Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014

The last day of February.  Can you believe it?  The winter isn't over out here; the typical daily high temperature is supposed to be around 41 and we haven't seen any temperature close to that in ages.  More snow expected this weekend...what a surprise. 

With all this cold weather out slow cooker has been getting a workout!  This week, one of our most highly rated keepers is a slow cooker pork recipe.  One of my sisters passed me this recipe and we are so thrilled she did!  We made it and everyone was raving over the results.  We even had plenty remaining after dinner to use in one of our favorite leftover meals, pork and caramelized onion quesadillas.  This pork takes a long time in the slow cooker, but if you can't make the timing work (you mean you don't want to get up in the middle of the night to turn it on?), it is very forgiving and also heats up great.  So maybe out it on before you head to bed, and then turn it off in the late afternoon and just leave it.  Don't shred it until dinner, and I think it still will be warm!  Or toss the shredded meat into the oven and heat it up that way.  No matter how you make it work for your family, you likely will really enjoy this recipe!

We also did some baking this week, with mixed reviews.  We made carrot zucchini muffins.  They were pretty tasty, and the kids loved them, but not super special, so I'll keep looking for a recipe that really stands out!  We made applesauce pancakes, and they were good, but a little heavy actually, so I will keep working on that recipe.  We made some oat flour banana bread which was a keeper, and I swear, Owen ate about 2/3 of the loaf!  This was really tasty, and if you like oatmeal, then you will probably love the flavor of this banana bread.  I was looking for a banana bread that was a little out of the ordinary, and this was it.  Delicious!

This coming week I am planning on challenging myself to a pantry/freezer meal planning week.  I want to see what we can make, both tried and true or new recipes, from what I have on hand.  Probably a lot of our favorites, but I am hoping to try out a new soup or main dish as well!  Wish me luck!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Oatmeal Banana Bread
Slow Cooker Pork

Oatmeal Banana Bread

* 1.2 cup unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 3/4 cups oat flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 4 oz plain or vanilla yogurt
* 3 very ripe bananas

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a 9x 5 loaf pan.
2. Melt the butter.  In a large bowl mix the butter and sugars.  Then add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix in the oat flour, baking soda and salt.
3. In a bowl mash the bananas.  Fold the bananas into the batter.  Finally fold in the yogurt.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.
5. Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

The original recipe called for Greek yogurt, but I only had regular on hand so that is what I used.  53 minutes was the perfect amount of time for my loaf.  And to make oat flour, I just put oats in my food processor and process them until they are really fine.  Then I measure the oat flour (don't measure the oats before you process them).  It's as easy as that!

Slow Cooker Pork

* 5 lb Boston butt pork roast (bone-in or out, your choice)
* 3 slices of bacon
* salt (approximately 1/2 tsp of medium-coarse for each lb of meat)
* 3-5 peeled garlic cloves, optional

1. Line the slow cooker with the 3 pieces of bacon.
2. Rub the salt into the pork roast, and then put it in the slow cooker with the fat side up.
3. Tuck the garlic cloves into the roast.
4. Put the lid on, and set it on low for 16 hours!
5. At the end of the cooking time, discard the fat, and remove the roast from the slow cooker.  Shred it on your cutting board or on the platter you'll be using.  Do not shred it in the cooking liquid that has developed during the cooking time or your pork will be VERY salty!  Serve and enjoy!

I used a boneless pork butt, and it worked out great!  Only 3 pieces of bacon and yet the whole roast ended up tasting like bacon by the end of the cooking time.  The original recipe called for Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt, but I couldn't find that.  I just used regular table salt based on the ingredients list above.  If you can find the Hawaiian sea salt, the recipe calls for 1 1/2 tbsp of coarse Hawaiian sea salt. I also used 2 garlic cloves since that was all I had on hand, but next time might add a few more.  This was absolutely delicious, and you just cannot believe how easy it is.  We served it just as pulled pork, but the kids put theirs on rolls and loved it.  You can remove the fat from the roast, but it was easy to remove at the end of the cooking time.  It is up to you if you want to remove the fat or leave it!  Super easy and unbelievably delicious!