Quick and Easy BBQ Pork-loin in the Crock pot!

So… are you feeling the cooler mornings and lower humidity too???? I LOVE it! My hair doesn’t turn into a ball of frizz 2 seconds after I wake up! Woohoo! 🙂 This is my favorite time of year…. well, I take that back. When it’s cool enough all day to wear a sweatshirt ALL DAY, then it’s my favorite time of year. Where you can comfortably spend the entire day outside, LOVE. My kids play outside before we start school, after, we go to the park… we go on walks… It’s just such a fun time of year. All of the holidays and traditions start!!! AND…. crockpot season starts! Ha! Ok, well, technically you can use the crock pot any time of year, but aren’t you usually more inspired to use it during the cooler months? I am! Warm HOT food ready for you when  you get home? Plus… EASY!

This recipe I just tossed together. It’s SOOO easy. I’m telling you. It will probably take you MAYBE 5 minutes… then turn the crock pot on and leave. (This does NOT include the mashed potatoes).

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INGREDIENTS:

1 pork tenderloin (mine was approx 3 lbs)
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper to liking
1 bottle BBQ sauce (use your favorite, I used Sweet Baby Rays Hickory brown sugar)
1 cup chicken broth (or water)

Mashed potatoes… (you can use the steam and mash from the frozen section for a really quick mashed potatoes!!)

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DIRECTIONS:

Set out crock pot and either put in a crock pot liner, or spray with cooking spray. (This helps make clean up way easier!) Take your pork loin (mine was FROZEN! Easy, huh?) and place into the bottom of the crock pot. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then press the brown sugar firmly onto the top of the pork loin. Pour the chicken broth AROUND the sides (so as not to get the brown sugar off the top of the pork loin) and then drizzle the BBQ sauce over the top of the pork loin. Put the lid on, turn the crock pot on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-6 hours. That’s it! Seriously! Serve it with mashed potatoes, or salad, or steamed veggies…etc! OR, just pull it apart and make SANDWICHES! It’s DELICIOUS! Try it, NOW!

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And now, the quote of the day:

Slow Cooker Short Ribs and Carrots with Creamy Rosemary Mashed Sweet potatoes

For those of you with little boys… how do you keep clothing on them? And… if you can keep clothing on them, how do you keep shoes on them!?!?!?! It’s CRAZY! Every time I turn around, there is a trail of my son’s clothing from one room to another… and there he is, NAKED. Sometimes he’s in his underwear… but often naked. The other option is that he will use the restroom, and put on everything BUT his underwear… so I’ll go into the bathroom and find at least 1 pair of underwear on the floor by the toilet. WHY?! Girls are just a completely different species than boys! I’m so grateful for my little sister who has little boys… I can call her and tell her the crazy things my little boy is doing, she’ll laugh and say “oh, mine did that the other day too… completely normal!”. Ha! Thank goodness for other people to relate to!

So, chasing after my little boy and putting his clothes on seems to take up more time than it should… and so the other night, I put THIS in the crockpot on a yucky and RAINY day.

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Slow-Cooker Short Ribs with Carrots and Mashed Rosemary Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients

Short Ribs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 to 6 beef short ribs (about 3 1/4 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 TB fresh chopped rosemary
3/4 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup beef broth
5 carrots diced

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

4 Sweet Potatoes
2 TB butter
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 TB chopped fresh rosemary

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Directions

In a large skillet, place 1 TB butter and heat to med-high heat until butter is melted. In the mean-time season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to skillet and brown all sides, trying to render most of the fat off of the side of the short ribs, about 8 minutes. (Brown beef in batches, if necessary.) Transfer to the crock pot. Add red wine and beef broth, onions and carrots and all seasonings. Turn crockpot to high for 4-6 hours and LOW for 8-10 hours..

When you are about 30-45 minutes from serving your meal, wash, peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Boil in a pan with the water JUST covering the potatoes. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and then drain. Place softened and cooked potatoes into a large bowl and whip in the remaining potato ingredients (cream, butter, etc) with a hand mixer until mashed and creamy.

