Friday, 14 March 2014

Pulled Pork

One of the things that motivates me to cook new foods and blog about it, is that I love to make people happy though their tummy. The way to my heart is to make my tummy happy. Cook a good meal for me and I will probably love you forever...or stalk you...or maybe just hound you to cook for me again.

My hubby LOVES pulled pork. I really like it too, but he will order it almost anytime he sees it on a menu. I have tried a few recipes, but I have not loved any of them....until now!!

I find most restaurant style pulled pork recipes come with a ton of sauce. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don't love BBQ sauce or steak sauce because I actually like to TASTE the flavor of my meat.  Not that the sauce isn't tasty, but I can sometimes find it overwhelming.

I think a tangy sweet sauce is what my hubby loves about pulled pork. I know he really liked this recipe, I just don't think he loved it like I did. The pork in this recipe was tender, juicy, flavorful and oooooh so yummy. It just wasn't a "saucy"  pulled pork, so if that is how you like your pulled pork, then this recipe may not be for you. I loved the flavours of the meat and I loved that I could actually taste the meat.

This recipe is a KEEPER and really easy to make.

Things you will need:

- slow cooker (original recipe cooks it long and slow in the oven, but I don't have time for that)
- to prep the dry rub and brine the night before (both are super easy to make and I had all the ingredients)
- your favourite pulled pork sandwich toppings (ours is cheese and coleslaw)
- pork butt or shoulder (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, no other meat compares. I got mine at Sobeys, but I also found some at my Cochranes, my local market)

Pulled Pork (click for original recipe)


Pork Butt/shoulder (has bone in)
Rolls for the sandwich (I put butter on mine and broiled them)
Fresh Mozza (any cheese will do, I just had to use mine up)
Coleslaw (I bought a package and coleslaw dressing)

Dry Rub
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix all together in a dish

Brine Solution
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 qts cold water (8 cups)
3 tbsp dry rub mix
2 bay leaves

Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar and dry rub and stir well to combine.

Pork Butt/Shoulder preparation:

1. Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large container, pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. The brine solution gives it more moisture. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. I marinated it all night.

2. In the morning, remove pork shoulder from brine solution, pat dry with paper towels, place in the slowcooker. 

3. Sprinkle dry rub onto the whole surface of the shoulder and massage in such that it adheres to the surface. Coat all sides. Make sure the fat layer on the shoulder is facing up before cooking if possible.

4.  Turn your slowcooker on low and let it cook until you get home (you don't need to add any water). If you can wiggle the bone (I could easily pull the bone out), then it is done!

5. Pull out your meat and remove bone and fat and then pull apart meat with forks. (I also sprinkled some extra juice left over form the cooker over top of the meat).

6. I then buttered my buns, added the pork and some cheese and broiled it until the cheese got bubbly. 

7. Add your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Fresh Mozzarella Balsamic Chicken

Fresh Mozzarella Balsamic Chicken (click for original recipe)

This recipe was SO yummy and SO easy to make. It was also done in 30 minutes + a little prep time.

Everyone in my house loved it and I will be making this again for sure. I excluded tomatoes on my kids chicken because they don't like them, but I LOVED the taste the fresh tomato added to the dish. I also forgot to add the balsamic vinegar until after it was all cooked, but I don't think it effected flavour at all.

I HIGHLY recommend you use fresh mozzarella usually found in the deli meet/cheese section of your grocery store.

I served this with a side of mashed potatoes and veggies. I think it would be good on top of a pasta dish as well.


  • 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 fresh tomato, sliced
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella 
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil (I just sprinkled some on)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley (I just sprinkled some on)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a casserole dish and set aside.

2. Combine the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, and breadcrumbs in a bowl. 

3. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg / water mixture, then dip each piece of chicken in the seasoning mixture and be sure to coat each breast well.

4. Place chicken in the casserole dish you set aside. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

5. Remove the chicken and turn the oven to broil. Top the chicken with the sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar. Place back in the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted. (I added the vinegar after it had broiled and let it soak while the chicken rested, I would probably do that again).

