Monday, April 29, 2013

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I found a recipe online for beer bbq pulled pork, but since we don't drink alcohol, I decided to try it with beef broth. I also added some extra spices and left some out. The end result was perfect. Just what I was looking for! Add in some KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce, and this sandwich took me back to my roots in Kansas City. Not quite Oklahoma Joe's, but the ability to make it at home whenever I want is just as satisfying! Enjoy!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

4-5 lb pork butt roast
12 oz. beef broth
1/2 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl. soy sauce
2 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
Barbecue sauce

Trim any desired excess fat off the pork. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to a pan and heat to medium-high/high. When pan is hot, sear the pork for about 2 minutes on the first side then 2-3 minutes on the second side. Put into a crock pot. Pour the beef broth in the pot and sprinkle the onions over the pork and around the sides. Mix the garlic and remaining seasonings together in a small bowl. Pour over the top of pork. Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, or until meat is tender and shreds easily.

Remove meat from the crock pot and shred with a fork. Remove some, all, or none of the juices and return to pork back to the crock pot. Stir in 1/2-2 cups barbecue sauce as desired. Spoon onto buns and top with additional barbecue sauce if desired.

**I only added about 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce to the pork and about 1 cup of the juices. I then topped each sandwich with a drizzle of bbq. I don't like the pork soaked in sauce and prefer to add my own on my own sandwich. The flavor of the meat was amazing with just a hint of sauce added. The end results of the recipe are very forgiving and you can add as much or as little juices and bbq sauce as you want, depending on your preference. YUM!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

I have finally done it.

I have mastered....

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm very picky about chocolate chip cookies. Don't get me wrong, I'll always try one. If I like it, I might eat two. If I don't, I won't. I have been in search of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for many years. Quite often the dough is too sweet, too salty, or not sweet or salty enough. Or the cookies collapse. Or the cookies look that grayish color when they're at the perfect gooey stage. Or the consistency is not right. Or they taste too much like shortening and flour and not enough like perfection. Etc.

But I finally found the perfect combination of sweet, salty, fluffy, soft, gooey, and chocolatey.
These cookies even stay soft overnight, uncovered, on a plate.
For reals.

Here are my secrets:
-Use part butter and part shortening.
Why? The butter adds the savory, salty, yummy flavor I love, the shortening keeps the cookies fluffy and soft, and they don't collapse in that gooey stage.
-Use chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.
Why? It adds a bigger assortment of flavors. Every cookie is different, yet every cookie is delicious. The variety of chips adds an element of surprise and sweet flavor. You can stick to just chocolate and be perfectly happy as well.
-Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
Note: this is in my oven. Which I am still learning how to use. When cooked in my oven at this temp for this time, these cookies have a perfect golden top, gooey inside, and crisp edges. (try 375 degrees if your oven bakes normal or slightly cold)

Now, here is the biggest secret of all: With the butter/shortening combo, you have to be really careful with the butter temperature! It has to be soft enough to beat, but not melting. And, if you leave the dough on the counter too long, it'll get too melty and the dough will get that gray/brown color and the cookies will collapse. (I've tested this out) So, as soon as you whip up a batch REFRIGERATE the dough asap! Or you can freeze it. The cooling process helps the flour absorb the flavors more so the dough becomes even more savory and delicious.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

Cream together for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape bowl every minute or so:

1 cup shortening, Crisco brand
1/2 cup (or one stick) butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar

If using a stand mixer, keep mixing on medium/low speed while adding:
3 eggs, add them one at a time and mix until completely combined after each egg
1 1/2 teas. vanilla
1 1/2 teas. soda
1 1/2 teas. salt

Turn mixer speed down and add:
3 1/2-4 c. flour
**The dough should be soft yet slightly firm and should not stick to your fingers.

Mix in by hand:
2-3 cups chocolate chips
1-1.5 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3-1/2 cup butterscotch chips

**It's hard to add too many chips, so feel free to add or subtract as your taste buds prefer. I prefer very chippy chocolate chip cookies.

