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Showing posts with label main dishes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label main dishes. Show all posts

Jun 24, 2020

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ & Sweet Potato Fries

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Snapple. The opinions and text are all mine. #TrueTeaTaste

May was an absolute crazy month...we moved, we went to Disney (again), we kicked off our wedding season, and we tried to get into a good rhythm of living in our new place, cooking more often, and enjoying the start of the summer season.  

Part of that rhythm has been learning to meal plan and utilize my favorite kitchen appliance...the slow cooker! I mean, what's better than throwing some stuff together in the morning and coming home to a delicious-smelling house and meal ready for eating?  

One of our favorite things to eat any time of year, but especially in the summer, is BBQ.  We love going to our local BBQ place and sitting out at a picnic table and enjoying some home-cooked sides, delicious pulled pork, and sweet tea.  So last week, I decided to take one of our favorite meals and replicate it at home.  I got a pork roast, pulled out the slow cooker, and came home to a yummy pulled pork BBQ.  One of our favorite sides is sweet potato fries, and we've been serving up this easy and healthy baked version with everything lately.  They've got a great salty-sweetness to them and they pair so well with just about everything.

This meal just screams summer and makes me think of all of the picnics and outdoor eating we'll be doing this season!  We got to try out Snapple® Straight Up™ Tea, which paired perfectly with this delicious summery meal!  It comes in multiple varieties (including black, green, and rooibos!) with three levels of sweetness (AJ loved the Sweet while I went with Sorta Sweet!) and is made with all-natural ingredients and no artificial anything, so it's a great compliment to any meal!  

Read on for recipes for both the pulled pork and sweet potato fries, and enjoy! 


3lb pork roast (shoulder roast preferred)
1/3c apple cider vinegar
1/2c packed brown sugar
1/2c ketchup
1/4c BBQ seasonings (look for a bbq seasoning package in your grocer's spice aisle!)

Place your roast in your slow-cooker, trim off any large pieces of fat as much as possible.  
Mix vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and seasonings in a bowl until combined.  Pour mixture over your roast.
Cook roast on low for 8hrs or high for 4hrs, until it easily pulls apart.  Using two forks, shred the roast and pull it apart to created a pulled pork BBQ.  Remove any pieces of fat as you shred.
Serve on toasted brioche buns!


4-5 small-medium sweet potatoes
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
Pierce sweet potatoes a few times with a knife or fork.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes, adding more time until sweet potatoes are slightly soft.  
Slice potatoes (we slice them into circles, but you can go for a more traditional "stick" fry shape as well) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Try not to overlap them too much.
Drizzle with olive oil, and then sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic over them.
Bake for 20min, turning over halfway, or until they reach a desired crispness.  Serve and enjoy!

You can find Snapple® Straight Up™ Tea in your local Giant Food store.  It comes in multiple varieties (we tried the standard Unsweetened, Sorta Sweet, and Sweet varieties as well as the Sorta Sweet Honey Green Tea and Rooibos new varieties!)  Look for the awesome new packaging on your grocer's shelves and stock up for summer!  

What is your favorite summer dinner recipe?

Oct 9, 2020

Crab Alfredo Pasta

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my grandmother was make meatballs.  She made the best homemade meatballs and whenever I'd be at her house after school and she'd be making them, I'd end up being the one to mix all of the ingredients together.  Of course, I think she was happy to have me there to do it, as it always involved getting messy and sinking your hands into inevitably cold ground beef and raw eggs, feeling the sticky gooeyness of the ingredients mixing together.  She was probably thrilled on the days where she didn't have to take that job!  

Between my grandmother's meatballs and her homemade sauce, I learned some of the basics of an Italian kitchen.  We ate pasta regularly and of course, can never have enough bread.  My grandmother's meatball recipe is one of those age-old family secrets...we've passed it down from generation to generation, and I'm sure I'll pass it on to my own kids one day (when I don't feel like getting my hands cold and messy and instead, coax them into mixing the meatball recipe up the old fashioned way!).  

What I think I love most about our family's kitchen, though, is that it's always been a place of gathering.  Whether it's a day of baking for the holidays, making a family-favorite meal, or even just sitting around a box of pizza, the kitchen is always a place of good conversation and community.  I've sat at my mom's kitchen island and chatted while she prepped dinner many times.  I can't count how many times I hung out and baked cookies (or made meatballs!) in my grandmother's kitchen as a teenager and gushed about boys or complained about school.  My aunt and I have made great memories in her kitchen as we've cooked and eaten together.  Food brings people together, and the act of cooking it is a bonding experience.  

