HH6 August Challenge

This month's challenge was to create an original slow-cooker dish using 5 ingredients or less. I'm going to revisit a post from last year for this challenge: Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Having grown up in South Carolina, I was trying to recreate good ol' Southern pulled pork. It turned out to not be quite the same since, as I recall, they serve the pork dry and you put the sauce on top and this has the pork cook in the sauce, but the flavors are fairly close, and it's pretty darn good! It's become a regular in our household because it's so yummy and so easy to make.

The previous post actually has 8 ingredients instead of 5 so it's not exactly meeting the challenge. I'd hoped to be able to eliminate something, but I just can't; all of them are important! So you don't have to click through, I'll repost the recipe here for you.

1 c bottled BBQ sauce
1/2 c mustard
2 T Worchestershire sauce
1.4 c apple cider vinegar
2 T honey
1/2 c ketchup
2 T brown sugar
~3 lb pork tenderloin*

Combine ingredients up to pork in slow cooker, mix well. Put in pork, turn to coat. Cook on low ~4 hours if thawed, ~6 hours if frozen, turning occasionally to coat in sauce if you're able (not vital, but it helps keep it moist if you can). An hour before you want to eat, shred pork with forks. Mix shredded pork well so it's all covered in the sauce. Let cook another hour so the sauce really gets into the meat. Serve on burger buns and top with whatever you want- cole slaw, pickles, hot sauce, etc. 

*I used Boston Butt once because it was on crazy sale.... it worked, but it had a MUCH higher fat content and made it extremely greasy. I suppose I could've cut off come of the fat, but I must prefer using tenderloins.

7/29- Butterbeer Cupcakes

Since you know I'm a Potterhead, you KNOW I made Butterbeer cupcakes! This recipe was floating all over Facebook around the movie premiere, and I was just waiting for an excuse to make them. They're kind of involved, but they're totally worth it. Since I don't see a trip to Potterworld (or whatever it's actually called) in Orlando any time soon, I figured I'd better give these a shot since it's as close to Butterbeer as I'll get for the forseeable future. They're good cupcakes, I'm good with it. :)


The only change I had to make to the recipe was for the ganache. When I made it as the recipe directed, it was really runny. Like, so runny that I had a really hard time getting it to squirt into the cupcake without dripping all over the place in the process. I ended up just melting another half a bag of butterscotch chips into the ganache, and that solved the problem. It made it a bit thick for drizzling on top of the frosting, but it still worked out just fine. (The runny glaze is pictured here, I forgot to take one after I doctored it.) I got rave reviews from all who tried them!

7/24- Peach Cobbler

The Ultimate summer dessert. Peach Cobbler. Just saying it makes me happy! I've been searching for the perfect Cobbler recipe since at least last summer, and I have yet to find it or invent it. This attempt was based on this recipe. It was quite tasty, but it wasn't what I remember as the amazing cobbler from my youth. This has a thin batter; what I remember eating in Aiken, SC when I was growing up was much more biscuit-like. THAT's what I think of when I think "peach cobbler". The search continues..... my husband is particularly troubled at the prospect of eating multiple batches of it until I find the perfect one. ;)

(When I made this one, I made some adjustments to the original recipe. I don't remember them all off the top of my head, but I do know that I used 6 peaches instead of 3, and 1 cup of sugar instead of 1 1/2. )

7/15- Grilled Sirloin Skewers with Peaches and Peppers

This recipe is very tasty, but I never had good success with the peaches. Maybe it's just me, but they always fall off the skewer and get stuck to the grill, no matter how much Pam I spray it with! As with any dish involving skewers, it can be time-consuming to actually skewer everything, but it's always worth it in the end. These skewers are a bit heavy on the Cumin if you ask me, but I just tone it down a bit and we're good to go. It's got steak, veggies, and fruit in the same dish, and it all goes on the grill! What more could you ask for?!


7-14- Treacle Tart and Pumpkin Pasties

You guessed it, I'm a Potterhead! In preparation for the final movie, I broke out "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook" and went to town! A good college friend came to town to see the movie with my husband and me (at midnight!!!!) so I figured I at least owed her some Potter treats!

There are plenty of Tart recipes out there, and the one in the cookbook is insanely long to type out, so if you want to make one, I'll let you hunt one up yourself. I had to make a few substitutions from the recipe in the book, so it didn't quite come out fantastic. It tasted alright warm, and was moist enough if you ate it with vanilla ice cream, but once it cooled down, it somewhat resembled a very dry brick. I may try it again with a different recipe and see if I like it better.

