Crock Pot Pulled Pork Nachos

by Susan on May 22, 2017

One of my go-to crock pot recipes is pulled pork using only barbecue sauce and root beer. It’s a great kid-friendly quickie to make delicious sandwiches to feed a crowd. I wanted to get a little fancier than that one but still have the convenience of the crock pot for cooking.

This pork recipe uses a mix of spices and palm sugar to really flavor the pork; the barbecue sauce is actually totally optional, as the meat on its own is tender and flavorful. I did choose to use some sauce when using the pork to make a huge tray of nachos. If barbecue isn’t your thing you could always stir a little salsa into the pork to add a little sauciness to the equation.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Nachos

pork:
2-3 lb. pork shoulder
1/4 cup packed palm sugar
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (use 1/2 tsp. if you don’t like heat)
1/4 cup organic ketchup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

for nachos:
organic barbecue sauce and/or salsa
organic tortilla chips
shredded jack and/or cheddar cheese
chopped tomatoes
minced cilantro
other nacho toppings of choice

For pork, mix palm sugar with spices. Add pork to crock pot and rub spice mixture all over it. Add ketchup and mustard to crock pot and rub onto pork as well. Cover crock pot and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, until the meat is soft and shreddable. Remove from crock pot and drain juice. Shred pork with two forks. You can mix a little barbecue sauce or salsa into the meat if desired.

For nachos, preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil or use a cast-iron skillet. Make an even layer of chips, then top with some pork, barbecue sauce and/or salsa and cheese. Make another layer on top and then bake for about 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

To serve, top off with tomatoes, cilantro and whatever other toppings you might like (chopped avocado, sliced jalapeƱo, sour cream etc).

{ 0 comments }

Gluten-Free Spinach Pesto Pasta

by Susan on May 20, 2017

Pesto is pretty much one of my most favorite things. When fresh basil is abundant in the summer I make it all the time, adding it to everything from scrambled eggs to roasted potatoes. While traditional pesto is made with fresh basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, there are so many delicious ways to mix it up.

I almost always add spinach to my pesto for a nutritional boost, but it’s actually possible to make pesto without basil at all. It’s perfect this time of year, when the herb isn’t yet at its peak. It’s an easy way to get everyone to eat their spinach without a fuss, and makes for a simple pasta sauce on a busy weeknight.

I adapted this recipe from the Food Network; the original dish called for homemade meatballs made from chicken sausage. I actually made the meal even easier to throw together by using premade Aidell’s chicken sausage meatballs. They’re one of the few prepared meatballs I’ve found that are gluten-free, and the brand uses meat raised without hormones or added nitrites.

Pesto tastes just as good without cheese, so if you’re dairy-free it’s simple to tweak the recipe. You can just omit the Parmesan, or even add 1 tbs. of nutritional yeast if you like a little bit of a cheesy flavor. You could also sub 1 cup of spinach for arugula if you like a little peppery bite to your pesto. Skip the meatballs and it’s still a filling meat-free meal.

I kept the dish gluten-free by using Banza chickpea pasta. It’s a new family favorite, and works particularly well with pesto (I do think the pasta has a mild chickpea flavor that is totally negated by the strong flavors of the pesto).

Gluten-Free Spinach Pesto Pasta
adapted from Food Network

Sea salt
10 oz. gluten-free pasta
4 cups baby spinach
1 tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tbs. raw walnuts
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbs. grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping (can omit and use 1 tbs. nutritional yeast)
Freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.

Meanwhile, pulse 2 cups spinach, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon each olive oil and nuts, the lemon zest and juice, 1/2 tsp. salt and the red pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides; add the parmesan (or nutritional yeast) and pulse until smooth. Set the pesto aside.

Add meatballs to a large skillet and heat over medium until warm, about 1 minute. Add the pasta, pesto and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water to the skillet. Toss to coat, adding more cooking water as needed; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 2 cups spinach. Top with parmesan, if using, and the remaining 1 tablespoon nuts; drizzle with olive oil.

{ 0 comments }

Grain-Free Strawberry Crisp

May 13, 2017

I’ve been trying to make a more conscious effort than ever to serve up less sugar to my family. Since I’m off my usual workout routine and trying to heal up I’m super committed to avoided inflammatory foods. My husband has expressed a desire to break up with sugar, and I think we can all [...]

Read the full article →

Bacon, Egg & Cornbread Cups

May 11, 2017

I made a batch of gluten-free cornbread last week (to accompany some rainy day chili) and wound up with some left over. I hate wasting food, particularly good stuff that’s made from scratch. Slightly stale cornbread has some merits as well, as it has a sturdy texture that can stand up to dishes like stuffings [...]

Read the full article →

Grain-Free Cheeseburger Pie

May 10, 2017

I think I have created more low carb, grain-free twists on the humble cheeseburger than I have any other dish. My son has declared cheeseburgers his favorite food (occasionally they tie with bananas), and it’s one meal that all of us enjoy. Last night’s dinner was my take on the “impossible” pies made with packaged [...]

Read the full article →

Gluten-Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 4, 2017

My husband gives my cooking the most praise, but also is its harshest critic. This is particularly true when it comes to baking, for which I am actually grateful! Since I do a lot of allergy-friendly and/or healthier ingredient substitutions, I take a lot of risks when it comes to treat-making. If a finished product [...]

Read the full article →

Breakfast Spaghetti Squash Casserole

May 1, 2017

Since I broke my foot I find weekday mornings particularly challenging, when I’m trying to hobble around getting the kids ready for school. Last week I ate plain Greek yogurt and berries just about every morning because I just didn’t have the time or ability to prep anything else for myself. While the kids were [...]

Read the full article →

Mango Frozen Yogurt

April 27, 2017

It’s been so gray and rainy here in CT all week that I’ve been trying to find ways to brighten things up. This homemade frozen yogurt seemed perfect, as it’s loaded with summery flavor and and pretty much looks like sunshine in a bowl! While you can make this with either fresh or frozen mango, [...]

Read the full article →

Homemade Healthy “Hamburger Helper”

April 26, 2017

Let’s talk Hamburger Helper for a minute. I never tried it myself until I was a poor college student. As an adult I’ve never bought it for my kids, because what it offers in convenience it sacrifices in healthy ingredients. The most popular flavor (I believe) is the cheeseburger macaroni. There is a dizzying array [...]

Read the full article →

Loaded Bahn Mi Fries

April 25, 2017

I haven’t been posting a ton of new recipes due to my broken foot. While I’m stilling in the kitchen as much as I can (I am really mastering the art of crutch cooking), it’s hard to get the pics needed for blog posts. My “studio” is across the room, and I’m often prepping when [...]

Read the full article →