Thursday, October 29, 2009

Slow Cooked Asian-Flavored Pork

I was all set to write about tonight's dinner, Pasta with Roasted Peppers and Sausage, when I discovered I'd already blogged about it in April. It was really good, so I do recommend that recipe.

Moving along, this is one of the crockpot recipes I tested out over the past weekend. Having never made or eaten boneless country-style ribs before, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not a big fan of baby back ribs; too fatty for me. But the country-style ribs reminded me of a lean pork shoulder after they slow cooked in an Asian-inspired sauce. I think this would work equally well with pork loin or shoulder, but I'm sticking with the boneless country-style ribs.

Slow Cooked Asian-Flavored Pork
Serves 4

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 pounds boneless country style spare ribs -- cut into 3-4 rib sections
sesame seeds and scallions -- garnish

In large ziplock bag combine all ingredients except ribs and garnish. Place cut up ribs in bag, seal, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 - 2 hours.

Pour the bagged mixture into a crockpot, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until meat is tender and falling apart and registers 160 on meat thermometer. Place meat on plate/platter and garnish if desired.

Adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Family Favorites by Beth Hensperger.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thai-Style Chicken Thighs

My clients have been asking for crockpot meals, and after exhasting my small repertoire of slow-cooked favorites, it was time to test various other recipes and ideas. It's hard work, but someone's got to do it, right? Off to the grocery store I went for various cuts of meat and poultry that do well in the crockpot. That means cuts of meat with a bit of fat on them (no chicken breasts or pork tenderloin) as well as those cuts that get tender with a long, slow, moist cooking method.

Tonight's dinner featured boneless skinless chicken thighs, a close relative to boneless chicken breast except with a bit more depth of flavor, and not as dry (thanks to the fat) with a slightly meatier texture. I had my eye on this crazy-sounding combination, which I saw in Beth Hensperger's Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Family Favorites. I added some green beans to Beth's recipe, cooked some jasmine rice at the last minute, and we had a really delicious, fuss-free dinner that everyone enjoyed.

Thai-Style Chicken Thighs
Serves 4 - 6
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs -- fat removed
1 cup salsa -- I used Pace Mild Picante Sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ginger -- I used minced jarred ginger
3/4 pound fresh green beans -- optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts -- garnish, optional
long grain jasmine rice

Coat inside of crockpot with nonstick spray and arrange chicken in crock. Stir together salsa, peanut butter, soy sauce and ginger. Pour over chicken. Top with green beans, if using. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 hours, until chicken is tender and cooked through.

Serve chicken with sauce over rice. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and peanuts, if using.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waffles for Dinner

DH turned the heat on in the house about 3 weeks ago, which was 20 days too early for me, but today, I have to admit, it's cold. In fact, I've stopped wearing shorts to cookdates, which means the temperature is hovering around freezing.

Between the weather, the darkness and the kids' exhaustion, I thought waffles for dinner would be a good idea. I found an interesting Multi-Grain Waffle recipe in a new cookbook, and it's delicious! The cinnamon and vanilla add a great flavor, and the combination of grains make the waffles substantial without being heavy (warning: do not put too much batter on the waffle iron. Otherwise, you will get a very heavy waffle. Trust me.)

Serve with fruit salad and veggie sausage (if you're a health nut like me) or bacon and sausage, if you crave that extra fat to insulate you from the cold. And don't forget the maple syrup!

Multi-Grain Waffles
Serves 4

2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pure maple syrup for topping

Mix buttermilk and oats in a bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

After 15 minutes, stir eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla into the oat mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until moistened.

Coat a waffle iron with nonstick spray and preheat. Spoon in just enough batter to cover 3/4 of the surface. Cook until waffles are crisp and golden brown. Repeat until all batter is used up.

Recipe from The Essential Eating Well Cookbook.