Easy Slow Cooker Pork BBQ

Sometimes I make my own BBQ sauce, which (by the way) isn’t difficult. At all.

Easy Slow Cooker Pork BBQ

And yet, other times I use bottled BBQ sauce. Luckily it’s easy to find an organic, simple BBQ sauce (with pronounceable ingredients) these days at most grocery stores – even the “regular” chain stores like Safeway, not only specialty stores like Wegmans, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (all of which I love, but aren’t always convenient for everyone).

So, the other morning I had 10 extra minutes before we needed to leave for school and work – a miracle, I know. I also had a lovely pork roast sitting in my fridge from the weekend’s grocery shopping trip. And a bottle of organic BBQ sauce.


Easy Slow Cooker Pork BBQ

All I did was coat the pork roast with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then I dumped about a quarter of the jarred BBQ sauce into the bottom of my slow cooker, set the roast on top (fat side up), then coated the roast with all of the remaining sauce, covered my slow cooker and set it for 9 hours on low.

That’s. It.

When I got home from work I used two forks to break the roast apart into pulled pork, and then I let it sit for a while in the BBQ sauce and juices while I prepared the other things to go along with it.

Easy Slow Cooker Pork BBQ: for those days when you need a “set it and forget it” recipe that can be thrown together in five minutes at 8 a.m.

Easy Slow Cooker Pork BBQ
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  • 1 2-3 pound pork roast
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar BBQ sauce, preferably organic
  1. Pour ¼ of the BBQ sauce into the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Coat the entire pork roast with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set it into the slow cooker, fat side up. Pour the remaining BBQ sauce on top of the pork roast, making sure it's covered on all sides. Cover the slow cooker and set it on low for 9 hours.
  3. Use 2 forks to pull the pork apart and shred it, right in the slow cooker. Give the pulled pork a stir to evenly coat it with the BBQ sauce and juices. Let it sit while you make the rest of your dinner.
  4. Serve with buns or by itself.
If your slow cooker has an automatic "warm" setting after the cooking time is up, it's okay to let the pork roast sit for a while before you pull it apart (like if the 9 hours of cooking time is up before you get home from work).



Rustic Penne with Chicken Sausage

Rustic Penne with Chicken Pasta

This past Sunday was one of those days that begged for a quick, hearty dinner. The air had a chill to it, football was on in the family room and we’d just returned from a weekend in Philadelphia.

Rustic Penne with Chicken SausageWhether I’m at Wegmans or my local grocery store, organic chicken sausage is always available and usually on sale. I love it because it can sit in my fridge, and with an expiration date over a month out, I don’t have to worry about squeezing it in right after I buy it. It’s also perfect for those dinners when you’re in a pinch and need something quick.

Rustic Penne with Chicken SausageIn Sunday’s case, I had the chicken sausage in my fridge and the rest of the ingredients were pulled from either the pantry or our garden. The result was out of this world, and the leftover penne with chicken sausage worked perfectly for lunch the next day!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Rustic Penne with Chicken Sausage
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  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ box dried penne
  • 1 package fully cooked chicken sausage
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ freshly chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pasta water
  1. Set a large pot of water to boil. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat, then add the chicken sausage, browning each side for 2 minutes. Remove the sausage to a plate to rest.
  2. Meanwhile, pour 2 more tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet. Add the onions and saute them for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and salt, and continue cooking for 1 minute longer. Pour the chicken broth in, bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to let it simmer for 5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Once the water has come to a boil, add the penne and cook until just before al dente, about 9 minutes.
  4. Slice the sausages and add them, along with the marinara and half the basil, to the skillet. Give it a good stir, and then cover the skillet, continuing to let the mixture simmer while the pasta cooks.
  5. Fold the cooked pasta and ½ cup pasta water into the skillet mixture, making sure the penne is well-coated. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining basil and serve it hot with shredded mozzarella or Parmesan as garnish, and a crusty loaf of bread.


Homemade Taco Seasoning

How to Make Homemade Taco Seasoning

Tacos are one of my go-to easy dinner ideas during the work week. Not only can they be thrown together in less than 30 minutes, the kids LOVE tacos and they’re easily built to each person’s specific and particular tastes:

  • Husband: meat, cheese, green onions, sriracha sauce
  • Nine-year-old: meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, refried beans, sour cream
  • Five-year-old: meat, “only a little” cheese, lettuce, tomato
  • Me: meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, green onions, avocado, refried beans, sour cream

For years I used a yellow taco seasoning packet. It’s what I grew up with, so that specific brand’s blend is super nostalgic.

But then I realized it’s just as easy to make a similar tasting taco seasoning at home … with spices and herbs I already had in my pantry. Love that.

The homemade taco seasoning blend I use is simple: chili powder, garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, dried parsley.

It takes all of 2 minutes to throw together.

And it tastes GOOD.

With no preservatives or unpronounceable ingredient words.

You might like this blend, or you might play around with other add-ins like red pepper flakes or dried onion. It’s flexible, which is terrific!

Next up: homemade refried beans. (With or without lard? That is the question.)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Taco Seasoning & Tacos
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Why buy a packet when you can make homemade taco seasoning in just a minute or two? These tacos are SIMPLE and delicious.
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • ⅔ cup water
  1. Combine the chili powder, garlic salt, paprika, cumin, black pepper and parsley.
  2. Sprinkle the mix over your favorite taco meat while it's cooking. Once the meat has cooked through, add the water and bring the meat to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce the heat and continue a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Serve the taco meat hot with crispy shells or soft tortillas. Seasons approximately one pound of meat.


Seared Shrimp with Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole Wheat Shrimp Pasta

I’m a big fan of pasta.

Like, I could eat it just about every night if given the chance.

The other evening we needed a quick dinner thrown together after a busy afternoon of dance practice, a lacrosse game, errands and work. Pasta’s great because most of the time the entire meal can be cooked in 20 minutes or less, from start to finish.

I also had a slew of beautiful veggies from my Hometown Harvest delivery that screamed, “PASTAAAA!!!!”

Seared Shrimp with Whole Wheat Pasta

So, naturally I whipped up a quick seared shrimp with whole wheat pasta (angel hair, to be exact), and as part of the sauce I sauteed organic sliced cremini mushrooms and green onions, and then topped the whole thing off with a sprinkling of fresh basil and diced Roma tomatoes.

And Parmesan. Love Parmesan.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Seared Shrimp with Whole Wheat Pasta
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Delicious, easy and quick weeknight dinner!
Serves: 4
  • 1 bag frozen raw jumbo shrimp, thawed and peeled - tails removed
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt + 2 tablespoons for the pasta water
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
  1. Set a large pot of water with 2 tablespoons of salt on the stove to boil.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the shrimp to the skillet, and let them cook for 3 minutes on one side. Flip them, and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  3. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the skillet. Once the butter has melted, add the mushrooms, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Saute them for 2 minutes and then add the green onions and continue for another minute.
  4. Add the angel hair pasta to the boiling water and cook it for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, add the milk to the mushroom mixture, turn the heat up a little and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add ¼ cup Parmesan, and continue cooking until the pasta is finished - the sauce will reduce a bit.
  5. Drain the pasta and toss it into the skillet with the mushroom sauce. Add the shrimp, tomatoes and basil, and continue tossing it gently until the pasta is coated. Serve with the remaining Parmesan and a loaf of crusty bread!

Disclosure: Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means I’m compensated for spreading the word about what they do, my experiences and the deliveries I get. Interested in signing up? Click here and make sure to tell them I sent you! All opinions are my own, and I only work with brands whose missions I support!

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