Friday, July 30, 2010

“Alabama” Pulled Pork with White Barbecue Sauce

First, I have to thank you all for your support about my acne issue due to having children.  Sounds like a lot of you are dealing with the same thing.  Make sure you come back on Monday and I’ll tell my story and what I’ve been doing (so far successfully!) to clear it up.

I got this recipe from Cooking Light magazine about 3 years ago.  Being from the South, the hubs and I both LOVE pulled pork but hate that it takes hours and hours to cook down.  This is a great recipe that only takes about an hour of cook time.  My grandmother-in-law used to order pulled pork from a local place in South Carolina for Thanksgiving and Christmas to go with the turkey.  She has gone to be with the Lord now, but I made this the last couple times we were home and everyone said it tasted just like the stuff she used to get.  It’s become a family tradition.  The barbecue sauce is really different – very “Carolina” – vinegary and creamy.

Meal Planning:  Goes good with any vegetable side dish.  Served this time with Zucchini Fritters (recipe coming!)


Sauce (may need to be doubled if serving several people):

-1/2 cup mayonnaise

-2 Tbsp white vinegar

-1 tsp freshly ground pepper

-1 tsp fresh lemon juice


-1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed

-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

-1/4 cup water

-3 Tbsp brown sugar

-2 tsp kosher salt

-3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

-1/2 tsp ground red pepper (I leave this out and it’s still good!)

-1/2 tsp chili powder

-1/4 tsp garlic powder


1.  To prepare sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Cover and chill.

2.  To prepare pork, cut pork in half lengthwise; cut crosswise into 2.5” pieces.

3.  Combine apple cider vinegar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.  Add pork to pan. 


Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until tender. 


Remove pork from cooking liquid; shred with 2 forks. 


Place pork in a serving dish; pour cooking liquid over pork.  DSC_0576

This one gets better with time, too.  The longer it sits in the fridge with the cooking liquid on it, the yummier it gets!

DSC_0579I serve it over biscuits (either the refrigerated Pillsbury ones or the quick Bisquik ones from the box).  Here you can see the white barbecue sauce.  So good!


New Friend Fridays

Monday, July 19, 2010

Green Bean Salad

If you’ve been here for a while or if you are new to my little blog, there is something you need to know about me.  I LOVE green beans.  I could eat them every day if I could.  Summer is my favorite because they are fresh and crisp and so yummy.  This is a great salad with a tasty vinaigrette that goes well with just about any dish.  Recipe from Family Circle Magazine.

Also, when I say that something is “optional” on a recipe, it means that it is in the original recipe but I took it out for various reasons (we don’t like it, we don’t have it on hand, etc.).  So don’t be afraid to customize these recipes to your family too!

Meal Planning: Served with Stuffed Chicken Breasts



-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

-2 tsp Dijon mustard

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/4 tsp black pepper

-5 Tbsp olive oil

-4 Tbsp snipped fresh chives (optional)

Green Beans-

-2 lbs green beans, trimmed

-1 Tbsp olive oil

-2 large shallots, thinly sliced (optional)

-1/3 cup dried cranberries

-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

-3 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler


1.  Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.  Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously until dressing is emulsified.  Add chives; set aside.

2.  Green Beans: Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add beans; simmer 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain; place in serving bowl.  Toss with vinaigrette dressing.

3.  Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots, cranberries and garlic.

DSC_0430 Cook about 6 minutes or until softened.  Pour over beans and toss.  Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cake Balls . . . Happy Birthday to Me!!

In honor of my birthday this Saturday, today we make yummy cake balls!  It’s the big 3-0 this year so we’ll need lots and lots and lots of cake balls. :)  I have a friend who makes these and I’ve never tried them but they always sounded good.  So I went and searched for recipes.  When I found that Paula Deen had one, well, I was sold.  These are really easy to make, although a little time consuming.  Brought these to work on my last day yesterday and they were devoured.  I wish they had a better name – I’m sure you can fill in the blanks with the comments brought on by this dessert.  But it is WORTH IT! 

Since it is my birthday, I’ll be taking the weekend off.  Which means no Home Tour.  I know, I stink.  If you haven’t seen the Home Tour yet, click on the link on the left sidebar for now.


-1 (18.5 oz) package cake mix

-1 (16 oz) container prepared cake frosting

-6 to 8 oz of chocolate flavored bars for melting (in the baking aisle)

As far as flavors go, you can pick a million combinations.  I make Red Velvet cake with Cream Cheese icing and coated with white and milk chocolate.  Also made a batch of Yellow cake mix with Strawberry frosting.  Both were delicious! 


1.  Prepare the cake mix according to directions on the box.  When cake is finished baking allow to cool for 30 to 45 minutes.

DSC_00672.  Crumble cake into a large bowl.  Paula recommends a stand mixer (which I don’t understand) but I used my itty bitty food processor.  It was perfect!  You want a fine consistency – think dirt-like with no lumps.

 DSC_0068 DSC_0069

Add the frosting and mix until well combined.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 3 hours or overnight.

3.  Line a baking tray with wax paper.  Use a melon baller (or your hands or a teaspoon) to form balls with the cake mixture.  Place on wax paper.  Place formed balls in the freezer for one hour.  (I just put mine in a glass bowl and they stuck so the wax paper is a good idea!)

DSC_0072 4.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave or using a double broiler per directions on the box.  Remove the balls from the freezer and dip in the chocolate.  I found the best method was to use a fork for the dipping and then a spatula to remove them from the fork onto a fresh sheet of wax paper.

