Crockpot, Pork, Pressure Cooker/Instapot, Sandwich

Pulled Pork with Coleslaw

I bought a pork butt and was originally going to make pork carnitas.  I had all the ingredients and at the last minute decided to switch it up to pulled pork.  It was my first time making the pulled pork in my pressure cooker and with a pork butt.  I’ve done a few times with a pork loin and in the crockpot but never this way.

You can definitely put this in a crockpot for low 8-10 hours or you can make low and slow in the oven.  If you do in the oven it will probably take 8-10 hours as well on like 300°-325°.  I used the pressure cooker because it took 90 minutes.  It came out tender and falling apart and very easy to shred.

I got a pressure cooker a few years ago for Christmas and I love it.  I love being able to cook foods so much faster and they come out much juicer than being in the crockpot.  I just recently bought an instapot.  I haven’t taken out of the box just yet because the next few weeks are super busy I want to be able to use it properly.  I can’t wait though.  Stay tuned for more information on that.

Now, back to the pulled pork.  It came out delicious I can safety say I’m excited to eat these leftovers!  When I think of pulled pork a lot of times I think of an excess amount of BBQ sauce.  I honestly have very little BBQ sauce in this recipe.  I think a lot of time the BBQ sauce drowns out the real flavor of the meat.  So, this is what I did.  It’s probably not traditional but it’s my take on pulled pork with just a simple coleslaw.

Pulled Pork with Coleslaw

Ingredients:
4-5lb pork shoulder/pork butt
8-10 large buns
BBQ sauce for topping (optional)

Sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup apple sider vinegar
¼ cup Worcestershire
2 T honey or brown sugar
3 T oil
3 T ketchup
3 T bbq sauce
½ T onion powder
½ T garlic powder
½ T cumin
½ T paprika
½ T chili powder
2 T salt
2 T pepper
3 C water

Rub:
1 ½ T onion powder
1 ½ T garlic powder
1 ½ T chili powder
1 ½ T cumin
1 ½ T paprika
2 t salt
2 t pepper

Simple Coleslaw

Ingredients:
14 oz bag of coleslaw mix
¾ cup light mayo
¾ cup light sour cream
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 small onion, diced
2 t onion powder
2 t garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:  In a bowl mix together all ingredients for the sauce minus the water.  Mix well to a smooth consistence and set aside. Cut the pork in 2 pieces.  In a bowl mix together all ingredients for the rub.  Rub mixture on all sides of the meat pieces; make sure to cover the meat well.  Heat pressure cooker on high heat (Or a sauté pan if your oven roasting or using the crockpot.) Add in 1 T of oil and brown 1 chunk of meat at time, brown on all sides.  Remove from the pan.  Use 1 T of oil and do the same thing with the second chunk of meat.

Add both pieces of meat back to the pressure cooker and add in 3 cups of water and pour the sauce mixture over the meat.  Cover the pressure cooker and bring up to pressure and cook on medium high heat for 90 minutes.  Let pressure release naturally.  If you are roasting in the oven, add the meat to a roasting pan and only add 1 cup of water and then pour the sauce over the meat and cook for 8-10 hours on 300°.  Note, you can cook it less but it won’t be falling apart and super easy to shred.  For the crockpot, add meat to crockpot and add in 2 cups of water and pour sauce over the meat and cook on low 8-10.  Cook until the meat falls apart.

While meat is cooking make the coleslaw.  To a medium bowl add the coleslaw mix and the onion.  In a smaller bowl mix together the sour cream, mayo, apple cider vinegar and the garlic and onion powder.  Add that mixture to coleslaw and mix well till fully coated.  Season the coleslaw with salt and pepper to taste and add to the refrigerator until ready to use.  Mix well before serving.

Once meat is cooked, (In whichever method you choose) Add to a large bowl and shred the meat completely.  Spoon some of the juices from the pan into the bowl and mix well.  To serve, add meat to bun and drizzle with some reserved juices and top with a dollop of bbq sauce (Optional: I didn’t do this as the meat flavor was enough for me and didn’t want to change it.)  Either eat with coleslaw on the bun or on the side.  The choice is yours! 🙂

Note:  Double the coleslaw recipe if you’re going to make for a crowd or eat all within a few days.  I only made one recipe as I was only eating half now and freezing the rest.  Optional:  Add the leftover juices to a container or a bowl and let side until the fat starts to separate from the juices.  Once that happens, remove the fat that’s collected on the top and add the liquid to the meat mixture and mix well.  This will keep the meat nice and juicy especially for leftovers or if you’re freezing any of the meat.

