Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BBQ Pulled Pork

The new grill.......

Let me start by saying that you will soon see lots of BBQ recipes here since my hubby just got his dream grill..... It has a smoker attached!!!! The BBQ obsession began long ago.. When my hubby and I first got together we soon realized that we both loved BBQ. So when we decided to take a month long road trip for our Honeymoon, and realized that we were going to be driving thru some of the best BBQ places on earth... Tennessee, Georgia, The Carolina's  we went online to see where the locals eat because they always have the lowdown on the best eats! Two of our favorites were in Tennessee  although we happened to be in Tennessee during Thanksgiving, that didn't stop us from getting our BBQ. We stopped at one of Elvis Presley's old haunts A and R BBQ which happens to be on Elvis Presley Blvd. We had Pulled Pork and Fried Pickles that's right I said Fried pickles. Soooo Yummy!!! We also stopped at Jacks Bar-B-Que in Nashville , where I will admit we ate at twice during our 3 day stop there. We each had... you guessed it Pulled Pork plate... are we seeing a trend here. Jack's was so good that I just ordered some of there sauce to try out with the new smoker!!  You walk into these places and you can hear the banging of the cleavers chopping the meat.. its great!! 

So we live in Massachusetts not exactly a haven for BBQ joints except the chain restaurants which in no way can compare to the places we ate. So the next best thing is to try to do it ourselves.Pulled pork has become a favorite in our house and I have a great slow cooker recipes but have never smoked it. When the smoker came into our lives I had to reevaluate my recipe, not sure if it would jive with the smoker. So we did a trial this weekend with the original slow cooker recipe sauce and as good as it was we wanted to try a new sauce.  Since this was my hubby's project he was also in charge of the sauce. He had made a great sauce the other day when he smoked a whole Chicken so I knew that this sauce would be just as good, and let me tell you he did not disappoint, it was fantastic. So  here we go folks now its just my hubby  the camera and the smoker..

BBQ Pulled Pork my hubby's version

Items needed:
Foil Pan

Dry Rub.. We always start with a dry rub even if its going into the slow cooker.

  • 4 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
*****I taste the rub for spiciness and sweetness and add more if I feel it needs it****

  • 7 1/2lb Pork Shoulder
  • Pork Rub
  • 1 spray bottle with water~to tame the flames if they get out of hand
  • 1 spray bottle with 3 parts Apple juice 1 part apple cider vinegar~to keep the pork juicy
  • BBQ Sauce , recipe follows

 Place shoulder in a large bowl that will fit in your fridge, rub the pork all over with rub, making sure to get in the nooks and crannies. Wrap shoulder in plastic wrap and place in fridge over night it will form a marinade Take meat out of fridge and let rest for one hour before you put it in the smoker...... Ok so we ran out of plastic wrap so I had to use a plastic bag

Light charcoal in a starter and place coals in smoker, follow instructions for your grill or smoker

We used apple wood smoking chips which we had to put in a foil packet because it was more like wood dust than chips....

  Make sure to put holes in the foil to allow the smoke to come thru

Place the wood chip pouch on top of the hot coals

Place pork onto a foil pan to avoid the fat dripping onto the coals and starting a fire like we did the first time we used the smoker....

 Making sure that the temp stays in the ideal range, which for us is 225 degrees some people like to smoke it at a lower or higher temp we found this temp to be just right. 

And this is what you get, oh almost forgot we sprayed it with the apple/vinegar mixture once every hour. 

After cooking for any where between 4 1/2 -6 hours, the meat should be around 190 degrees or so and is ready to rest for a while... We wrapped ours in tin foil and let it rest for a good 2-3 hours then the shredding began....

Ok so I could be dainty and say use a fork to shred but come on folks sometimes you have to get dirty.. The fork is good for some of the shredding but the hands are the real tools!! Here comes my hubby's fabulous sauce.....

Home made BBQ Sauce
  • 2 tbs French's Yellow Mustard
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c apple juice
  • 2 tbs Franks Red hot sauce
  • 1 tsp brown  sugar
  • 1/2- 3/4 Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce, we used the Brown Sugar version
  • 2 tbs Ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Whisk together and heat in microwave at 30 seconds intervals and whisk in between  
  • Mix together with the pulled pork and serve on toasted buns.
Eat and Enjoy!!!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yogurt is Yummy....

