Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Slow Cooker Party Eats!

We didn't have a Super Bowl Party this year, but we did decide to pick a couple recipes to indulge in.  I made our menu really short AND addressed my desire to try at least one new recipe.  We also had miscellaneous desserts from Whole Foods.

Whole Foods had Super Bowl themed desserts!

Of the stuff we made, we used both my slow cookers (doesn't everyone have more than 1??? I  sense a giveaway in the future...).  I have to tell y'all, these recipes are winners.  I asked for constructive criticism and there was none.  All I got was "chompchompchomp" noises (and yes I gave people besides P some).

I unfortunately don't have pictures for these recipes because they are rather ugly and only require a few steps (when has a slow cooker recipe EVER been beautifully plated???).  You're just going to have to trust me and my expanding waistline.


Ok, this is 100% processed food action (it tastes GREAT but is with not so great ingredients) but it gets rave reviews so if you're up for cheating or need a solid queso recipe, look no further.  I will of course experiment until I find a real food equivalent or better for this down the road :)
  • 1 pkg. Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cans Original Rotel*
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
Place all of the ingredients in a 4.5 quart slow cooker.

This is the one I used, it works great and is only about $20 on Amazon!
Place on high, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a really melted consistency (takes about an hour).  Reduce to warm.  Get out some tortilla chips and prepare to be amazed!

* Note: if you cannot handle some spice, get Mild Rotel instead of Original.

  • Pork Picnic/Sirloin Roast
  • 1/2 c. apple juice
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
This recipe is my modified version of a recipe passed down through a few employees at my office.  I have no idea who created the original but this is what I tinkered out of the not-so-well-written recipe I got.  The Pork Picnic Roast is huge, it's a really great deal price-wise.  I have a 6.5 quart slow cooker and this sucker was still a little too big.  So, take your roast, trim off the skin parts (mine still had plenty of Babe's flesh so I sliced that business right off; if you want to be a badass make some chicharrones with all that skin!).  If you need to cut a part of the meat off to get it to fit in your crock pot, go ahead and do it.  I'm not a master butcher but I cut against the grain and away from the bone.  I wanted the meat surrounding the bone intact because bones impart flavor and health benefits when slow cooked.  

Next, combine all of the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl: salt, garlic powder, black pepper, ground cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, and the Creole seasoning.  If your roast can fit in a freezer bag awesome, use that for this next step.  Mine was too big so I used a 9x13 casserole dish.  Set your roast in the dish and rub the seasoning all over it.  Make sure to get all the sides.  I sliced off part of my roast and covered that part in seasoning as well.  Cover your roast with plastic wrap (or seal it up in a freezer bag) and let it marinate over night.

The next day, place your roast in a slow cooker, pour the apple juice and apple cider vinegar over it, and turn it on low for 10 hours.  (At this point I took my extra sliced off meat and put it in a freezer bag and froze it for future use).  After 10 hours, shred your roast with two forks and serve alone or on a sandwich.  Adding barbeque sauce is super delicious! 

Note: part of my roast ended up above the juices so it wasn't as tender.  I went ahead and shredded the rest to start serving and then got that part under the juices.  It needed an extra hour and then shredded apart easily, so no big deal and being on low for an extra hour didn't hurt the rest of it either.  Also, when I was finished cooking it seemed like there was a LOT of liquid.  I did discard a few ladle-fuls of the liquid but then I poured a bunch of barbeque sauce in.  The meat seems to soak up the juices and they taste good so I'd keep them if I were you.  Nothing worse than dried up meat!

Other Note: there is a big bone in the Picnic Roast as well as some smaller bones.  You should be able to find them and fish them out of your crock pot as you are shredding without trouble.  I saved mine to make bone broth.  We did get just a couple teeny bones that weren't fish-out-able but it wasn't a big deal, nothing that would pose a choking hazard.  I am sure you could do this recipe with a couple of pork tenderloins, but the Picnic Roast is a cheaper cut of meat that will yield terrific results.  In my opinion, you shouldn't buy expensive cuts for the slower cooker, it's just a waste and a poor use of higher end meat.

This pulled pork fed us for a few days, and that's with my neighbors eating some and giving my sister some (fyi she does not have much of a spice tolerance and the spice rub for the pork was not too spicy for her).  Both the queso and the pork heat up really well in a microwave if you have one (I didn't have one in law school so I am used to heating up the slow way!).

I hope you give these recipes a try and love them as much as we do!

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