Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin {Crock-Pot}

Glaze makes everything better. Am I right? Brown sugar and balsamic vinegar reduce down to make a glaze that I want to pour on everything. I may have licked that spoon a couple of times too. With the pork loin prepared in the Crock Pot, it makes dinner super easy.

Balsamic Glaze

Please excuse the glare from my lovely fluorescent kitchen lighting. Gotta love a 1980’s kitchen. Yes, that’s sarcasm. And a post for another day. Actually, home renovation is (just) one of the reason’s I haven’t been blogging of late. We have slowly been doing some work on our house. We’ve had our windows replaced, we did some painting (a work in process) & have a couple more projects in the works.

Glazed Pork Lion

One of the other things keeping me from blogging is my kids’ schedules! They are crazy with spring sports! As much as I love them to participate, having 3 kids to get to three different practices has been running me ragged. Which is why I am so happy to have another crock pot recipe to add to my arsenal. I LOVE the convenience of a slow cooker!

Pork Loin w Balsamic Glaze

I let my pork loin cook in the crock pot during the day, then made up my glaze and added once the meat was finished cooking. I’ve seen other recipes do it different ways, but I like this method, because you get that nice thick glaze covering the pork.

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Recipe source: Just a Pinch

I’ve seen recipes using pork loin and pork tenderloin. Yes, they can be used interchangeably, but keep in mind that the tenderloin is more lean and will dry out quicker, so you may need to adjust your cook time. I also think pork turns out better cooked on low in the crockpot, as opposed to high.

What’s cooking at your house? Any home renovations going on? Talk about time consuming and costly! I’d love for the Property Brothers or some HGTV peeps come along and do it all for me! In the meantime, I will be looking for more things to glaze.

Also, if your family is suffering from seasonal allergies like mine, check out yesterday’s post for a giveaway of Pfizer Pediatric products!

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife, Life with Lorelai (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Slow-Cooker Hamburger Soup

There is something comforting about a nice, hot bowl of soup. Even better when it requires little prep time and can be ready & waiting for you at dinner. This hamburger soup is very hearty, and my version is pretty low carb (so my diabetic hubby can have a huge bowl – this is his favorite soup!) but feel free to add potatoes, corn, carrots, anything you like.

Crock Pot Hamburger Soup

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can use pre-cooked ground beef for a “hands off” meal, or you can add the hamburger raw, allowing it to cook in the broth, but you have to be available to stir and break up the beef as it cooks. You also need to use very lean ground beef for this method, or you will have greasy soup! I’ve made that mistake, so I’ve learned to start writing the fat content on my ground beef if I am freezing it raw. However, I prefer to cook large quantities of ground beef in the crock pot, then freeze in 2 pound portions so it’s ready for recipes like this.

Hamburger Soup

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I sometimes add carrots, but as stated earlier, feel free to add any veggies you like. It’s also good with rice. I usually have Cornbread Muffins or Copycat King’s Hawaiian Bread with it, because the kids and I still love our carbs! (This can also be made on the stove top, but it’s just so easy to let it simmer in the crock-pot all day!)
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife, Life with Lorelai (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Southern Style Pork BBQ – In the Crock Pot

Today I’m going to share one of my family’s favorite foods, pulled pork barbecue…Southern style! I realize that barbecue is different depending on where you live – but around here, it’s a vinegar based sauce over slow-cooked pork and served with a vinegar based coleslaw, served alongside some fried hush puppies or corn sticks. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Even though I’ve been eating this most of my life, I just recently figured out how easy it is to make at home. Super easy. Super, super easy using one of my favorite small kitchen appliances – The Crock Pot! Or a slow-cooker if you prefer. I realize ‘Crock Pot’ is actually a brand name, but so is ‘Band Aid’ and most people don’t walk around asking for an adhesive bandage. Anywho, how irrelevant.
Traditional pulled pork barbecue is smoked over hot coals for hours, but frankly, ‘ain’t nobody got time fo dat’ (but if you do, please call me over so we can get our pig pickin’ on!). This version is still delicious.

 Southern Style Pork BBQ

3-5 lb pork roast
1-2 bottles Uncle Yammy’s Southern Style Barbecue Sauce*
*If you can’t find a good Southern style barbecue sauce, you can make it like this from Southern Plate.

Place pork roast in slow cooker and pour a bottle of sauce over it. Let cook on low for 10-12 hours. (I do this overnight. A 5 lb roast may need 12 hours, whereas the 3 lb should only need about 10). In the morning, carefully remove roast and drain juices, reserving about a half cup. Using 2 forks, pull pork roast apart, it will fall apart easily. Place pork back into slow cooker, add reserved juice and 1/2 to 3/4 bottle of barbecue sauce (it depends on the size of your roast and how ‘saucy’ you want your meat). Let heat through for a couple of hours on low (I just use my ‘warm’ setting, b/c my cooker runs a little hot I think.)

