Friday, September 30, 2011

Babyback Ribs... in the Crock Pot!!?

I've mentioned it before. I have meat issues. One of them is that I cannot eat meat off of the bone. It just totally skeeves me out. I really, truly cannot remember a time that I have eaten anything that had a bone - maybe as a kid I ate a drumstick? Maybe? But, as a result of this, my kids have never been introduced to things like chicken legs or ribs. Until a few weeks ago. We took the kids to the water park & then kept the treat going by hitting up Outback Steakhouse afterward. I always give the kids 3 or 4 choices off the kid's menu - no matter how many are actually on the list; things like the burger, chicken strips, mac 'n cheese, pizza, etc... the 'safe' bets (in my mind)! Well, now that my bigger kids are able to read they actually browse the menu. And that night, my 8 year old saw ribs & asked what they were & decided he wanted to try them. And then the 6, 4 & 2 year olds had to have them, too! LOL Well - that was aaaaaaaaaaaaaall she wrote!! My kids are hooked! They loved their ribs & now every time we've gone anywhere to eat they look for ribs! I decided I'd try my hand at some kid-friendly ribs here at home. And the best part of these!!?? They spend all day in the crockpot cooking so 1.) they're just about no work!! And 2.) the slow-cooking helps break down the connective tissues so they literally fall off the bone and they're not tough for the kids to chow down on!

Here we go!!

You need: 1 rack (2-2 1/2 pounds) of babyback ribs, pineapple juice, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, ketchup, mustard powder, ground cloves, ground ginger, cayenne pepper & fresh garlic & a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce.

Step 1 - mix everything except the BBQ sauce & meat in the bowl of your slow cooker. Whisk it well to blend it all together.

Add the ribs, cover & set on low for 6 or 7 hours.

Try not to let them get too tender - you want them cooked, but you still need to transfer them to the grill (or, like I chose, under the broiler) & that gets a little trickier when you pick up a bone & it slides right out!! LOL

Once their crock pot time passes either set them on a BBQ grill, on medium heat, or on a broiler pan. Brush the tops with sauce & set over/under the heat for 3-5 minutes. Flip, repeat the sauce & go another 3-5 minutes with the heat.

They kinda look unappetizing when they first come out of the braising liquid, but have faith, my friends! Magic things happen after you bathe them in the BBQ sauce.

Ready for some fall-off-the-bone ribs!?


Babyback the Crock Pot!!?

1 rack (2 - 2 1/2 pounds) babyback pork ribs
3 cups pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBsp lemon juice
2 TBsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
your favorite BBQ sauce

In the bowl of your crock pot, combine everything but the ribs & BBQ sauce. Whisk well to combine. Add ribs, cover & set to low for 6-7 hours.

Remove from braining liquid & discard liquid. Set ribs on a broiler pan (to cook under broiler) or a grill, set to medium heat. Brush tops with sauce & set under/over heat for 3-5 minutes. Flip, apply sauce again & heat another 3-5 minutes.


Source: Our Best Bites

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peanut Butter-White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies

My big kid turned 8 this past May - and in our church, that is the magic age that you enter the Scouting program! Unfortunately for him, though, it was also the last month they had any activities before breaking for the summer. Bummer! Just missed it! He did, however, get the chance to be a part of Scout day camp over the summer where he passed off several 'things' (I'm still a brand new Scout mom - I don't know all the words yet! LOL). So when we had out kick-off pack meeting at the end of August he was able to receive a couple of belt loops & his Bobcat patch! Woo hoo! I was asked to bring cookies to the meeting so I made 2 different kinds. My Cranberry Double Chip Cookies and these ... Peanut Butter White Chocolate Pretzel Cookies! That name sure is a mouthful. And these cookies are sooooooooooooooo fantastic!!! Check 'em out!

Here's my big kid in his shiny new uniform!

And him pinning the "thanks for helping, Mom" Bobcat pin on me.

OK! And now on to the cookies!
You'll need:

Peanut butter, butter, egg, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, baking soda, white chocolate chips & pretzels.

Cream together your butter & sugars in a mixing bowl.

In a small bowl combine 1 cup of the white chips with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Melt them in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring well each interval. Be careful to NOT burn your chips!

Add melted white chocolate/peanut butter mixture into your butter/sugar mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix well.

Now add in your flour, salt & soda. The responsible thing to do is mix them in a separate bowl first. Nobody loves biting into a clump of baking soda. But I usually just gently sprinkle the salt & soda all over the surface as the mixer is going & let them get mixed in well that way - then add the flour.

While that is combining throw your pretzels into a little baggie & break them into bits. If you've got little kids at home they would probably love to help with this part!

Stir in the remaining chips & pretzel bits.

I use my 'medium scoop' (measures 2 tablespoons) to drop them onto a cookie sheet. Then use your fingers & gently press them to about 1/2-inch thick.

Ready for the magic!!? Most people sprinkle peanut butter cookies with sugar. But I'm not most people. Grab your salt!

Drop a pinch on top of each cookie.

Pop 'em into a 350 for 10 minutes or so.

Cool them on the sheet for a few minutes then move them to a cooling rack.

I loved these cookies - as did every single person that I shared them with! I think you will, too.


Peanut Butter-White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups white chocolate chips, divided
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup broken pretzel pieces

Heat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugars. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of white chips and 2 Tablespoons peanut butter. Melt either double boiler method or 30-seconds at a time in the microwave; stirring well between. Add melted chips and remaining peanut butter to beaten butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Place flour, baking soda and salt in bowl; mix to combine. Add to wet ingredients until just combined then pour in pretzels and additional white chocolate chips. With a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a baking sheet (lined with parchment or a silpat if you prefer). With your fingers, gently press down each cookie to about 1/2 inch in thickness. Sprinkle each cookie with a touch of sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges become golden and slightly crisp. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before removing.

