Slow cooker pulled pork BBQ

Y’all will not believe how easy this was! The fact that it cooks in the slow cooker is such a bonus, too, because what’s better than coming home to supper already done?

Slow cooker pulled pork BBQ

Ingredients

  • A pork roast
  • Water
  • Salt, plus onion powder, rib rub, or whatever spices sound good
  • BBQ sauce
  • Buns

Instructions

  1. Put pork roast in a slow cooker and sprinkle on salt and whatever spices your little heart desires; I did onion powder and a rib rub Yankee had in the cabinet. Add enough hot water to fully cover the roast and turn the slow cooker on low; ignore it for the next 8-12 hours or so, depending on size
  2. After it’s cooked through remove meat to a cutting board and chop it up, discarding fat and any bone; pour the water out of the slow cooker (pork broth! Feel free to freeze it for later use)
  3. Serve! Either on a plate or on a bun, topped with your favorite BBQ sauce

Notes

Some folks return the chopped meat to the slow cooker and add in BBQ sauce so they can cook together for a bit; I don’t because I find that cooking the BBQ sauce down makes it too sugary

How easy was that? This is great with green beans!

Chili

This, like a lot of my recipes, is cobbled together from so many different recipes and word of mouth that I’m not even sure where it started. It involves my Mama’s concoction of spices, though, so it’s awesome. And spicy. Feel free to tone down the spices and add more later if it looks like too much!

  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can dark kidney beans
  • 1 can light kidney beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Water or beer

To assemble:

  1. Brown the meats and onion together till the meat is cooked through
  2. Add all the cans and all the spices and stir well
  3. Adjust consistency as you like it — add a little beer or water till it looks just right
  4. Simmer at will. I love this cooked all day in the slow cooker, or on the stove top in a heavy pan (such as a cast iron dutch oven)
  5. Serve with cheese, Fritos, and cornbread!

BBQ chicken pizza

This is a perfect meal to throw together during the middle of the week. Quick, easy, and so delicious!

You will need:

  • chicken — I used three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • dough — your refrigerator dough, homemade dough, or even store bought
  • barbecue sauce
  • cheese

And then:

  1. Start with the chicken: three chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, thrown into the slow cooker set to low in the morning — no barbecue sauce yet because you don’t want the sugar in it to cook as long as the chicken
  2. About two hours before supper time you’re ready to shred the chicken; since it’s in a crock pot this may be as easy as breaking it up with a wooden spoon, but you can take it out and shred it if need be. Return the meat to the slow cooker set to low and add in enough barbecue sauce to fully coat all the meat
  3. About an hour before baking time pull out some refrigerated dough, form it into a ball and set it in a olive oil brushed cast iron skillet to rise for about 45 minutes
  4. After 45 minutes, start your oven preheating to 400 degrees
  5. Now assemble your pizza! Pat out the dough, then top with barbecue chicken, extra sauce, and whatever else your little heart desires: onions, garlic, pineapple, you name it. Then sprinkle on the cheese and bake at 400F till the cheese is melted and the crust is done — this probably won’t take more than ten minutes or so

Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my top three comfort food meals — the other two being chicken and dumplings and macaroni and cheese. Mmmmm…. Anyway, this cooks up beautifully, travels well, freezes well and reheats well. What more could you ask?

There are three main parts to this dish: the chicken, the pie crust, and the sauce.

Let’s start with the chicken.

You will need:

  • Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • A few stalks of celery if they’re just lying around
  • Salt, pepper, onion or onion powder

I do this part in a slow cooker the night before; you can also just boil the chicken the same day if you’re in more of a hurry.

  1. The night before you’re going to to eat half a chicken pot pie serve this for supper, put the chicken breasts in the crock pot with a few stalks of celery, some salt and pepper, an onion if you have it (or onion powder on the chicken) and fill it up with water.  Let it cook on low overnight
  2. The next morning, put the chicken on a plate and let it cool, then refrigerate
  3. Strain the chicken broth that’s now filling your crockpot and save one cup of it for this recipe. Refrigerate or freeze the rest

Now the pie crust (modified from Alton Brown’s recipe). You will need:

  • 6 Tbsp. butter, chilled
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening or lard, chilled
  • 1 cup AP flour + more for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1-2 Tbsp. vodka (yes, really; here‘s why)