5.  Place covered balls in the refrigerator until the chocolate coating is set.


So, my hands were pretty red and gross from the Red Velvet cake, but I HAD to dip in right away and try one of each kind.  Excuse the messy hands – sometimes you just can’t wait!

DSC_0079 DSC_0083

Yes . . . they are as good as they look!  They are moist and delicious and so wonderful.  Enjoy!




New Friend Fridays

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Sigh . . . I have to apologize yet again.  The little one and I were hit with Upper Respiratory Infections this week so we spent the day on Friday running to urgent care facilities to get treated.  No “Home Tour” this weekend.  And the pictures on the recipes from this week are, well, not always very good.  This is (thankfully) my last week of work too so we’re burning the candle at both ends right now.  I have so many craft projects backed up to share – for those that are interested in more than just recipes – so stick with me!!  Promise! 

Okay – so, in the spirit of “I’m doped up on antibiotics and not in the mood to cook,” here are some wonderful little chicken breasts stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta cheese.  Quick and easy and a nice variation on the same old chicken.  Recipe from Family Circle Magazine.

Meal Planning: Paired with the Green Bean Salad (posting soon) – or Balsamic Green Beans or any vegetable (click on the “vegetable” or "side dish” tab on the left of the screen


-2/3 cup ricotta cheese

-1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

-4 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (the recipe says “not oil packed” tomatoes but that’s all I could find and the recipe turned out anyway - just use what you have!)

-1 clove garlic, finely chopped

-4 chicken breasts

-Wooden toothpicks

-1/4 tsp seasoning blend (they recommend Mrs. Dash – I used the Greek Seasoning below)

DSC_0512I have to say a word about this stuff – I randomly grabbed it at the grocery store one day and it is FABULOUS!  I use it on chicken, fish, and we even use it on popcorn.  Yummy!


1.  Heat oven to 425.  In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic until well combined; set aside.


2.  Using a paring knife, cut deep pockets in the thickest part of the breasts, about 2 inches wide.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into each pocket (just divide the mixture between the 4 breasts).  Seal closed with 3 wooden toothpicks.  I actually take the toothpicks and break them in half to use less.  Just make sure you remove them all before serving!

3.  Place chicken in a 9x13” baking dish and sprinkle with the seasoning.  Bake at 425 for 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken registers 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.

 DSC_0516(I didn’t cut my pockets quite right this time so some of the filling oozed out).

Here is what it is supposed to look like – photo from Family Circle: Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Cherry Tomato Salad

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pasta Cubana

I’ve had this one for a while and have just been waiting for the right time to make it.  It seems to be a perfect summer dish.  The recipe calls for chicken breasts, but since we had just had chicken the night before, I used ground turkey.  I think I like it better with the turkey!  The sauce is nice and thick and goes well with the pasta.  Recipe from Family Circle Magazine.

Meal Planning:  This recipe is self contained with vegetables and meat.  I added some Nun’s Puffs (recipe coming) but you can use any bread like Lemon Bread or English Muffin Bread.


- 2 Tbsp olive oil

-1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces OR 1 pound ground turkey

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/8 tsp black pepper

-1.5 cups mild salsa (I use Pace Thick & Chunky)

-1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained

-1.5 tsp ground cumin

-2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 1/4” half moons

-1 clove garlic, finely chopped.

-1 pound pasta or your choice


1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with slat and pepper.  Add to skillet and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.  If using ground turkey instead, brown turkey over medium heat; drain if necessary.

2.  Stir in the salsa, beans and cumin.  Simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini and garlic and simmer 5 minutes.

3.  While sauce is simmering, cook pasta following package directions.  Drain and toss with sauce.  Serve immediately.



New Friend Fridays

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Crabmeat Deviled Eggs and 4th of July Menu

This will be the first 4th of July where we’ll have family over to celebrate with us.  My parents are coming to the house for dinner and then fireworks with our 18 month old daughter.  I am excited to cook for more than just the 3 of us!  Here is the menu for the Independence Day Celebration:

-Hot dogs and fixin’s

-The Best Coleslaw ever!

-Crabmeat Deviled Eggs (recipe below)

-Iced Tea (of course!)

-Pink Lemonade Pie (I haven’t posted the recipe for this yet, but Cara has the same recipe)

Here is the recipe for the deviled eggs.  A great twist on the Southern Classic!  Recipe from Pillsbury.


-8 eggs

-6 oz of crabmeat (see note below)

-1/4 cup mayonnaise

-1/2 tsp dry mustard


-1/4 tsp ground red pepper

-16 sprigs of parsley


1.  Place eggs in medium saucepan; cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes.  Immediately drain; run cold water over eggs to stop cooking.

2.  Peel eggs; cut in half lengthwise.  Scoop yolks from 4 eggs into medium bowl.  Remove remaining yolks; reserve for another use.


3.  Flake crabmeat – I use this:

DSC_0413It’s “imitation” crab meat, but when you live this far from the Coast, what can you do?  I think they also sell it in cans – in that case, drain and flake as well.

4.  Add crabmeat, mayonnaise, dry mustard and ground red pepper to yolks in bowl; mix and mash with fork until well blended.  Mound yolk mixture into center of each cooked egg white.  Garnish each with parsley sprig.  Cover; refrigerate until serving time.



Happy 4th of July!


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