Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pulled Pork Shepherd's Pie

This recipe caught my eye as we are big fans of good pulled pork!  My style of pulled pork is the Tennessee style, smoked with no sauce.  His style is Kentucky, smoked and covered in sauce.  Somehow, we make a happy medium as he likes my hometown pulled pork and I like the pork bar-b-que here (but I will NOT eat mutton - no way, no how, not ever)!

This is a simple one dish meal that may be just the ticket for this rainy evening.

You'll need:

2 lbs pulled pork
2c bar-b-que sauce
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
3 lbs potatoes (cooked and mashed)
1/2 cup shredded regular Velveeta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Velveeta Cheddar cheese

You can smoke a pork shoulder on the grill if you like but the smoker is not my domain so I can't offer any advice on how to do that. The outdoor kitchen is the hubs territory and I'm not about to wander where I don't belong! 

You can also cook a pork loin in your crock pot.  The crock pot is MY tool of choice and I can rock that baby!  Just cover the pork with water and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours then shred it with a fork - season with salt and pepper.  If you're in a hurry, pick up some pulled pork from your favorite bar-b-que joint and you're half finished when you walk in the front door!

Layer the pork on the bottom of a casserole dish.  Cover with two cups of your favorite bar-b-que sauce.  We usually use Allegro bar-b-que sauce from my home town of Paris, Tennessee.  But tonight, I'm using MY Tennessee pulled pork and HIS favorite Kentucky sauce - John's Sweet Heat from Old Hickory Bar-B-Que (this is the sauce that won the Pitmaster's competition last year)!  You'll want plenty of sauce as you do not want dry meat at the bottom of your dish.

Layer the frozen peas and corn on top of the meat.  Top with mashed potatoes (prepare them how ever you normally do).  Mashed potatoes was the very first thing I learned to cook.  I peel and boil my potatoes, drain then mash with an old fashioned masher (I like a few small lumps) then add 1/2 cup evaporated milk and a stick of butter.  I know this isn't low cal but it is delicious. Add salt and pepper then place your mashed potatoes on top of your veggie mix.  If you're in a hurry and don't have to feed more than 4 people, just make it easy on yourself and get the frozen diced potatoes from your frozen food section at the grocery.  Microwave them then add your evaporated milk and butter, salt and pepper.  This takes less than 10 minutes!  These frozen starts to get expensive if you're feeding a large crowd but for 2-4 people, this is an easier way and not any more expensive than the cost of the peel and cook method.

Sprinkle the casserole top with the combined regular and cheddar Velveeta (I really like that brand as it melts so well and does not get stringy.).

Bake at 350* for 40 - 45 minutes.  The sauce will bubble up some and that's a good thing.  I'd place your casserole dish on a baking sheet to spare yourself a messy oven clean up!  You could also divide your ingredients and bake this in individual ramekins (reduce cooking time to 25 minutes).  This is a good solution for a busy family that doesn't eat at the same time. This reheats beautifully so you're good for delayed servings!

As with all meals, adjust this to suite your family's taste.  If I have carrots on hand, I add them to mine.  I might even add baby lima beans as well....I have to use every trick I can to get veggies in the hubs!  You might even bake this in a pie crust to mimic a pot pie for a different twist on this dish!

I'm serving this with a green garden salad and a baguette toasted and buttered. 

This is hearty, wholesome and frankly - darn yummy!  Just enough left over for two lunches!  One for me and one for the hubs!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Spinach and Artichoke Bites - Super Bowl Sunday

1 package cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (14 oz)
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tubes of crescent rolls
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 375.  Lightly spray two muffin tins with baking spray. Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well; set aside. Roll the crescent roll dough out (one tube at a time) onto a large work surface. Seal all the perforations together so that you’re left with one big piece of dough.
Using a knife or pizza slicer, cut the dough into 12 roughly even squares (you'll end up with 24 squares total). Press each of the dough squares into the two muffin tins.  Using a teaspoon, fill each cup with the spinach artichoke mixture. If desired, sprinkle each cup with a little shredded mozzarella.
Bake for 12 minutes and cool for a couple minutes before serving.