I like mine on a bun with slaw and a little extra sauce! My girls eat theirs sans slaw, and the hubs likes his without the bun. Of course, the very best way is to take a piece of cornbread, cut it in half (horizontally) and make a sandwich with it. (I’m thinking about you, grandma!) Yes, lawddddy-BE… that’s some good stuff!
This makes plenty to have leftovers or to feed a crowd. You can also make this with chicken (see post here) instead of pork. It’s not the same flavor, but still pretty good, and easy!

So what about you? Are you a vinegar sauce or a red barbecue sauce person?!

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseHomemaker on a DimeSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksWatch Out, Martha!Huckleberry LoveThe Newlyweds PilgrimageSowdering About in SeattleCraft and Repeat (Tuesday) Naptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeSarah Lynn’s SweetsBeBetsy and VMG206Twinkling Trees , Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) Fluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeThe Real Thing with The Coake FamilyTessa the Domestic Diva  (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,   Lamberts Lately (Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryOne Artsy MamaThe Best Blog RecipesOne Creative Mommy, Michelle’s Tasty CreationsClose to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday)  Or So She Says…Six Sisters’ StuffIt’s OverflowingMade from Pinterest (Sunday) Mommy’s Sweet ConfessionsWho Needs a Cape?Sweet 2 Eat Baking; and The Gooseberry Patch

Crockpot Hamburgers in Gravy & Menu Monday

Recently, I posted how to cook ground beef in the crock pot (aka slow cooker), and it got me to thinking…what about hamburger patties in the crock pot?  I wasn’t sure if it would work or not, I was afraid the patties would just fall apart, but they didn’t!  It actually worked out well.  I started with lean frozen hamburger patties…

Excuse my terrible cell phone picture. The patties look gross and freezer burned, but they weren’t.
 I stacked 6 patties in my crock pot (with a liner – completely optional, it just makes clean up so easy!)  I added hamburger seasoning, water and beef bouillon. (You could use a cup of beef broth or beef consomme)  I would have added onions too, but I was out.  I let them cook for 6 hours on high.
If you have a packet of gravy mix, or a can of Cream of Mushroom, you could go ahead and add those too, I would think.  I, however, didn’t have either of those (can you tell I needed to go to the store!), so I removed the hamburgers at the end of the cook time and added the liquid to a skillet. To the liquid (basically beef broth, because I used lean ground beef), I added homemade cream of chicken and brought it to a boil so it would thicken up.  I then put the hamburger in the skillet with the gravy and let it all simmer together while I got the sides done and table set, etc.  It only took a few minutes.  As you can tell, I’m not a gravy connoisseur.  If you actually know how to make gravy, you may be able to do it all in the crock pot and skip this step, or make the gravy and add to it.  This is just what worked for me with the stuff I had on hand.

Crock Pot Hamburgers in Gravy

Lean Beef Hamburger Patties (I used 6)
1 cup water
1 tsp beef bouillon
homemade cream of chicken (equivalent to 1 can)
salt and pepper – to taste
Place patties (mine were frozen, I think you would need to reduce cook time if using fresh) in crock pot with water and beef bouillon (or beef broth). Cook on high for 6 hours.  Remove patties and use broth to make gravy. Add broth to skillet and add homemade cream of chicken soup, bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Add hamburgers, stir, and add salt and pepper as needed.  I don’t like to add salt at the beginning of a dish in the crock pot, b/c sometimes it ends up way too salty.
NOTES: As stated above, you could probably make the gravy in the pot with the patties if you have prepared Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom, Golden Mushroom, gravy mix, etc.  Also, this is a very basic version of hamburgers in gravy.  If your family likes mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic, etc., have at it!
I served this with Cauliflower Gratin and canned green beans. We love some canned green beans.  Exciting, I know.
Something new I am trying to do is MENU PLAN! I don’t know about y’all, but for me, it’s hard and time consuming!  However, it really helps me out during the week to have a plan.  Granted, it often changes, but at least I have a general idea of what I want to make based on the ingredients I have on hand.  I base our meals for the week on what is already in the pantry/freezer and then make a list of things I need to get to finish out a recipe.  I’ve been doing menu plans since January, and thought I would begin to post them on the blog.  Maybe it will help someone else out!  I can also keep up with what I have made, what worked, etc.  So here goes…
MondayChicken & Dumpling Casserole (I have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge that I am going to use)
TuesdaySausage, Egg & Biscuit Breakfast Casserole (We love breakfast for dinner. I have some homemade turkey sausage in the freezer.)
WednesdayCrockpot BBQ Beer Chicken (hopefully I will make homemade buns to put it on, but we’ll see how that goes!)
Thursday – leftovers or pasta
Friday – French Bread Pizzas (loaf of bread in freezer, easy homemade pizza sauce in fridge)
Saturday & Sunday – I’ve left open because I don’t know what our plans are yet.
If you do not have time to menu plan, you should check out Eat at Home’s Weekly Meal Plans.  She does all the work for you!  You get a slow cooker AND traditional menu plan each week, emailed to you, with a grocery list, printable recipes, side dish suggestions and more, for only $4 a MONTH!
So what about you? Do you plan out your meals or just wing it?

