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Step Up your Pulled Pork Leftovers with Pulled Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Pulled pork is one of those great meals to serve when you know you are having a crowd over for dinner, but it can also be great for a weeknight meal for the family and then give you plenty of leftovers to do something with. You certainly have your options when it comes to making the pulled pork itself. You can make it in the oven, smoke your own on the grill or smoker if you have one or even make it in the slow cooker to save you some time, energy and prevent the kitchen from overheating in the summer months. However you decide to make it, once you have the leftovers you may get a little tired of having pulled pork sandwiches or pulled pork over rice. Sure you can always whip up a batch of pulled pork nachos, but I decided to take some of what I had leftover and make use of this recipe from Kelsey Nixon of the Cooking Channel. While her recipe calls for the use of leftover shredded pork, I liked the way it worked with the pulled pork instead and decided to use it that way.

Pulled Pork and Pineapple Nachos

1 1/2 pounds of cooked pulled pork (in the oven or the slow cooker)

Corn or four tortillas, warmed

2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into a 1/2-inch dice

Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Shredded red cabbage or coleslaw, for garnish

Pickled red onions, for garnish

Guacamole, for garnish

Sour cream, for garnish

Shredded Mexican cheese, for garnish

In a large saucepan, warm the pulled pork over medium heat until it is re-heated through. Warm the tortillas individually in a medium skillet set over high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute or take a stack and wrap them in plastic wrap and heat them in the microwave for 1 minute until warmed through. Top the warmed tortillas with some of the pulled pork and the fresh diced pineapple. Add the other garnishes that you like, such as guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, coleslaw or shredded cabbage, shredded cheese or pickled red onions and serve. Let each person make their own tacos as they like it best.

This can’t get much easier and is a great use of your leftovers. The pineapple and pork go together really well and you get such great flavor from the spices of the pulled pork. I even added some of the black bean salad with mango I had made the day before to the dish for some extra freshness and bite and it really worked well. You could try this with any type of pork you may have leftover, such as tenderloin or chops and just cut them into thin strips and re-heat them lightly with some spice and you can have great tacos from that.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Fruit, Leftovers, Pork, Uncategorized

 

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Break Out the Slow Cooker for These Slow Cooker Asian Barbecue Ribs

Since I don’t have the advantages of having a charcoal or gas grill it sometimes feels like it can really limit some of the things I can cook, particularly when it comes to making ribs. I have been able to find some great recipes for making ribs in the oven and they have turned out well, but I am always looking to see if there is something new I can try to get even greater flavor out of a meal of ribs. I came across this recipe awhile back from Kelsey Nixon on the Cooking Channel for Asian barbecue ribs that are made in the slow cooker, which makes them perfect for you to try for a weeknight meal when you want something ready for you when you get home from work. These are very easy to make, with just a few ingredients that go a long way to giving you some great flavor.

Slow Cooker Asian Barbecue Ribs

1/4 cup sesame oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, chopped

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup honey

2 racks pork baby back ribs (4 to 5 pounds)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the ginger, garlic and green onions until all are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, chili sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey and 1/2 cup of water. Whisk the mixture until everything is fully incorporated. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool.

Sprinkle the ribs generously with salt and pepper and place the ribs in an upright position in the slow cooker. The meaty side of the ribs should be facing outwards. Spoon the sauce over the ribs and cover the slow cooker. Cook the ribs in the slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Strain the sauce from the slow cooker into a saucepan and remove any accumulated grease from the top of the sauce. Combine 1 tablespoon of water with the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and whisk them together in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the sauce until it has thickened and serve it with the ribs.

