Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tenderloin

Fall is almost here… Starbucks is already is serving up pumpkin spice lattes and football seasons have officially started, that means the weather should start to cool off, even here in the South, and the leaves should start to change.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork TenderloinI love making pulled pork, but everyone likes their BBQ sauce a little different, usually depending where you live. THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE. Some like it sweet and smoky, some like it vinegar-based, and others (like my kids) just want to top every kind of meat with ketchup. Yes, that actually happens in my house, but at least they are eating protein, right?!

So this recipe is a great SIMPLE way to make pulled pork in the crock pot and then you can decorate it however the hell you want! It’s a great meal for football parties, tailgates, birthday parties, and all other fall festivities. Throw it in before you go pick that perfectly round pumpkin. Decorate your table with pretty leaves and then serve a bowl of this deliciousness for the table of fall fans to devour. I don’t care how you eat it, it’s easy to make and easy to eat. Isn’t that the point?!

You won’t believe that this is only three ingredients. Here’s the catch– not all crockpots cook at the same temperature, so watch the meat the first time you make this and don’t let it dry out. Your meat will release enough juices to let it cook low and slow without any excess. But if your cooker is too hot, it will scorch the meat and dry it out. Don’t do that. ONLY COOK THIS RECIPE ON LOW. LOW, I SAY!

Happy Fall. Yay Football! Pass that caffeinated cup of fake gourd goodness.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4-6

1.5 lb pork tenderloin (a little more or less is ok too)

1 large gala apple, sliced into 1/3 inch strips, skins left on

1/2 sweet onion, sliced the same thickness as the apples

After cooking for 6 hours on LOW, use two forks to easily shred the meat.

After cooking for 6 hours on LOW, use two forks to easily shred the meat.

Put all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours. ONLY ON LOW. Then, using two forks, shred the meat in the crockpot and stir the apples and onions throughout. Top with your favorite BBQ sauce and serve on squishy white bread buns accompanied by bread and butter pickles or coleslaw.


Crock Pot Strawberry Jam

I cleaned out my refrigerator yesterday because I was certain there were a couple meals left to cook before I needed to go grocery shopping again. I realized that I had two lbs of strawberries that were ripe and ready… and starting to get a little soft.

I’ve been dabbling with the idea of learning to do canning, but either didn’t have the supplies on hand or just wasn’t ready to make the mess, so I haven’t done jam yet.

I figured out, it’s much easier just to cook it down into jam in the crock pot and then eat it up instead of going through the hassle of canning! My recipe was quick, easy and I bet you even have all the ingredients on hand.

Apples contain a natural pectin which works to thicken up the jam a bit, but this recipe will not give you a solid product. It’s a great consistency to spread on toast, dribble on waffles or use to top ice cream or angel food cake.

2 lbs strawberries, cut the tops off first
3 cups white sugar
1 medium apple, cored, peeled and sliced
2 lemons, just the juice

Put all ingredients in the crock pot on high for three hours. Turn off; use a hand blender to puree the jam. Carefully, put into glass mason jars or plastic containers and let cool for one hour. Then, put lids on and store in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Summer Vegetable Puree

As much as winter is the time for soups and stews, I really like summer soups too. This one isn’t too hearty since it’s a puree and I think it tastes really light when it is served warm, not hot.  I’ve had to become really creative with vegetables this summer— with so much amazing local produce, I tend to over buy!

I like to base this recipe on carrots, because the orange color of the puree is so inviting, but feel free to experiment with whatever is in your basket. Just remember to include a starch (potato, sweet potato, kohlrabi, etc.) to help thicken the dish and something sweet (apple, beet, melon, peach) to make this unique for summer. Herbs are totally up to your discretion, too. I like fresh basil, but if you have rosemary or thyme or some oregano, those would be great as well.

Whatever you do, you are making a crock pot of wonderful by using fresh vegetables and your imagination. This should be served in a bowl, but it’s perfect when it’s thicker than soup, but thinner than mashed potatoes.  PS– it’s also a GREAT puree for baby food, but you can make it for your whole family to eat.  Enjoy!

4 c. fresh carrots

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 yellow squash, cut into chunks

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

2 medium potatoes, cut into chunks

1 medium apple, cut off of core

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

6-8 leaves fresh basil

2-3 c. vegetable broth

Put all vegetables and herbs into the crock pot, pour broth on top. Cook on high for 6 hours.  Using immulsion blender, puree in pot. (If you don’t have one, then let dish cool and puree in batches in a standard blender.) Serve with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt on top and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Crock Pot Fruity Oatmeal

Good morning, friends! While this is technically breakfast and not dinner, I figured a nice, warm meal would be a good way to start Monday morning.  After reading pages of posts online, I decided that the only way to figure this recipe out would just be to avoid all the major complaints that people had about the other recipes. So, to save you the time of researching everyone else’s negativity, here is the insight and recipe that I have to share with you.

1. Cook time: I suggest 8 hours on the “keep warm” setting. Everyone else said to cook the oatmeal for 4 hours on low, but who wants to get up in the middle of the night to start breakfast?! Cooking on “keep warm” means you can wake up looking rested, too.

2. Burnt edges: The downside of crockpot cooking is the clean up. I’ve been known to let a burnt pot sit for a couple days. My mother-in-law and I used to joke that we were just letting the dirty ones soak in hopes that someone else would scrub them clean. You can buy crockpot liners which makes clean up super easy and keeps complaining and procrastination to a minimum.

3.  Oats: There areusually three types of oats at the grocery store– quick oats, regular oats and steel-cut oats. If you vary the recipe, you can use any of these, but since I have quick oats in the pantry at all times, that is what I use. Steel cut oats are probably best for crockpotting because of their tough exterior. And yes, I might have just made up that word– crockpotting does look pretty funny, but it’s grammatically correct if “to crockpot” was an actual verb.

2 c. quick oats

2 cups water

1 cup milk

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. applesauce

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 t. vanilla

1/4 c. brown sugar

Add everything to the pot and give it a stir. Set crockpot to “keep warm” setting for 8 hours or to low for 4 hours. Cook overnight for breakfast in the morning, then reheat leftovers with a little bit of water and half and half for breakfast the following day.