6. Remove from the oven and then sprinkle with the basil and parsley.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Thai Cashew Chicken

So, I have been neglecting my blog. Sad, poor, lonely blog...

For no good reason other then I moved, twice (into my parents and then into my new house). Then Christmas came.... and I had to FILL my new house, so I was busy shopping and stalking Kijiji in my spare time. Then my kids have birthdays 3 days apart (turning 2 and 13), so I have been busy with planning, cooking and baking for their parties. Between moving, working, Christmas, birthdays, karate 2 nights a week with my 13 year old and gymnastics with my 2 year old.... all I wanted to do was veg in front of the TV with my man at the end of the day.

So that is what I did. And I did it well. 

Meanwhile my blog has been calling my name...

"foo! Do you still love food?!?"

I replied, "I do. A lot." (I really didn't talk to my computer...this is just how I envisioned the conversation going if I did talk to my computer)

So, I have decided to start putting time aside again for my small food blog. 

While I ignored my blog, I got out of the habit of meal planning and it was a disaster. I hated it. I stopped the meatless Mondays that I enjoyed and I was not making the healthiest choices. I was scrambling at the end of the day to decide on supper and then getting groceries every day to make those meals. I was dreading the end of my work day because I knew I had to make a decision and follow though in a timely manner. I missed the planning and the organization my blog brought me.

I made my first meal plan last week, got the groceries for the week and I stuck to my plan. I have to say that it was soooo less stressful!

I made a meal plan again this week and I will share that in the next few posts. I am going to be posting my new favourite recipes since I have been on hiatus. I am going to start with my favourite one, Thai Cashew Chicken.

I have made it twice, my mom stole the recipe and my man asks for it every week. I would say it is a keeper :)

Also, did I mention how quick and easy it is to make? Once the food prep is done, it comes together in minutes.

Some adjustments I made: 

1. The first time I made this, we ate it ALL. I wanted left overs the next time, so I cut up 3 small chicken breasts, added peppers, used a whole cup of cashews and a whole onion. I also doubled the sauce ingredients.

2. I didn't have the dried red chilies, so I added some hot chili pepper flakes (probably half a tsp).

3. I couldn't find sweet soy sauce so I substituted the 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce for 1 tbsp of soy sauce + 1 tsp brown sugar.

4. I used a wok, but if you don't have one, use the biggest pan you have.

5. This isn't an adjustment, but some good advice that I learned from the original recipe:

“Stir-Fry” means “stir, THEN fry.” The purpose of stir-frying is to let the ingredients fry and get a lovely brown color before you stir it to keep it from burning. Let the food fry for about 30 seconds at a time before stirring it, and make sure you are using medium-high heat. If you stir it too much, or fry it over too low of a heat, the dish won’t turn out right. The chicken will poach from the steam and be white rather than brown."

THAI CASHEW CHICKEN (click for original recipe)

For the Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
For the Stir-Fry
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ small yellow onion, quartered
  • 4 finger-length dried red chilies (such as chile de arbol), seeded and cut into halves
  • ½ cup roasted cashew nuts
  • 8 oz chicken, cut into thin pieces (about one large chicken breast – hold your knife at an angle and slice against the grain to get the thinnest pieces possible)
  • 1 green onion, cut into 1” lengths
  1. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough to produce a sizzle when a drop of water hits it, add in all of the cashew nuts. Fry the cashews until they turn light brown, just a few minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel to rest.
  3. Add the garlic, onion, peppers and dried red chilies (pepper flakes) to the oil. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until you can start to smell the spicy aroma of the chilies. Add in the chicken and continue to stir-fry until the chicken turns opaque and is cooked through (about 4-5 minutes). Return the cashews to the pan and toss to distribute around the pan.
  4. Add the sauce to the wok and toss all of the ingredients to coat them well. Turn off the heat and add in the chopped scallions. Serve immediately with a side of jasmine rice.