Saturday, January 29, 2011

Divine Swine

Oh Paula Deen, I do love you.
I have made many attempts at pulled pork over the last couple of years. Both of my children and I love pulled pork. Dude will eat it and enjoy, but not with the vim and vigor that the girls and I do.
There is a huge festival in our town called "Defeat of Jesse James Days" that happens the weekend after Labor Day every year. It brings in tons of visitors and it has really grown over the last 21 years that we have lived here.
They re-enact the famous bank robbery, there are arts and craft fairs, live entertainment, a midway, the rodeo comes to town, and there is food. Good food and bad food, but the town square shuts down and it become the food court for 4 days.
The Lions have a booth and serve the most delicious pulled pork sandwiches I have ever eaten in my life. Seriously, I think they put crack in it or something, because they are huge and I have eaten 2 in one day....along with the awesome grape Hawaiian shaved ice....but that is another story. They serve it two ways: plain or barbecue. I love plain the best. The flavor just shines.
While at the grocery store last weekend, they had a combo pack of loin pork on sale. It was $1.49 a pound and it had 6 pork chops, 6 Country style ribs and a roast in it. I so should have bought at least two. My cousin was on Facebook when I said I was cooking up a storm last weekend and he said his wife had pork roast going to make shredded pork and they were using his "favorite Southern Belle's" recipe. He has a thing for Paula Deen.
I looked up the recipe and hers cooks in the oven low and slow for around 4 hours. Because of my work schedule now, I would need to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to get it done or wait for the weekend. I didn't want to freeze the roast and thaw it and do it the next weekend, so I modified the recipe and used my slow cooker.

Here is my adapted version. Paula's can be found here:
(yes, I STILL haven't figure out the link thing so it just shows a word and takes you to it-sorry)
Paula's Modified Pulled Pork Sandwiches
2 TBSP salt
2 TBSP black pepper
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP paprika
1/2 TBSP chipotle powder
4-pound pork loin roast (with nice fat layer on top)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
BBQ sauce
Combine in a small bowl the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika and chipotle powder. Pat the roast with paper towels so it is dry. Press the rub mixture into the roast and place in a plastic zip-top bag and put in fridge for at least two hours (I did mine for about 4). After marinading, place the roast in a slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients except the BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 9 to 10 hours (I started it when I went to bed). When time is up, remove the meat from the slow cooker. Set aside to cool, then shred. While the meat is cooling, strain the juice from the slow cooker and pour back in. Stir in shredded meat, and squirt about 2 to 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce in; stir and cover and cook for one more hour.
Serve on hamburger buns, topped with coleslaw (we didn't) and extra BBQ sauce.
This made about 8 sandwiches. Um, I ate 5 over 3 days....just sayin'

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Butter is Busy

It is a flurry of business here today in the Butter kitchen. My poor family has been STARVING since I took this new job (no, they shouldn't be, but l-a-z-y). "There is nothing to eat" is the mantra of everyone in this place. I have been guilty of that too, but normally at midnight when I want something gooey and chocolate....

I have been reading books, websites and blogs trying to figure out a way to make dinner when the three of us all eat at different times.....and it hasn't been easy. I have done some batch cooking-making double the lasagne or frying up several pounds of ground beef or poaching a lot of chicken to shred and freeze. I am now trying to knock out several meals to have in the freezer, in portion-sized amounts, so we can all eat good food and a healthier option than say, chips and salsa. Oh yeah, that has happened here many times lately.

I am not up for a full on Once a Month Cooking. I just don't have the attention span to do it. Today I worked on 7 things, but it yielded many servings. I even had DQ in there with me chopping vegetables and sausage, cleaning up dishes and re-organizing some cupboards. She even took it upon herself yesterday when we got home from the supermarket to wash out all the crisper drawers and clean out the old, moldy things we found in there. I was quite impressed with her.

While cooking up a chicken dish, I had two extra chicken breasts left over. She suggested making a burrito type dish that she has had at her friend M's house, who is Latino and will also be her roommate when they go off to school this summer.