Once everything is done and put together, SERVE AND ENJOY!

This is comfort food, delicious… and strangely… low carb!

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And now, for the quote of the day:

"A fear of the unknown keeps a lot of people from leaving bad situations." - Kathie Lee Gifford

BBQ Shredded Chicken and Potato … bake… nachos?

I really don’t know what to call this! I may go back in a few days and change the name and edit it… but in this moment, I don’t know. I basically had leftover crock pot shredded BBQ chicken (which I will give my recipe for, because it turned out AMAZING!) and then I added a bunch of other ingredients that sounded AMAZING and kind of like nachos…. but not. Ha! Also, I baked it, and I have since decided, it needs to be cooked on the stove top. I make skillet veggies almost every day for lunch and when I use potatoes, they always end up nice and tender. These potatoes in the dish were not soft within the time period that I baked it! It was annoying! So… I will give my recipe, with notes on how to either make it in the oven long enough to have the potatoes be nice and tender… as well as how to make it on the stove top.
So… here goes!

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This is for 4 servings

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Pulled BBQ Chicken
      – 8 chicken thighs, 1 bottle of your.      favorite BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby  Ray’s Original), 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 TB Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste. Cook in crock pot on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 to 5 hours. When finished, shred with a fork, and SAVE THOSE LEFTOVERS! 🙂
1/2 can natural black olives, sliced
2 yukon gold potatoes, washed and diced
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 can black beans RINSED
2 TB your favorite salsa (I used black bean and corn TJ salsa)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 avocado sliced
Garnish: sour cream
Optional: corn chips or tortillas for eating!

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Directions:

To bake:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Placed diced potatoes and shredded chicken and salsa into a glass baking dish (8×8 will work) and drizzle with 1 TB olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes  (OR until potatoes are soft!). Then, remove pan from oven and add the remaining ingredients, stir around, ending with the cheese (do NOT put the avocado on until you serve… add as a garnish). Bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until it’s hot and bubbly!
Serve as a burrito on a tortilla, or in a bowl with some chips like a nacho dip!

On the stove top:
Melt 1 TB butter in a large skillet (12 inch probably). Place potatoes and salsa into the skillet and cook on medium high until potatoes start to soften. Add the BBQ chicken, and stir well. Add more BBQ sauce if needed. Add the corn, black olives, and black beans and stir until cooked thru. Turn heat off and top with cheese. Let cheese melt… you can place lid on until cheese melt to speed up the process. Serve immediately topped with a bit of avocado and sour cream!

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I honestly wasn’t sure I was gonna blog this because it didn’t turn out perfectly and it was basically ingredients I thought to myself : that would be good together… so I put it together. … nothing gourmet or well thought out. But then my husband said he LOVED the leftovers. I also realized that some of the best recipes come from random ingredients thrown together. I hope this inspires all of you out there to experiment! Even if it fails, you tried something new and you were creative in the kitchen! Win!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Pork Loin Chops in a Crock Pot

I love crock pot meals when I am really busy. The other day I had a ton going on, and I knew I was not going to be home to cook dinner, but wanted my sweet hubby and my brother who was helping with the kids, to have dinner. The nice thing about crock pot meals is that when you do have time, in the morning, you can toss everything in and not think about it for the rest of the day! It was so great just knowing it was there and not having to rush before I had to leave.

So… CROCK POT meals! You can use it in the summer or the winter… cold or hot outside… there’s always a good reason to use a crock pot.