Source: Picky Palate

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Broccloi Salad

Seems like we've been doing a lot of pot luck type gatherings lately. I love it! I love getting together with friends & not being in charge of the whole meal. And getting to try out everybody else's recipes is always great, too! In fact, this last BBQ, where I took this super yummy broccoli salad, there was a gal who brought a 'salad' (I use that term loosly! LOL) but it was only 3 ingredients. Diced up green apples, chopped up snickers candy bars & just enough cool whip to hold it all together. My first thought was 'really? Eww.' Then I tried it. Oh my holy goodness! You just might find that one on here soon!! It was like a big bowl of caramel apples! Annnnnnnnnnnnnyway! LOL Sorry about that! Focus, Michelle. FOCUS! This is a recipe that I've been making for along, long time. And I never get tired of it. You get the fresh crunch of the broccoli offset by the sweet raisins, salty cashews, zip of the onion & tang of the cider vinegar. It's party for your mouth!! Dig in!

You're gonna need:

Broccoli (you can get an enormous bag of pre-cut stuff at Costco for $4!), cashews, raisins, shredded cheese, onion, mayo, sugar & cider vinegar.

Have you seen this thing? It's for dicing onions. I'm not generally a fan of one-purpose kitchen tools but this one is So totally worth it. My eyes are extremely sensitive to onions so being able to do the work with one big push is just brilliant! You can find these things new at the "as seen on TV" section at Target for about $20 - or I just saw one this week at the thrift store for $2... guess not everyone was feeling the love!

Look at that! Perfect.

Throw your broccoli, cheese, onion, cashews & raisins together in a big bowl & toss them around. Set it aside while you make the dressing.

The dressing's just the mayo, cider vinegar & sugar. Mix 'em well with a whisk. You don't *have to* do it with a whisk but it breaks down the chunks of mayo really well.

Now - if you're having this right away go ahead & mix it. if not, keep them apart & stick them both in the fridge until you're ready to serve it up. I'd say don't mix it much more than about 15 minutes before you want to serve.

Oh - you're ready now!? LOL OK - let's mix!

YUM! Yum, yum. Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad:

8-10 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cheese, shredded (I use cheddar jack, would be fine with straight cheddar, too)
1 cup raisins
1 cup cashews
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients.

Just before serving combine salad with dressing; stir to coat well.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crock Pot Beef Roast

All in favor of crock pots, say *I*!!! Me, too. I just love the darn thing. As a matter of fact, I recently entered a giveaway on the Fix-It and Forget-It blog and, out of almost 1,800 entries, I was the lucky winner of all 7 of the cookbooks in their collection and a beeeeeeautiful, shiney, new fancy-schmancy All-Clad 6.5 quart crock pot! It just came & I am so giddy to pull the big guy out & put it to work! It's gonna give all my other kitchen appliances a inferior complex. This meal was not made in the new cooker - but it's definitely worthy of a spot in it! I've made this exact roast probably 100 times in my life. However, this time I added one simple ingredient that has never been in it before - and it changed the flavor quite a bit! Liquid smoke. Ever cooked with it? I bought a bottle a while back & it's been patiently waiting on my shelf for it's chance to shine - and it finally came. The roast was as delicious as it usually is with an added depth of smokey flavor - very similar to the warmth you get in a bite of beef jerky. It was really yummy! And Hubby approved.

You'll need:

A chunk of beef, carrots, celery, potatoes, onion - all the good root veggies! Plus a packet of onion soup mix, liquid smoke & water.

First step, of course, would be to prep your produce. Peel the potatoes & carrots - and I suppose you'd 'peel' the onion, too! And, did you know you can also peel celery!? It's true. Run the peeler down the back edge & it'll take off that layer of strings that sometimes make it a tricky snack. I wouldn't bother doing that with cooked celery - it gets soft. But maybe something to consider next time you go for raw sticks!

Sorry - I got distracted.... now chunk up your veggies. Leave them fairly large - about 1-inch cubes on the onion, potato & celery, nice sticks on the carrots.

Load them into the crock pot first.

Now mix together the water & liquid smoke.

Place the roast on top of the veggies, sprinkle the soup mix on top of that & then pour the liquid smoke mixture over that.

Now just cover it, set it to low & find something else to do for 8 hours!

Come back & remove the roast & let it rest for maybe 5 minutes on the cutting board before you cut it. If you don't the juices will run out & you'll have less-juicy meat!

Now just serve it up with some scrumptious sides & you're done!

That's my Cranberry Pineapple Jell-o Stuff sitting beside it (yes, that is it's real name! LOL).

Can I be honest with you guys real quick? As much as I love a good roast, the veggies that result from a day of cooking alongside a roast are probably my *favorite* part of this whole thing! Sorry - it's the German in me - I LOVE potatoes!

Give it a shot - add a smidge of liquid smoke to your next roast & see what a difference it makes. I promise - you'll love it!

Crock Pot Beef Roast:

2-pound beef roast
2 ribs of celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 potatoes, peeled & cut into 1-inch cubes
2 onions - cut in half, then quartered
3 carrots, peeled & cut into strips
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 TBsp liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups water

Put your veggies into the slow cooker. Place roast on top of veggies. Sprinkle roast with dry soup mix. In a bowl, combine water & liquid smoke. Pour over the top of roast.

Cover & cook on low for 7-8 hours. Let roast rest on cutting board for about 5 minutes before slicing.