Tag Archives: garlic

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Warning! This post is not for my vegan followers!!!!

This recipe makes pulled pork easy. With about half an hour of prep time, mouth watering, savory, delicious pulled pork is ready by dinner time! Bonus? The house smells fabulous in the meantime.

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Start by slicing two onions and four cloves of garlic and placing them in a six quart crock pot. This will be the foundation for the pork. Add one cup of water. There should be just enough water to cover the onions.

Next, make the dry rub. I use one cup brown sugar mixed with one tablespoon of cayenne, two tablespoons cumin, two tablespoons garlic powder and two tablespoons onion powder. Mix together and add salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to improvise and use your favorite dry rub.

Use half of the dry rub to coat a five pound pork shoulder on all sides. The remaining half can be stored in a mason jar until the next time you need it. Place the pork shoulder, fat side up, in the crock pot. This will allow the fat to melt away and baste the pork all day.

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Cook on low for ten hours, and this is what waits for you when you walk in the door after working all day. Or, if you have been home all day, it is waiting for you at dinner time.

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Remove the pork and the onions from the crock pot and separate. The onions can be used as a condiment or mixed back in with the pork. They are so flavorful after simmering away all day. Be sure to leave the liquid in the crock pot.

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Using two forks, pull the pork into bite size shreds. Once the pork is pulled, add back into the crock pot with the juices. Stir well to combine.

While pulling the pork, separate out the fat and the bone. I have no suggestions for the fat, except to get rid of it. However, the bone will add delicious flavor to soup or stock.

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Now it is time to eat! Of course, this pulled pork is great for sandwiches topped with some creamy coleslaw, but get creative! It is also excellent for loaded baked potatoes or nachos.

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Simple Summer Sauce

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In the summer, I love to make nice chunky tomato sauce with whatever local vegetables I can get my hands on. The farmers’ market has been kind and supplied me with the perfect ingredients.

Start by heating two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in your favorite pot over medium heat. I use a six quart dutch oven so I have plenty of room to work with.

Dice one large sweet onion and three large carrots. Add into the dutch oven, salt well and sauté until the onion is translucent.

While the onion and carrots sauté, finely mince four to six cloves of garlic; depending of how much garlic you prefer. My family loves garlic so I use six cloves. Add into the dutch oven and sauté until fragrant.

Two green peppers, diced, get added in next. Continue to sauté until all of the vegetables are beginning to get tender.

Strain six quarts of whole tomatoes and add to the vegetables. I used canned tomatoes from our pantry; whatever you have in your pantry will work. Stir well and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Add in one cup of your favorite red wine. I had a beautiful bottle of Merlot on hand that my husband’s coworker, a winemaker, had given us. Always cook with a wine you enjoy drinking and you can not go wrong.

Bring to a boil and immediately turn the temperature down. The sauce should barely be at a simmer. Continue to simmer for two to three hours. This gives the flavors generous time to marry and also allows the sauce to thicken. Stir occasionally.

Add in some fresh thyme, basil and oregano. I used fresh picked from my herb garden, but herbs from the farmers’ market, store bought, or in a pinch dried herbs will work also. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

As is, this makes a nice chunky sauce. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender until it reaches the desired texture. The recipe makes enough for three batches, one to enjoy and two to freeze for future enjoyment.


Crock Pot Chicken in Wine Sauce

Some work days are just too long to bother with cooking when I get home. Yes, I love to cook. Yes, I truly find it to be relaxing and a great expression of my creativity. Just not after a long day.

This is where the crock pot comes in! Start dinner before work and come home to a delicious meal. Another positive to using the crock pot? The house smells absolutely divine when you walk in after a long day.

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The first goodies to go in the crock pot are eight boneless skinless chicken thighs. Followed by one pound of your favorite mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms on the thick side so they don’t lose their texture as they cook. Layer them on top of the chicken.

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Can you spot the difference? Add six to eight cloves of garlic. Smashed for easy peeling but still whole.

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Wash one bunch of kale well. No need to dry, just tear into the crock pot on top of the mushrooms.

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Now, for the sauce. Reach into the fridge and pull out your favorite bottle of wine. Do not cook with it if you would not drink it! I used a nice blush since it was already open. Whisk together one cup of wine and two teaspoons of corn starch. Season with salt, oregano, basil and red chili flakes to taste.

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Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies. Strange, I know, but this dish smells wonderful already.

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After seven hours on low, you walk in the door to this beautiful dish and an aroma that starts you salivating. All that is left is to boil some water and cook some pasta. Toss the pasta in some olive oil after cooking so it does not stick. Sticky pasta is not enjoyable at all.

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Ten minutes or so later you are enjoying this quick, easy and nutritious meal. Start with the pasta, scoop the chicken and veggies on top and finish with a ladle or two of the sauce. All that is left? Enjoy!


Sausage Pasta skillet

Whenever dinner can be ready in under thirty minutes while only using one skillet, it is a good thing. Lately, there have been an overwhelming number of pasta one pot wonders floating around the internet. I admit, I was skeptical, but it really works! This recipe is my first attempt at one of these meals and I will definitely be creating more.

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First, lightly brown one pound of sweet italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. This will add flavor and make the sausage easier to slice. When the sausage is lightly browned, remove from the skillet and set aside until cool enough to slice.

