Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

ImageStill finishing the unfinishable!

This weekend was a smorgasbord of meat at our house. I finally got to make the Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork from my Unfinished List and boy was it worth the wait.

To review:

The Tempting Grub

The story:  Ah, Pinterest. You are the devil. I spend so many useless minutes pinning away on my boards, making plans for delicious food I am likely never going to make. This yummy-looking Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork and these zucchini fritters were a few of the first things I ever pinned. The problem is, I still have never tasted them. Finishing Problem: I suck at this.

To be frank, I was pretty worried about making this because I don’t have the best track record when it comes to meat. But this recipe? Doesn’t get any easier.

I pinned this pulled pork recipe from The Pioneer Woman a few years back precisely because it sounds amazing and looks somewhat easy to make, even for me. And that’s the truth.

You basically take a pork roast, season it with salt and pepper and then bake it for six hours in a delicious mix of Dr. Pepper and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It comes out very moist and will fall apart in the pan. We served our pork in tortillas with lettuce, avocado, tomato and cheese of course, alongside some rice and beans. The meat is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, my favorite thing!

burrito bowlToday for lunch I even feasted on the leftovers in the form of a burrito bowl, a base of meat, layer of beans and rice, topped with shredded lettuce, tomato and sour cream.

The recipe is located here…you should run out to buy the ingredients and have it now!

20131020-093313.jpg

Advertisements

Yo, Pops!

popsicleI’m not sure if there are people in this world who do not like popsicles, but I am pretty sure I don’t want to know them.

I recently bought a super rad popsicle mold and am having a blast trying out new mixes and pinning sweet recipes.

Check out my Pops! Pinterest board, where I’m getting many of my maniacal ideas.

My first (successful) pop is this Strawberry Limeade Pop, featuring sliced strawberries and Simply Limeade. Delish!

Tip: If you want to make a boozicle (which I desperately want!), do not purchase the pre-made margarita mix made for freezing at the grocery store….unless you live in a state that will sell liquor in the grocery. I did not realize this, but mine does not. I froze my pre-made mix, tried it and spat it out promptly! Reading the lable, while simultaneously exclaiming, why does this taste so bad?!”, I noticed it was made with white wine…wha??! Yup, some stores only can sell beer and wine in their stores so they have to sell this. Ick! This is why DIY is so important. I can totally just add some tequila to this pop recipe and voila!

20130720-201559.jpg

Pasta Primavera

This month is all about things that make me happy and one thing that I love to do is eat. More specifically, I love to eat Italian food. Having been away from home for more than a decade, the smell of garlic and tomatoes now reminds me of home. Especially this time of year…the summer spectacular of the Italian Festival in downtown Wheeling. Mmmmm I can just taste the stromboli, fried veggies.

My part of Texas doesn’t have a ton of Italian food so my Texas family took me to a fabulous Italian restaurant last year for my birthday. I was in heaven! Otherwise, I am stuck with my own Italian cooking, which is quite sad. Typically I make my boring clean-eating pasta as a turkey ragu – lots of Italian-spiced ground turkey with some green pepper and onion thrown in. I usually use Classico sauce as a base and try to fancy it up with some added spices. Plus, I like to use the jars as drinking glasses or for projects later.

tomatoBut last week we had one incredible tomato harvest so I was itching to use these beauties and to try something new. I’ve made my own sauce before and I do like my homemade tomato sauce chunky, with lots of veggies squished into a lovely gravy.

This time though, I wanted to use lots of vegetables and a lighter sauce. It is so unbelievably hot in Texas this summer! I already downed an iced-cold limoncello on my way home from work and wanted some light Italian goodness in my belly, pronto! I think I have finally mastered a light, healthy pasta! I cannot get enough of this pasta dish.

Pasta Primavera with Turkey Meatballs

  • pasta, I like a low-glycemic linguini variety
  • Italian style turkey meatballs, 10-12
  • 6-7 Roma tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • crookneck yellow squash
  • carrot, shredded
  • broccoli
  • small yellow onion, diced
  • garlic, 4-5 cloves, crushed
  • fresh basil, approximately 10 leaves
  • olive oil
  • chicken broth, small can
  • blend of Romano, Asiago and Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon

pastaDirections

  1. Cook pasta as directed on package
  2. In a skillet, heat olive oil, add in diced onion and garlic, cook on low heat for one minute
  3. Add in half the can of the chicken broth and shredded carrots, let cook for one minute
  4. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning
  5. Cut zucchini and yellow squash into chunks, add to skillet with broccoli tops and let cook for approximately 3-5 minutes, feel free to add more olive oil here!
  6. Meanwhile, cook the meatballs as directed on package
  7. Cut/squish Roma tomatoes and tear basil leaves, add to skillet and cook for another few minutes or until your veggies have soaked in all of the flavors
  8. Grab your limoncello and plate your food with a bit of pasta, topped with the veggie mix and sprinkle lots of cheese on top. Also, I won’t fight you if you drizzle more olive oil on top…

