Slow Cooker Pulled Pork for sandwiches (and six other ways to eat it all week!)

Pulled pork is one of those things that I just cannot fathom buying pre-made. I mean, I get the appeal of a no-work dinner…but pulled pork is about as close as you can get to doing no prep. The slow cooker does nearly all the work for you, and even the five minutes required at the end for shredding the meat is ridiculously easy, because the slow cooker tenderizes the meat to the point that it nearly falls apart when you touch it.

Pulled pork recipes make a ridiculously large amount of food. They’re great for when you’re hosting a party, because one large cut of pork can serve twenty people as sandwiches. That’s my kind of easy! Pulled pork is also great to have as leftovers. I love having leftover pulled pork in my fridge so much, in fact, that I’m often sad when it’s gone – even after eating from it for a whole week! I find myself being endlessly creative with the leftovers, finding different methods to use up the delicious bounty.

I’ve gone one further than just providing the pulled pork recipe – I’ve shown how I often stretch that one simple meal out over an entire week. How do you use up pulled pork? I’d love to hear!

~Katie

What you need:

pulled pork ingredients

pulled pork ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 T. rub:
    • 2 T. sweet paprika
    • 2 T. dark brown sugar
    • 1 T. chili powder
    • 1 T. kosher salt
    • 2 t. onion powder
    • 2 t. cumin
    • 2 t. garlic powder
    • 1 t. oregano
    • 1 t. cayenne
  • 3-5 lb. pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, cut in half-moon slices
  • 1/4-1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1/8-1/4 c. lime juice

Equipment

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • small container with lid
  • slow cooker
  • cutting board and knife

Time: 5 minutes prep + 8-10 hours cooking time.

Freezeable: Yes! This makes a lot, so I often serve it once for dinner, keep enough out for the leftovers to go around another time, and then freeze the rest in meal-sized portions, so we can have a quick, homemade meal even when I have no time to prepare it!

Serves: A lot. This is a good recipe for a crowd.

Multiplying the recipe: If you just need a massive amount of pulled pork, you can easily cook a larger cut of pork. The slow cooker works best when it is about 3/4 full, so buy a cut of meat that will fit into your slow cooker. Adjust the seasonings accordingly. Increase the cooking time to 10-12 hours on low.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:

To make the rub: Combine all the spices in a container with a lid. Stir thoroughly to combine.

To make the pulled pork: In a large slow cooker, combine the pork, onion, orange juice, and lime juice. Sprinkle 2 T. of the rub evenly over the surface of the pork. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. When cooking time is over, remove the meat from the slow cooker. Shred the meat with two forks, discarding any large pieces of fat. Place the shredded meat in a serving bowl and add a few ladles of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the pot to moisten it.

To make pulled pork sandwiches: To make pulled pork sandwiches, simply add barbecue sauce to taste to the shredded pork along with the cooking liquid after shredding. Serve on hamburger buns. My kids especially like it when I accompany pulled pork sandwiches with French fries.

pulled pork

pulled pork

Other uses for pulled pork:

  • Salads: Add some pulled pork, along with your favorite southwestern-style toppings, to make a hearty main dish salad. Serve with crushed corn chips for garnish and Catalina dressing.
  • Pizza: Top pizza crust sparingly with barbecue sauce. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green or red onions, and pulled pork. Bake according to crust instructions.
  • Tacos, burritos, enchiladas: Use pulled pork in place of your usual meat.
  • Burrito bowls: Set out rice, beans, and taco fixings, along with pulled pork. Each diner chooses their own toppings to create personal burrito bowls.
  • Soup: Add pulled pork to black bean and rice soup. Serve with crumbled tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions.
  • Pasta: Make rotini with cheese sauce. Combine with sliced green onions, drained and rinsed kidney beans, and pulled pork.
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Slow Cooker Potato-Corn Chowder

Potato-Corn Chowder is fantastic when made with in-season, local corn. But who wants to slave over soup on a hot summer day? Well, now you don’t have to! This soup cooks for hours in the slow cooker, leaving you to run around outside with your kids…or sit in the shade, reading a book and sipping limeade. (Your call.)

~Katie

What you need:

Slow Cooker Potato-Corn Chowder

Slow Cooker Potato-Corn Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lbs. baking potatoes (about 3-5), scrubbed and cut in 1″ pieces
  • 1 lb. corn kernels (scraped from fresh corn in season, or frozen)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, to add at end
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream, to add at end
  • Garnishes:
    • shredded cheddar cheese
    • sour cream
    • green onions, sliced
    • bacon, cooked and crumbled

Equipment

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • cutting board and knife
  • 5 quart slow cooker
  • immersion blender

Time: 10 minutes prep + slow cooking time (4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low)

Freezeable: Yes.

Serves: 6-8.

Multiplying the recipe: Yes, if you’ve got a big enough slow cooker!

Slow Cooker Potato-Corn Chowder:

Put the potatoes, corn, onion, garlic, broth, and salt in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.