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While the sausage is browning, slice one onion, two shallots and five cloves of garlic.

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Add one tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil into the skillet and add in the aromatics. Salt well and sauté until they begin to soften.

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Add the sliced sausage, oregano, basil and red chili flakes to the aromatics. continue to sauté until the sausage is almost cooked through. The onions and shallots will be beautifully caramelized by now.

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At this point, add in one quart of tomatoes, two cups of chicken broth, and one-half cup of plain almond milk. We canned tomatoes this summer so I used those. You could substitute one can of whole or diced tomatoes. You can also use milk or soy milk instead of the almond. Bring to a boil.

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Add in the pasta, turn down the heat, and cover. You want it to remain at a strong simmer. Cook for ten to twelve minutes until the pasta is cooked to your taste.

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When it is done cooking, the pasta should be tender and the sauce will have thickened up nicely.

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Now it is time to add in the cheese! I used dairy free ricotta, but soft tofu, full dairy ricotta, or even fresh mozzarella would also work well. Also add in a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast, or parmesan cheese if you prefer.

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Stir well until the cheese is fully incorporated. The sauce will take on a beautiful pink hue.

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Allow to sit off the heat for a little while prior to serving so the sauce thickens up to your desired consistency.

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Serve topped with additional nutritional yeast or parmesan. Had I not forgotten, I would have also served garlic bread on the side.


Simple Guacamole

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First, let me apologize for the lack of pictures. No excuses. I simply forgot and didn’t want to wait until I made another batch to post.

This is my simplest guacamole recipe. Just the basic ingredients, but in no way basic tasting. Only two tools required; a knife and a fork!

No fancy food processor required, unless you prefer smoother guacamole. If using the food processor, toss all the ingredients in at once and pulse until desired consistency.

First, of course, the avocado. Cut three avocados in half. Discard the pit and skin. Place into a mixing bowl and smash them well with a fork.

Now, mix in the rest of the ingredients. Zest and juice of one lime. One red onion, diced. Three cloves of garlic, minced. One can of rotel tomatoes with chillies, drained well. Lastly, cilantro and salt to taste. Mix until well combined.

One side note. If tomatoes are in season and delicious, omit the canned tomatoes in favor of one tomato and one jalapeño. For a milder flavor, remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño.

Serve with chips or pita for dipping, on nachos, with tacos, instead of mayo on sandwiches, or however else you like. There are endless possibilities, limited only by your imagination.


White Bean Kale Hummus

I love hummus. It is such a delicious and healthy snack; one that I am always changing and evolving. This recipe is an interesting hummus option.

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Toss one whole head of garlic, which has been peeled, into the food processor. Roasted garlic would be even more delicious.

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Rough chop one large bunch of kale and toss it in. Be sure to rinse and dry the kale well. Remember, kale is a superfood, which makes this hummus even healthier!

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Chop one red onion and a handful of scallions and toss them in.

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For a spur of the moment snack, rinse and strain two cans of white beans and toss them in. If planning ahead, soak dry white beans overnight, rinse and strain them instead of canned.

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Pulse while slowly streaming in extra virgin oil until it reaches the desired consistency. Watch for it to become rich and creamy. Serve with pita chips, bagel chips or sliced veggies.


Vegan French Onion Soup

In our house we love onions. For some reason, the thought of making French Onion Soup always intimidated me. Then I tried it! While time consuming, it is not as difficult as I feared. My version is vegan. Perfect for whether you are vegan or just looking for a great Meatless Monday option.

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First? The onions! Garlic too! This recipe requires quite a few onions. Two pounds each of yellow onions, red onions, and vidalia onions. I prefer the different layers of flavor provided by using different varieties. If you prefer, you can use all yellow onions or any variety you like. The most important thing is to have approximately six pounds of whatever onions you choose. Also, six cloves of garlic.

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In a six quart dutch oven over low heat, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of dairy free butter substitute heat until melted.

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This allows time to start slicing!! Halve and thinly slice all of the onions. This step alone takes about a half hour.

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Once all of the onions are sliced, turn the heat up to medium and add all of the onions into the dutch oven. Press all of the garlic in as well.

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Slowly allow the onions to caramelize, stirring often. This step can not be rushed! Three hours so so later they should be nicely caramelized. I did warn you this was time consuming, right?

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Add one and a half cups of red wine, one half cup of balsamic vinegar, four cups of homemade vegetable stock, four bay leaves, thyme, and salt to taste. Simmer until all of the flavors are beautifully combined; this will take approximately one hour. Remove the bay leaves.

A while ago, I read a great tip for making vegetable broth. When cutting up vegetables like carrots, celery, mushrooms, etcetera, save the scraps in a gallon size freezer bag. When the bag is full, dump the vegetables in four quarts of water, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let them simmer for a few hours. The end result is a delicious, healthy, salt free vegetable broth. It can either be used immediately of frozen for later use.

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Since we do not have oven safe crocks, this is where I stray a little further from tradition. Slice a loaf of crusty bread. Place the slices on a baking sheet and top with dairy free swiss cheese. Into the oven, set to broil.

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Keep an eye on them, when nicely browned remove from the oven.

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Ladle the soup into your favorite soup cup or bowl. Top with the cheesy bread and enjoy! I was hoping to have leftovers to simmer roast beef for sandwiches in, but that did not happen. Maybe next time!


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