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Let’s get Hawaiian

28 Sep

OMG, one of the best and easiest recipes ever! If you have a slow-cooker this is one of those recipes you cannot pass up. It’ll be great for potlucks or if you have lots of people to feed because it calls for 5 lbs of meat. That’s a lot of meat for a small family of 3. Fortunately, I was able to share a couple of meals with a friends who also really enjoyed it. I found this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo – Slow Cooker Kalua Pig and added some cabbage.

Pork Shoulder and Apple Juice

16 Sep

Who remembers this episode on The Brady Bunch?

So last weekend I didn’t make pork chops and apple sauce but I did make pork shoulder ribs with apple juice and shared it with my parents for lunch. Since we knew we wanted to see them over the weekend we thought it would be a treat to bring one of our crock pot meals to them.  We have a 6-quart crock pot so we had plenty. The recipe came out sweet and the pork tender but I think just using a vegetable or chicken stock would have been fine. We altered the recipe very slightly from the one posted.

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder ribs, trimmed of fat and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 2  pounds of unpeeled  cubed red potatoes
  • 2 carrots, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and chopped – we used Braeburn
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons  tapioca starch
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients except tapioca starch in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 9 to 10 hours, or on HIGH for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Mix 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch and 2 tablespoons of cold water and stir into the stew about 30 minutes before done.

Serve with white rice or by itself.

Serves 6 with left overs

Pork ‘n Beer

13 Sep

My aunt from DC was visiting over the Labor Day holiday and we invited her and my parents over for dinner before she had to catch her flight back home. We set out to get our important ingredients that morning: pork tenderloin and root beer. Usually we have at least one can or bottle of root beer in the house, but I had just finished my last bottle the evening before we started on this crockpot meal. We went to a few stores that morning. My husband got some fresh cut tenderloin from the butcher and a bottle of barbeque sauce from the Asian market, then went to the liquor store next door to get a couple of cans of Mug’s root beer. We also bought some sourdough buns from Whole Foods for our guests. Then we bought some white corn at the corner store in our neighborhood, 5 for $1 and very sweet!

So how do you make pulled-pork? Put the tenderloin in the crockpot, pour in one can of root beer, cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, drain. Stir in bbq sauce (wheat-free) and pull that pork. Serve on lightly toasted sourdough buns, or in my case over steamed white rice… Tada! Serves about 6-8 people.

Condensed Soy Milk

11 Sep

My husband is a big coffee drinker and wanted to find an alternative to creamer. He decided to use condensed milk instead, probably got this idea from drinking Vietnamese coffee. He found a recipe using non-dairy milk in a crockpot.

4 ingredients, 1 crockpot, 7+ hours on high without the lid.

  • 2 ¾ non-dairy milk (we used a soy brand from the Asian market)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Note: We had to keep it in the crock pot longer since it didn’t thicken to our liking. By the way, I read that you can make dulce de leche from condensed milk in the slow cooker so if you leave it in the crock pot longer you may end up with dessert!
Also, make sure you use a soy milk that you like, I bought it from a local company in SF but my husband thought it tasted too “Taiwanesey”. Probably should have stuck with Silk.
*recipe from

Just Throw It In

11 Sep

Crock-potting is so easy, why hadn’t I gotten into this before? It frees up a lot of cooking time and lets me spend time with the family. My husband tries his best to make my life easier so I can spend more time with him and Mantou when he comes home from work, rather than finding me in the kitchen. For this particular recipe he even had all the ingredients set out for me with the measuring cups and instructions before he left for work. This recipe is called “Slow Cooked Szechuan Beef, Scallop, and Peppers” and I have no idea how my husband happened to find this recipe. I just remember the post-it notes and gathering of ingredients on the counter.

