Monday, August 31, 2015

Makin' Broth

Basically ANY time I cook a roast of ANY kind in the crockpot, I keep the broth. It's so so yummy and it actually has many medicinal properties to it if the roast contained bones. (I'll save that topic for another blog post!)

So here I made a pork roast.
I placed it in the crockpot before I went to bed. Didn't measure anything, but it was super simple: water, salt, & pepper. Yep. That's all. Cooked it overnight on LOW and turned it off around 9am the next morning. So... 8-10hr. It's really not an exact science. Once it was done cooking, I turned it out into a 9x13 cake pan and began shredding with forks. Any fat or bones or "ooflahs" that I found digging around, I just threw it back into the crockpot.

Shredded. De-boned. Ooflah's removed.
(Sorry, ooflah was a title my mother gave to anything icky & unidentifiable in her food. LOL. It stuck around for another generation.)

Choose your BBQ.
We really like Sweet Baby Rays... but I am still on the hunt for an awesome homemade bbq sauce. So if you're the beholder of one such amazing recipe, PLEASE SHARE!

Apply liberally.
I added nearly an entire bottle.
Just enough to coat thoroughly.

I popped this in the fridge for tomorrow's meal... bwha ha ha. Stay posted. I'll reveal what I did with this amazing bbq pulled pork in my next blog entry!

Enough with the BBQ... let's get back to the broth!
So here's the pork juice and bones and fat and ooflahs.

Lay out a thin handtowel or cheesecloth into a colander.

Dump the crockpot contents into the cloth and allow it to drain/strain thoroughly.
Mmmmm... Yummy.  NOT!

You're left with a beautiful broth.

Bag it and freeze it if you're not going to use it right away.

I use broth for all KINDS of things. Soups... gravies... I'll cook rice or quinoa in it (rather than just plain water)... I'll use it in ANY recipe that calls for canned broth... instead of using oils, I'll saute veggies or meat in the broth (though you'll need way more broth than oil because it evaporates)... I'll use it to baste baked meats & roasts... etc.


*I guess "technically" if you're using bones, what you produce is called a "stock" not a "broth"-- but they can def be used interchangeably.

**Also... if you're a big "gotta remove the fat" type of person, simply refrigerate the broth/stock first and skim the fat off before using/freezing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Homemade Shredded Hash Browns

Our family LOVES shredded hash browns!!!
Basically if a meal calls for eggs, hash browns are a necessary pairing!
It's amazing... delightful... scrum-diddly-upm-tious!

My first attempt at making them from scratch was a royal FAIL. I basically shredded them and then threw them into hot oil. It stuck miserably in the pan. To say the least, I killed it. :-( That scared me off for a while from ever making them at home again.

But recently, I got bitten by the "I want to make it at home" bug and I just had to see why my first attempt was such a bomb. Well, I figured it out: you need to eliminate the starch. That thought never crossed my mind. Well, it was a life saver cuz I just whipped up a batch of these bad boys last night for breakfast burritos and it turned out FAB.

Here's how you do it folks!

Wash & peel & shred those potatoes!
For my family (of 8), 6 regular sized Yukon Golds did just the trick.
But if your fam is smaller, just cut back to maybe 3 potatoes.

Soak the potato shreds in cold water.
Not just once, but TWICE!!!

As it's soaking, stir shreds around with your hands.
Put a lid on it and carefully strain the liquid out.
Remember: soak & strain 2 times!
Really try to get as much water out as possible on that second soak especially.

There's probably a myriad of ways to strain the liquid out of the shreds, but for me, this was super easy: Line a cookie sheet with (3) layers of paper towel on the bottom & on top of the shreds.
Pat dry.

Then, roll it like a jelly roll.

Then with extra paper towel, squeeze and squeeze until it feels like most of the water has been soaked up. May take a couple of extra paper towel pieces.

May need to flick a few of the shreds off the paper towel.
Carefully dump the shreds off the paper towel and onto the cookie sheet.

Perfect shreds of de-starched potatoes!

Add 3T of butter to the skillet and melt it on medium heat.

Add your shreds.
Season however you like it.
Mine had on: garlic salt, paprika, and onion powder.
Cook uncovered.

Cook it for approx 5 mins on each side or until browned just the way you like it.
My (6) potatoes made 2 batches. If you decide to make 2 batches as well, remember to melt another 3T of butter for that second batch.


Yes, these call for a bit of prep work.
But they really turned out marvelously.
It was well worth it.
Def a family favorite over here!

I hope you try this recipe sometime!

If you do, let me know how it turned out!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Total Miscellaneous!

I ♥ Aldi!
They carry my most favorite alcoholic beverage: hard apple cider.
It's so good... I actually like it better than Angry Orchard.

I ♥ Aldi (again)!
Ours now carries this!
I'm really into "zoodles" here lately.
My mom bought me a veggie spirulizer for a gift and I LOVE it.

Summer squash zoodles are good with just a splash of Italian dressing.
Even my 4 year old was eating this!

Zoodle spaghetti.
My own creation: GF Coffee Cake!

My mother-in-law purchased Pamela's Vanilla Cake Mix in bulk and portioned out several bags for me.
So to start with, prepare a box of vanilla cake mix as directed. Can be Pamela's or whatever brand you like.

Pour half of the batter into an 8" or 9" pan that's been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.

Prepare a crumble:
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C GF all purpose flour
1/2 t cinnamon
4 T softened butter
Mix well until, well, crumbly. :)

Layer as follows:
Sprinkle 1/2 the crumble mix onto the batter.
Next, add the last 1/2 of the batter.
Lastly, sprinkle the top with the last 1/2 of the crumble.

At this point, you can either pop it into the refrigerator until you want to bake it.
Or, you can bake it right away.
Either way, it turns out fine.
We'll often prepare this on Friday nights so we have a easy, hot breakfast for Saturday morning.

Bake at 325F for approx. 45 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Really try not to over-bake.

SO delish!
Even my non-GF husband raves about this!
I ♥ our local scratch n' dent store.
You just never know from week to week what they will (or will) not have.
But this last time I went, I made out like a bandit!
Look at what all I got!
Total price: $35.30!!! NO JOKE
If you have a similar store near you, CHECK IT OUT!!!
I'd love to hear about the deals you got!

Recently went to a pancake house restaurant and got one of their skillet breakfasts. I thought to myself... "I can make one of these bad boys myself". And so... I did! And Mel (me) said it was good.
Fried potatoes, bacon, and sunny side up eggs.
Hubby bought me a bag of this off of Amazon Prime.
He knows the way to my heart. ;-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Super Fast For a Crowd

This is a super easy, super fast GF lunch (or snack) to put together for a crowd. My family is crowd enough (LOL) but I'm thinking play dates and things like that where you have a lot of kids to feed. This is a piece of cake and it serves a bunch.


In this picture, I used (1) bag of Aldi round corn tortilla chips and (1) 8oz block of extra sharp cheddar cheese (grated). I separated the chips onto (2) cookie sheets and sprinkled with cheese. Baked at 350F for approx 5 min (or until cheese is bubbly).

It honestly can't get much easier than this.

If this isn't cheesy enough for you, by all means ADD MORE!
But I will say that I like using (1) bag of chips for (2) cookie sheets so that the chips can more easily and evenly be coated with cheese.

We like to serve this up with salsa, sour cream, black olives, and lettuce.