As someone who comes from a beach-loving Italian family, the marriage of seafood and pasta is a dream come true.  A cheesy combination of Alfredo, crab, and light Angel Hair?  That's a match made in heave, if you ask me!  One of AJ's favorite pasta dishes is a shrimp pesto pasta, and I personally love anything with shellfish, so pasta for dinner is a no-brainer.  

We came up with this crab alfredo pasta concoction the other night and it was a big hit.  It was super easy to make and can be adapted with your favorite sauce, shellfish, and pasta!  

1 box of Angel Hair Pasta (we used 1/2 the box and had enough for 3-4 people)
A few clusters of frozen snow crab legs (we used two nice sized clusters)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

HOW TO // 

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in one pot, and 3-4 cups of water to a boil in another large pot with a steamer basket.  

When the 3 quarts of water are boiling, add in 1/2 of your box of Angel Hair (or other desired pasta - follow cooking directions on box), and boil for 4 minutes for tender pasta.  Strain and set aside.

When the 3-4 cups of water comes to a boil, rinse your frozen crab leg clusters to remove any ice and then place in a steamer basket over the boiling pot.  Cover and steam for 6-8 minutes.  (Crab legs should be already cooked, you are just heating them through.)  When the crab legs are warmed, remove the meat and set aside.

In a separate microwave-safe dish, heat 1/2-2/3rds of the jar of Ragu Alfredo Sauce in the microwave (this can also be done on the stovetop), stirring occasionally.  

Combine the pasta and sauce, season with Italian seasoning, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.  Top with crab meat and enjoy!  (Try adding a spoonful or two of Ragu Tomato & Basil sauce for an added kick!)

Ragu carries on the family tradition of Assunta Cantisano and her Italian heritage, and stems from an age-old family recipe.  They use farm-grown ingredients with no artificial flavors and no high fructose corn syrup, making it a great choice for your next family dinner!

Sep 27, 2020

New Barber Foods Chicken Cordon Bleu with Roasted Red-Skin Potatoes

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SimplySpecialMeals #CollectiveBias

We're a month into newlywed life, and I don't know where September went, but I do know that this wife stuff is tricky business.  Especially when it comes to the feeding-my-husband thing.  I'm still working on adjusting to married life and cutting out some of the business, and so sometimes, I maybe forget that dinner is something that we should be eating.  Oops!

So as I've been figuring out how to be a good wife who doesn't forget to put dinner on the table, I've discovered a few go-to meals that AJ and I love!  One of those is Chicken Cordon Bleu and my mom's roasted red-skin potatoes.  

Barber Foods' Chicken Cordon Bleu has been a staple in AJ's house for a long time, and so it's kind of a no-brainer dinner because I know he already likes it.  We found these chicken breasts in three varieties (Cordon Bleu, Broccoli Cheese, and Chicken Kiev) in our grocery store's freezer section, and the new and improved Barber packaging was easy to find!  I had never had these chicken breasts before, but AJ commented on the new recipe, saying that he enjoyed the crispier breading and ruler flavors of the chicken!  

These chicken breasts took about 33 minutes in the oven to cook, which was the perfect amount of time to get a side dish together to go along with them.  We simply took them out of the packaging and placed them on a baking tray and then put them into the pre-heated oven, following the instructions on the box.  When our timer went off, we checked that the chicken was heated to 165ºF and then pulled them out to let them sit for a few minutes.  Plate them up with some of your potatoes, and wha-la...happy husband!  (I loved how Barber made me look really good as a wife!)  These chicken breasts were really the highlight of our meal, and I ended up making them a few nights later again!

Roasted Red-Skin Potatoes // 

These potatoes are an incredibly easy (and delicious) side-dish, and pair well with so many main courses!  They've been a staple in our family's kitchen for a long time, and are definitely going to be a staple for AJ & I!

A few red-skinned potatoes (I use 4-5 small ones for AJ & I)
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder

Wash your potatoes and then stab them a few times with a fork or a knife.  Pop them in the microwave and hit the baked potato button, if your microwave has one.  If not, start by putting them on for 4-5 minutes, then check them and add time as necessary.  Once your potatoes are soft (like a baked potato), remove them from the microwave and slice them.  Put the slices into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic (all to taste), and then put in the oven at 350ºF for about 20 minutes, or until a bit crispy on top!  