In a perfect world, you’ll also have this nifty pie crust bag, which makes everything a little easier. Now:

  1. Chop butter and shortening or lard into little pieces, and put them in two separate bowls in the freezer for 15 minutes
  2. Measure out 1 cup (or 6 oz.) flour and put it in the freezer too
  3. When everything is chilled, put the flour and 1/2 tsp table salt into the food processor and pulse three or four times to combine
  4. Add butter and pulse till texture looks mealy; this took me about 6 or 7 pulses
  5. Add lard and pulse another 4 or 5 times
  6. Slowly drizzle in one tablespoon of water, dispersing as much as possible, and pulse 5 times
  7. Slowly drizzle in one tablespoon of vodka and pulse again
  8. Check it at this point. If you squeeze the  mixture together does it hold? If not, add more vodka. If so, it’s ready. It will not immediately look like pie crust, even when it’s ready; it will look like this:

Now put it in your nifty pie crust bag or a zip-top bag, squeeze it all together in a ball, then press into a rounded disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While that’s chilling, we’ll work on the white sauce. You will need:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth (which you ever so prudently reserved from your earlier chicken cooking)

To make sauce:

  1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat
  2. Whisk in flour and keep whisking until your sauce is smooth and bubbling
  3. Remove the pan from heat and slowly pour in the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, whisking like a crazy person to keep it smooth
  4. Return the pan to the burner and bring to a simmer
  5. Cook, stirring insanely often, until it thickens up. Add salt and pepper to taste (plenty of it for this, I think)
  6. Once it’s nice and thick, set it back off the burner

Now assemble your pie!

  1. In a food processor or by hand, shred or chop your cold chicken breasts into pretty small pieces
  2. In a large bowl, stir together your white sauce, your chopped chicken and one bag of frozen mixed vegetables (still frozen — easy!)
  3. Remove pie dough from refrigerator and roll out two crusts (see Alton’s recipe for lots of technique info, but we’re not blind baking ours)
  4. Put one crust in an ungreased pie plate and spread in your sauce/chicken/veggie mixture. See how pretty it is?
  5. Put on your top crust. I actually don’t put it all the way to the edges because I like it to have lots of steaming room. Also cut vents in the top of your crust, like so:
  6. Just in case, put your pie plate on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Foil is easier to clean than the bottom of your oven
  7. Bake at 375 until top is browned — remember everything in it is cooked, so you’re just heating. Let sit for a good 15 minutes to cool before you cut into it. Then go nuts!

Your total ingredient list for this pie:

  • Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Celery, onion (optional)
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder
  • 6 Tbsp. + 3 Tbsp. butter, chilled
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening or lard, chilled
  • 1 cup AP flour + 6 Tbsp + more for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1-2 Tbsp. vodka
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bag frozen, mixed veggies

Ways to shortcut this recipe:

  • Buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred the meat from there
  • Use rolled, refrigerated pie crust
  • Use two cans of cream of chicken soup instead of the white sauce

Chicken broth

Remember when we made the French chicken and I told you to hold onto the gizzards from the chicken? Here’s why:

Throw them in a pot or slow cooker. Or a pressure cooker! Whatever floats your boat. Now throw in half an onion and a couple stalks of celery. If you have some carrots or a bay leaf, go crazy — throw ’em in.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the whole mess. Now fill with water, turn it on low, and walk away. For about 12 hours.

When it’s done simmering, strain it through a mesh strainer, drain off any excess fat (although there won’t be much from just the gizzards), and store it however you see fit. I usually put a quart in a Mason jar in the fridge, then put quarts of it in freezer bags in the deep freeze so I have it on hand.

Now after you’re done with your French chicken and you’ve had supper and sandwiches with the meat? You guessed it. Throw the chicken bones (“bones” sounds prettier than “carcass” does it not?) in a pot with the other half of your onion, and whatever combination of celery, carrots, bay leaves, salt, pepper, etc. you arrived at earlier. Fill the pot with water and repeat the process. Then shake your head at yourself that you ever spent $4/quart on the store-bought stuff, which isn’t nearly as good as yours is anyway.

And now that you have all this yummy chicken broth on hand, you have no excuse for not making risotto! Or, as I like to call it, Chicken Broth’s Best Reason For Existence.