pulled pork - a slow cooker recipe

I don't know how long I've been wanting a slow cooker... but I've been lusting after one for an embarrassingly long time.  (Maybe that came with having kids?)  I finally got one (this one - it was on sale at Target at almost 50% off), and the first thing I made was pulled pork.  Immediately I screamed "why didn't I buy a slow cooker earlier?!  We could have been eating this all the time!!"  It's good... like REALLY good.  The 2 year old is a picky eater and wouldn't try it - but the 11 month old couldn't get enough and was licking pieces from his arm after they'd fallen from his pork clenched fists.  I should have taken pictures of the process and finished product, but I was too busy enjoying every moment... maybe next time.

makes 8-10 servings | 30 minutes to prep, 6-10 hours to cook 

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth, (or 2 cups of water and 2 bouillon cubes)
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (3-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed

Place the sliced onions in the bottom of the slow cooker and toss in the minced garlic.  Pour in the 2 cups of chicken broth.  (I actually cheated and tossed in 2 cups of water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes).  Combine the brown sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, 6 hours on high, or 10 hours on low.

Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.

If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker.  Use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. (Reserve leftover broth).  Taste and season with salt as needed.  Set slow cooker to warm and keep covered until ready to eat.

Serving suggestions:
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Carnitas Tacos
Pulled Pork Pizza

Freeze leftover broth in an ice cube tray.  When frozen, remove cubes from tray and toss into a Ziplock freezer bag.  Label it and use for pulled pork re-heats, soups or rice.

Freeze any un-used pulled pork in individual servings.  Using a muffin tin, fill each spot with pork, cover with saran wrap and freeze the tray for at least 2 hours.  Remove each serving of pork and throw them into a Ziplock freezer bag.  To defrost - let sit in fridge overnight.  When defrosted, toss into slow cooker with a cube or two of broth, or other sauce, as desired, (such as BBQ sauce, salsa verde, etc).

classic honey baked ham

The most simple version of ham that packs a sweet punch.  An instant classic... 

1 ham, 5 - 7 pounds1/4 cup corn syrup1 1/2 cups honey1/3 cup butter

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place ham in baking pan.
2. Heat corn syrup, honey, and butter in a pan on low heat.
3. Continually brush glaze over ham about every 10 - 15 minutes while baking for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
4. Place ham in broiler and caramelize the glaze for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

to-meater pasta

1/2 pkg fettuccini pasta (dry)
1/2 lb hot jimmy dean sausage
1 pkg cherry tomatoes or small snacking tomatoes
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg 
Olive oil
Chipotle (optional), 1/4 tsp or more
Parmesan cheese

Cook fettuccine according to directions in pkg. In a separate skillet - cook the sausage. Drain the pasta and shock with cold water. Drain the sausage on paper towels. In the pan the sausage cooked in: add the cream, garlic powder and nutmeg. Simmer until heated through. Add the tomatoes, 1 tsp of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add chipotle, if desired. Continue to simmer stirring occasionally. 
Combine pasta, cream with tomatoes and sausage. Divide among two plates and top with Parmesan cheese. 

[grilled tortilla chips]

Corn tortillas
Olive oil
Salt (mix it up - I like garlic salt)

I use a panini press, but an indoor grill or skillet would work also. 

Heat panini press. Drizzle a little olive oil on corn tortilla and sprinkle with salt. Using a basting brush or fingers, spread oil and salt on one side of tortilla. Put on panini press and grill until turning golden brown. Turn tortilla a quarter turn and continue grilling until crisp, but not burnt. Cut into chips immediately. Enjoy warm or at room temp. 

[teriyaki salmon]

Salmon filet (1/person)
Olive oil
Teriyaki sauce (we like Soy Vay Teriyaki)

Prepare broiling pan by covering with foil and brushing with olive oil. Place salmon skin side down and brush with olive oil.
Broil 4-6 inches from heat until fish flakes easily. (Depending on the thickness - I broil for 12-16 minutes). 

Remove salmon and drizzle with teriyaki sauce. 

Remove skin by sliding spatula under the salmon, or flipping over and removing skin. 

Serve immediately. 
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