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Finished Product!
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Cooked!
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Shredded!
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Simple Coleslaw!
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Sides, Veggies

Zucchini Fries

I LOVE zucchini.  It’s one of my favorite vegetables.  My Mom’s always made sautéed zucchini with onions and butter and I’ve always loved it.  Over the years I’ve tried to think outside the box and do something different since I love this ingredient so much.

I’ve used zucchini in everything from pasta to eggs.  I first made these zucchini fries a few years ago when I was being healthy and had a craving for something salty and crunchy.  Since I was dieting I couldn’t just have the French fries I wanted so I decided to try zucchini fries.  They came out delicious.  I baked them the first time I made them.

The zucchini fries I made today I actually fried.  I fried in a little oil and let drain on a paper towel.  They came out amazing.  I used mini zucchinis I found at the store but I usually use regular size ones.  Either will work.  Check it out!

Zucchini Fries

Ingredients:
2 zucchini cut into fries or wedges or 8-10 mini zucchini cut in half
1/2 cup flour
1- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 eggs, whisked
2 T Romano cheese, grated
1/2 T garlic powder
1/2 T onion powder
1/2 T Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Ranch dressing to serve (optional)

Directions:  Make a breading station.  Add whisked eggs to a bowl and add breadcrumbs with seasoning and cheese to a 2nd bowl.  In a large zip lock bag add the flour and the pieces of zucchini.  Shake the bag until the zucchini is coated with the flour. (Note: you can also do this step in a bowl.)

Bread the zucchini.  Remove from flour, dip in egg and then coat in breadcrumb.  Finish with all pieces and set aside.  (You can bread all the zucchini and then put in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to help the breading stay on when frying.)  Note: The breading doesn’t stay overly well on the skin side of the zucchini so it’s not abnormal for the breading to be coming off.

Heat a large sauté pan,  Add in frying oil to cover the bottom and about 1 inch deep.  Let heat up.  You can use more oil if you want. I didn’t want to use too much.  To check if you oil is hot enough you can drop a drop of water and make sure it sizzles or you can put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and make sure there is bubbles coming from where the spoon is (This was a trick from Culinary School.)

Once the oil is ready start frying your zucchini in batches.  Don’t over crowd the pan or that will bring down the temperature of the oil and you won’t get a nice golden and even fry.Cook for 2 minutes and flip over.  If your using bigger pieces, you may need to cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel.  Continue with remaining pieces.  You can add the zucchini to a baking sheet pan and place in a low oven, about 325° degrees to keep warm.  This is a great idea if your making a lot at one time.  Season the zucchini fries with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Notes: Don’t forget to put on a paper towel after you take out of the oil.  If you skip this step your zucchini may get very soggy due to the oil absorbing in the zucchini.  Season with salt once you take out of the oil because then the salt will stick to the fries better.  Serve with ranch dress if you’d like.

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Uncategorized

Top Round Roast Complete Meal

I love making beef roasts.  You let it roast in the oven to perfection and then add some sides and your done.  It’s perfect for a lazy Sunday.  My favorite beef roast is of course prime rib which we make for holidays and at random times when I have a craving for it. 🙂

Over the weekend I made a top round roast.  I was at the grocery store and picked one up because it was on sale.  I figured I’d give it a try.  From what I’ve hear the top round roast is known  as the “Poor mans prime rib.”  That was the first I had really heard of that.

Top round roast is used a lot of the time for the roast beef you get in the deli.  It’s a rather inexpensive cut of beef.  It’s leaner than prime rib but still has good flavor.  When I decided to make this roast, I wasn’t sure it was going to come out the way I was imagining.  It can be tough and you really need to try and cook it at a lower tempature so it doesn’t dry out.

Much to my surprise, the roast came out delicious.  So, if you ever catch it at the grocery store or in your weekly grocery ads give it a try.  I paired it with roasted golden potatoes and breaded string beans.