We haven't been cooking alot at home these past few days, my hubby's grandmother is sick and we have been eating dinner with the family a lot so I thought I would post about a giveaway I won a few weeks ago from Simply Life for Chobani Yogurt, and boy was I excited!! The hubby and I had just started to eat Greek Yogurt and could not wait to try some other flavors. We had tried the Vanilla and Pineapple Chobani but not the flavors I was sent; Peach, Blueberry and Strawberry. I had eaten the Vanilla one with some Mandarin Orange slices and loved  it, so I thought I would give it a whirl with the Blueberry... JACKPOT!!!! So yummy I was a little upset I had waited this long to try the Blueberry. 
I will say this though, I have to disagree with the people at Chobani in reference to the Do not Stir rule, for a smooth and creamy treat.  I prefer to stir!! I like the texture and smoothness better when I give it a real good stir! I really enjoyed this one and did eat it with the mandarin oranges and it was delicious!!  They are just as good on there own, and a great mid day snack. I will admit that I did try another add in combo of the Strawberry yogurt with Chocolate Cheerios and oh so yummy!!!!! I am definitely a fan of Greek yogurt compared to the regular stuff and definitely a fan of Chobani!!

Eat and Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oreo Bon Bons....YUMMY!!!

There  I was strolling through some blogs and checking out recipes, when I saw a picture on the left side of the blog I was reading and my eyes  widened..... I was reading Jamie Cooks It Up! and there it was a recipe for the most delicious looking dessert I have ever seen; at first I thought they were truffles but upon further study, I found out they were Oreo Bon Bon's. They looked so yummy and when I showed them to my husband he immediately said that we needed to make them for his mothers birthday dinner.  Jamie made it look so easy to make these, us on the other hand found it a little tougher.  My hubby actually helped me make these while I was making some of the main dishes. They came out great and oh so rich!! There wasn't one left by the end of the night.

Items Needed:
Cookie Sheet
Parchment paper

Oreo Bon Bon's

  • 1 package Oreo cookies
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese (doesn't need to be softened)
  • 1 1/2 bags white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp shortening

  • Smash up the Oreo's;  I used a bag from a cereal box, that I save now them thanks to a tip I read in a magazine
  • Place Oreo's and cream cheese and mix until well mixed,  it should be a sticky dough
  • Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper 
  • Freeze at least one hour
  • In a glass measuring cup melt the white chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring after each turn , when chocolate is almost melted add 1 tsp shortening and stir
  • Dip the frozen bon bon's in the white chocolate and stir around with a fork, lift up and let the excess drip off
  • Place the bon bon on the parchment paper,they set very quickly because the bon bon's are frozen
  • Melt the milk chocolate the same way as the white chocolate was melted...remember only 30 seconds at a time. Add 1/4 t shortening and stir.
  • Drizzle the milk chocolate over bon bon's and allow them to set

Eat and Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baked Chicken Parmesan

We do lots of sleepovers here at our house with our nieces and nephews, and we let them pick out what we are going to have for dinner that night. Which can get quite interesting!! It’s funny to see how things have progressed as they have gotten older. Take our niece Julia, who slept over last weekend, a few years back it was chicken nuggets with ketchup and now she has graduated to Chicken Parmesan…. And she is so enthusiastic about too, “Auntie Shosh you have to make Chicken Parmesan EVERY time I sleep over ok!!??”  So here is my healthier take on Chicken Parmesan …

Baked Chicken Parm

Items Needed :
Shallow baking sheet
Cooling rack to put in baking sheet

  • Chicken breast, cut in half
  • Seasoned Panko bread crumbs****
  • Flour*****
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese /Parmesan Cheese mix

  • Set up three bowls or plates for dredging chicken and breading chicken
  • Season flour with salt and pepper
  • Dip chicken in flour mix, then in egg, then Panko bread crumbs, making sure to coat well
  • Arrange chicken on the cooling rack placed in the baking sheet
  • Bake chicken for 20 -35   minutes  (depending on thickness of chicken) and then top each piece with marinara sauce and a little of  the parm/mozz mix and bake an additional 10  minutes or until cheese is bubbly
  • Add additional sauce when plating

**** I gave no measurements because you may need to use more or less depending on the thickness of you chicken mine were on the thinner side