Transfer the dough into a tupperware container and refrigerate immediately for 1-2 hours before baking for best results. Spoon dough into generous tablespoon size balls and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chocolate No Bake cookies

Who doesn't love chocolate peanut butter no bakes? Scott and I are certainly no exception. After searching and making these many times, I've finally settled on a recipe that I love. It has more cocoa and more peanut butter than most so the flavor is deeper and more meaningful. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

In a medium saucepan, combine:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar

Bring to a boil and let boil no longer than 1 minute. Longer = more crumbly, shorter = more gooey. Remove pan from heat and ADD:

3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups quick oats

Stir until completely combined. I add the peanut butter and vanilla first, stir until it's melted, then add the oats. Drop by spoonful onto wax paper. Cool and enjoy! ...or eat a spoonful straight out of the pan, burn your tongue, yet rejoice in the deliciousness.

**I am a mess minimalist when it comes to these. I use a 1/2 c. measuring cup for everything except the oats. Measure the sugar first, then cocoa, then milk, then peanut butter. I pile the peanut butter high to what looks about 3/4 cup. It's not rocket science and doesn't have to be perfect. Then I use a 1 c. measurer for the oats, and pour the vanilla from the cap. Easy peasy fast clean up!

Quinoa Burgers

I found the original recipe through Pinterest while looking for new and interesting dinner ideas. Of course I was completely intrigued and decided to give these a try. Since I seem to be nearly incapable of following most recipes exactly, I had to alter things a bit. The original called for cumin, and in my opinion, cumin and fresh veggie flavor don't seem to go together. Scott and I love quinoa and these burgers turned out incredibly delicious!!

Quinoa Burgers

2 cups, rounded, cooked quinoa
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, grated or finely minced
3 eggs
2 green onions, chopped, including white parts
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. Herbs de Provence (could use extra Italian seasoning instead)
Olive oil for frying

To cook quinoa:
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
sprinkle of salt

Add together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook about 15-20 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the cooked quinoa (can let it cool slightly). Pour some oil into a skillet and heat on medium/medium-low. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop mixture and drop onto oil then press down gently to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cook about 4 minutes each side. Serve with lettuce, tomato, avocado, ketchup, ranch, etc. Makes about 10 burgers, each around 125 calories.

Monday, December 10, 2012

White Chocolate Chex Mix

White Chocolate Chex Mix

1 pkg. almond bark
2 ½ c. Corn Chex
2 ½ c. Wheat Chex
2 ½ c. Cheerios
3 c. pretzels

Add all dry ingredients. Melt almond bark according to package directions and pour on top
of dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour onto wax paper and separate as much as possible for

Peppermint Popcorn

Peppermint Popcorn

2-3 bags microwave popcorn, popped and kernels removed
6 crushed candy canes
½ bar vanilla almond bark

Melt almond bark according to package instructions. After melted, add crushed candy canes
and pour on top of popcorn. Stir well. Pour on to wax paper for cooling.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake Bites

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake Bites
1 box devil's food cake mix, Duncan Hines is best
1 can dark chocolate frosting (16 oz.)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 package almond bark
8 candy canes, crushed
Waxed paper
Bake cake according to directions on the box for 13 X 9 cake. After the cake is cool, crumble into large bowl.
Mix the frosting with 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract.
Mix the cake thoroughly with about 3/4 of the frosting. (Get your hands in there and get dirty.) Add more frosting if you think the mixture is too dry. When you can form it into a ball in your hands easily, you're good.
Use a tablespoon-sized scoop and roll mixture into balls. Place on a cookie sheet.
Chill or freeze cake balls for several hours. They can also be placed in freezer bags and kept for later use.
Melt almond bark according to the directions on package. Dip each ball about 3/4 of the way into the almond bark. Tap off excess, then place on wax paper, cake side down, until firm. Quickly sprinkle a little bit of crushed candy cane bits onto the top before the almond bark hardens.
Cover the truffles tightly and store where it's cool.

**I haven't made this yet, but I will be trying it this year! It looks delicious.