Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crockpot Beer Carnitas Tacos

Okay, now these...THESE are the shnikies. Make this recipe right now. Don't even read this post! Just grab your wallet and go get a pork butt. You are likely to have all the rest of the ingredients in your kitchen already.

Here's the one change I made: I halved everthing, except for the beer. So what happened when I tasted the meat at the end of the day was, besides being just a little too wet, it seemed just a smidge bland, having been drowned in beer. Soooooo I shook in an additional teaspoon or two of McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix. And voila! Flavor perfection. And the pièce de résistance--the Jalapeño Lime Sour Cream (to which I did not add the salt and pepper).

Do it. Do it now.

Crockpot Beer Carnitas Tacos

5-6 lbs pork shoulder roast (or butt)
1 tbsp canola oil
8 oz of your favorite beer
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine seasonings together in a bowl and mix until combined. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot, add pork and sear on all sides until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side).

Add pork to the crockpot and sprinkle seasonings all over. Pour in beer, then cook on low for 10-12 hours. Check once or twice if possible and if needed, add more beer (I did not add any). Before serving, use forks or kitchen tongs to shred pork. Let sit on low or warm for another 20-30 minutes before serving.

Jalapeno Lime Sour Cream
1 c. sour cream
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
a pinch of salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together then serve. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Hot and Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

A couple days ago, I posted about how much I love The Pioneer Woman and her blog. IF you've followed my blog for very long at all, you are also well aware of my second most-favorite blog, How Sweet It Is. On September 1st, she wrote a post FULL of recipes she deems football-worthy. Immediately, I knew this was where I'd find my next post (my next two, actually!).

This one was a no-brainer for me. Except that I didn't follow the recipe I chose, so really I didn't try this recipe at all. Instead of the cheeses called for, which are Italian, I used cheddar, colby Jack and pepper Jack, because I thought the flavors would go better with the main dish I was serving (carnitas tacos, following post). This resulted in the dip being kinda...curdled. Not as smooth and creamy as I'd hoped. Could've been the quality of the cheese, too. Who knows?

This isn't anything to write home about. There is bacon, so that's fantastic. But bottom line: you should try it the way it's written, and then tell me how it tastes.

Hot and Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. asiago cheese, freshly grated
4 oz. parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 oz. fontina cheese, freshly grated
1 roasted red pepper, patted dry and chopped
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If you use red peppers from a jar (in water), pat dry with a paper towel.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, asiago, parmesan, 3 ounces of fontina, red peppers, bacon and pepper, and mash thoroughly with a fork. Place in an oven safe dish, then top with remaining fontina. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly on top.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip EVER

Whoa. This blog is in serious need of an update. And what I'm about to post is a "new" recipe from June. Yes, I am ashamed. But here's what happened, okay? I got super busy with a plays and stuff and blah blah blardy blar excuses excuses. So, see, I couldn't possibly have been blogging this whole time!

Anyway, back to June. The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is this amazing superwoman with an equally amazing blog of which I can't get enough. On June 11th, she posted this. I had to have it, and without a moment's hesitation, I made it. (Actually, I hesitated for 4 days, but who's counting?)

This dip is AMAZING. The "best ever" claim is right on. I know this because I made it 3 times in one month and everyone who tried it agreed. And it's not hard to do. At all. It just takes a little time. (I guess cyborg superwomen can prep all this in 5 minutes, but I could not.) I've served it with pita chips, tortilla chips, and French bread minis. Yes, yes, yes. Pretty sure you could serve it with shoe leather and still leave with an empty dish.

One of the best things about this dip is--and Linda Karber, you'll appreciate this!--is that it has NO MAYO. Yay! And don't skimp on the cayenne. The pepperjack gives the dip a good kick, but you still need the cayenne for even more heat.

Oh, I just had a GREAT idea! It's Labor Day weekend. No doubt you are hosting or attending some holiday gathering. MAKE THIS. You'll win.

The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip EVER
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 bag spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbsp. butter (additional)
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1-1/2 cup whole milk (more if needed)
  • 1 package (8 oz.) softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan
  • 3/4 c. grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Extra grated pepper Jack
  • Pita wedges, tortilla chips, crackers
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Crank up the heat a bit and throw in the spinach. Stir around and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach wilts. Remove the spinach from the skillet and put it in a small strainer. Squeeze the excess juice back into the skillet. Set the spinach aside.

Throw in the artichokes and cook over medium high heat for several minutes, until liquid is cooked off and artichokes start to get a little color. Remove the artichokes.

In the same skillet or a different pot, melt 3 additional tablespoons of butter and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook until slightly thickened; splash in more milk if needed.

Add cream cheese, feta, Parmesan, pepper jack, and cayenne and stir until cheese are melted and sauce is smooth. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the sauce. Stir to combine.

Pour into buttered baking dish. Top with extra grated pepper jack and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.