When cooking time has finished, stir butter into the soup. Using an immersion blender, puree about half of the solids. The texture of the broth will become velvety and creamy. Stir in the cream.

Serve with garnishes. Cornbread makes an excellent accompaniment.

Slow Cooker Potato-Corn Chowder

Slow Cooker Potato-Corn Chowder

Posted in Main Dishes, Meals, Soup | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Weekly Meal Plan #94

I’m pretty accustomed to “transforming” leftovers into something new. I like to have food ready to eat – or at least started – by 4pm, because there’s something about that point in the afternoon that temporarily causes me to lose all motivation to cook dinner. So if it’s later than 4pm and dinner’s not started, I’m often rummaging around in my fridge for a starter – something that’s already done that can jump-start my dinner-making process.

But this past Friday night was new to me. It was pizza night, our preferred Friday night dinner plan. I had planned out a couple of pizzas, but hadn’t gotten anywhere on toppings for the last one. When I finished preparing the veggies and other sides for the meal, I realized that I could add that last little bit of corn – cut off the cob, of course – and the last bits of red pepper and red onion, as well. That inspired me to rummage around in my fridge, where I came up with some chopped green onions, pulled pork, an Asian-inspired barbecue sauce, and some shredded cheddar and fresh mozzarella. The pizza was loaded – and tasty.

~Katie

To see how we plan our meals, click here. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!

Katie’s plan:

  • Spaghetti with marinara, pesto breadsticks, grapes
  • BLTs, carrot sticks and jicama, watermelon
  • Wacky dinner: spaghetti with marinara, breadsticks, steamed broccoli, chicken nuggets, tater tots, fruit skewers, and ice cream sandwiches
  • French bread pizza dippers with dipping sauce, corn on the cob, watermelon wedges
  • Cheese pizza, pepperoni-sausage-black olive pizza, pulled pork pizza, grilled balsamic kabobs, watermelon wedges and fruit salad, Texas sheet cake
  • Other things to make this week: English granary bread, banana wheat germ muffins with chocolate chips, strawberry-cream cheese “sushi” rolls, French bread, pizza sauce, ramen seasoning, sunflower-cherry granola bars, unicorn ice cream, pumpkin pancakes, pancake mix, orange cinnamon rolls
  • Lunches:
    • Skewers (cheese tortellini, ham, and grape tomatoes), grapes or raisins, cucumbers
    • Pizza quesadillas with sour cream, salsa, and tortilla chips, rainbow fruit salad, black olives, chocolate-covered pretzels
    • Pumpkin pancake-cream cheese sandwich, apple rings with nutella, brown sugar carrots
Posted in Uncategorized, weekly menu plans | Leave a comment

3-Way Cincinnati Chili

This is not your typical chili recipe. It is Cincinnati chili, which is a huge deal in southwestern Ohio, and not very well-known elsewhere. I grew up with this recipe. It’s full of spices and seasonings, which makes for a very rich, very meaty sauce. It’s served on top of a bed of cooked spaghetti, and then the top is liberally sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese.

I’ll let you in on the secret: this sauce is super fast to prep. It’s simmered for a long time, but needs little supervision. And it tastes even better if you make it a day ahead. (It also freezes and reheats well.)  So, what are you waiting for?? Give this chili a try, and find out why Ohioans are crazy about it.

~Katie

What you need:

IMG_0981Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. uncooked ground beef
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. tomato juice or sauce
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. dried onion
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 T. pepper
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. cayenne
  • 1/8 t. garlic powder
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for serving

Equipment

  •  large saucepan and spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • stockpot and colander for cooking pasta

Time: 10 minutes prep, 2 hours cooking time.

Freezeable: Yes.

Serves: 8-10

Multiplying the recipe: This recipe is easily multiplied.

3-Way Cincinnati Chili:

In a large saucepan, brown the beef. Drain the fat. Add the remaining ingredients (aside from spaghetti and cheese). Simmer, with a lid on but tipped so that moisture can escape, for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, remove the bay leaf.

Serve over cooked spaghetti with cheese on top. To make 4-way chili, serve with chopped raw onions or beans. 5-way chili includes both onions and beans.

IMG_1005

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Zucchini-Blueberry Muffins

This recipe is (as most recipes often are) based on several different recipes. It all started with somebody’s zucchini-blueberry BREAD recipe, which somebody decided would make a great zucchini-blueberry CAKE with a lemon icing. Then, someone thought those would be great zucchini-blueberry CUPCAKES. I tried to make those, and when tasting them before frosting them, my family couldn’t stop eating them and decided to not frost them at all! After tweaking the recipe slightly to make them a better and sturdier muffin than cupcake, I give you the zucchini-blueberry bread-turned-cake-turned-cupcake-turned… MUFFIN! They’re great.

(Also, if you have “texture issues” with anyone in your house like I do, they are also mighty tasty without blueberries. I have been known to separate some of the batter before mixing in the blueberries so that a few of the muffins are blueberry-free. Just a tip!)