Boog's Burritos
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 tsp taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 an envelope fajita seasoning
1 tsp taco seasoning
chopped pepper slices, green and orange
shredded cheese
Poach the two breasts in the two cups of chicken stock and 1/2 tsp of taco seasoning. I added about 1/3 cup water to make sure the chicken was covered by liquid. I poached over low heat (little bubbles, not a rolling boil) for about 2o minutes, until internal temp was 175 degrees. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with some foil to rest and cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and shred chicken with your fingers, into bite sized pieces and place in a saucepan. Sprinkle with the fajita and taco seasoning. Pour soup over meat, add about 1/4 cup of water to loosen it up. Simmer over low heat until heated through. While the chicken mixture is heating, put instant rice on to cook (or if you have left over in the fridge, heat up). When rice is done, fluff with fork. Heat the tortillas up in microwave for 30 seconds to make pliable. Top with some rice, the meat mixture and cheese. Roll up burrito style and enjoy. Boog only likes a little cheese on hers, so I didn't get a photo with the cheese on.
Below are some of the other dishes I worked on today: carnitas style pork loin, peppers used for several dishes, sausage for his gumbo and a slow-cooked chicken and veggie dish. Tonight I am tackling a shredded pork dish, some chops and making a large batch of meatballs.

If I hear one more person utter 'there is nothing to eat' I won't be responsible for my actions.

Monday, January 17, 2011


What exactly did you think you were going to find when you saw the title of my post? Sorry, no fun stories of a drunken weekend in Wisconsin with my family-our family gathering was postponed due to possible inclement weather.
I stayed home all weekend and did all of the laundry, washed many dishes and never got out of my PJ's until I went to a movie on Sunday with a friend. If you get the chance, go see "The Fighter". It was a wonderful movie, and let's face it-seeing Mark Wahlberg without a shirt in many of the scenes is just icing on the cake...
The only way to get Drama Queen to eat meatloaf is to make it in mini form and put a ketchup sauce on top. Having only learned this about a month ago, I put it on the menu for this weekend. Dude had expressed early in our marriage about no sauce on his meatloaf. I grew up with sauce so it took me many attempts to make a loaf that was moist and tasty.
Then we go to his parents and she served mini loaves....with sauce! I nearly threw mine at him.

Sauced Mini Meatloaves
2 pounds ground beef
3 pieces white bread, crusts removed
1/2 to 2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
small pinch of nutmeg
small pinch of salt
3/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
squeeze of lemon juice (1 wedge)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Soak bread in milk for 10 minutes. Squeeze excess milk out of bread and tear into small pieces and place in medium size bowl. Add rest of meatloaf ingredients. Squish with hands just until bread is absorbed into meat. Shape into 8 small oval loaves. Place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. While loaves are cooking, mix up sauce mixture. After the 20 minutes, spoon a good amount of sauce on top of each loaf. Bake another 10 minutes.
Serve with your favorite side dish. I usually make mashed potatoes or baked potatoes like his Mom.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh, Stuff it!

Dude loves stuffed peppers.
I, on the other hand, do not.
I love the flavor of green peppers when I cook, but I can't eat them-just say it is not pretty.
I am now fumbling around, trying to figure out how to feed us all now that we are working different shifts and are rarely in the same place at the same time. I had some easy things planned for my lunches at work as we were being fed at work 3 days in a row because of the mandatory overtime we all had to put in. Dude suffered a little because I was so exhausted when I came home from my ten hours of training each day, the last thing I wanted to do was lift a frying pan.
The grocery store had some decent looking peppers on sale 2/$1, so I picked up 2, got some fresh ground sirloin and mixed in some staples from the pantry and turned out some pretty rocking peppers!

Stuffed Green Peppers

2 peppers, tops cut off with membranes and seeds removed
1/2 pound ground sirloin (or beef of your choice)
half a small onion, minced
teaspoon minced garlic (I used my jarred stuff)
1/3 cup premium white rice
1/3 cup water
1-14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
handful of shredded cheese of your choice
Bring a saucepan (I used 3 quart) of water to a boil. You need enough to have the peppers submerged. Carefully lower the peppers into the boiling water, cover, and let boil 4 minutes. Turn off heat and remove peppers. Place upside down on a paper-towel lined plate to drain. In a skillet, brown the ground beef, onions and garlic. Stir in rice and stir it around for a minute or two, then add water and the can of roasted tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and let bubble away for about 5 minutes, just so all the flavors can meld. Stir in the cheese and turn off heat.

Place drained peppers in a pan that will allow them to stand upright. I used a loaf pan. Spoon filling into each pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

He was a very happy boy. Especially since he didn't have to eat from the "Wheel of Death" for a third night in a row.