The Meal of the New Year: Pulled Pork

Hello all and happy holiday season to all. Hope your holiday preparation is off to a smooth start and presents are being purchased. The holiday season is crazy time for all and I am not sure how many of you read my posts until after break so I thought that I would leave you with a New Year’s meal.

Traditionally my family eats pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. I was interested in this roots of this tradition and I found some history here. This website addressed not only the pork and sauerkraut but many other meals. I was always told that it was it was good luck to eat pork because pigs eat walking forward. This represents that during the new year we need to move forward. Also, it is bad luck to eat chicken on New Year’s day because they eat walking backwards. Opposite of pork, the chicken’s eating style represents people who focus on the past and don’t embrace the new year.

So enough about that background, here is a recipe to make your own similar New Year’s day meal. We’ll start with the pork. Instead of pork chops we are going to make a simple pulled pork using a slow cooker (crock pot).

Crock pot Pulled Pork:

  1. First thing is to buy several pounds of pork shoulder (pork butt). Pork is a great meat because it reheats extremely well after freezing and it also crazy CHEAP.
  2. Add 2 onions (roughly chopped), the pork, a spoonful of salt, 4 cloves of garlic, and a can of chicken broth.
  3. Cook all of these ingredients on LOW for 8-10 hours in the slow cooker.
  4. You can also add seasoning salt or brown sugar to add a different flair to your pulled pork.
  5. Transfer the pork to a cutting surface. Instead of cutting the pork I prefer to shred it with two forks. Your final product should look similar to the picture below.

Pulled pork

 

 

 

 

 

 

This pork goes great with either a syrupy, sugar based barbecue sauce or a vinegar based Carolina sauce.

If you want to stay true to the New Year’s tradition you can have the side dish of sauerkraut. If you don’t enjoy this unique flavor you can substitute it with some mashed potatoes. I love homemade mashed potatoes and they are great because potatoes are VERY cheap. Hope you enjoy this meal to kick off your new year. Happy holidays to all and to all a good night!

Tis’ the Season of Spending: Meals to help keep your wallet full

First off, I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving with family and friends. It is one of my favorite holidays because of the food and the focus on family time. But now that it is over, the holiday season is upon us. I feel like October just ended but here we are at December. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate during this time (Christmas for me) you WILL be spending money on gifts. Period. It is truly inevitable but buying gifts for others is also very rewarding when you see the look on their faces. Due to the influx of spending during this time, I thought I would focus on a food that can provide more than one meal. This food is a rotisserie chicken. Its precooked, very cheap, and a great source of lean protein. In the video below I provide three separate ways to use every last part of this bird. I hope you enjoy my gift to you and have a merry start to the Christmas season!

Guest in the Kitch’n

Here at the Brok’n Kitch’n we are always looking for new ways to reach out to our readers. In this post I interviewed a person who has much experience with living and cooking for themselves. This was my older sister Paige. She has lived off-campus or in an apartment for the past four years so she is very comfortable in cooking for herself. In the following interview she discusses several aspects of cooking for yourself in your own Brok’n Kitch’n.

  1. I am conducting an interview about the challenges and highlights of cooking as a young broke college student, can you run my readers through your daily meals.

 My daily meals: Breakfast — Honey Nut Cheerios with no milk; Lunch — Yogurt, fruit or vegetable (recently an orange), cheese stick; Snack — Light popcorn; Dinner — Protein and a vegetable or salad. 

  1. How do you stay on top off meal preparation? Do you make lists or just off the top of your head? 

I am more efficient and save money by planning in advance, but that doesn’t always happen. Usually, I buy in bulk and it’s just a matter of what you want to defrost that day.  

  1. What is the most underrated food to cook? 

Believe it or not, I am going to go with eggs. I used to dislike eggs and would never want them. They are cheap, have a variety of preparations, and are easy and quick to make. Winner, winner, (chicken) eggs for dinner. I like them better for dinner than breakfast.                     

