Rootbeer Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Stay with me!  I promise I have not gone completely mad!  This recipe is delicious!!

Items Needed:

  • Pork Shoulder (3 lbs)
  • 1 cup of rootbeer
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thickly sliced, separated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt/pepper
  • Barbeque sauce of choice

I started out by placing one of those slow cooker bags in my slow cooker.  (more on it’s awesomeness later!)

Next I lined the bottom of the slow cooker with half the onion slices.  I left all the fat on the pork but coated the outside with salt and pepper.  I placed the shoulder on top of the onions.  I added the rootbeer.  I roughly chopped the garlic cloves and added to the rootbeer.  I covered the shoulder with the remaining onions and placed on low heat for 6 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Once cooked, I pulled out the pork and let rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes.  I shredded the pork with two forks, and at this time I removed the fat from the pork and discarded the fat.  I did also roughly chop the onions and garlic pieces and mix those in with the pulled pork.  No need to waste that great flavor!

I like to keep the pork “naked” as each of our family members has a separate preference of BBQ sauce and it also makes it easier to repurpose this meat for leftover dishes.  You can certainly mix the whole batch with your favorite sauce though!

Add to some hamburger buns and you are set!  The rootbeer, I found adds a distinct flavor to the pork that is sweet but still has that little kick that makes your taste buds wonder “what’s that flavor?”.

This main dish would be awesome paired with my Apple Cole Slaw!  Yum!

Enjoy!

*Oh and the slow cooker bags were AWESOME!  Clean up consisted of me dumping the liquid in the bag down the drain and throwing the bag away!  Love it!

And That’s What Che Said…

Kahlua Recipe

Yep, it’s exactly that.  Kahlua.   Like the liquor, and like, I make it myself.    I am mixing up a batch on this beautiful fall day and thought I’d share my recipe with you!  It makes your house smell fabulous!

Items Needed:

  • 4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 tsp. vanilla extract*
  • 1/2 cup instant coffee*
  • 4 cups 80 proof Vodka

*For the Vanilla Extract and Instant Coffee it is important to use good quality products on these!  They are the brilliant flavor!

Start off by mixing the sugar and water in a large stock pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Add vanilla and instant coffee.  Reduce heat and simmer on low to medium heat for 2 hours.  Cool to room temperature and then add the vodka.  Mix well.  It is very, very, VERY important to let your coffee mixture cool completely before adding the vodka otherwise your alcohol will burn off!

I have an actual Kahlua bottle that I refill and keep out in our liquor cabinet and I store the rest back in the vodka bottle or other sealable bottle.  Old washed out half-gallon milk jugs are good for this also.  You can store the extra in a pantry and keep refilling the pretty bottles you have 🙂

You will be seeing some of my favorite drink recipes using this Kahlua soon!  For some reason fall and winter makes me want coffee/Kahlua type drinks!  Have a fabulous weekend!!!

Enjoy!

And That’s What Che Said…

Apple Chips

Got Apples?   Yeah, remember we went Apple Picking a few weeks back with my parents in St. Louis?  Well we still had some Honeycrisp apples left and I wanted to give this recipe a try!   The verdict:  DEEEE-LISH-US!!!    I really hope you give this a try!  This will be something I do all year round as we are a family that loves fruit…in all forms!

Items Needed:

  • Apples
  • Parchment Paper
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

After preheating my oven to 200°F, I started off by using my mandolin and slicing 2 large Honeycrisp apples in thin slices.  I just gave them a wash and left the skins on.  You can use a sharp knife also if you do not have a mandolin.

Next I arranged the slices in a single-ish layer on baking sheets that were lined with parchment paper.   DO NOT skip this step!  I did the first round without parchment paper and we played “scrap the apples from the cookie sheet’ on several of the slices!  Boo!

If you are using apples that aren’t naturally sweet, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  I used delicious honeycrisp and choose not to add either the sugar or cinnamon.  (Great decision by the way, mine were delicious naked!)

Bake in the upper 1/3 of your oven at 200°F for about 2 hours.  Depending on your slice thickness will depend on your time in the oven.

Let cool and enjoy!

The first batch I made didn’t make it past the cookie sheet, before they were gobbled up (except those few that stuck like GLUE!)  I made several more batches after and I stored them in some gladware once they were completely cool.

Not to mention this is an awesome snack because there is nothing there but apple, also while they are baking, they make your house smell yummy!  This is a great way to use those apples!  I am guessing this winter, when sweet apples (Honeycrisp, Gala, Pink Lady, or Braeburn) are hard to come by, I will try it with the sugar and cinnamon.  I’ll keep you posted on that, however I loved them as is!

And That’s What Che Said…

Pigs in a Blanket, Mummy Style!

What a super easy lunch idea or appetizer idea for a Halloween Party?  Here it is.  I am not even joking on how easy it is!

Hot Dog Mummies (Pigs in a blanket Halloween style!)

Items Needed:

  • Hotdogs or cocktail wieners
  • refrigerated Crescent Rolls
  • Cooking Spray
  • Dipping sauce of choice

First start off by preheating your oven according to the package of Crescent rolls.  Mine was 375°F.

Next unroll the dough and using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough in 1/4″ strips.  It does not matter how you cut the dough or in which direction.