I found Barber Stuffed Chicken Breasts in our grocery store's freezer section...look for the new, eye-catching box and enjoy Barber's new recipe!  You can grab this coupon to save $1.00 off of your next purchase of Barber's Original Stuffed Chicken Breasts!  Check out Barber's Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest for more recipe inspiration!


Jun 3, 2020

It's Grilling Season!

One of the things that I love most about summer is breaking out the grill!  It's one of my favorite ways to cook and luckily, AJ loves to grill too, so we spend a lot of time over the summer grilling for our families.  From your typical grill foods like burgers and hot dogs, to more complex things like ribs and salmon, we love experimenting with different things and discovering new recipes!

In honor of the start of summer and grilling season, here are a few of my favorite grilling recipes from some of my favorite bloggers:

from According to Laura Jean

from Sustaining the Powers

from A Prioritized Marriage

from Wetherills Say I Do

from A Savory Feast

from Sustaining the Powers

from Wetherills Say I Do

Grilled BBQ Ribs & Dry Rub


Prize:  $100 worth of Pampered Chef products of your choice

Co-hosts:  Jenn's Blah Blah Blog // Some of This and That // Virtually Yours // Life is Poppin // Sisters, What! // Heavens to Betsy // A Hot Southern Mess // No Time for DIY // YogurtHydro

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email [email protected] with any questions.)

Rules:  Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily.  Giveaway ends 6/23 and is open to the US only.  Winner will be notified via email.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog?  Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

May 18, 2020

Grilled BBQ Ribs & Homemade BBQ Dry Rub

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®  Smithfield® and Farmland®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #GetUpandGrill #GetFiredUpGrilling http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

There's almost nothing I love more about summer than a good BBQ.  We love eating outside as soon as the weather permits, and try to hold out as long as we can throughout the fall.  I love walking barefoot through the grass, gathering around picnic tables, and lingering on the patio long after the food has been consumed, just chatting and enjoying a good evening with friends.

Last summer, AJ and I spent a solid week watching a TV show in which people competed for the bragging rights of having the best BBQ around.  We promptly decided that we could totally make ribs and then we promptly failed epically.  They were incredibly spicy and not completely cooked.  But we've grown quite a bit as chefs since then, and we've perfected a delicious dry rub and the method to making fall-off-the-bone ribs!  (Hint:  it's not as hard or as complicated as it may seem!)

+ a rack or two of baby back ribs (we like Smithfield, which are available at Walmart!)
+ 1/2 c brown sugar
+ 2 tbsp garlic powder
+ 2 tbsp salt
+ 2 tbsp black pepper
+ 2 tbsp cumin
+ 2 tbsp paprika
+ 2 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional, or to taste)
+ 2 tbsp chili pepper (optional, or to taste)
+ your favorite BBQ sauce


1.  Flip over your ribs.  You'll notice a thin white membrane coating the underside of the ribs.  Insert a knife underneath this coating and pull it back (you may need to grip it with a paper towel).  This membrane will feel rubbery and hard to chew if left on.

2.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in a few pinches of your spices, plus a dollop of BBQ sauce.  Then, toss in your ribs.  Boil the ribs for 30-45 minutes, or until tender.  (You'll be able to feel when they're tender by poking them with a fork).

3.  While your ribs are boiling, make your dry rub by mixing the brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.  Feel free to adjust the amounts to taste, and if you like your BBQ a little spicy, then add in some cayenne and chili pepper!  (Hint:  The more brown sugar you use, the more melted and crystalized your rub will get.)

4.  After boiling, place the ribs on a plate and pile on your dry rub (it's ok to let them cool for a few min first).

5.  Then, fold foil loosely around them and place them on the grill on the top rack on low for another 30-45 minutes.  Check occasionally.  (Once you put them on the grill, you're just looking for the rub to melt and crystalize on top of your ribs.)

6.  Pull them off of the grill and enjoy as is or topped with your favorite BBQ sauce!

It's as simple as that!  Take it from two people who learned the hard way:  making ribs does not have to be complicated.  While you can absolutely do them from start to finish with the "low and slow" method on a grill, we now prefer to cut that time by a ton and start them in the kitchen and finish them up on the grill, but we definitely are dreaming of having a smoker someday!  (Maybe when we live in that farmhouse in Tennessee that we've been daydreaming about lately?)

Visit the Get Fired Up Grilling website for additional recipes and tips from BBQ Pitmasters Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone. Also enter to win a trip to the American Royal BBQ contest and other great grilling prizes!

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