It’s May! And it’s rainy. I guess it doesn’t matter if May is “in like a lion”. The motto for May in Colorado is “I do what I want”. Snow, rain, hail, 90 degrees, we saw it all last year. I’m looking forward to having a garden and being somewhat self sufficient with produce (as soon as our backyard is no longer just dirt – the joys of new construction). I started tomatoes from seeds indoors but now they are looking so wimpy – any guru gardeners out there??
On another note, this post is all about using those leftovers. YES! Have you made my Crock Pot Pulled Pork recently and got sick and tired of sandwiches by day 4? (me! me!) Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Costco recently got me again! They had Pillsbury crescent rolls on sale for < $1 a tube (steal!) but did I really need 40 crescent rolls? Sigh. Probably not. It gave me the perfect excuse to continue experimenting with this recipe until I got it just right though. Five ingredients and 20 minutes will get you a fun dinner on the table. Kids will love it because it looks cool and your husband/wife/SO will appreciate it because it looks like you put effort into dinner (shh don’t tell). Have at it!
Pulled Pork Crescent Roll Ring (with BBQ + Ranch Dipping Sauce)
Reinvent pulled pork with this fun and easy weeknight dinner. Have it on the table in < 30 minutes!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees for dark or nonstick pans).
Open crescent rolls and place in a circle with overlapping corners (should look like a sun when you are done).
Spread the cheese around the base of the crescent rolls in an even circle.
Then add the pulled pork the same way (no need to heat the pork up first).
Then sprinkle onions over the pork followed by one slice of jalapeno at the center of each triangle base.
Fold the point of each triangle over the base and attach it to the base of the triangle next to it. It will look like a pinwheel when you are done.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until crescent rolls just start to turn golden brown. I baked mine on parchment paper to save with clean up.
To make the dipping sauce: equal parts BBQ sauce mixed with equal parts ranch dressing! That's it! Cut into slices, dip, and enjoy!
Get the recipe for Crock Pot Pulled Pork here.
How do you feel about leftovers? I am an appreciate-r usually, I mean it’s one less meal I have to put thought into preparing. There are many times though when I make something and either don’t want to eat it as a leftover (some things just don’t taste as good on day 2, am I right?) or really wish I could do something different with it. Lately I’ve been experimenting with cooking a protein in the crock pot and then using it for a variety of meals throughout the week. To be honest, I make a lot of nachos because 1 – I love (insert heart emoji x 10) nachos and 2 – I usually have some conglomeration of ingredients to make them even if they become pulled pork + bbq + ranch + taco toppings nachos (actually those were REALLY good – I’ll have to share another time).
If you keep up with my blog or Instagram, I am kind of in love with my Crock Pot lately. I go in spurts, and right now I’m in a “I found this shirt at the bottom of my dresser that I forgot I bought and it’s like Christmas” kind of love with my Crock Pot. This chicken recipe isn’t for you non-spicy eaters out there. There are a couple of ways to tone it down a little bit (see notes below the recipe) but it will still have a mild-moderate kick. It is so easy though. A true set it and forget it recipe.
Let’s talk about nachos for a second: the key to truly scrumptious nachos is a sheet pan and layering. Every chip has something on it and it’s heavenly. See the recipe for details about how to assemble.
Come back soon for Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Part 2: Enchiladas. They were so good that I had them as an “appetizer” while I was making dinner the next night (aka I took a bite between every veggie I cut up, you know, as a reward).
Enjoy! I would love to hear of any other ways you used this chicken. P.S. it’s freezer friendly!
Sheet Pan Nachos with Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken
Nachos with a party on every bite, covered in a spicy chicken that will leave you wanting another scoop of sour cream - in a good way!
Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken
Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken
Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock pot.
Pour in chipotle chiles, including all juices. Make sure chicken breasts are covered with the chiles.
Pour black beans over chicken as well.
Cook on low for 6-6.5 hours or until chicken cooked through.
Remove chicken and chiles from crock pot. Shred both (make sure chiles are shredded into small pieces!) and return to crock pot. Give it a stir and cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.
Sheet Pan Nachos
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Get out a large sheet pan and place a single layer of tortilla chips on it. Sprinkle these chips with half of the cheese and a good amount of the chipotle chicken (you decide!).
