Sweet ‘n Spicy Pulled Pork with Sweet Potato Waffles

Next to muffins, waffles are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make.  I haven’t posted any recipes on Sunday Girl Eats yet, but I have shared one for coconut waffles on Instagram as well as a post for a honey blueberry corn bread version.  Waffles can be both savory and sweet, and therefore, can be a great option for breakfast or dinner.  I’ve been wanting to make a sweet potato version and was inspired by the Lean Green Bean’s Sweet Potato Waffle Nachos recipe.  Since I don’t have a mini waffle iron, I figured pulled pork would be a great topping for larger waffles.  I also had a busy weekend and needed something that could easily cook in the slow cooker during the day yesterday.  Luckily I didn’t overcook the pork, and the waffles were not labor intensive despite having to whip them up at 9:00 last night!  The cheddar, jalapeno and bacon are a must for the waffles, and it gave me a chance to try out Daiya’s Cheddar Style Shreds.  If you are looking for dairy-free alternatives and haven’t tried their “cheese” yet,  I highly recommend it.  It is the closest thing to regular cheddar that I’ve come across!

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 medium vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet ‘n Spicy Barbecue Sauce
1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (2-3 small to medium sweet potatoes)
1 large egg
1/4 cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (or solid if sweet potatoes are warm)
1/2 medium jalapeno, finely chopped
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Radish and avocado slices, optional

Place onion, chili powder, pork and barbecue sauce in slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until cooked through.  When ready to serve, remove pork and shred.  Return to slow cooker and toss with sauce.

For the waffles, combine mashed sweet potatoes, egg, cheese, coconut oil, jalapeno and bacon.  Mix well to combine.  Brush heated waffle iron with coconut oil and spoon potato mixture onto waffle plate(s).  Cook according to your waffle iron directions.

Serve waffles topped with pulled pork and slices of radish and avocado, if desired.

Roasted Carrot Soup w/ Apples, Turmeric & Ginger

I have been on a soup kick lately.  I wasn’t feeling well last week and was hoping soup would do the trick.  Plus most soups are easy to throw together, freeze well and are hearty enough to eat on their own.  Prior to not feeling well, I already had a batch of chicken tortilla soup cooking in the slow cooker.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the outcome.  Partly because I inadvertently bought no sodium chicken stock (I usually buy low sodium), and I neglected to add extra salt.  Once soup is finished cooking, I find it’s hard to doctor up.  I also felt something was missing from the recipe.  It needed more heat and flavor.  I have another chicken tortilla soup recipe that calls for poblanos so I think I’ll try that one out next time.

Luckily, the roasted carrot soup I made midweek did not disappoint.  It was just what I was looking for and was full of immune boosting ingredients.  The consistency was similar to a butternut squash bisque and pairs nicely with a good hearty bread.  You could also serve with grilled cheese or serve on its own.  I actually had a side of tater tots with it the one night, and it was the perfect comforting dish.  I had combined parts of two different recipes for this one, and I should note that you can leave out the coconut yogurt that gets added at the end.  I only added a little less than half a cup, but I think the soup tasted slightly better prior to adding.  And it’s definitely worth taking the time to roast the carrots first.  It brings out the sweetness of them and gives a better flavor overall.

My soup adventures continue as I have a batch of pork posole in the slow cooker as I’m typing this.  I’ve always wanted to make it, and I’m still congested so I’m hoping the heat/spice from the jalapeno and chiles help!  Please share some of your favorite soup recipes in the comments section below. 🙂

P.S. On a side note, you must check out www.sincerelyusblog.com .  A good friend from college and a few of her friends recently started this fantastic blog!  It’s full of fun, fashion and fitness.  Thanks!

1 1/2 pounds carrots, chopped into 1/2-inch rounds
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large or 2 medium tart apples (I used Pink Lady), peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups vegetable stock
A few sprigs of thyme
Olive oil
1/2 cup coconut yogurt (feel free to omit)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

img_7934Preheat oven to 425º F.  Place carrots on a rimmed baking tray and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast at 425º F for about 20-25 minutes or until they begin to caramelize.  While the carrots are roasting, heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, onions and apple.  Cook until they are soft.  Add the garlic, turmeric, cumin and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the vegetable stock, carrots and thyme.  Bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat, cover and cook until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Discard the sprigs of thyme.  Using an immersion blender (I love my Cuisinart one), blend the soup until it is smooth and creamy.  (If you use a blender or food processor instead, be careful blending the soup and allow to cool longer before blending.)  If you decide to use the coconut yogurt, add to the soup and blend again.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Return to the stove and heat to a simmer.  Serve with additional freshly ground pepper.

