Tag Archives: crockpot

Low Carb Mississippi Pot Roast

12 Dec

I know.  Sigh…

I’ve utterly neglected my blog. Again. Have I mentioned I work full-time? It’s an excuse, really, as I’ve had plenty of time watching re-runs of ‘This is Us’ (and who doesn’t LOVE that show?!) or catching up with the Food Network on weekend mornings. I just haven’t really felt all that inspired to write, I guess.

Anyway, I must bring you up to speed with that fact that I am fully converted to the Keto religion. That’s right, we drank the keto cool-aid!

It happened like most things in my household: haphazardly and completely unprepared. Scott had been feeling sideways and came home from a doctor’s appointment suggesting we try keto. I had no idea what the keto diet was all about or what it entailed, but I’m not one for leaving my man in the lurch, so I enthusiastically told him: “Let’s do it, babe!”. And that was that. I was committed in that instant.

It wasn’t until the next day, when I read about it online, that I realized I was dead I was done eating croissants and lasagna. Belgian chocolate, my trusted old friend, it has been nice knowing you… Yelp.

Honestly, I thought that giving up bread, pasta & chocolate would be the toughest part, but that went remarkably easy once my body became sugar-free after about a week. It’s both completely foreign & satisfying to look at a chocolate croissant and have absolutely ZERO cravings or desire for it. Ditto on that plate of baked ziti or that honk of crusty French bread. No. The hardest for me, was to give up fresh fruit. And I occasionally have fond memories of pasta, but I’m not per se craving or desiring pasta anymore. Strange, huh?

We embarked on our keto journey last 22nd June 2018, and 36 pounds lighter later, I haven’t looked back since. Eating sugar-free and mostly carb-free is the new normal for me, and I haven’t felt better. Better yet, in my nearly 6 months of keto-life, I’ve discovered that almost anything can be made low carb. I love to cook and I can easily adapt trusted old favorites to fit our new lifestyle with the help of a carb tracker app I found. If we eat out, most restaurants have low carb options available and/or will generally be happy to accommodate your wishes… you just have to ask if not on the menu. Some creativity with cooking will help you along as well.

The recipe below is a new favorite I found online, and so easy, it should be arrested by the culinary police. You can make it even lower in carb by foregoing the store-bought seasoning packets and creating your own… but at 6 net carbs for a whole serving, it’s just not worth my time.

th

MISSISSIPPI POT ROAST

Not sure where this recipe originated, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it was in Mississippi… and what a fine State for discovering this gem!

– 3.5 lbs of chuck beef or stew meat

– 1 [16oz] jar of whole pepperoncini peppers

– 1 package of ranch seasoning mix (any kind, approx. 1 oz)

– 1 package of “au jus” or “brown gravy” seasoning (any kind, approx. 1 oz)

– 1 whole stick (8 Tbsp) of grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold, Vital Farms or other good quality brands…)

Brown the meat in a pan, if you desire a bit of a crust, but it’s not necessary. Place roast in your slow cooker and pour pepperoncinis (complete with liquid and all) around your meat. Sprinkle both seasoning packets over the top, and place ½ stick of butter on top of your roast.

Cook on low for 10 hours and magic happens. I promise you, you won’t regret it… JUST. DO. IT.

 

Makes 8 generous servings

Total carbs per serving: 6.1 grams

Net carbs per serving: 6.0 grams

Fat: 56.6 grams

Protein: 46 grams

Sugar: 1 gram

Macros: 73% fat, 3.1% carbs, 23.9% protein

 

Advertisements

Balsamic Chicken with Figs & Port

15 Oct

How is it, that 10 days flew by so fast? Yesterday, I dropped my mom off at LAX airport from what seemed like a 10-day visit at mach 3 speed. We spent a few days driving through the Angeles and Sequoia National Forests, and onwards through Yosemite NP and Death Valley NP. The parks were ‘officially’ closed due to our infamous Government shutdown, and we received stern warnings from the Park Rangers that stopping or getting out of our car was strictly prohibited, but – given the ridiculousness of this situation – I felt that this policy was open for creative interpretation, so we stopped and took beautiful photographs. Right? The only downfall was that all restrooms were bolted as well, and with a 2.5 hour drive through Yosemite NP, this meant that my unscrupulous desperate 70-year old mother may or may not have ‘wild peed’ behind a tree at Tuolomne Meadows… Please forgive her. If you were in Yosemite around 11:42A last 7th Oct, you needn’t wonder any longer if the national park is habitat to some sort of rare ‘sierra flamingo’. You merely caught a glimpse of my mother, clad in hot pink pants, precariously perched somewhere off-road in between the pines. I’m deeply sorry.

Besides being a colorful character, it also became apparent during this trip that my mother excels in charging stuff to her Belgian visa card, and neatly folding those receipts into her wallet with mathematical precision. “To verify the charges, when the bill comes in”. Among various kitchen gadgets and other pleasantries, she gifted me a really nice 6.5 quart Cuisinart slow cooker and a fantastic Nordic Ware waffler, which happens to be the best frigging waffle iron I have ever owned. While I’m tickled pink with the waffler, it’s the slow cooker that really fills a void in our home. When my old one died in the midst of slow-cooking a satanic 3-lbs Mojo-marinated Cuban pork shoulder, it broke my heart. But now that Cecilia-in-hot-pink-pants flew to the rescue, we have a shiny new 6.5 quart fancy Cuisinart cooker for our Fall & Winter enjoyment. Hurray!