Add another layer or tortilla chips on top of the first layer then repeat cheese and chipotle chicken layer.
Cook in oven for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. I would recommend keeping a close eye on them as some chips and cheeses cook at different rates.
As the nachos are cooking, heat up frozen corn in a small skillet over medium heat with a little bit of butter - add some spices if you like ( I used Tony Chacheres)
Remove from oven and sprinkle on olives, taco sauce, jalapenos, corn, lettuce, and sour cream.
To make it less spicy:
- Use plain black beans instead of black beans + jalapenos
- Remove the chipotle chile pieces from the crock pot after the chicken is cooked instead of shredding them with the chicken
- Omit jalapenos from the nacho toppings
Feel free to add or subtract any nacho toppings!
How’s everyone doing in 2018 so far? New Year’s resolutions going well? Keep at ’em, you can do it! I’ve learned that if I call them “goals” instead of “resolutions” I’m much more likely to succeed. There’s just something about being able to check off a goal as completed that makes me feel like the “throwing money in the air” meme. I’ve also started semi-bullet journaling this year – I call it semi because let’s be honest, I will never be as talented or artistic as the examples you see on Pinterest. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. Seriously, it’s impressive) So far it has been helpful, and not just for my yearly goals but for keeping track of how often you do certain things. For example, I’m trying to keep track of how often I change my contacts – if you’re an optometrist please don’t get mad – but I’m pretty sure I have been wearing this pair for > 6 months. No wonder I never run out.
On another note, how about that Superbowl? In full transparency, I didn’t watch much of it because we had some friends over who brought their 9 month old, and I spent most of my time trying to keep my kid from using his friend’s foot as a chew toy. What do I even do with a 7 month old who has 6 teeth? All of my pre-baby reading about “what to expect your first year” did not prepare me for this stage this early.
Speaking of biting and chewing, I made this amazing pulled pork for the big game, and it totally turned out better than I expected. I was literally eating it by the forkfuls cold this morning. The spicy coleslaw paired so well with it too. If you aren’t into breaking out of the traditional coleslaw mold, your good old-fashioned picnic slaw would be great also!
Just a little PSA prior to giving you the recipe: if you have time to toast your buns – do it. Buttery toasted Hawaiian rolls + saucy pulled pork + crisp, spicy slaw = Par-tay! You won’t regret it.
Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sliders with Spicy Feta Coleslaw
Tender, juicy pulled pork (that's also very versatile and freezer friendly) paired with crunchy spicy slaw will leave you wanting to make this every week
Thaw pork and trim of excess fat.
Slice onion and place in bottom of Crock Pot (I used a 6 qt).
Place roast on top of onion and pour 1/2 can pop over the meat.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until cooked through.
Remove meat from Crock Pot and shred. Remove all but 3/4-1 cup of liquid from Crock Pot and return shredded meat to it. Pour desired amount of BBQ sauce in, and mix well.
Cook on low for an additional 1-2 hours.
In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings. TASTE it at this point and adjust the seasoning for your dressing as desired!
Pour dressing over coleslaw mix and mix together. Fold in feta cheese. Let your coleslaw rest in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to combine the flavors.
To serve your sandwiches: bun + meat + coleslaw! Done!
This pulled pork is also wonderful on its own, on nachos, on pizza, etc! It is freezer friendly with appropriate storage in a container or Ziploc bag. I really wish I would've made this to throw in the freezer before my son was born!
Happy December! Welcome to the land of endless weekend crowds at any shopping venue, 24 hour Christmas music, and “25 Days of Christmas” TV countdowns that cycle through the same 4 movies. Don’t you just love to hate the commercialized Christmas season? This really is my favorite time of the year though. Nothing beats snuggling up with loved ones and watching those repeated movies or singing along to the same old tunes in the car. I’m a little bit ashamed to admit this, but I even put up two Christmas trees this year. I have a child now, so ANYTHING GOES with Christmas, right?
