Change of Plans

So I know I said I would take pictures and write all about that amazing cream of broccoli soup- But every time I warmed up a bowl I ended up eating it. I will soon, I promise.

One of the reasons I love that recipe so much is because it’s easy. Big fan of easy. And it makes enough for leftovers. Big fan of that, too. Why wouldn’t I be?

So on weeks when I really feel like going all out with my version of meal planning and making what I like to think of ‘eat-reheat-repeat’ meals, I throw in a Crockpot recipe more often than not. When something works, I make it A LOT. Which is why anyone can open our freezer any given time and find a pork butt ready to be made into easiest pulled pork in the world.

I realize that my first post being focused around my love of broccoli may have led one to believe that I was the furthest thing from a picky eater, and I’m sorry to have mislead you. I should come clean and say I had zero appreciation for good and tasty food until I was in, well, we’ll say high school. But that might be stretching the truth a bit. All I remember is having a strong opinion of not liking many things, and just being an overall, passionately picky eater. I kid you not; the ends of chicken fingers had to be cut off to ensure I wasn’t about to bite into gristle. I kept that a ritual for longer than I feel comfortable sharing. But, ew. The thought of biting into that makes me shudder. And pulled pork, or really anything pork related, was considered a no-go for me.

Except bacon, I wasn’t that stupid.

And then there was this one day that will live in my mind infinitely; my Dad had it cooking, in my tool of choice, on the counter and it smelled so good. I don’t know if he convinced me to, or I did this on my own accord, but I tried it. And from that point on my stance against non-bacon pork products was over.

I’ll say it was just shy of a love affair. It was my new go-to at any BBQ restaurant. My favorite from a joint back in Jax called Mojo’s No. 4, but really any of the Mojo’s locations do justice to this BBQ favorite. Delicious. We would have it topped on our nachos. Yum. I even tried the “healthy way” and had it on top of a salad once in a while. Man-oh-man. And of course the pulled pork sandwich, there’s just no way to go wrong. It was just all around great pork.

I sadly haven’t found anywhere in SAV that I enjoyed as much as Mojo’s, (open to suggestions). So, we make our own to suffice.

This recipe is made on repeat for a few reasons: it’s easy, makes enough for dinner and a few lunches (since it’s just me and Paul), and it tastes good. It meets the requirements for an ‘eat-reheat-repeat’ recipe based on my criteria. With a few other grocery store grabs you get a plate somewhat resembling the plate below.

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Fixins

Serves: 4 ♦  Prep: 10min  ♦  Cook time: 12hr  ♦  Level of difficulty: Get the kids involved

Ingredients:

  • 5lb Boneless Boston butt or pork shoulder
  • Broth or stock of your choice, (whatever you have is fine- I’ve used them all), enough to cover about 3/4 of pork
  • Hot Sauce, we use Texas Pete, 2-3 Tbsp or to taste
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed, or minced of you want. But it flavors the meat just fine when smashed. Plus what kid wouldn’t want to smash some garlic with a mallet??
  • 1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce. I usually use a spicy sauce (see a trend here?) to cook and them have different options at the table when serving
  • Buns, large rolls or Texas Toast (yum) for sandwiches
  • Coleslaw, Whole Foods has a Carolina Greens Slaw that is mustard-y and delicious
  • You’re favorite Mac & Cheese. I’ll get to my Kale Mac&Cheese recipe in a later post.

Directions:

  1. Add about 1 cup of broth to your slow cooker along with smashed garlic and 1 Tbsp of hot sauce.
  2. Place pork in the center. Note: Prior to this it is completely optional if you want to remove the fat from the pork. I do not, as it lends to a super juicy end result, (don’t worry, you can remove it at the end).
  3. Add more stock until 3/4 of pork is covered, at least. I splash the remaining hot sauce over the meat as well as a hefty amount of BBQ sauce to make a nice thick layer on the top, also mixing some into the broth. I use about 3 cups total.
  4. With the slow cooker on low, and covered, leave it alone let the amazing-ness cook for 12 hours. Your can also look up the medium and high slow cooker conversions. But honestly; low and slow- you can’t go wrong. If you peak in the middle and feel like the top is drying up a bit you can either add more sauce, give it a few spoonfuls of broth over top, or ever flip it over. Ideally, the sauce you put over the top should keep it moist enough throughout cooking. Plus, I’m sure you heeded my advise by keeping the fat on the pork which is doing that meat a lot of good right now.
  5. Trying not to do this before the full 12 hours are up can be difficult, I know the smell is wafting though your home at this point; but once done, remove cooked pork onto large cutting board if you want to remove the fat as you pull. The fat and meat will fall away so easily, I usually use a fork to separate the fat and discard. Shred meat with two forks or let cool for a bit and get the kids involved. Once cooled a smidgen, they can pull it apart with their fingers.
  6. At this point, the pulled pulled pork is probably in a bowl, if you haven’t eaten it right off the cutting board. A few options remain for finishing it off. I like to take about a soup ladle full of the juices from the slow cooker (with the fat skimmed off) and toss that with the shredded meat. Or, if everyone in your family likes the same BBQ sauce (lucky you) you could also toss with that and serve.
  7. Our choice for serving is on french style hamburger buns, toasted of course, with each of our favorite sauces. Always coupled with mac&cheese, and, for me coleslaw!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. We love to use the leftovers and make delicious BBQ nachos for dinner or a late night smack the next day.

Enjoy!

-Am

 

 

Broccoli

Huh, well. I guess this is a first post.

I feel like you should know; I started this on whim. I guess a lot of bloggers pre-meditate an intent for their blog; so it’s focused, organized, you get it. Well I didn’t. I’m sure it will take shape eventually.

I can tell you that I would like to use this as a creative outlet in some way shape or form. My job doesn’t require too much of that, I wish it did.

So, let’s get started!

I’m probably the only kid growing up who could have had a plate of chicken fingers, (or any other picky-eater/toddler-friendly foods), and a hefty scoop of broccoli placed in front of them for dinner and was completely disinterested in the fingers. Give me all the green! My mom swears I loved creamed spinach when I was a baby. I have a hard time believing her since it might be the one way I won’t eat spinach now, but she swears. I grew up loving broccoli, any way it was made: steamed, raw, covered in cheese, and so on. My Nana made it best- sauteed with onions and more butter than necessary. But there was always something comforting that resonated about a good cup of broccoli and cheese soup. Who doesn’t love that? I’m not talking the Panera kind, which is good, I have definitely had my fair share of bread bowls that I never really could finish. I’m talking ‘really heavy on the broccoli and some cheese, too’ soup. Delicious. Mom used to make one. It was wonderful, the soup was basically green. But she didn’t like making it and I didn’t appreciate it enough when I was a kid, apparently, because when I asked her for the recipe a few weeks ago she had no idea which recipe she used. I couldn’t believe it.

As disappointed as I was, I went to ole’ trusty, (Pinterest), and sought my own that had potential. I generally pick a winning recipe by the photo that comes with, hasn’t failed me once. Found this cream of broccoli soup recipe and took off running.

The recipe itself is wonderful, I’ve made it quite a few times. Kacey from The Cookie Writer really knew what she was doing. Since then, I have adapted it a little to our liking by changing up the cheese and adding more green options like collards and kale, and more.

I just made it again tonight. I didn’t take pictures; our house was built when overhead lighting was a luxury so we basically live in a cave once the sun goes down. I’ll try to get some good ones tomorrow and do a follow-up on this already great recipe.

-Am