Slow Cooker

Cooking Without Drama-Perfect Crockpot Shredded Pork

One of Dave’s favorite dishes is pulled pork.  When we go out to eat, he usually orders a pulled pork sandwich and when I bring in BBQ, he is always happy to get a container of it.

I have tried making it at home before, but without much success.  The pork would be tough or the sauce would taste burnt.  However, after doing some research on the internet, I found the way to make perfectly shredded pork.  Once you start with this pork, you have many options.  You can eat it plain, or shred it and simmer it with the sauce of your choice and have BBQ pork, Mexican Pork, Italian pork-its really your choice.

Ingredients:

Pork Roast (I used a 2lb piece)
3/4 Cup Baby Carrots
Onion Sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Onion Soup Mix
12 Oz Beer
Chicken Broth
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

I used my 4 oz crock pot

(Note: use 12oz beer for every 2 pounds)

Steps:

1. Salt and Pepper the Pork generously.
2. Heat Olive Oil in pan and brown pork on all sides (2-3 minutes per side)
3. While pork is cooking, place carrots in crock pot
4. Remove pork from pan, put in crock pot
5. Add a little more oil, put onions in pan and carmelize
6. About 1 minute before the onions are ready to come out, add the garlic
7. Pour onions and garlic over the pork
8. Put onion soup mix in pan and stir for one minute, add 1 bottle of beer
9. Bring beer to a boil and pour over pork.
10. Add chicken broth or beer until pork is 1/2 covered in liquid
11. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

With this you can be done. Pull out the pork, shred or slice and serve the pork and carrots with a salad and maybe some noodles.

Or you could then shred the pork with two forks and put the desired amount in a pan with the sauce of your choice (bbq, mole, tomato, picante) and warm through and then serve with rolls, tortillas, on pasta, wherever your imagination takes you.

We did BBQ Sauce and they were awesome. Also, the leftover later that week were even better than the original meal.

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Cooking Without Drama-Paleo Chili

Today I started a Paleo Diet Challenge at my Crossfit Box in an attempt to get healthy and lose weight.  My game plan for the challenge is to plan my meals for the week ahead of time and make sure that I have all the food I need so I don’t veer off plan.

In order to do this, I did some careful grocery shopping, hardboiled eggs, chopped up some veggies, bagged some produce, have some leftover meats in the fridge ready to pair with veggies and I made a batch of this awesome chili for my sweet hubs and I to have for lunches this week, with a couple to toss in the freezer for another week.

I have been making chili for years, but previously my chili always had beans, which is a paleo no no.  It also had sausage which is not necessarily a paleo no-no, but is not permitted for the challenge.

One of the fun things about the Paleo Challenge is that its going to really provide me with cooking challenges and get us out of a rut.  Since I can’t use white potatoes, flour, pasta, beans, grains or dairy, I need to totally rethink my cooking.

So it will be a discovery of new spices.

If you saute the meat and veggies the night before, you can toss this all in the slow cooker in the am and come home to dinner.  Have some sliced avocado with it to cool it down a little,

Paleo Chili (Serves 6)

2 lbs of mixed meat.  (I used chicken breasts, boneless short ribs, and stew meat)

1 Large onion

3 bell peppers (I used a green a red and a yellow)

3 cloves garlic (put through press)

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes and chilis

1 28oz can Crushed Tomatoes

1 6oz can tomato paste

1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/3 C Chili Powder

2 Tablespoons of Chilis in Adobo

Instructions

1. Sear meat and put in slow cooker

2. Saute onion until slightly browned and translucent, put in slow cooker

3. Saute peppers and garlic until soft, add to slow cooker

4. Add tomatoes and spices, stir.

5. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

This was spicy and delicious.  I made a batch and put some in the freezer for a later date and have some in the fridge for lunches and dinners.  Thank goodness for my slow cooker and all the yumminess it helps me make.

Dessert Without Drama-Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

Many of you that know me, might know that I love my slow cookers.  All three of them.  I typically use them to make sauce, chili, or beer and onion chicken, but I keep seeing slow cooker desserts online and decided I had to try one.

I picked Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake from Recipe Shoebox, who found it in a Betty Crocker Book.   This cake was very easy to make, and super delicious.  The hardest part was waiting for the 30 minutes after cooking to end so we could dig in.  Vanilla ice cream is essential to this dish.

The only thing is this is an ‘eat it the night you make it recipe’ as I am not a big fan of nuking cake.

I made this in my 2qt slow cooker.  You need to use the small one for  the recipe as printed, otherwise the cake will be dry and you won’t get the sauce.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

10-15 minutes prep time
2-2 1/2 hours cook time

The Cake
1 c flour (I snuck in whole wheat flour & I bet Gluten Free would be fine)
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 package chocolate chips (6oz) I added more
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

The Saucy Part
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder
2 c hot water (If I was making this for adults, I would probably swap out a little water for kahlua)

SUPPLIES: Cooking Spray, 2 QT Slow Cooker, Mixing Bowl, 4 Cup Measuring Cup, Spatula, dry ingredient measuring cup, measuring spoons.

How To

1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non stick spray or rub butter all around inside the bowl.

2. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3. Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla until smooth. At this point you can add chocolate chips/and or nuts.

4. Spread the batter evenly in the crock pot.


5. Meanwhile, heat up the water in a microwave safe measuring cup (4 cups size or bigger). [Takes 3-4 minutes]

6. Add the brown sugar and the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. You may need to use a whisk or fork to get out the     lumps of sugar.

7. Pour the liquid mixture carefully and evenly over the top of the cake batter in the crockpot.

8. Cover with the lid and turn the slow cooker on high for 2-2 1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean. Then turn off the slow cooker. The longer you wait to serve this, the thicker the sauce will get.

You MUST serve this with the sauce.  Its completely essential.