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.

HELLO DINNER!

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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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 2-3 pound pork roast
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar BBQ sauce, preferably organic
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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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Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

 

Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread

Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread

I’ve been staring at two giant zucchini in my fridge for a couple weeks now.

One came from our garden here on the homestead, and the other came from my co-worker who had no use for it. Obviously when fraught with what to do with this giant zucchini she thought, “Liza will take it.”

Because, obviously. I’m like Mikey with the Life cereal when it comes to garden bounty.

Giant Zucchini

I spent 15 minutes shredding those two suckers, and ended up with a little over 6 cups of zucchini bits. Two cups got frozen, and the rest was used for zucchini bread.

We love zucchini bread over here. It’s one of my daughter’s favorites for lunch, two slices slathered with cream cheese and eaten like a sandwich. My son happens to like his plain OR warmed up with a little butter. (YUM!)

Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread

I could eat zucchini bread any way it’s served, any time (although I do have a soft spot for a warm buttered slice).

Today I tried a new variation on my regular ol’ zucchini bread recipe: the addition of honey and lemon. It has a sweet brightness that’s both unique and mouthwatering.

Of the 4 loaves, I gave one to my parents (Hey – my mom did grow one of those zucchini, so I feel like I owe them. Plus, food’s always more fun when you can share!), saved one in the fridge for this week, and froze two to use over the coming weeks.

Can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow! Mmm….

Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread
 
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Ingredients
  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • ¼ cup honey (preferably local)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Use non-stick spray to coat 4 large loaf pans.
  2. Use a whisk to combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and oil until they turn a creamy color, then add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and continue whisking the ingredients for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Fix the paddle attachment to the mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture about a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next cupful. Once all the dry ingredients have been added, mix until it's just combined. The batter will be very thick!
  5. Add the zucchini to the batter, and using the mixer on low, gently incorporate the two. The moisture from the zucchini should loosen up the batter and make it easier to mix.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pans about half-way, and then bake them for about an hour (or until the top springs back when you press gently with your finger, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).
  7. Let the loaves cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, and the remove them. Continue letting them sit on a rack until they've cooled completely.
Notes
TIP: If you plan on freezing these, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap once they've cooled, and then put them into freezer zip top bags.

 

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini

Normally I wouldn’t be crazy-excited for a casserole recipe at the end of August. To me, most casseroles are the perfect comfort food for crisp fall evenings – not the dog days of summer.

Chicken Tetrazzini Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic

Although I’d make an exception for things like baked ziti, which I could eat weekly throughout the year without feeling like I’m betraying summer menus.

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini

This August has been strange though. We haven’t seen the thermometer pass 90°F in weeks…maybe even a month. This is unheard of in Maryland in August, when it’s normal for the daytime heat and humidity to both rise above 90, and evenings are muggy and oppressive.

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini

Instead, our windows have been open for the past month and nighttime has been near chilly. It’s terrific! Also, the chill in the air means casseroles like homemade chicken tetrazzini sound like a perfect Sunday night dinner.

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini

This recipe mostly follows Giada De Laurentiis’ version of chicken tetrazzini, but has a few tweaks that make it my own. We LOVED it. I’m VERY excited for leftovers to bring to work.

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini
 
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Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis' Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe
Author:
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup tart white wine (something you would drink)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces fettuccine
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 2-quart casserole dish with a tablespoon of butter; set it aside.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then sear them in the nonstick skillet until they're cooked though - 4 minutes per side. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. After 5 minutes, dice the chicken into rough 1-inch cubes and toss them into a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add another tablespoon of olive oil and butter to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute them for 2 minutes. Add the onions, thyme and garlic, and continue to saute them until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and let it cook down until it's almost gone, about 2 minutes longer. Add the mushroom mixture to the chicken.
  4. Melt 2 more tablespoons of butter in the same pan. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy, then let it cook for another minute longer. Turn the heat up to high, pour in the milk and broth, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, and keep whisking until the sauce is thick and bubbly - about 8 minutes.
  5. While the sauce is coming to a bubble, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook it for 9 minutes. Drain.
  6. Add the sauce, cooked fettuccine, parsley and scallions to the chicken. Use tongs to toss everything together, making sure the sauce fully coats all the chicken and fettuccine. Dump it into your prepared casserole.
  7. Mix the panko, Italian seasoning and Parmesan together, and then sprinkle it over the casserole. Dot with the remaining butter and then cook it until it's browned on top and the edges are bubbly - about 20 minutes. Let the chicken tetrazzini rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

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