Welcome to my food blog! I am your average home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!

February 11, 2014

Perfect Pulled Pork - Crock*Pot Cafe 1

Our new category for 2014 is Crock*Pot Cafe(recipes you can make in the slow cookers).  Slow cookers were popular decades ago, and are making a fierce comeback, especially with so many households being incredibly busy.  Set it and forget it, is a great way to make sure you come home to a healthy, delicious meal, without a lot of work to make the meal happen.  There are a lot of great recipes out there for main dishes, side dishes, desserts, breakfast items, and party food.  This year (2014) we are going to try some great new slow cooker recipes that are easy and convenient.  So make sure you stay tuned to the blog all year long.
I have 2 Crock*Pots, one is a 7 quart model in black that has 3 settings: high, low, and warm.  I love that my newest model has that warming setting!  Great for parties.  I just bought it (at a great deal!) a few months ago, and have used it a couple dozen times already, usually at least once or twice a week.  My second model is about 10 years old, it is only 2 quarts, but I got it as a present when I first moved out on my own and was perfect for when I was single, and is still perfect for party food or desserts.
Our first Crock*Pot recipe is for pulled pork.  Slow cookers make this dish super easy, keep the pork super moist, and of course, delicious.  Great for a BBQ or just an average weeknight dinner, you will want to make this again and again.  

Perfect Pulled Pork

3.5 lb boston butt roast (boneless or bone-in is fine, mine had a bone and it pulled out super easy when done)
2 tbs cajun seasoning
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs cayenne

1 tsp cumin
salt an pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 onions, thickly sliced
chicken broth (2-4 cups)

Place onions in bottom of slow cooker.  Add a cup of broth.  Mix together all spices and brown sugar.  Rub boston butt thoroughly with spice mixture.  Place meat on top of  onions in slow cooker. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth over meat. Cook on high for 3 hours, then turn to low for another 6 hours.  Or keep on high the whole time (about 8 hours).  Add more broth halfway through cooking if necessary.  
Remove from slow cooker and pull apart with 2 forks (remove bone if there is one).  Return shredded pork to slow cooker and mix in with broth and onions.  Serve by itself, or on rolls or tortillas.  Use your favorite BBQ sauce to top.  I like the vinegar based sauces with pork, but use your own favorite!  Meat can be used as sandwich filling, taco filling, and is great alone.

February 4, 2014

Shepherd's Pie - Home Cooked Recipe 44

There are few things better on a cold day than a nice comforting meal.  Believe it or not, it can get quite chilly here in Florida, especially during January and February.  One of the meal's I would describe as a comfort food meal is Shepherd's Pie.  If you and your family love a good meat and potatoes meal, this is the dish for you.  There are a lot of variations and a lot of ways to make shepherd's pie, but this recipe is my favorite.  When listing the ingredients, I'll try to give you some options for things you can substitute or add to make your own spin on this dish.

Shepherd's Pie

1 lb ground beef (80/20) - you can use your favorite ground meat, ground turkey, lamb, or chicken work
1 onion, diced
1 tsp garlic paste (make your own with a couple cloves and a sprinkle of salt, or buy some from your produce section of your grocery store)
1-2 cups frozen mixed veggies (I use a carrot, pea, corn, green bean blend) - you can also use just one veggie, like 1 cup peas or 1 cup corn - or find your own favorite veggie blend
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 jar turkey gravy (I use Heinz, but even the store brands are delicious - you can also use beef or chicken gravy, but I like the turkey the best for this application)
1 tsp seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
1 tbs cajun seasoning (you can omit this but I highly recommend it.  Or sub something like chili powder, cumin, oregano, etc)

1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 8oz package shredded cheese (use your favorite, I used a cheddar/colby mix here, I also like sharp cheddar, but you could use a mexican blend or italian blend and it's just as tasty)
1 lb petite red potatoes ***you can also use the packet mashed potatoes instead of making mashed potatoes from scratch. Use 2 packets and make them according to the package directions.
4 tbs butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp garlic paste

plenty of salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.
Boil potatoes.  Cover potatoes with one inch of cold water and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef.  When beef is halfway browned, add diced onion and garlic paste, stir well.  Cook 5 minutes and add spices.  Stir well.  Mix in soy sauce first, then turkey gravy.  Let cook 2 minutes then add in frozen veggies.  Stir well and cook, 2 minutes.  Pour into 8x8 baking dish.  Sprinkle 1 handful of grated cheese over top.
When potatoes are tender, drain in colander.  While potatoes are draining, add milk and butter to pot and let heat up until butter is melted.  Stir in garlic paste.  Add potatoes back and mash well.  Season liberally with salt in pepper.  Stir in one handful of shredded cheese.  Spread over top of beef mixture in baking pan.  Top with remaining grated cheese.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until cheese is melted an bubbly.