Top Round Roast with Roasted Potatoes & Breaded String Beans

Ingredients:

Roast:
3 T Butter, melted
1 T oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or graded
2 t thyme, (dried or fresh)
2 t rosemary (dried or fresh)
3 t garlic powder
3 t onion powder
2 t salt
1 t pepper

Potatoes:
10-12 mini Yukon gold/ golden potatoes, quartered
Salt & Pepper to taste

Breaded String Beans
2 cans French style green beans, no salt and drained
3/4- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 T butter or margarine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Basic Horseradish Sauce
1 cup sour cream
3-4 T horseradish

Directions:  Let roast sit out for 30-40 minutes before cooking.  Preheat oven to 425°.  Mix together the sour cream and horseradish and cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a medium roasting pan add in the roast.  Pat the roast dry with a paper towel.  Season the roast with salt and pepper.  In a bowl mix together the butter, oil, fresh garlic, thyme, rosemary, garlic and onion powder. Brush the butter mixture all over the roast.

Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes is up, lower oven to 325° add potatoes around the roast and season with salt and pepper and roast for 55-65 minutes or until the temperature reaches 135-140 for medium.  Check the roast about 20 minutes before the time is up and make sure the temperature is still on track. (Mine cooked faster than I anticipated.)

Once meat is done, remove from the oven and place on a cutting board or plate and lightly tent with foil.  Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.  Cut thinly against the grain. (Note:Do not slice until your ready to eat)

Turn the oven up to 400 and put the potatoes back in and roast for another 15 minutes while the meat is resting.

In a medium sauté pan, add the butter for the green beans and let it start to melt.  Add the beans to the pan and mix well with the butter.  Slowly add in the breadcrumbs while mixing.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  If the beans look dry, add some more butter.  The beans shouldn’t be dry at all.  Season with salt and pepper. (These may seem weird, but honestly you should try them.  They are simple and delicious. We’ve been making them for years.)

Remove the potatoes from the oven and season with extra salt and pepper if desired then create your plate.  Add sliced beef with drizzled pan juices, potatoes and green beans and a little horseradish sauce and serve.

Note:  Some areas of the meat may be slightly more cooked, however it’s still taste good.  I’d undercook it needed.  You will probably have leftovers so just heat left overs at a reduced heat. The meat will also be great for a sandwich.

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Finish Product Meat
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Before it’s cooked
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Meat and Potatoes
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Carved
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Breaded String Beans
Breakfast, Brunch, Uncategorized

Bagel with Lox, Cream Cheese & Red Onion

I have a major love of bagels.  I always have.  My Mom use to always go out to pick up bagels for breakfast on the weekends. My Dad, another lover of bagels use to always buy lox for his bagels.  I’m never really cared for lox because I really don’t like salmon at all.  Lox is a brined or smoked salmon fillet, usually served on a bagel with cream cheese and red onion or tomato and maybe capers.   My Dad enjoyed this and would buy it often.  It’s not an inexpensive item.  It’s usually about $8-$10 for a small package.

My Dad always wanted my brothers and I to try a food before deciding if we didn’t like it or not.  He’d say “How do you know you don’t like it if you don’t try it?” We’d roll our eyes whenever he’d say that but we’d try it.  I’m actually glad he did this, because we aren’t picky eaters now after all these years.

That’s how I started to enjoy lox.  We were in Atlantic City, NJ and my Dad had a VIP membership to this high rollers club inside a hotel.  You could go in there any time of day to get free food and drinks.  That is the first time I decided to try lox on my bagel.  I remember my Dad making it up for me.  He added cream cheese to half of a bagel, topped with the lox and finished it off with red onion.  I made a face and took a bite.  Much to my amazement I liked it!! Actually really liked it.  I think it was probably the salty lox on top of this delicious east coast bagel with cream cheese.

For the rest of the trip, every morning or afternoon I’d have a bagel with lox.  So, I’m glad my Dad made me try it that day.   Now, 13 years later I still enjoy it.  From time to time I’ll buy it for my bagel.  Today I did just that.  I went shopping with my Mom this morning and decided to pick up a package.

This isn’t really a recipe just what I did for my Lox and Bagel. Give it a try especially if  you enjoy salmon but even if you don’t.

Bagel with Lox

Ingredients:
1 package premium lox/smoked salmon
6 T cream Cheese
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
2 bagels, (good quality from bagel shop)

To assemble:  Spread cream cheese over the bagel and top with lox and red onion.

