Southern Pulled BBQ Pork

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This is not your red sauce BBQ!  This is a traditional, vinegar based Carolina barbecue.  This is not about tasting the sauce, it is about tasting the meat!  If you have never tried this type of barbecue - you must.  I promise you (despite my bias) that there is NOTHING like Carolina BBQ!  As a self-confessed meat-a-terian -- I can tell you this is amazing!  It makes a lot and is great to bring to parties and cookouts.  Don't worry about extras - it reheats great!  Slather on a bun or just plate with cole slaw and hush puppies and you are transported to a beautiful summer day in the Carolina sun.

Submitted by:  Tia Bach

Cook time:  8 hours in a slow cooker

     -  1, 5-6 lb. pork shoulder or pork roast (sometimes you can find this called a Picnic roast)
     -  1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce:
     -  1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
     -  1/4 c. ketchup
     -  1 Tbl. hot sauce
     -  1 tsp. liquid smoke (hickory)
     -  1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
     -  1/2 tsp. onion powder
     -  1/2 tsp. Worchestershire
     -  Hot pepper flakes, to taste
     -  1/4-1/2 c.  apple cider vinegar (only add if you prefer a more vinegary taste - taste mix first)

1)  Put pork and 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar  in greased slow cooker.  Cook all day (8 hours).  Toward end, shred pork.
2)  After shredding, mix sauce ingredients (except additional apple cider vinegar).  Cover and mix in with pork in slow cooker.  Taste and add additional vinegar accordingly.

Tortilla Casserole

The original recipe I found for this called for artichokes and mushrooms and frankly just didn't work.  I tweaked this recipe with some more traditional Mexican cuisine elements.  After the alterations it was delicious.  However, for those interested in the original recipe, I posted the original ingredients below this recipe -- it might be your cup of tea.  The directions are the same.  When I made my version, it was delicious!  It made a lot, but reheated wonderfully!  A true treat.

Submitted by:  Dana Newbrough
Preheat oven to:  350 degrees                             Cook time:  40-50 minutes

      -  8 corn tortillas (if use flour, you do not need to soak)
      -  1 cup of chicken broth
      -  Olive oil
      -  1 c. chopped onion
      -  1 c. chopped red or green pepper
      -  1 1/2 Tbl. minced garlic
      -  1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
      -  1 can tomato soup or 1 (5.5 oz) V8 juice can
      -  1 c. low fat sour cream
      -  1 (16 oz) can of Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
      -  Taco seasoning
      -  1 (15 oz) can of corn
      -  1 (10 oz) can of Rotel tomatoes (with green chiles)
      -  3 Tbl fine flour (recommended:  Wondra flour)
      -  1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
      - 2 c. Tortilla chipped, crushed
      -  Optional:  1 can of sliced black olives, drained
      -  Serve with salsa and sour cream

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place tortillas in a pie plate with broth.  Turn once in awhile to ensure all tortillas are soaked.  Set aside.
2)  Place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Saute onions, peppers and garlic for 5 minutes, until slightly brown and onions translucent. 
3)  In a separate skillet cook meat until cooked through, about 7-9 minutes.  When done add onion mix to meat.
4)  Add pinto beans, Rotel tomatoes, sour cream, taco seasoning, tomato soup, corn (and olives).  Mix well and bring to a boil; reduce heat and continue simmering for 5 minutes.  Add flour during heating to thicken sauce.
5)  Place 4 soaked tortillas in the bottom of a large, lightly greased casserole dish.  Tear tortillas to completely cover bottom.  Layer half of mixture and half of cheese.  Repeat layers.
6)  Top with crushed tortilla chips.  Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Now for the adventurous taster - the original ingredients:
     -  8 corn tortillas
     -  1 1/4 c. chicken broth
     -  2 Tbl olive oil
     -  1 c. chopped onions
     -  1 c. chopped green pepper
     -  1 1/2 Tbl minced garlic
     -  1 (8 oz) package fresh sliced mushrooms
     -  1 lb ground turkey
     -  2 c. plain yogurt
     -  1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
     -  3 Tbl. fine flour
     -  2 Tbl. chili seasoning
     -  1 (15 oz) can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
     -  1 1/2 c. organic shredded jack cheese

Let me know what you think of this one - mushrooms and artichokes don't scream Mexican to me!)