Eat and Enjoy !!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lemon Almond Cookies

This past weekend we hosted my mother in laws birthday dinner and although she didn't request a special dessert I wanted to make one. My brother in law said he would be in charge of a cake so I figured I would do some sort of cookie or tart. I knew that lemon was her thing because when we went to try cakes for our wedding, she loved the lemon and that's what we chose for a layer. I was going to go the lemon square route but wanted to do something different so I went to my binder full of magazine cut outs and found a recipe for these Lemon Almond Cookies. The use of sugar cookie mix makes for an easy exchange for "from scratch" batter, which for me was great since I was short on time, aka had hubby helping me. 

Lemon Almond Cookies 

Items Needed 
2 Mini Muffin Pan 
Medium saucepan
Mini Muffin/cupcake paper
Rolling Pin, to make dent  
  • 1  pouch  sugar cookie mix, any will do
  • 1/2  cup whole almonds, ground
  • 6  tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1  package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened 
  • Homemade Lemon Filling or jarred Lemon Curd 

  • Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 48 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.
  • In large bowl, stir cookie mix, ground almonds, butter and cream cheese until soft dough forms.
  • Shape dough into 48 (1 1/4-inch) balls. Place each ball in bottom of cup and press to make a dent, using end of rolling pin dipped in flour ( that's what we used but you can use your thumb)

  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove cookie cups from pan. Fill each with about 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon filling

Lemon Filling

  • 1 0.25 oz. packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 c.  sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 c.  fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes to soften. 
  • Beat the egg yolks in another small bowl and set aside.
  • In saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch, then gradually whisk in the water and gelatin. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and boils. 
  • Boil for about a minute, then remove from heat and pour a little into the egg yolks
  • Beat together then gradually add back into the gelatin mixture.
  • Return to the heat and simmer for about a minute.
  • Remove from the heat and beat in butter and lemon juice until smooth.

Eat and Enjoy!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini, Birthday Dinner and A Show... Phew what a day..

This past Saturday was a a very busy day, we were hosting my mother in laws birthday dinner and then we were going to see my sister in law in A Chorus Line performance. ** She was absolutely amazing and I am so proud of her!!!!*** The one request that my MIL had was that I make my Stuffed Zucchini, which I love to make and eat so how could I deny her or me. I have made this many times and always say oh I could add this or that and yet I never do because it great just the way it is. This is a vegetarian version but you could easily add ground beef or turkey and make it a heartier meal.

Stuffed Zucchini 

Items Needed: 
Large pot
Saute Pan
Baking dish  9 X 13

  • 6 med. Zucchini
  • 1/2 sml onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 shallot, diced 
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 c  fine bread crumbs
  • 1 c cheese, shredded Parmesan or Cheddar or what ever you like 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 c Panko bread crumbs ***** 

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil with the Zucchini for about 5 minutes, drain and cool
  • Once cooled , lay zucchini down on a cutting board so it lays flat slice off about 1/2 inch down and reserve that zucchini, so that you can scoop out the inside of zucchini , I use a melon baller to scoop it out. Reserve scooped out pulp. Dice the reserved zucchini along with the pulp and set aside

  • Heat a saute pan with olive oil and add shallots cook for 2-3 minutes then add sweet onion, cook an additional 3-4 minutes then add diced zucchini. Saute for 4 minutes or until the onions and zucchini are slightly browned.

  • In a bowl slightly beat the egg and add 1/2 c of shredded cheese, salt and pepper and the fine bread crumbs; mix together then add zucchini onion mixture. Stuff zucchini with the mixture and bake for 20 minutes.

  • Mix remaining shredded cheese with the panko breadcrumbs and bake an additional 5-8 minutes until cheese is bubbly and toasty.

**** I ran out of Panko bread crumbs  making another dish for this dinner so the above picture does not have the Panko cheese topping just cheese***

What are your special  birthday dinner requests?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Yummy Cheese Pizza

I have had a really busy week and was pleasantly surprised when I called my husband on Friday night and he said he had already started dinner. When he told me it was pizza I was even more excited. I love pizza and was craving it all week. He decided to make a half an half pizza, the best of two worlds. Half yummy cheesy goodness and half with bacon and cheese. Come on who doesn't love Bacon? It hit the spot and there was enough for lunch the next day, which was much needed since I was having the family over for my mother in laws birthday dinner. Stay tuned this week for the yummy recipes for the Birthday Dinner..... 

