moist.

2 cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c oil
1 3/4 c sugar

2 c shredded carrot

3 c flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

You can also add 1 cup of choc. chips for some extra yumminess. For bread (makes 2 loaves): grease loaf pans and bake at 325 for 50-65 min, or until toothpick comes out clean, cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans. For muffins (makes about 24): grease muffin tins, fill almost to top and bake at 350 for 18-22 min, or until set, cool for a few minutes before removing. For mini muffins (makes about 48): grease tins, fill almost to top and bake at 350 for 12-16 min, or until set.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

Sorry, no pic at the moment. But, this is a super duper yummy soup. I got this recipe from my sister, Steph, and it won me the 'Best Soup' award at a ward party a few years back. If that isn't a testament of a great soup, then I don't know what is :) It does take a bit more time, than a throw-everything-in-a-pot soup, and dirties a few more dishes, but I (and my family) would say it's worth it. Here is the recipe along with way too many side notes. If you have a large family, or like leftovers, then I would definitely double the recipe.

Cheeseburger Soup:

1/2 pound burger (more if you like a lot of meat)
3/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. grated carrots
3/4 c. chopped celery (I always add a bit more carrot and celery)
4 c. diced (smaller is better) potatoes
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 Tbl. butter
1/4 c. flour (I like it a tad thicker, so I use more like 1/3 c)
3 c. chicken broth
8 oz velveeta, cubed (I add an extra ounce or two for more cheesiness)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream (optional - it's good either way)

Brown burger and set aside. In large skillet, saute veggies and spices in 1/2 of the butter until potatoes are soft (I cover it with a lid until almost done to prevent the veggies from burning before they are cooked). In a large pot, melt the rest of the butter and add flour to form a paste, then add 1/2 of the broth and boil until thick. Add veggies, the rest of the broth and other ingredients (I also add chicken boullion to taste - at least a few teaspoons, maybe more?). Simmer 15-20 minutes. This is a really good soup to serve in a bread bowl.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Southwestern Pasta Salad



I made this on Wednesday for playgroup, and everybody seemed to like it. I love it. This recipe makes a big salad.

1 (24 oz.) bag Rotini pasta – cooked, drained and cooled

2 cans of black olives - sliced

1 can white kidney beans - rinsed

1 can black beans - rinsed

1 red pepper – diced

6 small tomatoes – seeded and diced

1 (12 oz.) bag of frozen corn (about 1-1/2 cups)

1 – 2 C of shredded Colby Jack cheese

2 jars of Lighthouse Salsa Ranch Dressing

1 C sour Cream

salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. Add sour cream and dressing – mix well. Top with additional cheese. Chill.

The original recipe called for garbanzo beans. This is a great recipe for using what you have on hand – the possibilities are endless with this salad. For dinner last night, I threw in some chicken – yum!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No Knead Bread

I've seen no-knead bread on a lot of blogs. I've tried two different recipes. They are slightly different, but have the same idea. Here are the links to both with a summary of the differences.

Sister's Cafe 5 Minute No-Knead Bread (this is the one I brought to playgroup)
  • Makes 4 small loaves
  • Uses lots of yeast--takes about 4 hours start to finish
  • Bake on a stone with a pan of water for the crust.
  • More mild flavor
  • I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and the rest white on the playgroup loaf.
NY Times/ Sullivan Street Bakery Bread (this is the one that seems to be the favorite in the blog world)
  • Makes 1 large loaf
  • Uses minimal yeast and takes 1-2 days to rise
  • Bakes in a dutch oven to generate steam and the crusty exterior.
  • Longer rise time gives the flavor more time to develop.
I haven't decided which I prefer. I do like that I don't have to plan so far in advance for the Sisters' Cafe version, but I kind of like the flavor of the other. You can be your own judge I suppose.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Italian Kabobs

Every New Year's Eve I let the kids choose some fun party/appetizer foods for dinner. The kids choose these Italian kabobs every year. The kids love them because all of the ingredients are very kid friendly and they are a lot of fun to put together. The kids love to assemble these while sneaking olives and tortellinis here and there. Sometimes if I have leftover tortellinis from dinner the night before I will make these for the kids to take in their lunch. It makes for a nice change from the regular sandwich. The picture is pretty self explanatory but here are the directions.

1 small pkg. tortellini
1 can black olives
4 pkgs. of string cheese

The only thing there really is to explain is the tortellini can be prepared two different ways.

Option #1- After you boil the pasta you can either add and little butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. My kids preferred way to eat them.

Option #2- Cool the pasta, combine with Italian salad dressing. Let marinate while you get the other ingredients ready. The Italian salad dressing adds a lot of great flavor. This is my preferred way to eat them.