Beef Tips in the Crock Pot

That’s just a big pile of comfort food right there!  The great thing is, the beef tips were prepared in the crock-pot.  Just throw everything in and forget about it!  My favorite way to prepare dinner 😉  The other great thing is they were flavorful, tender, and were approved by 2 out 3 picky children.  (and we all know Mr. Three’s vote doesn’t count since he will only eat about 4 things in the universe.)
Speaking of 4 things, that’s all the ingredients you need to make this!

 (Crock Pot) Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce

recipe source: LaaLoosh 

Ingredients:

2 pounds lean chuck – cut in 1-2 inch pieces (I used beef stew meat in pic)
1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 can Diet Sprite or 7up *or Sierra Mist
*You could also add any veggies you want. 
Put meat in crock pot. Pour soup & onion soup mix over meat. Add Diet Sprite/7up/Sierra Mist. Cook in crock pot all day on low (or high for at least 4 hours). Turn off and let sit for 30 minutes before serving. {If you want thicker gravy, you could remove meat, place gravy in a skillet with a little cornstarch and heat until thickened. I didn’t do this.)

I served the beef tips with mashed potatoes (instant…they were not good!) and cornbread…which was delish, and some not-pictured green beans, canned (I was in a hurry that night!).

 

Slow Cooker Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken

I’m back!  One thing my grandma truly loved was food, and she would not want me to stop sharing recipes.  I may not have adopted her Southern ways of cooking, (no fat-back or collard greens for me, thank you) but I do share her love of all things food.  I even taught her a thing or two…for example, she thought she hated pumpkin until my pumpkin breads and muffins 🙂

Today, I wanted to share a crock-pot recipe.  I love using my crock pot, and have been trying lots of different recipes to build up a good rotation.  For a while, it seemed like everything I slow-cooked (mainly chicken!) always came out tasting the same…bland.  Of course, a lot of the recipes have had similar ingredients, b/c I just can’t be too creative with my family.  They have really boring taste buds 😉  This chicken dish, found at Six Sister’s Stuff, was a hit with everyone. Except Mr. Three, who eats nothing worth mentioning.

A huge thanks to everyone who has come over from Pinterest! I’d love for you to become a regular around here. You can receive my posts via email, or Bloglovin’; follow on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Please link back if re-posting on your own blog, I’m finding my picture everywhere with no credit/link given.  It’s just common courtesy folks (not to mention my posts and pictures are copyright protected.)

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken 

adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

4-6 chicken breasts *I used 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 cup packed brown sugar *I used 3/4 cup
2/3 cup vinegar  *I used apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda *I used Sprite Zero
2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic *I used about 1 1/2 T. fresh minced garlic
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons water

Red pepper flakes (optional) 

Directions:

  • Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. (Crock pot liners are also great!)
  • Place chicken (frozen, thawed or fresh) inside slow cooker. 
  • Mix together the sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper, and pour over chicken. 
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. (Frozen chicken will obviously need a longer cook time.)
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker (it should basically fall apart) and pour remaining sauce into a saucepan over high heat. 
  • Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. 
  • Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools).
  • Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired.  

This can be served over rice or noodles, but we had ours with a baked potato on the side (It’s good on top of the potato too!)

Verdict? Everyone enjoyed this.  I liked it because it was not too sweet like some of the other recipes I have tried, and the red pepper flakes gave it a nice little kick.  I bet it would be good with a little sriracha too!  The kids, of course, skipped the spice, and enjoyed it as is.  This, along with Sticky Chicken, will be made again.

I’m linking this up over at – Holly’s Stamping Addiction, The Dedicated HouseHomemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, Skip to My Lou, Making the World Cuter, Project Inspire, Moms Crazy Cooking; The Gooseberry Patch