Here's my hubbys recipe: 

Cheesy/Bacon Pizza

Items Needed:
Pizza Stone

  • Pizza Dough, Homemade or like us a can of Pillsbury thin crust
  • Tomato Sauce, again Homemade or like us Raos
  • Shredded cheese 
  • Bacon, chopped 
  • Cook bacon in skillet on medium high heat until nice and browned, with a slotted spoon scoop up the bacon and set aside
  • Roll out pizza dough and prick dough with a fork or use the prickly side of a meat mallet ( that's what I did ) it helps it from puffing up and prebake for about  5 minutes
  • Spread sauce over  dough adding bacon to half of the pizza, then spreading cheese over the entire pie. 
  • Bake 12- 14 minutes or until bubbly and yummy!! 
What are your favorite pizza toppings????

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chicken and Black Bean Burrito

I was feeling like Mexican food, and tacos are my all time favorite Mexican food but I remembered seeing a recipe for Southwestern Chicken Burritos over at Recipe Shoebox. It looked yummy and when I saw that it had BBQ sauce in that's right I said BBQ sauce, I knew it was a recipe for us. My hubby LOVES BBQ sauce, so I took a look around to see what I had on hand since I didn't feel like going to the store..
I had left over chicken and a can of black beans so I was on my way. I bulked it up with some rice and served it up with some salsa and sour cream. 

Chicken and Black Beans Burrito
Items needed:
  • 2 cups chicken, I shredded mine
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 med onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c BBQ sauce 
  • 1/4 c chicken broth**
  • 2-3 tsp hot sauce
  • Brown rice, cooked
  • Tortillas, Joseph's Low Carb Tortilla
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil 

  •  Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat
  • Saute onions 3-4 minutes until translucent add garlic cook 2-3 minutes until soft
  • Add beans and BBQ sauce, then add chicken and heat through add salt and pepper to taste
  • Warm tortillas layer the rice, chicken and serve with condiments of choice

**** I added the chicken broth to the mixture because I felt it was a tad to thick for our taste. So add, don't add... what ever you like.... It will still be yummy!! 

***** Omit the chicken and make it a Veggie Burrito!!


What are your favorite Mexican dishes??

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cowboy Spaghetti

A few years ago my husband was over at a friends house and his wife made the boys Cowboy Spaghetti, and my hubby raved about it. When I asked for the recipe she told me that it was one of Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals. A real hearty man-meal, the kind that are great on a rainy cold night. Living in New England in the winter you are never sure what kind of weather you are going to get, and this week has been right on que. We have gone thru many different weather patterns from snow, rain, sleet and sun so this meal was a welcomed feast. It is a great quick meal, that can be used again later in the week for oh say Stuffed peppers, or you could throw it into tacos. Yummy!! As usual I made a few changes mostly because I didn't have an ingredient. 

Cowboy Spaghetti
Items Needed:
Pasta Pot
3 1/2 qt saute pan 
( if you don't have just make sure it is a deep pan)

  • 3/4 lb Whole wheat spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef 
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp hot sauce, more or less to taste
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 jar tomato sauce, I used Rao's **
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar

  • Bring a large pot to a boil and add spaghetti, adding a good handful of salt 
  • Heat the saute pan over medium high heat, adding the bacon ( if needed some olive oil) I did not need to the grease from the bacon was enough, brown bacon until crisp about 4-5 minutes string frequently so as not to burn, remove with a slotted spoon making sure to leave about 1 tbsp of the grease( yummy) 
  •  Add ground beef and and brown, 3-4 minutes
  • Add onion saute 2-4 minutes then add garlic saute 2 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper and Worcestershire  
****The original recipe  called for 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can tomato sauce which I would have used, after all I always have them on hand...... Or so I thought but apparently  I must have been looking in somebody elses pantry because when I got home from work all I had was a jar of tomato sauce. Which worked just as well and gave it the consistency that I was looking for.

***The recipe also called fora 1/2 cup of beer  added at the end, but unfortunately I didn't have one, I know the horror... So if you have it, use it and finish off the rest of the beer yourself.... Yummy!!

Eat and Enjoy!!!


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