Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Root Beer Pulled Pork

You will need pork tenderloin, liquid smoke, root beer, and bbq sauce
You've gotta love recipes that only have four ingredients. You heard me. Four. All you need is your trusty crockpot, a couple of hours, and 4 ingredients. (5 if you're like my husband and HAVE to have some super spicy and vinegary homemade Carolina bbq sauce too :0)) I'll give you the step by step of this recipe to show you how incredibly easy this is!
Trim any obvious chunks of fat off your pork tenderloin and remove the silverskin. Place your pork tenderloins in the crockpot and add 1 t of liquid smoke.
This picture freaks me out. I had a slight moment where I said, I can't believe I just poured soda on my pork tenderloin! Just go with it-your mouth will thank you!
Add 1 can of root beer. I used A&W.
Cook on low for 5-6 hours until the pork pulls apart easily with a fork.
Remove the pork and shred with two forks. Add your barbecue sauce. 
Mound some pork on your bun and add sauce. Salivate. Take a bite and enjoy! This would be great for a party-minimum prep and cooking and maximum flavor!

Root Beer Pulled Pork
Recipe by Jill Chall

2 lbs. pork tenderlon, trimmed
1 t liquid smoke
1 can root beer
1 bottle barbecue sauce (I recommend Stubb's and Sweet Baby Ray's)

Place pork tenderloin in crockpot. Add liquid smoke and root beer. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, until pork shreds easily. Add desired amount of barbecue sauce. Mix. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mini Cornbread Muffins {with blueberries} and Honey Butter

Wow, that's a long blog title for these little muffins. Boy, are they delicious though. Porter ate 5 with his black bean soup and I had *cough cough* more than that :0). This recipe comes from one of my absolute favorite blogs-The Pioneer Woman. You really should go check out her site-her recipes are out of this world (and she's hilarious!). 
Thanks, Mom, for the awesome melamine condiment cups-so glad they aren't breakable, already dropped one :0)

Anyway, back to the muffins, if you make them please please please make the honey butter to go with them! I can't tell you how yummy it is. I loved the muffins with the dried blueberries (I accidentally bought craisins flavored with blueberry juice and they were great), but next time I think I'll try them with the supersweet organic corn that I buy from costco (yum)!

These are definitely some of the most moist cornbread muffins I've ever had! Make them for your family and they'll love you for it!

Blueberry Corn Mini-Muffins:
Photos by Jill Chall
Recipe by The Pioneer Woman

1 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1 T baking powder
2 T white sugar
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c milk
1/2 t baking soda
1 whole egg
1/4 c shortening, melted and cooled
1/2 t vanilla
8 oz dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine corn meal, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, egg, and baking soda. Stir to combine. Add melted shortening, stirring constantly. Add vanilla extract, then stir in dried blueberries (you can use a little more or a little fewer if you'd like.)
Pour into a greased mini-muffin pan, trying to make sure blueberries stay evenly distributed. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
*This recipe made about 30 mini muffins for me

Honey Butter:
Recipe by Jill Chall

4 T (half a stick) unsalted butter, very soft
2 T honey

Mix butter and honey together until smooth and combined. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Black Bean Soup

This past weekend I made a huge pot of black bean soup. It was the right thing to do-it was freezing cold and there was football on TV. What other choice did I have? This is seriously the best black bean soup I have ever had, which could have something to do with the 10 slices of bacon and the whole bunch of cilantro in it. :0)
I served it with mini cornbread muffins (which I will post about later this week!), sour cream, and shredded monteray jack cheese. For my non-soup-eating husband (I know! How can you not eat soup?!), I made some chicken quesadillas. Make a big ole pot of this soup and invite some friends over to share! (or throw a couple servings in the freezer like me-instant dinner!) Either way, your family and your belly will thank you!
Black Bean Soup
Photos by Jill Chall
Recipe by Dave Lieberman (Food Network)

10 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped (2-2 1/2 c)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can of low sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
2 T ketchup
2 t worcestershire sauce
1 T chili powder
4 (15.5 oz) cans black beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
Juice of half a lime
Garnishes-scallions, sour cream, shredded cheese

Brown bacon over medium heat 5-6 minutes until  fairly crisp. Stir in onions and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and beans. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low so the soup is simmering. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice. Remove from heat and serve with garnishes. Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Granola

A couple of days ago I decided to make some pumpkin spice granola on a whim, after seeing a recipe for it on one of my favorite blogs, Two Peas & Their Pod. This granola is amazing. This granola is life-changing. Every time I eat it I declare "I will never buy cereal/granola again!" (and Justin and Porter roll their eyes :)) I love it with milk or on top of plain greek yogurt for breakfast. (I bet it is amazing on ice cream!) Anyway, it is so easy, makes your house smell amazing, and is so much less expensive than buying granola! (plus it tastes 20x better!)

I changed the recipe a bit from the original and am happy with my changes. The granola is so versatile-I can't wait to try new combinations! (I'm thinking apple-maple, orange-pecan, and chocolate-peanut butter) Make this pumpkin granola this weekend and you won't be disappointed!

Pumpkin Spice Granola
Photos and adapted recipe by Jill Chall
Original recipe by Two Peas & Their Pod

5 c oats
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground ginger
3/4 t salt
3/4 c brown sugar
2/3 c pumpkin puree
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c pure maple syrup (not aunt jemima ;0))
1 t vanilla extract
1 c almonds, coarsely chopped
2 c walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray one with Pam. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, salt, and nuts. In a separate bowl whisk together sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into the oat mixture and stir until combined. The mixture will be moist. Evenly spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall + Homemade (Crockpot!) Apple Butter

Ok, so there is something you should know about me. I. Love. Fall. Something about the way the air smells (and the kitchen!) is just plain comforting. This fall I made apple butter for the first time after buying too many pounds of apples from a local farm. It was so incredibly easy because I used one of my favorite cooking tools of all time-my crockpot! To say the crockpot is a mama's best friend is an understatement! I even employed the help of my older son-I'm just fine with child labor in the kitchen :0) He had a great time cutting apples with a blunt butter knife. It was a great project for a rainy fall day!
I swear Porter had fun, he is just intense about cutting his apples :0)

This apple butter makes your house smell amazing and makes a great holiday or hostess gift! I stored mine in mason jars-don't mason jars just make you smile? Make some apple butter this fall-you won't be disappointed!

Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter
adapted recipe and photo by Jill Chall
original recipe by Sweet and Savory by Sarah

15 whole small/medium apples (or enough apples to fill the crockpot) I used a mix of gala, winesap, and golden delicious
1 T vanilla extract
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground cloves

Peel and dice your apples and throw them in your crockpot. Add vanilla and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Stir every now and then to check on the apples. Once the apples have completely cooked down, add the sugars and spices. Cook on low for another 4 hours. Store and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. (You can also freeze individual servings in an ice cube tray!) Enjoy it!