Salisbury Steak

This Salisbury steak recipe is so easy and so delicious.  A great comfort food!  It includes a sweetened take on a Belmont Sauce (with the more wine-flavored original recipe included) - both are heavenly and are just specific to your tastes.  Great thing about this is that if food is a way to a man's heart - this will definitely win that of the man in your life!  

Submitted by:  Karen Newbrough

Cook time:  10-15 minutes

Steak patties:
     -  3 lb. ground chuck
     -  2 Tbl. chopped green pepper (optional)
     -  1/4 c. finely chopped onion
     -  2 Tbl. chopped parsley
     -  1 tsp. salt
     -  1 tsp. tabasco sauce
     -  flour

Belmont Sauce:
     -  3 Tbl Olio, or butter
     -  1/2 c. ketchup
     -  1 tsp Worchestire
     -  1 tsp. prepared mustard
     -  1/4 tsp. tabasco
     -  2 Tbl. light brown sugar (to your taste specifications) 
(If you prefer a more wine flavor vs. sweet, substitute the brown sugar for 1 Tbl. lemon juice and 2 Tbl. cooking sherry and voila! )

1)  Combine meat, green pepper, onion, parsley, salt and tabasco sauce.  Shape meat mix into 8 oval shaped patties (think mini-meatloafs, at least 1/2 inch thick).  Sprinkle lightly with flour.
2)  Heat skillet lightly coated with cooking oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add patties and brown on all sides, cooking through.  Watch carefully and flip a few times to keep cooking even and to keep patties from burning.
3)  Mix Belmont sauce in small saucepan over low-medium heat.  Whisk ingredients together and continue stirring over the heat.  Serve warm over the patties.

Homemade Fried Rice

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This rice is so good that we made extra to enjoy the next day!  It is also healthy due to the homemade part - just some extra-virgin olive oil, long grain brown rice and lots of vegetables...oh yeah and if interested, tofu!  (don't let that scare you away, though - optional)

Submitted by: Paula Penman
(check out her blog "The Extraordinary Mother")

     -  Uncooked long-grained brown rice
     -  2-3 eggs
     -  Soy Sauce
     -  Extra-virgin olive oil
     -  Favorite frozen vegeatables (or bag of mixed vegeatables:  carrots, corn, peas, etc)
     -  Ground ginger and black pepper to taste
     -  Firm tofu, cut into large pieces (optional)

1)  Cook rice according to package directions and then refrigerate.  (Amount depends on family size.  Remember, rice cooks up and always makes more than you think)
2)  Scramble eggs on 1 tsp. of olive oil.  Remove from pan and cut up egg into smaller pieces.
3)  Add more olive oil to coat same pan.  Add chilled rice and stir to coat with olive oil.  Keep heat low so that rice does not burn.  Sprinkle liberally with pepper and ginger for great flavor!  Stir rice to mix.
4)  Add vegetables and allow to cook until warm (5-10 minutes - longer if fresh vegetables).  Add tofu and egg.  Stir and mix well.  Voila - done!

Rigatoni and Ragu

Okay, I cannot resist - this is so good and so hearty - esp. great before the weather gets too warm.  This is not the jar stuff!

Submitted by:  Paula Penman
 (Check out her blog "The Extraordinary Mother" )

Cook time:  30 min

     -  Extra-virgin olive oil
     -  3 cloves garlic, minced
     -  Pasta - rigatoni (or rotini)
     -  1 large onion, chopped
     -  1/3 lb. ground beef
     -  1/3 lb. sweet Italian sausage (or hot sausage); casing removed
     -  1 green pepper, cored and chopped
     -  1 pkg mushrooms (optional)
     -  1/2 c. red wine
     -  1 can crushed tomatoes
     -  1 stalk celery, chopped
     -  1/2 c. frozen peas
     -  Optional seasonings to taste:  oregano, basil, pepper, nutmeg