Notes: Use as much cream cheese and onion you like. It depends on preference.  You can also top with tomato, cucumber and capers.

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Chicken

Chicken & Veggie Quesadilla

Happy Weekend!!  I’m sorry I’ve been M.I.A. it’s been a crazy week.  Lots going on over the next few weeks but don’t worry I’m still here 🙂

I wanted to share with you something that’s underestimated but so yummy.  It’s a simple dish that if you have all the ingredients can whip it up quickly.

It’s a chicken and veggie quesadilla! I used seasoned chicken with grilled peppers and onions.  I served with sour cream, salsa and guacamole and 1/2 cup of reduced sodium black beans. It was very filling, delish and guilt free!

When I do my meal prep I like to make several bell peppers and onions. I grill them up and eat them in different ways through out the week.  I just loved them!  That’s what I used here.  These are great for a snack or a meal.

Chicken Quesadilla
Servings: 2

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 Medium onion, sliced
1/2- 1 cup shredded cheese (use as much as you’d like)
3T low sodium taco seasoning
Sprinkle: Salt and Pepper
4 flour tortillas, fajita size

Toppings/Extras
1 cup reduced sodium black beans
3T sour cream
3T Fresh salsa
3T guacamole

Directions: Preheat oven at 350°. Season the chicken with taco seasoning and set aside. Grill peppers and onions on the grill till slightly charred and soft. Remove from grill and season with salt and pepper, set aside. Heat sauté pan over medium heat. Cook chicken fully.  Remove from heat let sit and then chop chicken into pieces.

To make the quesadilla heat a sauté pan on medium heat, add 1 tortilla to the pan, top with 1/2 of the chopped chicken, 1/2 the veggie mixture and 1/4-1/2 cup of cheese and top with another tortilla.

Cook for 3-4 minutes until bottom tortilla is crispy and flip and cook another 3-4 minutes. (NOTE: Cooking times will vary depending on how high your pan is. Check to make sure the tortilla is getting golden brown before you flip.) Once cooked wrap in foil and place in oven.

Repeat the process to make the 2nd quesadilla. Place in foil and put in oven for a few minutes while you get your plate ready. To serve, cut quesadilla in 4 pieces and serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole and black beans. Enjoy!!

Note:  Use as much cheese as you want.  Remember if you use too little the quesadilla may not stay closed.

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Salad, Sides

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Tonight I made a black bean corn salad to go with my main entree.  While trying to be healthy I really try and make other sides that aren’t just your typically potato or rice sides.

That’s what I did here tonight.  It’s pretty basic but you can definitely add other flavors.  I used what I had on hand.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

15 oz black beans, (rinsed) (I used no salt)
1 cup frozen corn
1 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
3 T cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeño, diced (remove seeds for less spice)
3 T red onion, chopped
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
1 t chili powder
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:  Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.  Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
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Starters

Caprese Bruschetta

This Caprese Bruschetta is a great starter for any meal or even for a light snack or lunch.  It’s light and fresh tasting and the flavors are just amazing.

The Italian in me is a huge fan of caprese salad.  I love fresh mozzarella with a juicy ripe tomato.  With this dish I just added some garlic crostini and turned it into a bruschetta.  I could seriously make 20 of these and eat every last one of them.

This dish is definitely great for the summer as it’s light and fresh but it’s so great I’ll eat it all year long.  It’s like a mini open faced tomato and mozzarella sandwich.  Who wouldn’t enjoy that?  🙂

Caprese Bruschetta

Ingredients:
10-12 Garlic crostini (Homemade or store bought) (Recipe below)
4-6 Campari tomatoes, sliced and chilled (or any tomato)
6-8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced or chopped
2 T Olive oil
1 T Basil, dried or fresh basil, chiffonade
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Crostini:
1 Baguette sliced 1/3 inch thick
1/3 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 T parsley
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°.  Add sliced baguette to a baking sheet.  In a bowl mix together oil, garlic, parsley and salt & pepper and mix well.  Brush the oil mixture onto the crostini and bake in oven for 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Keep an eye on the crostini so they don’t burn.

To assemble, add mozzarella to crostini and top with tomato slice. Sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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