Crock Pot Recipe: Red Pulled Pork

If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember that I’ve already posted a recipe called “Red Wine Pulled Pork“.  That recipe is really great… but I also wanted to post this one because it is just so incredibly simple.  Simple to the point of being a “marinate, cook, shred, serve” type of recipe… how tough could that be?

I started with a large pork roast… I bought it because it was on sale that Friday and I was looking for something that could feed a crowd while watching Saturday football games in our living room.  When I got home from the store, I put the roast into a plastic storage bag and poured a mixture of smoked paprika, Montreal steak seasoning, and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt over the pork, massaging the seasonings into the meat.  I then put the bag into the fridge to marry the flavors overnight.RedPulledPork

On Saturday morning, I pulled out my crock pot and put dinner together.  I sliced two onions into thin strips (cut the onion in half, root to tip, cut off the top and slice the onion into strips the entire way down to the root, discarding the root) and put it into the bottom of the pot.  I placed the seasoned roast on top of the onions and then poured the end of a bottle of dry red wine (feel free to use as much or as little as you like) into the bottom of the pot.  I chose not to pour the wine over the roast because I really wanted the spices to have time to season the top fat layer as the meat cooked.

I set the crock pot to cook on high for 6-7 hours, but I could have easily chosen to cook it on low for 7-8 hours.  Much will depend on how comfortable you are with your crock pot.

I’m impatient when I use the crock pot, so I did check this about an hour before it was ready.  I like the feel of the meat when it falls apart, so I tend to push the envelope when I’m making this sort of dish.  I removed all the bones and then allowed it to cook until al the meat fell apart exactly as it should.  The onions were a nice addition into the meat, since they just “melted” into the pulled pork.

When I got ready to serve this dish, I sliced homemade kaiser rolls in half and spooned some meat into each roll before topping with a small bit of a jarred BBQ sauce from my fridge.  Potato rolls or chewy rolls from the store are also delicious with this meal… don’t feel that you *have* to make your own rolls for this meal to work.  This recipe was simple… the pork cooked all day and perfumed the entire house with a spicy warm smell that ushered football season into our home in the best possible way.  Enjoy playing with this recipe and making it your own… feel free to use whatever spice your family likes so your meal hits all the “high notes” for your favorite fans. Most of all… have fun!

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Crock Pot Recipe: Tuscan Chicken and Sausage Stew

I love using my crock pot.  Having a slow cooker can help you make a lovely, healthy meal any night of the week.  All it takes is a little thought beforehand and a few minutes in the morning before you leave the house (or start working from home).  This was a recipe that I thought looked particularly yummy, but the ingredients needed to be changed out before I could make it for my family.  I know that they balk at large pieces of mushroom or the texture of artichoke hearts, so I did some substituting and came up with a version that worked well for me.

Since I started with an actual recipe (thanks to Weight Watchers for the inspiration) so the ingredients are much more accurate that I typically offer on my blog.  I used “The Force” for this recipe, but vaulted from the actual recipe, so I’ll be kind today and share it with you that way.

Ingredients:TuscanChickenSausageStewMB

  • 8 small chicken thighs, skinless and boneless, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 package Turkey Polska Kielbasa, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1 cup, chopped Onions, raw
  • 1/2 cup Chicken broth, canned, low sodium
  • 1/2 cup James River Cellars Montpelier Wine – you could use a nice Chardonnay, if you prefer
  • 1 cup, cubes, all varieties Squash, winter type, baked, no fat or sugar added in cooking, butternut
  • 1 cup, sliced Pepper, raw
  • 4 cloves Garlic, raw
  • 3 tsp, leaves Spices, oregano, dried
  • 1 tbsp Spices, rosemary, dried
  • 2T cornstarch, if needed for thickening

In true “not originally mine” style, here are the steps to follow when you make this recipe, using the ingredients I’ve used in my own swap.

Instructions

  1. Chop onion and butternut squash into chunks – place on the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Collect the thighs and sausage that you’ve already cut into 2″ chunks and layer them on top of the onions/squash
  3. Layer peppers (in a variety of colors) on top of meats, then top with spices.
  4. Add broth and wine.
  5. Cover and cook until chicken is tender and vegetables are cooked through, 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
  6. If you want to thicken the broth at the end, whisk 2T of cornstarch with some of the cooking liquid (in a separate cup) until there are no lumps, then return it to the pot and allow the broth to thicken.
  7. Serve over polenta (which my family doesn’t like) or mashed potatoes (which my family *does* like).

I’ve been trying to be better about using a “recipe builder” application (for my iPad) so that I know the actual nutrition analysis of my recipes.  I got a FitBit Flex from my husband for Christmas this year, so I’m coupling that with the (free) MyFitnessPal app to get a better handle on my own health.  To that end, I’m working to make better choices with regards to the foods that I make.  This stew actually makes six servings, with the following nutritional information:  Calories 302, Total Fat 14g, Saturated 3.9g, Polyunsat.  2.9g, Monounsat. 5.4g, Cholesterol 80mg, Sodium 903mg, Total Carbs 16g, Dietary Fiber 2.5g, Sugar 2.8g, Protein 25g, Vitamin A 129mcg, Vitamin C 20mg, Calcium 51mg, and Iron 3.3mg.

I hope you’ll consider playing around with this recipe.  I really loved it, and had it for the next few meals before it was gone.  At only 302 calories, it seemed reasonable and tasty at the same time.  Enjoy!

Crock Pot Recipe: Beef and Broccoli

This basic recipe popped up on my Facebook feed one day and I knew that I just had to play with it… it seemed a crime (to me) not to see any red wine listed for this dish!  Thankfully, this was a fairly simple dish to use for my family… they love any sort of meat and vegetable dinner.

Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

I gathered my ingredients and went to work assembling everything before I left for work in the morning.  I used a large package of thin cut beef strips that I’d picked up on sale at the local grocery store a few weeks prior and popped the frozen meat into the bottom of my crockpot.  I then mixed 1 cup James River Rad Red Wine (you can use any red wine that you like to drink in this recipe – if you’d drink it in your glass, it’s perfectly fine to use for cooking), 1 packet of G.Washington Rich Brown Seasoning, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup honey, 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil, minced garlic to taste (I use the pre-minced packages, but feel free to add or subtract as you like) and turned on my crockpot to cook on low for 6-8 hours.

When I got home from work that afternoon, the house smelled fabulous.  All the sweet, salty, garlic-y smells combined to make my mouth water as soon as I walked in the house.  I could hardly wait for the guys to get home!  I set about making up some rolls to go with dinner and waited for them to be ready to eat.

There wasn’t much I had to do to complete this meal.  I had purchased a bag of broccoli at the store, so I pierced the bag and popped it into the microwave for 4-5 minutes to steam the broccoli.  As soon as the broccoli was done, I swapped the bag of veggies for a bag of microwaveable brown rice that would cook in 90 seconds and turned the microwave back on.  Now for the sauce…

To complete this meal, I needed to turn the cooking liquid for the beef into a delicious sauce… so I removed it from the crockpot, saving 2 cups of the broth in a small bowl, and added 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken the broth.  I whisked the cornstarch into the broth until there were NO lumps and then stirred it back into the crockpot of beef.  I then added the broccoli and stirred everything together before serving it over the brown rice.

This was simple… it was easy… and it was so VERY tasty.

Enjoy making this recipe your own – it’s worth it!

Recipe: Summer Crock Pot Roast

I’ve been rattling off the basics of this crock pot dinner to people for about two years now, but always forgot to take photos along the way and didn’t want to post this meal without proof of how yummy it looks.  Forget the taste… this dinner just looks tasty.  Add some crusty bread, a fluffy snowstorm, a warm fire, and this meal becomes the start of…. oh, wait… it’s JUNE!   I’ve been using this recipe as my favorite winter pot roast dinner for my crock pot, so I thought I would see how it would work if I “summer-ized” it by switching out the deep red wine I usually use and replacing it with white wine…

Summer Pot Roast

As it would happen, this dinner was really good with white wine!  Nothing like having an experiment go well, eh?

Ok… let me tell you about this simple dinner.  I started with a large bulk roast that I picked up on a huge sale at my local grocery store.  I honestly don’t remember what cut it was or just how much I had… I just remember that it was almost half of the original cost and “looked like a pot roast” to me.

I pulled out my crock pot and started the assembly of dinner before I left for work one morning.  I sliced up four golden potatoes into quarters, length-wise, and then added one thick sliced vidalia onion.  I separated the onion pieces and placed the veggies into the bottom of my crock pot before placing the frozen roast on top.  I had a quarter bottle of James River Cellars Chardonel and a quarter bottle of James River Cellars Gewurztraminer white wines in my fridge, so I poured the  ends of both bottles over the meat and potato/onion mixture.  I doused the meat liberally with garlic salt and some freshly ground pepper before I turned the crock pot on for 8-hours and left for work.

When I came home that evening, the house smelled wonderful.  I’d forgotten to add garlic to the roast, but it still smelled really tasty.   Now was my chance to finish the meal and pull everything together. I ladled out two cups of liquid from the pot and, using a whisk, blended in 3 Tablespoons of flour.  I poured this back into the crock pot and stirred in about a half bag of frozen peas.  After letting this cook for a few minutes, I realized that I needed something bright to make this dish really shine, so I quickly cooked some baby carrots in the microwave before stirring them into the thickening stew as well.  A quick taste of the broth gave me the chance to adjust the seasonings before dinner, then I let the crock pot work it’s magic for another 10-15 minutes.

To plate this meal, I carefully removed the roast from the stew and gently shredded the beef.  I ladled stew into a shallow bowl for each of us and added a portion of meat to top off our summer dinner.  If I’d had some crusty bread (or had taken the time to pick up bread sticks or make crescent rolls) this meal would have been over-the-top good… I wouldn’t have had to resort to using a spoon to sop up the ends of the stew!  This is another meal that will continue to taste wonderful as you warm up bowls over the next day or two, so feel free to make extra to share.  Your friends and co-workers will thank you!

Recipe: Italian Pot Roast

Here’s one of my favorite recipes for a chilly winter’s evening.  It’s great on a night where you don’t want to have to think about dinner and all you want to do is come home to dinner with the family.  This is a simple recipe to make for as many people you’ll be feeding… from two on up to as many as you can fit in your kitchen.  Feel free to play with the ingredients as well – it’s the idea of the recipe rather than the specifics.  Use The Force and create your own version of this delicious meal… then sit back and enjoy the compliments!Italian Pot Roast

Ingredients:

2 ½-pound London broil

1 t salt

½ t pepper

1 t extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, sliced or chopped

½ -pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1t dried basil

½ cup dry red wine (Suggested: James River Cellars’ Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Meritage)

 

Directions:

  1. Cut beef into large chunks, then sprinkle with ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper.  Heat oil in large stock pot over medium high heat and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Remove beef.  Add onions, mushrooms and garlic to pot.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to brown and soften, about 6-7 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and wine along with remaining salt and pepper.  Cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 5-6 minutes.  Replace the beef in the stock pot and place in oven, at 250 degrees.  Cook for 4-5 hours.
  3. Remove beef once fork-tender and keep warm.  Cook all remaining ingredients on stove-top until thickened, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve beef and sauce with mashed potatoes and a crisp, green salad.

 

Note:  Can use Crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours OR on low for 6-8 hours