Christmas is also the time for holiday parties, office gatherings, and being with those you love. It’s fun to host get-togethers but it can be stressful. (It can even get stressful to be a guest at all of these events – I’ll get to that in a second). I’m sharing a recipe today that will save the hostess/host some cleanup headache, and save the guests some serious social awkwardness. Let me just say that I am 100% – okay, maybe 90% – introvert. Therefore, at social events, I’m the one who is asking myself things like – do I take a plate for appetizers and a dinner plate? How do you carry all of that and successfully eat it while more than likely standing up to chat? If I am nibbling on appetizers throughout the evening do I carry around the same plate or do I toss it and get a new one every time? See – serious social anxiety questions here. With that being said, one of my favorite Christmas-y appetizers is cream cheese topped with pepper jelly (so festive with red or green jelly or both!) and normally served with crackers. Here is a completely condensed version you can just pop in your mouth and go on about your socializing! No plates, no worrying about jelly falling off the cracker and getting on your dress, and no need to even ask those crazy questions about party etiquette.
Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly Bites (Three Ingredients!)
Quick and easy appetizer that guests will love! Turn a traditional party favorite into a grab and go bite.
Remove cream cheese from refrigerator 30 minutes before using so it softens slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 375 degrees for dark or nonstick cookie sheets).
Lay out crescent sheet and cut into 18 symmetrical squares. (I used a pizza cutter for this and it worked great)
Cut cream cheese into 18 small rectangles (should only cover about 1/5 of the dough square)
Top each dough square with 1/4 tsp of pepper jelly followed by one piece of cream cheese.
Fold the squares as follows: 1) Make a triangle by bringing one corner to the opposite. 2) Then pinch tight and fold up the two side points toward the middle of the triangle. 3) Pinch and fold up the top point. 4) Press down on all edges to make sure it is sealed.
They should look like little envelopes when done. Spray cookie sheet, place bites on, and bake for 10-13 minutes or until turning slightly golden on the edges.
Note: They might ooze a little bit if not sealed fully. That's okay, once they are removed from the pan and on a serving platter, you won't notice!
You can use any type of pepper jelly. In the store, you can usually find them right next to the normal jellies and jams. There are some great recipes out there for homemade pepper jelly too!
You can fold these different ways, but this is the way I found the easiest, quickest, and prevented the most leaking. I'd be happy to make a video of how to fold them if needed. Just leave me feedback in the comments!
Today I would like to talk about something that has been plaguing me for quite some time now. Actually it’s been about a year since it started, and I think it has gradually gotten worse. Don’t worry, it’s not life threatening nor is it generally even harmful. Let’s discuss my official diagnosis of baby brain (or pregnancy brain or mommy brain or WHATEVER you want to call this crazy phenomenon). Seriously though, the. struggle. is. real. I noticed it during my pregnancy, and I generally just blamed it on fatigue, but now looking back I know that that time that I tried to put the laundry hamper in the kitchen was definitely the result of my very confused brain. I really hate to admit that it has gotten a little worse since the little man was born. Example (I’m cringing already) – I was trying out a curry chicken dish the other day, and I marinated the chicken in some curry powder, olive oil, etc. As I went to make the dish later in the evening, I was sauteeing the veggies and as I went to sprinkle on some curry powder I realized IT WASN’T CURRY POWDER, it was CUMIN. Ugh! Not only did I put cumin on the veggies, I had also marinated the chicken in cumin. So what does any logical person do? I sprinkled some actual curry powder on top, served the dish anyway, and didn’t tell my husband 🙂
Needless to say, it tasted a little weird, and I will need to try that recipe again. Lesson of the day: read the darn label closer.
They look a little similar, right?!
On that note, I am sharing a simple three ingredient appetizer that even I can’t screw up. Let me just say that this will for sure be a crowd pleaser and people will think you put a huge amount of effort into them! I love mini sweet peppers, and I’m always looking for a fun way to use them. This recipe is great because not only does it include melted cheese (hello!) but the peppers get a lovely, flavorful char on them.
Three Ingredient Stuffed Pepper Bites
Simple and fast appetizer for a crowd!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up).
Cut sweet peppers in half. Remove seeds and veins.
Transfer half the tub of garden vegetable cream cheese to a bowl, and stir in shredded cheese.
NOTE: I made my own veggie cream cheese by adding minced carrots, green pepper, green onion, and dill to a tub of cream cheese, but store bought pre-made would work great also!
Scoop a spoonful of cream cheese mix onto each half of pepper.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then turn on the broiler to low and broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown. Remove from oven and enjoy!
You can increase or decrease the number of peppers for your desired crowd. A tub of cream cheese should do about 40-50 appetizers!