What’s for Dinner? The Most FLAVORFUL Sloppy Joe’s

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged this recipe before. It’s one of my fall/winter favorites that freezes and reheats in the microwave perfectly.

I would never say that sloppy joe’s were a favorite of mine, but this recipe is very unique. There’s a ton of veggies snuck in there, so this is great for kids or if you’re looking for a healthier option of the classic. With a variety of textures and flavors, you’ve never had sloppy joe’s like these before. In fact, I also enjoy eating this like chili, with fritos, straight from the bowl. No matter how you choose to enjoy this recipe, I hope it becomes one of your favorites, too.

I will warn you…there’s a lot of chopping ahead. You can do it!

***Also, this is a massive recipe, one for us to eat on for a couple days and then freeze a bunch for later. Feel free to halve this recipe!

-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-4 lbs ground meat (I do half turkey, half chuck….do what you love)
-2 yellow onions
-6 bell peppers (the more colors, the prettier it is)
-2 poblano chilis
-6 celery stalks
-8 tablespoons minced garlic, or 8 cloves
-1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
-2 tablespoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper
-2.5 cups of your favorite bbq sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
-1/2 cup ketchup
-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
-4 teaspoons Worcestershire
-2 tablespoons honey
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-2 tablespoons agave
-1/2 cup water
-4 teaspoons red wine vinegar (or apple cider)
-1 cup cilantro (or any other favorite herb, such as parsley)

1. Chop all the veggies…you can skip arm day for this.
2. In a LARGE bowl, add your EVOO, all ground meat and all chopped veggies minus the garlic and cilantro. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked.
3. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another couple minutes.
4. Add the cajun seasoning, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir well.
5. Add the bbq, ketchup, dijon, water, honey, agave, brown sugar, and
Worcestershire. Stir until it comes to a light boil, then turn the heat down to medium low. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
6. Add the red wine vinegar and cilantro. Let it cook another 15 minutes.
7. Turn the heat off and let it cool for 15 minutes.
8. Enjoy on a toasted bun or however you like!

What’s For Dinner? Perfect Pulled Pork- in a Crock Pot!

I love a GOOD pulled pork, but I hate an overcooked, dried out, too fatty, or too bland one. I guess I’m a little picky when it comes to pulled pork. After eating my share of good and not-so-good pulled pork sandwiches from bbq restaurants, I decided to try my hand at making pulled pork. After a couple attempts, I’ve got the recipe for the perfect pulled pork. I’m serious. Just try it.  Best news is, you don’t need a smoker or bbq pit, just a slow cooker/ crock pot for the most tender and juicy, flavorful pulled pork around.

To get started, you need a bone-in pork shoulder/ pork butt. I got a big 6 lb one from Sam’s club, but you can go smaller. Just make sure it will fit in your crock pot.

Next, you need a rub. You can use your favorite or go with mine. Honestly, I don’t believe it is the rub’s ingredients that give this pork its magic, but rather the process for cooking it. Though, I do love this rub- it gives the pork enough flavor without overpowering it.

Rub Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground cayenne
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper

You want to “rub” the rub all over the pork, and you want it slathered on thick. Then, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. I always do mine overnight. While this step isn’t critical and if you’re in a hurry, you can skip it, letting it rest while “rubbed” lets the rub really penetrate the meat, giving it better flavor.

Next, you want to sear all 6 sides of the pork in a cast iron skillet. Make sure to get the skillet hot, on medium high heat, before adding the pork. You want a brown crust on all sides (about 2 minutes per side) to help seal in the juices. This step gives the outside pieces great crust and depth of flavor.

Next comes the easy part! Place your pork in your crock pot. I then put 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic on the top of my pork for a little extra punch of flavor. Put your lid on, turn it on low, and don’t peek at it for 7 hours.
Remember, my pork was 6 lbs, so if you’ve got a smaller pork shoulder, it may only need 6 hours. To make sure it is done, test its internal temperature, it should be 190 degrees.

Once the pork is cooked, remove it from the crock pot and let it sit for 20 minutes. This baby is HOT! Then, use a couple forks to pull the pork apart and make sure all the bones are removed. Then, you’re ready to eat! Feel free to take some of the juice in the crock pot and add it to the pulled pork if you want it extra decadent.

Need ideas for what to eat this with? (tho it tastes great just on its own)
-Add to salad
-Add to pastas
-Eat as a sandwich, with added coleslaw.
-Make nachos!
-I take it from a “Southern” dish to more of an Asian one by putting it on top of rice, then topping with a hoisin-based sauce and adding pickled spicy cucumbers.