Chili Two Ways

This past week I made two different kinds of chili.  One was a slow cooker buffalo chicken chili and the other was my traditional go-to recipe, which I just realized I’ve never shared before.   The buffalo chicken chili was part soup part chili consistency.  You can adjust the chicken stock quantity depending on how thick you want the chili to be.  You can also adjust the hot sauce.  I added about a 1/4 cup, and it gave it just enough of a kick.  I served the chili with leftover Kale, Bacon & Jalapeno Corn Muffins and a side of tortilla chips.

img_5383For my traditional chili, I like to incorporate chorizo, brown sugar, and hot sauce along with ground turkey or ground beef.  I always use Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted tomatoes too.  Aside from Tuttorosso, they are my favorite brand of canned tomatoes.  I made this chili for dinner with friends the other night and also whipped up img_5377a batch of my  famous (I like to think so) mac ‘n cheese.  My youngest guest said “It blowed his mind!”  Keep an eye out for the recipe this week.  It requires a little extra work but is worth it!  And chili wouldn’t be complete without corn bread so made honey corn bread muffins compliments of Krusteaz Honey Corn Bread & Muffin Mix.  It’s a great mix if you don’t have time to make them from scratch.  I used a combo of butter and coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil it calls for.  My guests enjoyed it all!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili 
1 pound ground chicken
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 14.5 ounce can Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2-3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 8 ounce package light cream cheese

image1In a large pan over medium heat, cook celery and onion in a small amount of olive oil till slightly tender.  Add ground chicken and cook till it begins to brown.  Transfer to slow cooker and remaining ingredients except the cream cheese.  Stir to combine.  Place block of cream cheese on top and cover.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Stir mixture to incorporate cream cheese.  Serve with additional hot sauce and blue cheese crumbles, if desired.

*Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Gourmet

3 pounds lean ground turkey
3-4 links chorizo, casing removed
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 28 ounce cans Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 packets McCormick low sodium chili seasoning
2 packets McCormick mild chili seasoning
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese for serving

img_5375In a large pot over medium heat, brown ground turkey and chorizo, breaking up with a spoon.  Drain most of the oil/fat after cooking.  Add green pepper and onion and cook till tender.  Add remaining ingredients through hot sauce and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 1 to 2 hours.  You can also transfer to a slow cooker to finish cooking.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and toppings (sour cream, green onion, bacon, etc.) of your choice.


Eggplant, Spinach and Chicken Slow Cooker “Lasagna”

Since today marked the last Sunday in August :((((, I wanted to run my errands, go to the beach, etc., and not worry about what time I had to be home to prep for the week.  Therefore it was a perfect day to try out another slow cooker recipe.  I was going to make pulled barbecue chicken, but decided to make this “lasagna” instead!  The eggplant serves as your lasagna noodles so this is a good one if you’re trying to cut back on pasta.  I also included baby spinach for added veggies.  It was delicious and will definitely be good left over for lunch/dinner for the week.

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4′ thick slices
1 pound of thinly sliced chicken breast
Thinly sliced pepperoni
3 cups of crushed tomatoes or your favorite tomato sauce (I used organic crushed tomatoes in tomato puree)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (I used my favorite Cucina Rosa Three Spice Blend-parsley, basil & oregano)
2-3 cups baby spinach
1 egg
1 15 ounce container part-skim ricotta
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh basil

IMG_9308On a large plate, layer eggplant slices sprinkled with kosher salt between paper towels to absorb excess moisture.  In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes/tomato sauce, garlic, and Italian seasoning.  In a small bowl, mix together the egg and ricotta and season with freshly ground pepper.

Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the slow cooker and add a few spoonfuls of sauce.  Begin layering the other ingredients as follows: eggplant, ricotta, spinach, chicken, pepperoni slices, mozzarella cheese, and sauce.  Repeat and when you get to the pepperoni layer, top with sauce and remaining mozzarella.  Cooker on low for 4-5 hours.  Let cool slightly and remove any excess liquid.  Serve with fresh basil and enjoy!!!

Pulled Pork Tacos

IMG_9209A few weeks ago, I finally bought a slow cooker, and I’m so glad I did.  Since it’s been pretty hot and humid lately and my kitchen is without A/C, I needed to take a break from using the oven and stove.  I had a slow cooker years ago that someone gave to me, but I never really used it.  I ended up leaving it at my former place of employment for the guys to use for their annual Christmas party.  Lucky them!  Not knowing a lot about slow cookers/crock pots, I did a little research and ended up purchasing the Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker.  So far it’s been great!  I love that it switches to warm once the cooking time is finished.

I am also looking forward to using it in the winter so I can make more than one meal on Sunday when I’m prepping for the week.  I don’t always feel like cooking on nights I get home late so this will be a huge help.

This past Sunday, I had late afternoon plans to make dinner for friends who just had a baby and to hang out with their other two little ones. 🙂  Since I wasn’t going to be home to cook later, I decide to try my hand at shredded pork tacos.  I’ve been craving them and figured they would be easy to attempt.  I found two different recipes but ended up coming up with my own combination of ingredients.  They were delicious!  The pork was tender and flavorful and just what I was in the mood for.

2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 cup chicken stock
1 15 ounce can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo
1/2 white onion, chopped
1  tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Corn or flour tortillas
Shredded Mexican blend cheese (optional)
Fresh cilantro, limes, and/or sliced radishes for garnishes

Place the pork tenderloin in the slower cooker and add the chile powder, salt, chicken stock, tomatoes, and garlic cloves (whole).  In a food processor or mini-prep, combine 2-3 chipotle peppers, half of the adobo sauce, onion, vinegar, and brown sugar.  Pulse to combine.  Add to the pork mixture. Stir to combine and evenly coat the pork
Cook on low for 8 hours.  Using two forks, shred the pork.  Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and your choice of garnishes.  Enjoy!