Pork Loin Chops in a crock pot:

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Servings: 2… so double for more…

Ingredients:

1 butterflied pork loin chop – 1.5 lbs
1 TB flavored vinegar (I used a pear/cranberry vinegar that I got from an oilery)
2 TB olive oil
Cooking spray to grease the inside of the crock pot
1 onion sliced thin
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
5 carrots cut into large pieces
8 yukon gold potatoes quartered (I washed and did NOT peel)
1/4 cup white wine
2 TB unsalted butter
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 cup chicken broth

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Directions:

Cut up the carrots, onions and potatoes and set aside. Take the pork loin butterflied pork chop (or 2 separate thick-cut pork chops) and salt and pepper both sides evenly. Heat a skillet on medium and put 1 TB olive oil in the skillet. Sear both sides of the pork chop for 2-3 minutes per side and place into the bottom of the crock pot. Put all of the veggies and starches on top. Sprinkle all the seasoning and then add the liquids. Then take the butter and cut into small pieces and placed intermittently on top of the meat and veggies. Let cook for 6-8 hours on LOW or 4-5 hours on HIGH.

It is a wonderful blend of sweet and salty… it’s got a great savory taste with just a hint of sweet. My husband and brother RAVED over this, and the pork just FELL APART when it was ready. WINNER!!!

Try this one for sure!!

And now… a bit of a giggle for the quote of the day:

This blackboard was in a pub/restaurant in Devon, UK and I have kept the photo ever since to remind myself that I should not be afraid to try something new and that no matter how old I get, there are still new people to meet, experiences to have and things to learn every day!

Crockpot Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

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I needed something with a lot of flavor, and something I could put in the crock pot since I didn’t have a ton of time to cook… SO, i picked up a whole chicken w/the skin on. I wanted to be able to use the leftovers for a couple of meals for my hubby while I am out of town this weekend!

I will have to post that recipe at a later time!!

Ok, so here is the Crockpot roasted chicken!

Peruvian Roasted Chicken
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: varies
Points+ with Skin: drumstick 2 pts, wing 3 pts, thigh 4 pts, 4 oz breast 5 pts

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 bottle IPA beer (or a light beer)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lime cut into slices
  • salt
  • paprika
Directions:

Wash chicken and remove any giblet bag that is in the cavity. Salt and pepper the chicken. Place into the crock put and put on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 7-8 hours. Pour the beer over the chicken, and the rest of the liquids. Put the lemons and limes inside of the chicken cavity. Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix. Rub all over the chicken and place lid on. Put on low or high depending on cook time you want.

To test for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken; the thermometer should read about 160°F. The chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165°F, but after the chicken is done, it should basically be falling apart. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed green beans with onions.

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For the mashed sweet potatoes I did the following:

Ingredients:

8 SMALL sweet potatoes peeled, and cut into 8 pieces per potato
2 TB margarine or butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 9-12 minutes until a fork easily goes through the potatoes. Drain, and mash and add above ingredients. If you prefer it even smoother, you can take a hand mixer and whip them!

For the green beans, I just sautee them in a skillet with about 1/4 cup onion and 1 tsp minced garlic for 10 min until softened, but still a bit crunchy.

Voila!

Delish!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Rainy Day calls for Beer and Beef Stew!

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Is your crockpot ready? Cuz this one is awesome! It’s one of those recipes for Sunday afternoon in the winter, or a cold, stormy day in the summer when you don’t want to heat up the oven, or stand in front of the stove…but you kinda want something warm to eat for dinner. THIS IS IT!! It’s a good one!

I adapted my recipe from this one: http://bakedinthesouth.com/2012/08/crockpot-freezer-meals-part-2/
She used it as a freezer meal! So, this can actually be frozen in a large gallon bag, and taken out and put into the freezer! I put mine directly into the crockpot though. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat (I prefer the grass fed beef like you can find at Earth Fare or Whole Foods)
2 TB olive oil
1 TB salted butter
3 large carrots, cut into large pieces
4-5 potatoes cut into 4 or 6 pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh parsley chopped fine
1 cup dark beer (My FAV for this is Duck-Rabbit Amber Ale)
1 cup beef broth
1 cup Pace Restaurant Style Salsa- medium (you can also use Rotel)
2 tsp. Himalayan pink sea salt
1 tsp pepper (or to taste)

put everything in crock pot, cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours. DELICIOUS!!!!!