Of course, I’m a carnivore so I added some delicious pre-made meatballs (I love you, HEB!) to my pasta primavera. I am in love with this recipe. I’ve tried to make a light olive oil-based past a before and it really lacked flavor and thickness. I think the key to this recipe is that chicken broth, it adds much needed flavor. Yum!

bon appetit!

20130705-225158.jpg

 

Tried It! Garlicky Green Beans

We’ve been frequenting a wonderful farmers market lately where I go completely crazy. If you are my Instagram friend (which I hope you are…), you may notice I’ve been posting pictures of Texas peaches and medio litres of Pepsi. That is all from our most recent visit to the farmers market. Even better, one the way is the most delicious BBQ joint with fantastic blackberry cobbler. And we go on weekends so I can have my very own cobbler. Mmmm, now it is only Tuesday and I want cobbler.

Back to clean(ish) eating.

My cravings for seafood have been strong lately, perhaps because we went to a boat-show this weekend. So I bought some pre-seasoned salmon and was looking for the perfect, healthy sides for it. Sweet potatoes are always good because they are high in fiber and delicious. I bought some fresh green beans at the market and have been looking for a good recipe for them when I stumbled upon a recipe that heavily featured garlic. I loooove garlic. I come from an Italian community and though my family is not Italian (at least that we know of), we have a special affection for its savory goodness. It became a problem in the 90s when my father ate so much garlic that he sweat garlic from his pores and no one wanted to sit next to him.

beansSo when I saw a recipe for Garlicky Green Beans with Pine Nuts from Real Simple, my heart skipped a beat. In my defense, garlic is extremely good for your heart. I just so happened to have pine nuts on my shelf so I took this as a sign from above that I am supposed to make this for my salmon.

So, I tried it. And love it. I always buy green beans in hopes that I can make them taste and crunch just like those at the Chinese buffet. Aren’t those perfect? Just the right amount of crunch and are sauteed in delicious sauce. Mine always turned out too crunchy and lack the delicious, savory flavor. Garlicky Green Beans is my new favorite recipe, even if I don’t have the pine nuts.

pine nutsA word on pine nuts. Why are these diamonds of the nut world so expensive? Every time I look at them, they are like five million dollars a pound. Ga! I wouldn’t have these on hand if it weren’t for a friend who just brought a bunch to me.

I made  a few changes, but nothing so drastic that I wouldn’t say Real Simple’s recipe is amazing. Give it a shot next time you need a fresh veggie side dish.

Garlicky Green Beans

based on Real Simple’s recipe

  • handful of green beans, snapped
  • olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, diced
  • pine nuts (as your wallet allows)
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh lemon

mealDirections

  1. Snap those beans! This was the only part of “cooking” that my family would trust me with. I still love it.
  2. Boil green beans in salted water until they reach desired “crunch” – for me, it was about 3-4 minutes
  3. Coat a small skillet a olive oil and bring to medium heat
  4. Add in pine nuts and sautée until golden brown
  5. Add in green beans, season with salt and pepper to taste and sautée until coated with delicious garlic goodness
  6. Before serving, squeeze lemon on top and enjoy!

20130622-195750.jpg

The Lusty Eleven – June

I’m trying something new this month. You see, I’m always pining away for something…literally, I’m pinning items that I am pining for on Pinterest all the time. (oooh, look at that consonance playa!) So, to add something new to the blog, I thought I would share some of the products I am lusting for every month in a new post called “The Lusty Eleven”. I realize this sounds a little naughty…believe me, it is anything but.

This month, its all about summer and the blog theme of the month: food! What does summer food mean to you? For me, it’s all about fruity, cold treats and bright colors. You’ll see that I am craving lots of ice cream (okay, that may mostly be because of clean eating but it is the weekend, so guess what I’m eating right now?). The posts I’ve been seeing on my RSS Feeder have me pining away for some fresh fruity treats and fun kitchen gadgetry. And of course, there is a smattering of all things Pookah (owls, knitting, general nerd-ery). Enjoy!