1)  Cook pasta according to package instructions.
2)  Heat oil in frying pan.  Add sausage and beef once hot.  Add oregano, basil and pepper; chop and stir until browned.
3)  In another pan, heat oil and add onion and garlic (garlic on top so it does not burn).  Cook until onion is translucent.
4)  Add carrots and mushrooms to onion mix and saute.  Add red wine and cook until absorbed.
5)  Add crushed tomatoes and meat mixtures.  Add oregano, bail and pepper.  Finish with a couple of sprinkles of nutmeg; mix.
6)  Allow to simmer 20-30 minutes until vegetables soften.  Add peas and cook until thawed.
7)  Serve over pasta and add Parmesan cheese if desired.

Back From Hiatus

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sorry that I have been on hiatus for awhile.  The past 6 weeks in my household have been crazy, with lots of company and back-to-back trips (see for our latest adventures).  Needless to say, I am exhausted and so glad to be getting back to a normal way of life.  That included getting back into cooking more for my family and trying some delicious new recipes.

Keep sending yours - don't forget that they can be your creations, favorites passed down or tried-and-true favorites your found.  We love them all!!

By the way, lots of delicious recipes coming this week.  Here is my families menu this week (some of these are already posted and continue to check as I post the others this week).  All are delicious, easy and sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.  And, as you try them, comment back with honest critiques and alterations that you tried.  I always love to get new ideas and help in the kitchen any way I can!

This Week:
Honey Nut Chicken and Barbecue Succotash
Herb Roasted Red Potatoes
-  Spinach Rice Bake Casserole
-  Tortilla Casserole
Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"
-  Asian Grilled Salmon
Chicken and Broccoli Mac-and-Cheese

More giveaways
More interviews
Dozens of new recipes
Spotlight on Great Summer recipes and pot-luck hints!
Cooking hints that will make life easier and tastier!
Spotlight on Desserts

Chicken and Broccoli Mac-and-Cheese

A heartier version of your favorite Mac-and-cheese - makes a full meal.  A great family meal or pot luck!  So many alterations are available - so take the basics and make it your own.  Just be aware - this makes a lot, so consider halving the recipe for an intimate family meal.

Cook time:  30-40 min

     -  2 Tbl. oil, to coat pan
     -  1 lb. chicken breast tenders, chopped
     -  Salt and pepper, to taste
     -  1 small onion, chopped
     -  1 lb. macaroni elbows or corkscrew pasta
     -  2 1/2 c. broccoli florets
     -  3 Tbl. butter
     -  3 Tbl all-purpose flour
     -  1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
     -  1 tsp. paprika
     -  2 c. milk
     -  1 can cream of mushroom soup
     -  3-4 c. sharp cheddar (or favorite cheese)
     -  1 Tbl prepared Dijon mustard

1)  Place pot of water on to boil for macaroni
2)  Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat with oil.  Once hot, add chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Saute a couple of minutes, then add onion and cook another 5-7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through.  Turn off heat and reserve.
3)  Add pasta to boiling water and salt (hint:  add about 1 Tbl. of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking).  Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 more minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.
4)  While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika.  Whish together over heat until roux bubbles - then cook a minute more.  Whisk in milk and soup.  Raise heat a little bit to bring sauce to a quick boil.  Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.
5)  Drain macaroni and broccoli.  Add back to pot and add chicken pasta/veg. 
6)  Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so.  Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper.
7)  Pour sauce over chicken/pasta mix; stir to combine.  Adjust seasonings, transfer to a large serving platter and serve.

Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

A healthy and delicious alternative to mashed potatoes.  It will become a new family go-to, with less guilt and just as much flavor.  Also, a great way to fool kids and adults into eating their veggies.  In fact, my daughter NAILED THEM - so I even included a picture as proof.

When I made them they were chunkier than mashed potatoes, but I just used a hand mixture.  If you like them smoothier, without cauliflower pieces (more mashed potato-like) then I suggest using a blender or food processor).  I don't know if they will replace mashed potatoes, but they were truly delicious and will be a regular item here.

