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Recipe: Crave-worthy Crockpot Pulled Pork

It’s doesn’t have to be Super Bowl Sunday to pig out on Crave-Worthy Crockpot Pulled Pork. With this delicious dish, it’s easy to go hog-wild without breaking the piggy bank, especially when pork loin is found on sale at the market. And it’s simple to prepare, using the slow cooker (instead of firing up the barbecue) or the oven. That means you can piggy-back some other projects at the same time as the meal is cooking.

(Sorry for going whole-hog on the puns. Could not resist.)

I made this recently for a medium crowd, and sent some home for leftover re-heats. Everyone was pleased to take extras along. It’s tender and juicy and savory – all the makings of a people-pleasing party dish.

How do you make Crave-Worthy Crockpot Pulled Pork?

First, gather the ingredients:

  • 4-5-pound boneless pork loin (The leaner, the better.)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • 1 bottle of barbecue sauce (for topping)
  • Hamburger rolls or other soft buns

Follow these instructions to make Crave-Worthy Crockpot Pulled Pork:

Plug in the crockpot (or slow cooker), and set it for medium heat.

Trim excess fat from the pork loin, as needed. Place it in the now-warming crock pot.

In a small bowl or a (1- or 2-cup) measuring cup, combine the spices.  Sprinkle these over the pork loin. Pour the apple juice over the top.

Cover, and cook for 8 hours (Crockpot times may vary.) until the meat shreds apart easily.

Lift the meat out of the crockpot, and place it in a large glass baking dish. Shred it with two forks.

Strain the remaining juices (to remove loose pieces of fat), and pour the liquid over the shredded pork meat.

Serve with soft buns, topped with barbecue sauce.

Adapted by this user
from public domain image

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Recipe: Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup is scrumptious

Butternut squash soup is not just for autumn anymore. This hearty favorite is delicious anytime.

Confession time: I like this butternut squash soup recipe better than Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup (which I love), and it definitely has fewer calories and less fat because I make it with lighter ingredients. Plus, I don’t have to worry about having an MSG headache, and it’s available all year long, if I whip it up myself.

I’ve taken my own Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup to potlucks, and I’ve poured it into large Mason Jars to pass along to shut-ins, new moms, and plenty of other folks. It reheats well and makes a super comfort food for wintry evenings or anytime.

When I have a day filled with at-home projects, need several hours at my desk in my home office, or simply want to binge-watch a favorite series, I prepare my ingredients and load up the crockpot to make this family favorite.

Several friends have asked me for the recipe for my Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup. So here it is.

First, gather the ingredients for Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup:

  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 large apple (I prefer Granny Smith for the tartness.)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion (or dried onion flakes, in a pinch)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (I use sea salt.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2  cups of low-salt chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk (or half-and-half for an even creamier soup)

Follow these instructions to make Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup:

Spray the inside of a crockpot (or slow cooker) with aerosol cooking oil. (I use olive oil spray.) Plug it in, and set it for high heat.

Peel the butternut squash. Cut it into 1”-2” cubes. Peel and cube the apple as well. Toss the cubed squash and apple into the crockpot, along with the onion, salt, red pepper, and broth.

Cook these ingredients together for 5 hours, until everything is very soft and mushy. (Crockpot cooking times may vary).

Unplug the crockpot, and let it cool completely.

Scoop about 1/3 of the cooled Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup mixture into a blender or food processor. (I use the Magic Bullet.) Puree this portion, then pour it into a large glass measuring cup (at least 8-cup size) or glass bowl with lid. Repeat with remaining thirds until all of the soup has been pureed.

Add the skim milk (or cream), and stir well. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Reheat the soup in a large saucepan or soup kettle, or warm it in the microwave.

NOTE: Soups containing dairy products do not freeze and thaw well. If you plan to freeze this soup for a later date, it’s best to leave out the cream until after you thaw it for actual use.

Adapted by this user
from public domain image

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Recipe: Orange clementine bread is tangy and terrific

Tiny orange Clementines are tasty and sweet. But what can you do with them, after they become a little too soft?

First, what is a Clementine?

Tiny citrus cuties, Clementines are actually hybrids of mandarin oranges and sweet oranges. Easy to peel, they are popular lunchbox treats and on-the-go snacks. Most often, the family can go through an entire bag of Clementines pretty quickly.  But occasionally, a few may remain long enough to become a bit mushy and misshapen.

What happens then?

I can’t stand throwing out my Clementines. So I make this delicious quick bread recipe, which includes fresh-squeezed Clementine juice and Clementine orange zest.

Orange clementine bread is a family favorite. I’ve also taken it to book groups, potlucks, and picnics.

I’ve had a few requests for my Orange Clementine Bread recipe. So here it is.

First, preheat the oven to 350 (F) degrees. Grease and flour a loaf-sized baking pan. (Reduce oven to 325 (F) degrees, if using a glass loaf pan.)

Next, gather the ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour (I like to use 1 1/2 cups of white flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I pick sea salt.)
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1Tablespoon of Clementine orange zest
  • 1/2 cup of Clementine orange juice (Hand-squeezing, this takes 10-12 Clementines.)
In a large measuring cup (or medium bowl), combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar together in a countertop stand mixer (or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer). Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Fold in Clementine orange zest and Clementine orange juice. Blend well.

Pour the entire mixture into the loaf pan.

Bake 50-55 minutes (Baking times may vary.). Let Orange Clementine Bread cool in the loaf pan before turning it out to a platter or bread board for cutting and serving.

Top with a simple glaze, once completely cooled, if desired.

NOTE:  In a pinch, regular orange juice and pre-packaged orange zest may be substituted for the fresh-squeezed Clementine juice and zest.

Adapted by this user
from public domain images

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