I actually added one more step to this recipe at this point. When I removed the ribs from the slow cooker, I put some of the reduced and thickened sauce onto the ribs and then placed the ribs under the broiler for about 2 minutes to really get a nice glaze and crisp up the ribs some more. I think this made a big difference as far as flavor, texture and look of the ribs and I would do that again with this recipe. The sauce was great, giving a nice Asian flavor and flair to the dish with the ginger, soy sauce and honey. The ribs were very tender inside and crisp on the outside just the way I like them. I would definitely make this one again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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It’s a Snack Attack, Part 3 – Pork Dumplings

Okay, here is the last of the snacks I made this past week. This one also comes from Kelsey Nixon of the Cooking Channel and is for pork dumplings. Sean has been asking me to make these for quite a while now and I finally had some ground pork and wonton wrappers on hand so I thought I would give it a try. There are only a few ingredients to these and they are very simple to make as an easy snack or appetizer if you are planning an Asian-style meal for dinner or just feel like having some kind of a snack.

Pork Dumplings

For the Pork Dumplings:

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 small bunch, scallions, white and green parts, chopped

12 ounces ground pork

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 egg

1 package dumpling or wonton wrappers

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying

For the Dipping Sauce:

1 cup soy sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

Juice of 3 lemons

For the dipping sauce, combine the soy sauce, Sriracha and lemon juice in a bowl and set the sauce aside until you are ready to serve the dumplings.

For the pork dumplings, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, sesame oil and scallions and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 1 minute.

Combine the cooked garlic, ginger and scallions with the ground pork, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, Chinese five-spice powder and the egg in a large bowl.

Working with the dumpling wrappers, start with the floured surface of the wrappers facing down. Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of a wrapper. Wet the edge of the dumpling with water, using your  finger, and fold the dumpling in half without sealing it, like a taco. Pinch one end closed. Create the pleats of the dumpling on one side using your thumb and forefinger, pressing against the other flat edge to seal the dumpling as you go. Flatten the bottoms so that the bottom surface of the dumpling can get a good sear on it when you pan fry them. Repeat the process until all the dumplings are filled. Keep the dumplings on a lightly-floured sheet tray to keep them from sticking and cover the dumplings with a slightly damp towel to keep them from drying out while you make the rest of the batch.

Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Working in batches, pan fry the dumplings by placing them bottom-side down and frying them until they are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Once the dumplings are golden brown, working carefully, pour 1/2 cup of water into the skillet to cover the dumplings halfway. Immediately cover the skillet with a lid, leaving a small crack for steam to escape. Cook the dumplings until the water has evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the dumplings to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil and repeat the process with the remaining dumplings.

I can tell you that this recipe makes a lot of dumplings, so you can certainly freeze them and heat them up any time you want to have a little snack. We all enjoyed the dumplings as they had some great flavor with the ginger, scallions and hoisin sauce. They were pretty easy to make and while the recipe calls for round dumpling wrappers, i only had square wonton wrappers and I think they worked out just fine for my purposes. It is a perfect party snack you can make pretty easily and I think you could substitute out the pork for beef, chicken, turkey, shrimp or even just vegetables and get great results.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I have some other great recipes we have tried lately and I still have my recipes I am making on Valentine’s Day this year to share as well. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Appetizers, Cooking, Pork, Sauce, Snacks

 

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It’s a Snack Attack, Part 2 – Buttery Garlic Knots

Here is the second of the snacks I decided to try out this past weekend. This one is really easy and comes from Kelsey Nixon on the Cooking Channel. It is for a batch of very easy to make buttery garlic knots. This is one that you can use with some quick made pizza dough in the food processor or you can just as easily use some store-bought pizza dough and whip these up in no time at all. The actual preparation of the garlic knots and the cooking takes no time at all, so this is a great quick snack you can make just about anytime you want.

Buttery Garlic Knots

1 recipe Food Processor Pizza Dough, or 1 package of store-bought pizza dough

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

8 cloves garlic, grated

All-purpose flour, for dusting

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Prepare the recipe for the food processor pizza dough or take the store-bought pizza dough and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the softened butter with the thyme, rosemary, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese and the grated garlic. Set the mixture aside.