I chose to cut my regular hot dogs in half for the boys’ lunch.  You can also make these full size, just be sure to pierce the skin of the hot dog before you wrap him up so you don’t end up with “Pigs in a Blanket, Exploded Style!”

Start by wrapping the ‘head” of the mummy with a dough strip leaving an area of exposed hot dog for  a “face”.  Continue wrapping him all up in any fashion so that he is all mummified!

Place on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake according to the package of the Crescent rolls.  I baked for 12 minutes.

I added some “blood’ dipping sauce and they were an absolute HIT with Michael.  (Ryan will eat anything without hesitation).  Replace a regular old bun with the buttery goodness of the Crescent rolls and they were a HIT with me as well!  🙂

Enjoy!

And That’s What Che Said…

Confetti Couscous

This is a super simple side dish that combines both veggies and starch!

Items Needed for 2 servings

  • 3/4 cup dry Couscous
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 3/4 cup (1 small) summer squash, diced
  • 3/4 cup (1 small) zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • basil
  • butter
  • salt/pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 lemons

I followed the package directions on my Couscous and for 2 servings I added 3/4 cup of CousCous to 1 cup boiling Chicken Broth.  I covered and removed from heat.  After 5 minutes I fluffed with a fork.

While the Chicken Broth is coming to a boil, dice the zucchini, summer squash, and onion.  Add 1 or 2 pats of butter to a small skillet and saute the veggies until the onions are translucent. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.  To the juice of 2 (larger) lemons and I wisked in about 1/8 of a cup of olive oil.  (eyeballed it totally) Once the couscous is finished cooking, stir in the veggies and the vinaigrette.  Right before serving, Julienne about 5 small (2 large) basil leaves and add to the mixture.  Don’t add the basil too soon, it will turn brown.

Michael called this “Confetti” because apparently the diced veggies looked like confetti to him!  So stinkin’ cute!

Enjoy!

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Egg Bake

This egg breakfast bake couldn’t be easier or more versatile!  It’s so simple and delicious and I make two pans of it and slice and freeze* them for easy morning breakfasts for the boys!

Items Needed:

  • 1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Mix-ins (I used 3/4 cup chopped ham and Real Bacon Bits)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • cooking spray (not pictured)

Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F.  In a 13 x 9 pan lightly spray it with cooking spray.  Open the crescent roll tube and unroll it and spread the dough across the bottom of the pan being sure to patch any holes in the dough.

Next, I chopped my ham and added it on top of the crescent dough.  I also added about 2 tablespoons of Hormel Real Bacon Bits to half the bake.  (Michael only wanted ham in his bake this morning?).

Wisk 8 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk in bowl and pour on top of dough and Mix-ins.  Sprinkle cheese over top and bake for 25 minutes or until the center is set.  I have a hot oven so the 25 minutes does it.  When I made this in MN my oven was not hot at all and I had to keep it in there a good 30 minutes.  So just keep an eye on it.

Some other Mix-ins I have done in the past are: Diced Green Peppers, Diced Onions, Sausage links (the fully cooked kind), artichokes, carmelized onions, asparagus (raw),  sliced Roma tomatoes.    (The last 4 mix-ins together are heavenly)

*If freezing, I let them cool in the refrigerator and then slice and package a few slices in freezer bags making sure I push all the air out of the bags.  If you put warm slices in the bags and freeze you will have soggy egg bake when you defrost.  To serve I either thaw in the fridge if I am really on my game and then microwave for a few seconds or you can microwave the frozen slices in 30 second increments until warm.  (which is what normally happens in my house!)

I’d love to hear what mix-ins you add to this recipe!  I am always looking for great ideas!

Enjoy!

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Honey Citrus Glazed Salmon with Peach Salsa

We love fish in our house.  Even the boys.  It’s great for you and I have found super easy to make.  Some people are a bit taken back by fish but I promise you it is so easy!!!

To start with, we did not have a great grocery store selection here in Joplin.  Now that the tornado thoroughly screwed things up, we are left with Walmart.  So I use frozen.  If you have a fresh fish counter PLEASE utilize that!  The person behind the counter should be able to tell you when it was caught or if it was previously frozen.    I used a bag of (4) individually wrapped 4 oz fillets.  I thaw them by filling  my sink with about 2 inches of cold water and letting them float in there for a few minutes.  It doesn’t take long.

Items Needed:

  • (4) 4 oz. Salmon Fillets
  • Lemon
  • Honey
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Drizzle a baking dish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil so the fish fillets do not stick.  In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons of Honey with about 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice.  These measurements are flexible.  Just use enough juice to thin the honey so that it’s not a thick blob.  You don’t want it runny though, you want it to stick to the fish. Finely grate 1 teaspoon of lemon zest into the bowl also.  Only zest the yellow part of the rind, not the white, that part is bitter.  Baste each side with the lemon/honey mixture and season with salt & pepper.  Flip fillets and repeat on opposite side.

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the center of the fish is opaque and the fish will flake with a fork.  Don’t overbake!

Arrange the fish on a plate and cover with 2 heaping spoonfuls of Peach Salsa, whose recipe can be found HERE!

The honey and lemon in the salsa, along with the sweetness of the peaches compliment the honey/lemon on the salmon!

Enjoy!!
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