Submitted by:  Dana Newbrough

Cook time:  20-30 min

     -  1 medium head of cauliflower
     -  1 Tbl. softened cream cheese
     -  1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
     -  1/2 tsp. minced garlic
     -  1/8 tsp. straight chicken base or bullion
     -  1/8 tsp. pepper
     -  1/2 tsp. chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
     -  3 Tbl butter
     -  Salt, to taste

1)  Set of large pot of water to boil over high heat.
2)  Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces.  Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done.  Drain well; do not let cool.  Pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
3)  In a bowl with an blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base and pepper until almost smooth.
4)  Garnish with chives and serve with hot pats of butter

Easy-Peezy Herb Roasted Potatoes

Can't mess this up and you can alter the seasonings to your liking.  No brainer hear, but my favorite summer-time side to a great piece of steak and corn on the cob, straight off the grill.  Pair with a watermelon slice and "I'm in heaven!"

Preheat oven to:  375 degrees                       Cook time:  30-40 min

     -  2 lbs. new red potatoes, quartered
     -  1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
     -  Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
     -  Salt and pepper to taste (can also add red pepper flakes for a kick!)

1)  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Toss together the potatoes, oil and seasonings. 
2)  Dump the potatoes onto a baking sheet and roast until tender and crisp on the edges, about 30-40 minutes.

Barbecued Succotash

The perfect compliment to any dish - my favorite is with fried/coated chicken or shredded barbeque pork sandwiches.  YUM!  A great summer cook-out treat, as well!

Taken from:  Rachel Ray 30 min. meals

Cook time:  10 minutes               Prep time:  10-15 minutes

     -  1 Tbl. olive or vegetable oil, turn to coat pan
     -  1/2 red onion, diced
     -  1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
     -  1 (14 oz) can black beans
     -  1 (10 oz) box frozen corn
     -  Salt and pepper, to taste
     -  1/4 cup smoky or hickory barbecue sauce
     -  2 Tbl. parsley (or chopped chives or cilantro leaves)

1)  Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and peppers and saute 5 minutes.
2)  Add beans and corn and season with salt and pepper.  When corn heats through, add barbecue sauce.
3)  Add parsley and stir to combine. 

Honey Nut Chicken

My favorite crunchy, chicken coating - hint of sweetness, but not too much.  My 16 month old and husband both loved it!

Preheat oven to:  350 degrees                             Cook time:  15-20 min

     -  4 oz (~ 2/3 cup) honey roasted peanuts
     -  1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
     -  1 Tbl. Montreal Seasoning by McCormick (or similar grill seasoning)
     -  2 eggs
     -  A splash half-and-half or whole milk
     -  2 tsp. hot sauce
     -  1/2 c. all-purpose flour
     -  2-3 Tbl vegetable oil
     -  4-6 thin chicken breasts

     -  2-3 Tbl. honey (for sprinkling)

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put nuts, bread crumbs and grill seasoning in food processor.  Grind to combine these ingredients until fine crumble crust.  Pour nutty-breading onto a plate.
2)  Beat eggs and half-and-half or milk with hot sauce in a shallow dish.
3)  Pour flour onto another plate for dipping.
4)  Dust both sides of the chicken with flour.  Dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then coat with nutty mixture.
5)  Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add vegetable oil to coast the bottom of the pan with a thin layer.  Brown chicken pieces 2 minutes on each side in the hot oil or until evenly light golden in color.
6)  Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in oven until juices run clear and breasts are cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

** Serve with Barbecued Succotash (as pictured)

Baked Meatballs

I love big homemade meatballs in my spaghetti - add garlic bread and my favorite Vodka spaghetti sauce and BAM! what a quick, easy meal!

Preheat oven to:  350 degrees                      Cook time:  25-30 min

     -  1 lb. lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
     -  1 egg
     -  2 Tbl. milk
     -  1/2 c. bread crumbs (or my favorite - finely ground Ritz crackers - about 1 roll)
     -  1 envelope onion soup mix (alternate option:  1/4 c. minced onion)
     -  Salt and pepper, to taste

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together, roll into balls.
2)  Place onto baking sheet and bake for 1/2 hour.
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