Turn the pizza dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Stretch the pizza dough into a rectangle. Spread half of the butter mixture on half of the dough. Fold the dough in half, covering the butter with the pizza dough. Using a pizza wheel, divide the dough into 18 strips. First cut through the middle of the dough and then you can cut each half into 9 separate pieces to get your 18 strips. Stretch each strip of dough and then tie it into a knot and tuck the ends underneath the center of the knot. Place the knots on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle the knots with some of the Parmesan cheese and bake until they are a golden brown color, about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt the remaining herb butter. Once the knots come out of the oven, baste them with the melted butter and sprinkle them with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

I actually basted the knots with some of the butter after they had been baking for about 10 minutes and then again at the end of the baking so they had a really nice baked in garlic flavor. They came out perfectly and has a nice crunch on the outside with a soft and buttery inside. These would go great with any Italian dinner you might be having like spaghetti and meatballs, baked ziti, lasagna, pizza, sausage and peppers or really just about any meal. They also make a great snack or appetizer and you could even put some together as a great afterschool snack for something a little different. You could certainly do a lot of different things with it and even use different herbs if there are some you would prefer instead, like basil or oregano.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I have one more good snack I tried recently to come for tomorrow so check back for that one. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Appetizers, Breads, Cooking, Pizza, Snacks

 

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Another Roast Chicken Variation

You would think we would get tired of eating chicken since we have it so much. I think that is one of the reasons I am always looking for some way to do it just a little differently. Buying a whole chicken and roasting it is a great way to get several meals out of one dish. We usually have leftovers where we can use the chicken for another dinner, like a chicken salad or chicken tacos or something of that nature, chicken sandwiches for lunches and then I use the carcass to make chicken stock which we use for soups. A $6.00 chicken then turns into 4 or 5 meals, making it really worth the effort. You can also cut up the chicken yourself instead of paying extra for a package of parts in the store. It’s a little extra time and effort on your part, but it’s worth it. I made this simple roasted chicken recipe that I found from Kelsey Nixon of the Cooking Channel the other night and it came out great.

Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme

1 (6-pound) roasting chicken

4 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons fresh minced thyme, plus a handful for stuffing

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, quartered

1 onion, coarsely, chopped

3 celery stalks

3 carrots, unpeeled and cut into thirds

1 onion, quartered

1 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.

in a small bowl, make a compound butter by combining the softened butter, minced thyme, garlic cloves, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Season the cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon quarters, a handful of fresh thyme and the quartered onion. Place the carrot, celery and chopped onion in the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top of the vegetables. Cross the legs and tir them with kitchen twine.

Gently lift the skin away from the chicken and spread 2 tablespoons of the compound butter mixture underneath the skin, distributing it evenly. Spread the remaining compound butter over the entire surface of the chicken and then season the chicken generously with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and roast the  chicken until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the inner thigh not touching the bone registers 160 to 165 degrees, about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for about 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the bottom of the roasting pan and set aside. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil to keep it warm.

Pour the pan juices into a large glass measuring cup. Spoon the fat off the top of the juices. Add the chicken broth to the roasting pan and place the pan over high heat. Bring the broth to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.Return the pan juices to the pan and whisk the flour into the broth mixture and bring to a boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve alongside the roasted chicken.

The vegetables on the bottom of the pan serve like a roasting rack and lift the chicken up so it roasts better on the bottom. The vegetables also get the benefit of a lot of those juices, so I chose to peel the carrots first and then we had the vegetables as a side dish with the chicken, along with some green beans and wild rice. I used my trusty cast iron pan to do all this to make clean up easier and making the pan sauce easier when the chicken was done. The chicken fit perfectly in there anyway, so it worked out well. The flavor the compound butter provides the chicken was great and we got some nice crispy skin to boot. The chicken was very moist and done perfectly and will work well for other meals. it was also very easy to do and everything thing was done in not much over an hour, so it was great for a weeknight meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I made a nice slow roasted pork last night that has a great recipe to it that is perfect for a Oktoberfest kind of meal, so check back for that. until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry

 

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