The Pasties turned out really good, though! Actually, I had to make Sweet Potato Pasties since none of the stores in town saw fit to stock pumpkin for the movie premiere. (The nerve!) These were pretty easy to make, thanks to a food processor, and I absolutely loved them! The plan was to eat them during the movie, but they sadly got smashed to bits in my purse, so we waited until the next day to try them. I also completely failed at remembering to take pictures of them, so I have none. I'll come back and add one if I make them again, which I probably will once Fall arrives and stores actually carry pumpkin! (again, the nerve!) The recipe is much shorter than the Tart one, so I'll type it out for you.....

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 T granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 T cold butter, cut into chunks
3 T vegetalbe shortening, chilled and cut into chunks
4-6 T ice water

1 c canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Pulse about 15 times until the mixture resembles coarse yellow meal, with no white powdery bits remaining.
2. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 4 T of cold water over the mixture. Toss the mixture together with a spatula until it starts clumping together. If it's too dry, add more water 1 T at a time (better too wet than too dry). Gather the dough into a ball and pat it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.
3. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Preheat the oven to 400*. Roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Ise a saucer to cut out 6-inch circles. **
4. Put 2 to 3 T of filling in the center of each circle of dough. Moisten the edges with water, fold the dough over the filling, and crimp with a fork to seal the edges. Cut slits to make vents. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes or until browned.

**- I found 6 inch disks to be much too big, the Pasties were HUGE! Think Starbucks-pastry huge. For me, 3 inches, or thereabouts, was perfect. It makes much more than 6 Pasties that way too!

7/7- Pasta-Chicken Salad on Watermelon Wedges

I can't believe I haven't written about this one yet! This one is a big favorite in our household, particularly for my husband who would willingly eat an entire watermelon by himself (and still have room for vanilla ice cream afterwards). It sounds like an unusual combination, maybe not appetizing at all, but trust me- give it a chance. It's light, juicy, has a bit of a crunch to it, and the watermelon adds a wonderful sweetness. Really, it's a perfect summer meal, you've got to try it!

I found it in a little cookbook/magazine I grabbed at the checkout years ago, Betty Crocker's "Heart Healthy Meals." There are quite a few in there that have become regulars in our family.

1 1/2 c uncooked mini penne pasta (I can never find mini anymore and just use regular penne)
2 c cut up cooked chicken breast
1 c red grapes, cut in half
8 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
3/4 c reduced calorie mayonnaise or salad dressing
3 T fat free milk
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
10 watermelon wedges, 1 inch thick
1/4 c toasted sliced almonds

1. Cook and drain pasta, rinse with cold water and drain.
2. In large bowl, mix pasta, chicken, grapes, and onions. In small bowl, mix mayo, milk, mustard, and salt; stir into pasta mixture.
3. To serve, place 3 watermelon wedges on each of 6 dinner plates, Divide salad evenly among watermelon wedges. Sprinkle with almonds.

7/4- 4th of July Cupcakes

Well, I no longer remember what I made for dinner that night, but I know I made cupcakes! What's more American than cupcakes, anyway? I had fresh blueberries that the kids and I picked with Grandma, so I thought I'd use them in cupcakes for dessert. I made Martha Stewart's Blueberries and Cream Cupcakes. They're a bit sweeter than muffins, so they count as cupcakes. :) They're really good!

The debate of what kind of frosting I should use came next. I was initially thinking of a lemon frosting, but I only had lemon extract and wasn't sure how that would react with buttercream. It probably would've been fine, (can anyone tell me?) but I didn't want to waste the time if it flopped... not to mention wasting the eggs and butter! So I opted for coconut buttercream instead. Once again, I turn to Martha for my favorite basic frosting, her Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It's an easy, and incredibly versatile frosting that you can add so many different flavors to. This time I just added a splash of coconut extract, and it was perfect! (With coconut, a little goes a long way, so I probably only used about a half a teaspoon.)

Coconut and Blueberry aren't an incredibly common combination, but I thought they worked pretty well together. And of course I topped them with a bit of American flair. :)

7/2- White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding

I posted briefly about this last summer in my catch-up post (here). I took the kids raspberry picking with my mom last summer, and decided to make this as a way of using up some of the raspberries. We picked them again this summer, so I of course thought of making it again. When I made it last summer, it was really good, but I remembered thinking it needed a bit of a sauce or something to moisten it up a bit, so I decided to try to come up with one this time. I took a bag of white chocolate chips and melted them in a double boiler. As the water heated up, I took about a cup of raspberries, maybe 1.5 cups, and mashed them in a sieve so as to catch all the juice but not have any seeds in it. Once the chocolate was melted, I mixed in the raspberry juice, and viola! A super easy, VERY yummy, raspberry-y white chocolate sauce! (Also good on vanilla ice cream, even if it is a little gloppy once it gets cold.)
The bread pudding recipe I used this time was from Maureen Whittmann's blog: http://maureenwittmann.blogspot.com/2006/06/white-chocolate-raspberry-bread.html