Productive Weekend and Recipe Review

As mentioned in my earlier blogs, I have decided to try meal planning. I am following the advice of Kindra and her blog Meal Planning 101- http://themealplanner.blogspot.com/

After a not-so-productive Saturday (Orthodox Christmas) the first dinner meal I decided to make was the Beef & Green Beans in Peanut Sauce. (http://themealplanner.blogspot.com/2008/04/stir-fried-beef-with-green-beans-in.html) Let's just say that this probably wasn't the best recipe for me to start with. I apparently don't do well with recipes which require many ingredients. I didn't have a lot of the things this recipe called for when I made my grocery list and ended up spending more than I would have liked. That being said, I now have things that I'm sure I'll need over and over again in the next few weeks that I won't have to buy (ie: cornstarch, rice vinegar, sesame oil, peanut oil, chili flakes) I don't think my beef was sliced thinly enough and I could still taste the corn starch in the recipe once it was made-once again probably my bad! Over all the flavor was nice, savory, a little spicy and just the right amount of nutty.

Sunday was productive for us. We went to church (http://www.lifechurch.tv/) and then headed over to PetsMart for some dog food. We decided to go pick up Sasa's golden retriever Niki who still resides with his parents and we took her to our house to play with Scooby and Lilly.

Sunday was pulled pork day http://themealplanner.blogspot.com/2008/09/pulled-pork-sandwiches.html so I placed the pork shoulder-butt in the slow cooker as soon as we came back. I finally took down all of our Christmas decorations and caught up all the laundry we had accumulated over the holidays. It's crazy how much laundry two people can have!!

I checked the pork a few times and it seemed to be doing fairly well. We took the 3 best friends (insert The Hangover tune) for a walk in the park and around the neighborhood and wore them out well. By this time it was about 6 p.m. and the pork had been cooking on high for about 4.5 hours. The recipe says to cook the pork in the slow cooker on low but my slow cooker's low setting equates to barely any heat whatsoever so I had to do it on high. The meat was cooking in plenty of fluids and it didn't seem to dry it out or make it tough at all. I removed the pork and began pulling it apart as the directions said to.

One thing I definitely should have done beforehand was to trim the fat off the pork. A lot of it fell off on it's own but some of it was hard to get rid of once the meat fell apart because it had gotten so soft and mushy. I left some of the liquid in the crock pot as the recipe stated and put the meat back in and added BBQ sauce. After a quick taste I decided I needed more liquid smoke in the mix as well. This is just personal taste and I'm sure every one's will be different. I let the meat cook for about 30 minutes per directions and then I served the meat on some toasted buns.

It was pretty good. The meat was still soggy and lacking that ultra smokey taste I was hoping for. I had meat for about 8 servings. I served 4 and left the rest in the slow cooker. I turned the slow cooker down to low to keep the meat warm but avoid drying it out. I came back to turn off the slow cooker (after forgetting about it for a few hours...oops) and took another bite...it was AMAZING! I stored the rest in Tupperware and we had some for lunch today...it's the best pulled pork I've ever had and I am so excited about it!!

Moral of the story...if you like your pulled pork very smokey don't be afraid to adapt the recipe and in my experience the longer you let it stew in the BBQ sauce on the lowest setting, the better it will be!

Tonight, I am making Baja Chicken Quesadillas...I'll be sure to update!

p.s. Thanks Kindra for the great site!

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