A 1/4 measuring cup was bunched with a gathered pile:
  • stalks of green onion
  • bottle of Tamari wheat-free soy sauce
  • a carrot (next to a grater)
  • an unopened can of water chestnuts (with the can opener next to it)

“Slice” written on a post-it note with one arrow pointing down to the pile of produce:

  • a red bell pepper
  • a green bell pepper
  • an onion
And one arrow pointing up to the mushrooms
A  measuring cup for 1 cup sat on top of a frozen bag of home-made chicken broth defrosting on a plate
A teaspoon lay next to the white pepper and salt

Lastly a post-it note on the crock pot itself – “Don’t forget the beef and fish in the fridge”

I should have taken a picture of the setup because it just made me laugh out loud when I saw it all arranged in the kitchen like this. But it did save time near dinner time, all I had to prepare was a couple cups of steamed white rice. In the end it was a decent meal but probably not one we will repeat again. How can I explain the reason why… well it was a dish I would find myself eating using Uncle Ben’s instant rice. Does that explain it without getting myself in trouble?

Zesty But Dry

3 Sep

My husband and I are trying to find good recipes to cook up in the crock pot. I found a cool Crock Pot recipe book on clearance at Marshall’s the other day and was very eager to find some dinner entrees in there. Unfortunately I didn’t look at the book thoroughly and discovered that the whole section on entrees was missing! So I had to go and return it since there was no other copy to replace it. I will continue looking for recipes online. I just found out about a community page on Facebook called “Crock Pot Girls”. I might get some pointers there. Plus, my mother-in-law is sending us some of her recipes so I can’t wait.

In the meanwhile we tried to dress up our chicken breast recipes and found one from called “Zesty Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken“. Can’t say it was awesome though. The chicken came out too dry. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to flip the chicken mid-way through the cooking or maybe shred the chicken after a few hours in the crock pot. I thought you’re just suppose to let the crock pot do it’s own thing until dinner time. I guess the search for a repeatable crock pot recipe continues.


Just Can’t Get Enough

16 Aug

“I’m addicted and I just can’t get enough” of black eyed peas! The Black Eyed Peas song is a bit catchy, yes but I’m really writing about another crockpot meal that I cooked up this week. It was so simple and the end product was really good. We used 2/3 of a package of black eyed peas and soaked them in water over night. The next morning my husband added some chicken stock and left them alone. Around 1 PM the next afternoon I added a large smoked ham hock amongst the peas and turned the crockpot on to low. I left it alone for about 3 1/2 hours. When I checked in on it, I didn’t think it was ready so I upped the temp to high for the last hour. It was smoking delicious! The meat from the ham hock fell right off the bone and the smokiness wasn’t too intense but added a lot a depth of flavor to the black eyed peas.

I added a youtube clip of the Black Eyed Peas lastest hit “Just Cant Get Enough”

That’s A Load of Crock

19 Jul

My husband and I picked up a second-hand crockpot via (of course) over the weekend. It is the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (read the Amazon review) which my husband researched as one of the good ones. It comes with a temperature probe, which apparently was the selling point for this baby. When I first laid eyes on it, I thought, that thing is huge! It is, it hold 6-quarts! You could fit a whole chicken in it, and that’s what we did.

Found a helpful recipe online but pretty much just put what we had in the refrigerator and spice rack to make it work. I sliced up half an onion and a small rutabaga and placed those on the bottom of the pot. Then rubbed in some cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, and white pepper on the whole chicken fryer and placed it in on top of the onion and rutabaga. I added some celery as an after-thought. We set the probe temperature to 180 degrees and turned the crockpot on low and let it do its thing. In about 5 hours, it was done!

First of all, I had no idea rutabaga turns orange! And I can understand if it comes from the carrot family because it did taste just like one. Second the chicken was good, not the best – maybe we cooked it too long? It came out a little dry and since we just tossed the rub right before cooking it, the seasoning may not have penetrated the carcass long enough to really season it. Alas, it was our first try and since it was quite easy to do, I’m sure we’ll try it again – probably experiment with the final temperature to see if that would make the chicken less dry or season the chicken a few hours before.

We used the crockpot again after the meal to to make our own chicken stock. We added the bones and skin from the chicken, poured enough water to cover the bones, added a couple of bay leaves and a few churns from the pepper mill. Then we left the crockpot on the lowest setting overnight. In the morning we had about 6.5 cups of chicken broth which I put in freezer Ziplocs to store away for its next use.