To pay proper respect to my mom’s visa charge, I’m dedicating this recipe to my mother. It’s sweet and tangy, a wee bit odd and chockfull of character… kinda like Cecilia.

20131015-183501.jpg

BALSAMIC CHICKEN WITH FIGS & PORT
(A Hungry Belgian original)
– 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
– olive oil, to brown the chicken
– salt & pepper to taste
– 1/2 cup of good quality balsamic vinegar
– 1/2 cup of Ruby port
– 1/2 cup of chicken broth
– 2-3 Tbsp of chopped fresh thyme
– 16 dried figs, roughly chopped
– 2 shallots, finely chopped
– 4 oz of Spanish chorizo, finely chopped

Rinse chicken thighs under cold water & pat dry. Season with salt & pepper, then brown in a skillet in a bit of olive oil.

Place browned chicken thighs in the insert of your slow cooker. Add chorizo & shallots to the pan, and give them a quick flash fry for a few minutes.

Deglaze the pan you used for browning the chicken & chorizo with the balsamic vinegar & port, scraping up any browned bits. When done, add broth and pour liquid & pan drippings over the chicken in your slow cooker, including chorizo & shallots.

Add the thyme & figs, and stir to combine.

Cover the slow cooker & cook on high for 2 hours, until the sauce is thick and somewhat syrupy. Serve with roasted potatoes or over rice.

Slow Cooked Cuban Pork

16 Sep

Yesterday started off like any other in crock pot land. I placed it lovingly on top of my kitchen counter in preparation of a 10-hour interlude with a delicious Cuban roast pork, until suddenly, at the 67-min mark… it died! To add insult to injury, it didn’t even beep or give any other sign of distress, it just went into full ‘crockiac arrest’. It was but a little over a year old, so I can only surmise that a three pound pork shoulder with 30 cloves of garlic was just… too.. much! Since I can’t afford to replace it right now, its tragic death leaves a void in my family and it leaves behind a plethora of kitchen cabinet friends, such as a humongous roasting pan capable of roasting a whole farm animal and a dainty row of 8 stoneware ramekins, in crisp white, for the more elegant affair.

Since I was on a Facebook binge fest enjoying a quiet morning with a cup of coffee, I hadn’t even noticed my crock pot’s ill-fated destiny at first. It was the fact that my living room stopped smelling of citrus- & garlic-infused porky deliciousness, that prompted me to go check the kitchen to see what was going on. My first reaction was a slue of un-Christian and/or inappropriate words, but then that quick wit kicked in and I feverishly pushed all of my slow cooker’s buttons in an attempt to revive it. When my frantic appliance-CPR failed, I created a mess of epic proportion poured everything into my largest Dutch oven and finished braising the pork in the oven. As the pork was cooking, I subsequently spent hours obsessing over what went wrong with my machine, and then ate a handful of milk chocolate chips… for baking… to help me cope with the drama of it all. Shut up.

I thought I wasn’t a big fan of pork, but this recipe has me convinced that I am. My beef with pork (see what I did there?) is that it has a tendency to be too dry when roasted, or you have to marinate it overnight and even then it’s like walking a tight-rope with juiciness. I loved that the recipe below doesn’t require elaborate brining or marinating, and it still came out so incredibly tender & moist, that I almost feel like I should apologize for snarfling down a portion that could have fed a small African village for a week. I made my own ‘mojo criollo’ braising marinade, but you could totally use the bottled kind if you find it in your store… and if you want, you can absolute marinate this pork overnight, you just don’t have to.

20130916-141020.jpg

SLOW-COOKED CUBAN PORK
For the mojo criollo
– 3 cups of fresh Valencia orange juice, which is a more tart or somewhat bitter orange. If you can’t find Valencia oranges, use regular oranges and ‘up’ the lime juice to 3 limes.
– 1 cup of yellow grapefruit juice (the pink & red varieties are too sweet)
– Juice of 1 lemon
– Juice of 2 limes
– 30 cloves of garlic
– 1/4 cup of good quality dried oregano
– Pinch of cayenne pepper
– Salt & pepper, to taste
(*) instead of a combination of orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon & lime juice, you can also use 4.5 cups of bottled ‘bitter orange’ juice or ‘Naranja Agria’. There’s several brands out there, but my store clerk recommended Goya.

Combine everything together, and give it a quick blend with a handheld mixer, or blend everything together in a food processor.

For the pork
– 3lbs of pork shoulder or pork butt
– Adobo seasoning (or your favorite pork seasoning)
– 6-8 medium sized onions, sliced into rings

Slice onions into rings. Place a layer of onion on the bottom of your slow cooker or Dutch oven. Reserve the rest to place on top of the meat.

Cut the pork so that it fits into your slow cooker or pot, then stab it all over so the juices can penetrate the meat. Season it all over with the adobo or pork seasoning, and give it a quick sear so all sides are browned. Transfer browned pieces to your slow cooker or a Dutch oven.

If you’re cooking this in a slow cooker, turn your machine on ‘low’ and cook for 10 hours. If you’re cooking this in your oven, preheat your oven to 325F and cook the meat in a lidded Dutch oven for approx. 4 hours.

When the meat is fork-tender, take it out of the braising liquid and pull it just a bit into a large bite-size chunks. Reserve some of the braising liquid. You can eat it ‘as is’, but for more Cuban tastiness, add the pulled pork to a buttered baking sheet and pour about 1/2 cup of the reserved braising liquid over it. Roast in a 350F oven for about 30 min… or give it a quick sear in a cast iron skillet!

%d bloggers like this: