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My top secret recipe for crock pot BBQ ribs

My top secret recipe for crock pot BBQ ribs

I went shopping at the Iggle while hungry again. Which means I bought a slab of meat on impulse again. This time it was pork ribs, and I didn’t even realize until I got home that they were boneless ribs, which means that they don’t really seem like ribs but they are ribs. I’ve been all about comfort food lately (am I ever not about comfort food?) and crock pot BBQ ribs sounded awesome.

And it turns out, they were awesome.

Crock Pot BBQ ribs

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but here is my TOP SECRET crock pot BBQ ribs recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Ribs
  • BBQ Sauce

Directions:

  1. Put ribs and BBQ Sauce in crock pot.
  2. Cook on low all day.

Fantastic.

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Just in Time for Passover: Amazingly Easy Crock Pot Brisket

Just in Time for Passover: Amazingly Easy Crock Pot Brisket

I went to Costco hungry last week, what of it?

You know what happens when I go to Costco hungry? I BUY A GIANT BRISKET.

At least brisket is tasty, and makes my decision very easy when I had to figure out what to try for my next crock pot meal. I didn’t even look for a recipe, brisket is one of those things you just make. So make it I did. All that being said, brisket at Costco is enormous because it is Costco, but do briskets any smaller even exist? Like, if there was no Costco around, how would people even get a brisket big enough to feed all their Passover guests? In any event, there IS a Costco nearby, so this is a baseless worry.

This whole brisket took me a whopping 5 minutes in prep time and about 7 hours in cooking time. The only downside to this recipe is that because the brisket is inevitably so big (Costco!) there isn’t much room for all the potatoes, onions and carrots that usually accompany the brisket. There is a lot of juice left behind in the crock pot afterward, so you can always roast more vegetables separately and ladle the brisket juice over them generously.

Crock pot brisket

A-May-Zingly Easy and Tasty Passover Brisket:

-Big-giant brisket

-A couple of onions, chopped (or for an even easier approach, frozen chopped onions, use 1/2 to 1 bag)

-4-6 cloves garlic, minced (or again, to make things even easier, a couple of spoonfuls of minced jarred garlic)

-4 or 5 potatoes, peeled and quarters

-A few handfuls of baby carrots

-Low sodium beef broth

-Kosher salt and pepper

-Worcestershire sauce

To make this delightful dish, put the onions, garlic, carrots and potatoes in the bottom of the crock pot. Lay the brisket on top, with FATTY SIDE UP. This means that as it cooks, the fat will drip down through the meat, flavoring it. Pour several shakes of Worcestershire sauce over the meat, as well as some salt and pepper. Pour in a bunch of beef broth in, so that the meal does not dry out during cooking. Set on low to cook, and let cook about 7 hours.

When the cooking time is up, take the brisket out and let it rest for a few minutes, then slice the meat against the grain. This brisket is not only perfect for Passover dinner, it can also be sliced thinly and used in au jus sandwiches (and the juice left behind in the crock pot is perfect for that), or even as filling for some creative tacos.

Quite honestly, this came out just as delicious as if I had cooked the brisket in the oven. Even though that method isn’t too difficult, this one is so incredibly easy, that I think I’m never going back to my old methods.

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32 Before 32: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett

I only got into audiobooks recently. My habit was to listen to the news in the car, but over time, the news just wore on me. I grew tired of listening to everyone killing and hating and complaining. I was perusing the books at the Dahntahn Carnegie Library, when it struck me: Forget the news! I’ll just listen to stories!

Dahntahn’s selection isn’t the greatest for books on CD.  I could usually find something that interested me, but not a whole lot. Then I checked out the collection at Main, and I was in loooove. It took a great deal of restraint, but I managed to only carry home 3 books my first visit.

While I was there, I spotted it: The thirty two disc unabridged audiobook of The Pillars of the Earth. I didn’t know much about the book other than I heard it was “good.” And being that it was SO ridiculously long, I felt like listening to the whole thing would be something of an accomplishment, something perfect for my 32 before 32 list.

Pillars of the Earth

I started listening to it right after the new year, and I finished it just tonight. There were a few times I had to turn it off while Baby Beez was in the car, because battle scenes and love scenes aren’t appropriate for young ears (see, I can responsibly parent sometimes!) Sometimes when I’ve got a lot of discs to go through in a book, I get bored and impatient. With Pillars, however, I wasn’t impatient for a second. I was immediately drawn in, and remained entranced for all FORTY ONE hours of the story.