June Eleventh

  1. Ida Skivenes’ amazing food art looks fun AND delicious
  2. Who wouldn’t want to try The Pioneer Woman’s Guinness Float?! Beer plus ice cream = crazy!
  3. Owl Teapot, featured on My Owl Barn
  4. I’ve always wanted a KitchenAid Mixer – they come in the most gorgeous colors
  5. My friend AB Takes CA makes the most refreshing-looking summer drinks, must try!
  6. Once I get my own place, I want to fancy it up with some funny art for my kitchen, like this piece from the UUPP Etsy Shop. har!
  7. This summer, I’m seeing peonies everywhere on design  blogs. These, spotted on The Nesting Place, would look gorgeous on a kitchen table
  8. Mango Frozen Yogurt from Le Zoe just screams summer!
  9. I would like for some to make me these Strawberry Biscuit Bites, from Cupcakes and Cashmere
  10. The Watermelon Jello from A Beautiful Mess looks too hard for me, but the fact that there is an “adult” version of the recipe featuring rum makes me want to give it a shot
  11. It doesn’t get more adorable than a Sheep measuring cup set, from Urban Outfitters

Kisses summer!

20130526-204349.jpg

Southwestern Summer Harvest Chicken

Ah, challenge accepted. The other day I challenged myself to be able to use all of my recent garden harvest in one recipe. It actually is hardly a challenge as all of my veggies go perfectly together.

veggiesSo, I’d like to take this time to again rehash my cooking limitations:

1. I’m not a cook. I want you to know this before you wonder why my recipes are written so strangely. I pretty much cannot tell you how much chicken I use or how long I cooked it. Truthfully, you probably don’t want me to tell you anyway because it is probably wrong. I swear, I am getting better though. Aren’t you excited to try my recipe now?!

2. Okay the good news is that I do rely on some pre-made foods so my food actually tastes good. I promise. You see, I have very little time in the afternoon, as I have a super long drive home and try to workout after work. I’m usually eating around 7:30 p.m., which means that I eat at 8 p.m. if I’m cooking it. I just really don’t have the talent time to cook things from scratch (so if you are looking for this, please go see Pioneer Woman because she is sooooo amazing).

3. I’m trying to eat healthy. Which means that this recipe involves lots of veggies and is thusly just for me. I will not torture my guy by making him eat veggies. A few months ago we did a cleanse which means you cannot eat anything. No gluten, dairy, sugar, vinegar, carbs, or anything that tastes good that you would enjoy. I think he fainted due to the lack of red meat. Am I doing that again? Hells no! But I am trying to eat clean Monday – Thursday (which means hello Milkshake Friday!!). Hence, the goal of this recipe is to make a flavorful meal while sticking to a low-salt, non-dairy, high fiber meal using lean meats and vegetables (and it’s actually quite tasty!).

I think we are all on the same page now. I really don’t blame you if you just click to exit my site right about now.

But if you have stayed, here is the result of my veggie harvest challenge!

southwestern chicken

Southwestern Summer Harvest Chicken

  • chicken breast
  • small, yellow onion
  • small green pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • tablespoon southwestern pepper blend seasoning
  • olive oil
  • one small yellow squash
  • one jalapeno
  • two roma tomatoes
  • avocado
  • lime
  • sprig of cilantro
  • can of black beans (I like the kind that is already seasoned with jalapenos)
  • package of southwestern corn blend (frozen aisle, comes with peppers and onions)
  • package brown rice (I really like Uncle Ben’s chicken brown rice)

mealDirections

  1. Pre-heat skillet with olive oil
  2. Dice garlic, onion, jalapeno, green pepper and add to skillet
  3. Prepare chicken breast by coating it on both sides with southwestern pepper blend seasoning
  4. After skillet has sufficiently warmed, add in chicken breast
  5. Cube yellow squash, add to skillet when the chicken is about halfway cooked (you don’t want your squash extra mushy)
  6. Here comes the really hard part: microwave that pouch of rice and the pack of southwestern corn and open that can of beans, warm on stove-top. Exhausting, isn’t it?
  7. Layer as such: bed of brown rice, scoop of black beans, scoop of southwestern corn, chicken breast
  8. Garnish with your diced avocado, roma tomato, some fresh-squeezed lime and cilantro
  9. Chow down!

Notes: If I weren’t suffering by “clean-eating” this would totally be smothered in cheese and sour cream!! mmmm, cheese.

20130526-204349.jpg