Thursday, April 21, 2011

Woo-hoo! Wild & Crazy Spring Break '11

The girls and I were fortunate to spend Spring Break with my sister in law and her family at the beach.  There are a couple of places that we always have to hit here in Myrtle - the buffet, the pizza arcade, the burger joint right on the beach.  We try to cook dinner at the house a couple of times since it's better for the waist line and the wallet.  But I don't like to put too much effort into it, because who wants to spend their time in the kitchen on vacation?

Our solution is the slow cooker.  Luckily, the condo here has one.  But I think it might be worthwhile to stick one in the car if you don't think your vacation home has one.  It's a little effort to pack, but gives you more time at the beach.  And isn't that why you're there in the first place?

So here's what we made this week:

Crock Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken

4-5 Chicken breasts (fresh or frozen are fine)
12 oz BBQ sauce
1/2 c. Italian dressing
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
2-3 Tbsp dried minced onions
dash of Liquid Smoke--optional

Spray Crock Pot with Pam. Put chicken in and top with other ingredients. Cook 3-4 hours on high (6-8 on low). Shred chicken and return to pot. Sauce appears watery until you put the shredded chicken back in and then it thickens up.

My friend Meg sent this to me and I make it regularly.  My husband is a BBQ snob and prefers to spend all weekend smoking a pig out in the driveway.  But popping this in at 9 am for a quick meal at 5 has a LOT of value.  And it's really tasty, too.  We're cooking up some mac & cheese and slicing up a cantaloupe to go with it.  I use this for "helping hands" meals, too.

1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle chili pepper powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 boneless pork loin roast (2 1/2 lb), trimmed of fat
1 poblano chile, chopped
1 jar (16 oz) Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky green chile salsa (I use 2 cans of salsa verde, which is cheaper)
Spray 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix chili pepper powder, oil and salt. Rub mixture over pork; place in cooker. Sprinkle with poblano chile. Pour salsa over top.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
Remove pork from cooker; place on cutting board. Shred pork with 2 forks; return to cooker and mix well.  (I shred it directly in the cooker).
Use regular chili powder in place of chipotle chili pepper powder for less heat.
The poblano chile is triangle- or heart-shaped, about 2 1/2 to 3 inches across at its widest part and 4 to 5 inches long. It's dark green in color—sometimes almost black—and ranges from mild to hot in flavor.
We LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe.  Serve it with chips and salsa.
I omitted a few ingredients for ease of packing.  For the chicken, I skipped the Worcestershire sauce because it wasn't easy to pack and I didn't need a lot.  For the tacos, I didn't have a pepper so I skipped that.  For both recipes, I brought a bottle of dressing, BBQ sauce, 2 cans of salsa verde, brown sugar (in a plastic bag) and the spices with me.  

Cook it up in a plastic slow cooker liner and the clean up is a non-factor, giving you plenty of time to hit the beach after dinner!

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