  1. Tell me your must have spices to zest up similar meals. 

To zest up similar meals, these aren’t really spices but use of sauces aka hot sauce, salsa, ketchup, bbq sauce, honey mustard are game changers for me. If I had to pick a spice it would be garlic.

  1. What is your favorite meal to cook off campus? 

My favorite meal to cook off campus…. hmm… I am always a fan of a good burger off the grill or stuff for taco salad.

  1. What is your advice to young broke students who need to grocery shop? 

I would highly recommend buying in bulk and freezing things. You can make larger portions and freeze them later so that they don’t go bad. Also, embrace fresh produce, but don’t over embrace… you’ll end up with a lot of rotten wasted food. Fresh produce may not always be cheap but look for what is in season. 

  1. What is the best steal at the grocery store? 

Mrs. T’s Pierogies are my best steal from the grocery store. They may not be Grandma’s homemade pierogies, but these are a quick, easy meal that aren’t terrible for you. 

  1. What is your biggest challenge with cooking your own food? 

I have two challenges. One is cooking for only two people. A lot of recipes are for larger parties. That is where I have learned to freeze things. Two is not being afraid to get creative and stray from the recipe. Sometimes making slight changes ends really well and you wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t taken a chance. 

  1. If you had an unlimited budget for one meal, what would you cook?

 You probably won’t like this answer that much but I would probably go for a perfectly cooked pan-seared scallop, with some broccoli with melted american cheese. OR loaded nachos. OR sushi.

  1. Being that we know it is impossible to solely eat off campus, what is your favorite restaurant to get food from? 

I don’t know how much this applies to me. I would probably say uMAMi or Rocco’s.

This advice can be applied to almost any person living in a similar situation. My additional advice would be to take advantage of coupons especially if you have a grocery store nearby. By planning your meals around what is on sale you can get some great meals without hurting your wallet. Anyway I’ll be back next week with ideas for Christmas cheer! Everyone enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Monday, We Meet Again: Start the week off with a simple, healthy dinner

Well here we are again, the inevitable start of another work week.  Getting back into the grind is not the most enjoyable event so to boost your spirit, make yourself a satisfying, healthy meal. To conquer your case of the Mondays we need to start dinner preparation the night before. Chicken will be the protein of choice. Leave the chicken out at room temperature in a Ziploc bag to allow for thawing to occur.

Meal Prep

The next morning before you head to work/class, toss that chicken in a simple marinade. My go to recipe consists of four ingredients (see below):

Left to right: Olive oil, Italian herbs, Garlic powder, and lemon juice

Left to right: Olive oil, Italian herbs, Garlic powder, and lemon juice

When using this marinade use enough liquid to cover the chicken in the bag. Also, I suggest mixing the marinade before adding it to the bag. This allows the flavors to marry before even touching the chicken. Once this is prepared, toss the bag on a plate and leave it on the counter for the day. You basically just gave your chicken a flavor Jacuzzi to relax in for 8-10 hours.

Time to Cook

After sufficient marinating, let’s cook that chicken. For prime crispiness to juiciness ratio, we are going to sear then bake the chicken. Sear each side of the chicken (5ish minutes) in olive oil with a PIPING hot pan. Take that crispy chicken and put it in the over (preheat to 350°F) for around 15 minutes. The searing encases all of the juices inside the chicken while the baking slowing finishes the cooking process. Following this baking, remove the chicken but LET IT REST (5-10mins). Nobody likes being abruptly woken up so show your food the same courtesy. The resting process keeps the juices inside the chicken instead of all over your cutting board.

What about sides?

Every lead character needs a side kick. Batman had Robin, Holmes had Watson, and your protein needs some veggies or a starch. Roasting vegetables is simple, cheap, and delicious. All you need are some vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes and onions. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. If you are feeling bold, add some garlic and red pepper flakes as well. Put the vegetables on a lower rack in the oven to prevent burning but allow browning. Keep an eye on the vegetables and move them around on the sheet. Pull them out when slight browning has occurred and enjoy them with your chicken.

