One Pork Butt – Three Meals: Pulled Pork

20 04 2016

I am really into throwing a hunk of meat into the crockpot to cook all day, shredding it up and using it in several meals throughout the week. It’s such a time saver for this busy mama! In this post I’ve shared how I made a basic pulled pork, which I have divided out and will use in three different meals. Stay tuned for those recipes!

Pulled Pork

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • 3.5 lb pork shoulder/butt
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, skins removed and whole
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 Tbsp Himalayan pink sea salt

Add the onion, pepper, garlic and bay leaves to a crock pot. Place pork fat-side down on top of the veggies. Add chicken stock and salt the pork. Close lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours until meat falls off the bone and can easily pull apart.

Remove pork to a large cutting board and allow to cool slightly. Using two large forks (or your hands), pull the pork into pieces, discarding any visible fat, and store in a large covered container in the fridge.

Strain the broth left in the crockpot through a fine mesh strainer and store in a covered container in the fridge as well. Once the broth cools, the excess fat will settle at the top and can be easily discarded, while the broth can be used in other dishes.

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Peach Habanero Syrup

11 04 2016

I’m a sucker for brunch! And for my birthday meal at my in-laws this past weekend, my MIL made a delicious sweet and savory brunch of chicken and waffles. I helped top it off with this simple and equally sweet and savory, peach habanero syrup. Bonus, leftovers are great for dinner too – thanks, Dee! 🙂

Peach Habanero Syrup

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 habanero pepper, chopped (Choose a pepper size based on your level of comfort with heat, the larger the pepper the more spice it will add to the syrup. Also, leave the seeds and ribs in for more heat, remove them for less heat.)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup peach puree (Easiest way is to puree thawed frozen peaches with a little water – which is also my son’s baby food recipe too!)

In a small or medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring often. Add the chopped habanero and lower heat to simmer. Cook on low, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Add the peach puree and continue to cook, and stir, another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, and store leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge.

P.S. The consistency of this syrup is on the thin side. That doesn’t bother me, but if you’d prefer it to be thicker, try cooking it longer or adding a bit more sugar at the beginning.





Easter Bread Baked French Toast

5 04 2016

My hubs fam makes a delicious Easter bread similar to the Italian sweetened bread, Panettone. This thick, dense bread is just perfect for baked french toast! And because the bread itself it already sweetened, you don’t need extra sugar. To make this casserole more savory for dinner, I topped it with breakfast sausage browned with a little cayenne before baking. Love enjoying breakfast for dinner, especially when leftovers can be gobbled up the next morning too!

Easter Bread Baked French Toast

The following makes a 9×13 casserole (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 8-10 cups cubed Easter bread (or Panettone or other sweetened bread)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 oz mascarpone or cream cheese
  • Butter
  • 1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  • Cayenne pepper

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 casserole dish. You could also use non-stick spray.

With a whisk, beat milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add the cubed bread and toss to combine. Pour bread and liquid in the greased casserole dish and add dollops of mascarpone or cream cheese all over and in between the bread. It doesn’t have to be perfect and if the bread starts to tear and get mushy don’t worry about it! Cover with foil and store in the fridge overnight, or at least 8-10 hours.

Brown the breakfast sausage with a little cayenne pepper, breaking up in small pieces as it cooks. Store in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the casserole.

When ready to bake, top the casserole with the browned breakfast sausage and preheat the oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes to an hour. I keep the sausage separate and only add to the top (rather than mixing it in) to keep it crispy, which adds another layer of texture to the baked french toast.

Top with your fav maple syrup before serving (my go to is organic maple agave syrup).





Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Flat Bread Pizza

30 03 2016

This pizza was a vehicle to use up the leftover Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette I made for Easter, and it was every bit as tasty as I thought it would be! Roast the cauliflower and make the dressing over the weekend, so you can get a weeknight din on the table in a flash!

Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Flat Bread Pizza

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 pieces Mediterranean-style flat bread, I used wheat
  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 cup fresh spinach
  • About a 1/2 cup or so of roasted cauliflower florets (toss florets with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon zest and bake in a single layer at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large skillet, saute the pork in a little olive oil until browned, breaking up into bite-size pieces with the back of a wooden spoon.

Mix ricotta with a heaping Tbsp or so of the grease from the cooked pork and salt and pepper to taste, then spread evenly among the flat bread. Next, add a layer of spinach, the cauliflower and the pork. Bake on a pizza stone for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with goat cheese and continue baking another 5 minutes or so until the cheese is warmed.

Drizzle some Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette on top before serving.





Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette

28 03 2016

I just started introducing pureed fruits to my son (he mostly eats veggies), and I thought my homemade apple puree/applesauce would have been gobbled up. It was, but only after I added it to a combo of yams and squash….leaving me with a good bit of apple puree leftover. Enter this deliciously tart and creamy vinaigrette, which I made for an elegant Easter salad this past weekend. It would be great on lots of things though, like chicken or a roasted cauliflower and pork pizza which I’ll be making for dinner this week.

Creamy Apple Shallot Vinaigrette

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Stem Blog: 

  • 1/2 cup applesauce or 2 Fuji apples, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 cup olive oil

Add everything but the oil to a Vitamix or high-powdered blender and blend until smooth. Stream in the oil, starting with 3/4 cup. Taste and adjust vinegar, seasoning and the oil based on your liking (I for instance, like my dressing with more vinegar/acid than most people so I tend to use less oil).

Store this dressing in a mason jar in the fridge, and quickly shake up before serving.

The salad I served this with was made up of spinach, roasted cauliflower, apple slices, goat cheese and homemade croutons. Delicious, and great for spring!





Rockfish Tacos with Carrot-Bean Slaw and Avocado Cream

24 03 2016

So here I am, This Girl is back…from a LONG break after having a baby! Bare with me as I get back to real cooking and blogging (enough with the frozen pizza, to-go orders and week-old leftovers, although I can stretch a leftover now like you wouldn’t believe)!

These tacos were inspired by last night’s baby food, homemade of course, and admittedly my son has been eating better than me lately. I made him pureed avocado and corn. I love the silky smooth texture, which is different then my usual chunky guac. Here I pureed avocado with sour cream making a “sauce” for these tacos, although his combo with the corn would be delicious as well. Too bad he ate it all! Next time I’m doubling, half for him and half for us!

Rockfish Tacos with Carrot-Bean Slaw and Avocado-Sour Cream

The following makes 4-5 large tacos (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 large poblano pepper
  • 1 lb skinless rockfish, cubed
  • ½ Tbsp ancho chile powder (you could use regular chile powder, I just wanted to match the smokey flavor in the poblano)
  • ½ tsp each ground cumin and garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp each salt and onion powder
  • Olive oil
  • 1 heaping cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) blank beams, rinsed well
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tortillas (I used multi-grain soft taco tortillas)
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Char the poblano pepper over an open flame on your stove. Continue to turn and char until all sides are done. Place in a medium bowl and immediately cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will trap the steam to make peeling easier.

Combine chile powder, cumin, garlic, salt and onion powder in a small bowl. Season fish liberally all over using spice blend. Add olive oil (few turns of the pan) to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add seasoned fish and saute until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.

While the fish is cooking, uncover the pepper once cool enough to handle and peel the skin. Don’t take too much time removing, leaving some of the char on will add flavor. Cut in half, remove seeds and rough chop/large dice. Add back to the bowl along with the carrots, beans and green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper, any spice blend you have leftover from seasoning the fish, juice of half the lime and the rice vinegar. Mix well and set aside.

Add the avocado and sour cream to a small food processor along with salt and pepper to taste and juice from the rest of the lime. Pulse until smooth and set aside.

Warm tortillas in the microwave, or if you have time you can char them over an open flame on your stove or on the grill.

Finally, build your tacos. Spread some of the avocado-sour cream on the bottom of a tortilla, top with some cheese, the carrot-bean slaw and fish. Enjoy any leftover slaw as a side dish along with the tacos.





Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

21 06 2015

This pasta salad is light, fresh and super tasty – great for serving in the summer! I love taking ideas I see on in my fav cooking shows or magazines and making them my own. This recipe is a great example, thanks to the Food Network’s The Kitchen for the pineapple-zucchini salsa idea!

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

The following serves 6-8 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Kitchen):

  • 2 small to medium-size zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a peeled and cored pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta
  • 2 small to medium-size shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (save yourself time and use it from the tube)
  • 2 tsp finely diced jalapeno or your favorite hot sauce, use more or less depending on how much spice you like
  • 6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Champagne or Chardonnay Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or mint
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium. Grill the pineapple and zucchini for a few minutes on each side until beginning to char. You still want the zucchini to have a little crunch. Remove from the grill and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, diced the pineapple and zucchini and add to a large bowl or casserole dish. Toss with the cucumber, and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk the shallots, ginger, jalapeno or hot sauce, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the pineapple-zucchini mixture and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt and cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to pan to cool slightly.

Add the slightly cooled pasta to the dressed pineapple-zucchini mixture. Add the cilantro or mint and toss everything well to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper to taste if needed. You can also add more oil or vinegar if you’d like.

Store covered in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.