~ Theresa

What you need:

zuccblue_01

Ingredients

  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 2 ¼ c. sugar
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini (equal to 2 c. after shredded and drained)
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries (you can substitute frozen berries, just increase your baking time)
  • sparkling sugar, optional

Equipment

  • box grater
  • paper towels
  • 2 muffin pans
  • muffin liners
  • medium mixing bowl
  • electric mixer fitted with a paddle
  • spatula
  • cooling racks

Time: 50 minutes

Freezeable: Yes! Since it already makes 2 dozen muffins, I often freeze half of my batch.

Serves: Makes 24 muffins

Multiplying the recipe: I don’t double this recipe simply because 4 muffin pans don’t bake evenly in my oven.

Zucchini-Blueberry Muffins:

Using a box grater, finely shred the zucchini. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible and then leave the zucchini to drain on paper towels while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line two muffin pans with paper or silicone liners. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Measure the drained zucchini and stir it into the mixture. Slowly add the dry ingredients. With the spatula, fold in the blueberries last, trying not to break the berries.

Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with decorative sparkling sugar. Bake for 5 minutes at 400F, then lower the temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the tops are golden brown. Let the muffins cool for 20 minutes in the pan before removing them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

zuccblue_plated

Posted in Baking, Breakfast, Sides, Snack | 2 Comments

Weekly Meal Plan #93

This week, I made what turned out to be a fairly large batch of chili. When we ate some for dinner that night, we certainly enjoyed it. And my initial twenty minutes of work to make the chili definitely paid dividends. Easy, no-prep lunches all week? Yes, please.

~Katie

To see how we plan our meals, click here. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!

Katie’s plan:

  • Takeout
  • Tacos with rice, shredded beef, fresh salsa, and fixings, watermelon
  • Mexican two-bean chicken chili with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips, blueberry muffins
  • Picnic-y dinner: sliced cheese, meats, and crackers, pickles, cucumbers, grapes and watermelon
  • Pulled pork on sourdough rolls with tangy Asian slaw and barbecue sauce, corn on the cob, mango
  • Lunch on the go: Cheese stick or nuts (peanuts or cashews), Ritz crackers, apple-peanut butter sandwiches, grapes or raisins, cucumber flowers, corn on the cob bites, mini cookie bites
  • Dinner with family: brought watermelon
  • Other things to make this week: Bagels (regular-sized and minis), Double-Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, baked berry oatmeal
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Homemade buns in under an hour (hamburger, sub roll, or hot dog)

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: didn’t we already post a homemade bun recipe?? (Yes, we did.) But that recipe requires a respectable rising time, and so there’s no last-minute switching possible: if you haven’t started the dough several hours before dinner, you’re not eating buns. And sometimes, I just don’t have the time to wait for a rise.

That’s where this recipe comes in. I once found out fairly last-minute that we were leaving our house in 45 minutes and needed a meal on-the-go, and managed to make these as hamburger buns, complete with homemade burgers, in that amount of time. That, my friends, is a serious win in my book. A fast dough recipe that is actually fast!

Originally a Taste of Home hamburger bun recipe, I’ve adapted this recipe to add shaping instructions for sub rolls and hot dog buns. From experience, I can tell you that the sub rolls are fantastic with beef au jus sandwiches.

~Katie

What you need:

IMG_1710Ingredients

  • 2 T. active dry yeast
  • 1 c. + 2 T. warm water
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 to 3 1/2 c. flour (plus extra for shaping)
  • optional toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion (sprinkle on after brushing shaped buns lightly with milk)

Equipment

  • large bowl
  • spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • dough scraper (optional)
  • baking sheets and parchment (or silpats)
  • wire rack (for cooling, optional)

Time: 40 minutes

Freezeable: Yes! I love to keep these on hand in my freezer!

Serves: Makes 12.

Multiplying the recipe: Yes, I often double it to throw a batch in the freezer.

Homemade buns in under an hour:

Place parchment paper or a silpat on a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Add the oil and sugar and stir. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to become saturated.

Add the egg, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Stir until the dough forms a soft ball.

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes, until smooth, adding flour as necessary. Immediately divide into 12 pieces and follow shaping instructions, below.

For hamburger buns: Shape the dough pieces into balls and place 3″ apart on the baking sheet.

For hot dog buns: Use parchment paper on the baking sheet. Shape the dough pieces into thin logs, about 5″ long. Place each log about 2″ apart. When the sheet is full, pull the parchment paper up between each log so that the paper is flat and the buns support each other. This helps them rise higher. (After the rise, and before baking, smooth out the paper so the buns are separated.)

For sub rolls: Shape the dough pieces into wide, flat rectangles, about 4″ long. Place 3″ apart on the baking sheet and press to flatten a bit.

To rise and bake: Cover the baking sheets with a clean kitchen towel and allow the buns to rise for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425F. When preheated, bake the buns for 8-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks or serve warm.

hamburger buns

hamburger buns

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