After a long day of work this simple but filling recipe should be a great way to cap the night. Enjoy the meal and stay tuned for many more coming out of the Brok’n Kitch’n

Don’t Mess with (the State Fair of) Texas

Though not a common post on the Brok’n Kitch’n, this past weekend was too enjoyable not to discuss. Over the past weekend, I visited my sister in Dallas, TX for the State Fair of Texas (do not refer to this event as the Texas State Fair). This weekend also boasted the biggest attraction of the fair, the Red River Rivalry football game. This game consists of the University of Texas Longhorns versus the University of Oklahoma Sooners.

Despite much of the crowd attending for the game, I was focused on all of the foods the fair had to offer. One thing I came to realize shortly upon my arrival was that the fair boasted MANY fried creations. These edible masterpieces ranged from a handheld meal to a sweet and savory dessert. My personal favorite of the day was the fair’s play on chicken and waffles. This handheld masterpiece was comprised of fried chicken covered in gravy and syrup in a waffle cone. The contrast of sweet and savory flavors ignited a fiesta in my mouth. On top of this, the velvet-like texture of the gravy and syrup was highlighted by the crunch of the crisp waffle cone. Though the picture below does not give this portable delicacy justice, it truly was a wonderful bite to eat. This meal was only one of several others that I enjoyed/SHARED throughout the day. These tasty treats can be viewed at the bottom of this post.

Overall, this visit to the Lone Star state was a great adventure and something I would highly recommend for anyone visiting during the weeks of the fair.

State Fair Funnel Cake Ale

State Fair Funnel Cake Ale

World Famous Corney Dog

World Famous Corney Dog

Fried Chicken and Gravy in a waffle cone

Fried Chicken and Gravy in a waffle cone

Deep fried biscuits and gravy

Deep fried biscuits and gravy

Deep Fried Thanksgiving dinner

Deep Fried Thanksgiving dinner

Big Tex - Mascot of the State Fair

Big Tex – Mascot of the State Fair

Tailgating Treats

Greetings all. It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Brok’n Kitch’n. For my initial post I would like to cater the season at hand and I’m not talking about autumn, I’m talking about football season. After a week a eating healthy and working out, there is never a better time for a cheat day than kicking back and watching your team on the gridiron. For this week, I will be discussing some of my personal favorite tailgating food that are simple to make but also very delicious.

For starters I will be discussing the creation of the world’s easiest queso dip. The only supplies needed are 16oz of processed cheese, a can of Rotel (peppers and tomatoes), and a microwaveable safe bowl.

To cook this queso dip,

  • Cube the processed cheese and pour the can of peppers and tomatoes over the cheese.
  • Place the bowl in the microwave for around two and a half minutes.
  • At this point, remove the queso from the microwave and stir the ingredients.
  • Place the dip back in the microwave for another two and half minutes.
  • Finally, take the dip out and stir again until liquid smooth and enjoy!

My personal favorite chip for this dip is the Tostito scoops. These chips allow for optimal queso extraction while eating.

Though the queso is delectable, a way to woo your guest is by providing an equally easily made lighter fruit dip. This light and airy dip pairs deliciously with fruits such as fresh strawberries and pineapple.  Once again, this dip requires the use of two ingredients: cream cheese and marshmallow fluff.

Creamy Marshmallow Dip

  • Place one package (8oz) of cream cheese in a bowl.
  • Add small jar of marshmallow fluff, approx. 7oz,
  • Mix with an electric mixer until creamy and thoroughly mixed.

Like I stated above, food does not have to be complicated to be tasty. Also, these ingredients are not only simple but cheap. Enjoy these two dips with family and/or friends while cheering on your team this coming weekend. Go Eagles!