Today I brought lunch to a bunch of hungry men, including two of my sons, who took a Saturday to pull their considerable talents and muscle together to build a very special tree house for a sweet little 5 year old girl, recovering from major surgery.
One of the easiest, most economical, filling, and yummy things to Make & Take to feed a crowd is bar-b-que pulled pork sandwiches! The sauce is so good, you really don’t need any condiments, but a spoonful of my Easy, Spicy Crunchy Asian Slaw on top adds extra deliciousness!
I like to use an even mixture of pork loin (which is the lean white meat cut of pork) and pork butt (which is darker, a little fattier and more tender). This recipe will easily feed 10 people, but I doubled the recipe today, and was able to cook the whole thing in my extra big crockpot — which yielded enough for 20. Just turn on your crock pot the night before and it will be ready to pull it apart in the morning; or start it in the morning and have dinner ready when you come home.
Easy Bar-B-Que Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot
2 – 3 lbs. pork loin
2 -3 lbs pork butt (with or without bone)
1 full head of fresh garlic, peeled, and rough chopped
2 t. Tony’s Chachere’s Seasoning (or your favorite Cajun Seasoning with Salt)
2 t. Grill Seasoning (or 1 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t pepper)
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cups your favorite bottled B-B-Q Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)
1/2 cup ready-made Italian Dressing, any kind
1 t. Tabasco sauce
1 envelope dry Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 cup water
2 T. brown sugar (if you prefer your sauce a little sweet)
Cut the pieces of pork into about 6 big pieces. Whisk the rest of the ingredients for the sauce into a big bowl. Pour half the sauce into the crock pot, add the cut pieces of pork arranging evenly, pour the rest of the sauce on top of the meat. Cook on high for 5 to 7 hours or until tender enough that when you pull at the meat with two forks it comes apart easily. When pork is tender, lift out the meat with tongs or two big spoons, and place in a big rectangle pan. Using two forks tear the meat into shreds. Pour the sauce from the crock pot over the meat and mix evening so that the light and dark meats are evenly combined. Taste and check seasonings, adjust to your taste. At this point you can serve it right away, or cover and refrigerate, then reheat in the oven (covered with foil) at 350 for about 20 minutes when you are ready to serve. Serve on your favorite buns or potato rolls with slaw, extra bottled BBQ sauce, sliced pickles and jalapenos.
We have been cleaning, decluttering and staging our house to sell. That sentence sounds so simple, but this has been the hardest physical work I’ve done in my life. I actually lost weight, even though –during the dawn to dark labor — I went on a two week drive-through-burger diet. And this, after two months of being mostly a healthy vegetarian and loving it. What can I say? Even for an avid foodie, there are times that McDonalds Happens.
Now we are “showing our house” — and this means that three adults and one six-year-old grandson have to keep our home mostly perfect, at all times, prepared for the random call from a realtor who wants to bring a client by to see it. We’ve been averaging about two showings a day, which has really cut into my napping and cooking time. Not to mention the toll it has taken on what’s left of my sanity.
Finally, this week, I had a few precious “spare” minutes and –determined not to eat another meal in a box, sack, or bucket –I decided to cook my simple recipe for quick bar-b-que chicken thighs in a skillet. My grandson George’s diet that day consisted of way too much sugar and carbs. He’d been hyper and cranky when I finally settled him down to eat a plate of this succulent, sweet and savory chicken dish. He ate as if in a happy trance, and then asked, “Nonny, can I please have some more of that Calm Down Chicken?”
If your life is a busy as mine right now, you don’t have time for lots of ingredients or a great big mess or something that’s going to take more than 10 minutes to throw together for supper. I bequeath to you this recipe for “Calm Me Down” BBQ Chicken Thighs.
P.S. An additional recipe comment from George: “Nonny, tell the people that this chicken also gives you en-gerny and makes yous muscles strong.” So there ya go.
Quick n’ Easy Skillet BBQ Chicken Thighs (or “Calm Down” Chicken)
Serves 2-3 people
6 boneless chicken thighs
Grill or Steak seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
1/3 to ½ c. BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
Dash hot sauce if you like your Bar-b-que Spicy
1 – 2 T. olive oil
Put oil in a skillet (preferably an iron skillet), so that it covers the bottom of your pain in a thin layer. Turn the stove up to high heat. Rinse chicken thighs with water and then pat with paper towel until fairly dry. Flatten out the thighs a bit with your hands, and then sprinkle both sides with grill or steak seasoning or seasoned salt. Place in super hot skillet, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook until one side is golden brown and then flip and cook the other side until it is the same. Pour BBQ Sauce over the top of the thighs (adding a few shakes of hot sauce if you prefer spice), cover the skillet and then turn down the heat to medium and cook about another minute (to make they are thoroughly cooked). Finally remove the lid, crank heat up to medium high and cook the thighs until the sauce that has dripped to the bottom of the pan begans to thicken and caramelize. Turn chicken again, coating all sides with thickened sauce. Serve. (It is delicious and pretty to serve this on one big plate, with slices of fresh pineapple tucked around and if you like them, a sprinkle of green onions or chives.)
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Quick Skillet BBQ Chicken Thighs
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
I had a bad night last night. One dose of terribly sad news mixed with a dose of mean-spirited, unsolicited criticism from some jerk on Facebook left me living out the whole “We Cry” part of our blog title.
After a restless, tear-filled night, I decided to spend the day doing things that are joyful and comforting.
I swung Jackson on the swing at the park, tickling his chunky little thighs as he swung toward me and making swishing noises as he swung away. He smiled. I smiled. He giggled. I giggled.
Later, we left the hose in his water table running with total disregard for being “green” (sorry planet), creating a waterfall with the overflow. Jackson curiously poked his hand through the cascading water, then got down into a crouching position with his tush in the air and his face almost to the ground and watched the water come down, the droplets splashing against the concrete patio.
We snuggled and read silly books about farm animals. Snorting like a pig gets big laughs around here these days.
We shared a snack from last night’s southern comfort food leftovers, topping collard green potato cakes with a little bit of avocado and a dash of hot sauce (for me). Collard greens, potatoes, and hot sauce…now that’s southern comfort and southern delish!
Today was a much better day, a “We Laugh” kind of day.
Collard Green Potato Cakes
Makes 12 potato cakes
4 potatoes, diced into large chunks
1 T. vegan butter (i.e. Earth Balance)
1/4 white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of collard greens (or kale), chopped into small pieces
2 t. Vegan Wing Sauce* or Hot Sauce (vinegar would work too, if you don’t like spicy food)
Salt & Pepper
Heat oven to 400.
Put the chopped potatoes in a large sauce pan, cover with water, cover and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to the pan. Add vegan butter and mash the potatoes, leaving them just a little bit chunky.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium, add onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the collard greens. (You may have to add a little at a time. The greens will shrink in size after a few minutes, making room in the pan to add more.) Drizzle on the wing or hot sauce. Add a little more olive oil, salt & pepper. Cook until the greens are wilted. Pour onion and greens mixture into the potatoes and combine well.
Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Form potato cakes (about the size of a small burger) with your hands and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with avocado if you’d like and a splash of hot sauce. Alternatively, you can pan fry them in a little bit of oil on medium heat. I tried it both ways and both were great, but baking is healthier and easier in my opinion.
*Frank’s Wing Sauce is vegan, despite the “natural butter flavoring” listed in the ingredients. If you are vegan, make sure to read the ingredients on wing sauce, some do contain dairy.