The mini-synopsis: This is a story of a determined monk, and his life’s work of building a cathedral.

But the story isn’t just about the monk and the cathedral. The myriad characters from all walks of life are complex, endearing or horrible, or sometimes both. Their lives intersect in unexpected and complex ways. The story is remarkably layered, but still relatable on an emotional level.

There were two things that I loved best about this book: (1) It left me morally satisfied. The good people get their rewards, the bad people meet horrible ends, and (2) Follett has a talented way of describing the extremely subtle political interactions, both within the clergy, and between the clergy and nobility, in a fashion that is easily understandable to the reader, but simultaneously not insultingly dumbed-down or boringly dry.

I’m not a patient reader. I like things that go fast, and I like the satisfaction of quickly checking books off my list. The enormity of Pillars did not deter me, because it kept me unerringly engaged. It is not often I say this, but I was a little sad when I came to the end, because I enjoyed the story so much.


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32 before 32 Weekly Slow Cooker Meal: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken @SkinnyTaste

32 before 32 Weekly Slow Cooker Meal: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken @SkinnyTaste

When I set this goal of cooking a slow cooker meal each week, I knew it would not involve trying a new recipe each week. There would be plenty of tried-and-true recipes in the mix. Given how hectic things are around these parts (especially now that it’s the holidays), it’s hard enough for me to commit to one slow cooker meal each week. Expecting me to discover a new recipe each time and to remember to assemble all the ingredients for it is just not a realistic aspiration for me at the moment.

If you haven’t discovered SkinnyTaste yet, you should remedy that right away.  Gina’s recipes are delicious, flavorful, and best of all– WW friendly.  My biggest gripe with cooking is that it is often hard to figure out the serving sizes and points (even using the WW recipe builder).  At SkinnyTaste, the heavy lifting is done for you.

SkinnyTaste’s Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken is one of those ideal “toss everything in the slow cooker and head out the door” recipes.  Also, the ingredients are all things we reliably have stocked in the house.

Ingredients Crock Pot Santa Fe

And even if you don’t have all the ingredients readily available, the recipe is very forgiving with substitutions.

The first time I made this, Mr. Beez excitedly informed me how much he enjoyed it. He has asked me to make it again several times, and I have ended up making it almost once a month.  Not only is it easy, it is also incredibly versatile. You can use this Santa Fe Chicken as a filler for tacos or burritos, use it as a nacho topping, serve it alongside rice, or put it on a bed of lettuce and veggies as a hearty salad.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Ok so a close-up of a crock pot dinner maybe isn’t the prettiest of things. (Although somehow all SkinnyTaste food shots are simply gorgeous.)  Most slow cooker meals come out similarly– mushy, not very pretty, but oh so flavorful. The Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken was no exception.  5 minute prep time and dinner was all ready when we got home. What a win.

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Happy Birthday to Me and 32 Before 32 Roll Out

Happy Birthday to Me and 32 Before 32 Roll Out

Good morning all and happy birthday to me!  I was greeted with a birthday card and birthday smooch from my husband this morning.  Baby Beez kept asking about cake, but I did coax her into singing “Happy Birthday to Mommy!”  And yes, I’ll be stopping at Prantl’s to pick up a cake to share with the fam.

I’ve been getting so many warm birthday wishes this morning, it is just wonderful.  My celebrations today will be low-key.  I have work today, but it’s luckily a dull roar of chaos, instead of its usual complete deafening roar of chaos.  We celebrated yesterday with fancy brunch with friends at Eleven, and will be celebrating again next week with buffet dinner at Taj Mahal.  Food food food. Now that’s my kind of party.

In celebration of this new year, I’ve rolled out my 32 before 32 list! I was so excited to get started that I even put together a crock-pot dinner for tonight (beef stew!)  Please do share your crock pot favorites with me!

And in the spirit of Item No. 30, my Healthy Living goal this week is to TRACK ALL MY FOOD in Weight Watchers. All of it. Not just the food I eat before lunch, but all the food I eat, all day. Even if it means I blow the points out of the water.  I’ll let you know next week how it went!