Stir Fry To Die For

Stir Fry To Die For

Tonight’s dinner was so amazing! I went all out on the meat (hoison marinated pork tenderloin), budget on the veggies and pre made on the sauces but who cares? It was delicious and that is what is most important. My belly feels like it might explode! I am so full. Okay here is what I did:

First, I got my prep cook and cut up all the veggies and the meat. The meat, of course, I sliced super thin. Here is my prep cook:

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Veggies and meat are now cut.

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There are a few things that I didn’t pull out of the fridge til after this was shot like tomatoes and bean sprouts. Now the sauces:

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Of course the main sauce was still in the cupboard when I took this. I use the stir fry sauce you can get from any supermarket. I think it is Kikoman. Same brand as the soy sauce and rice vinegar. Notice the soy sauce as well as the liquid aminos. I have a gluten freebie in my house so we have cut as much soy from her diet as possible as well as gluten. In fact, my prep cook, is the one who struggles with gluten.

Next, heat the pan to super hot with oil already in it then drop in some onions, green peppers, red peppers, and celery.

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Let those cook while stirring till they start to change color and look translucent. Add in your big veggies like broccoli, carrots (if you like em), snap peas, etc. Add a few tablespoons of water. I continually add water (A tablespoon or two at a time) while I am cooking to keep everything steaming and to keep that stir fry noise nice and loud throughout. After a few minutes, add the fast cooking stuff like mushrooms, bean sprouts, etc. Cook for just a few more minutes and remove it all from the pan. Now add some of your meat to the pan and cook on both sides about 2 minutes total

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then add all the veggies back to it. Add a smidge more water if you need to. It is now that you add the last few items like noodles and tomatoes if you like em. I like tomatoes in my stir fry. I have been told that is weird. Whatever.

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Cook for just about one more minute and add the stir fry sauce to taste. I also added a smidge of sesame oil and a smidge on rice vinegar. I dished it up.

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Added a few drops of fish sauce. Let me tell you! This dinner was A MAZE ING!

Post note:

I usually add yellow squash and zucchini to my stir fry and I am not sure why I didn;t this time. I guess I forgot but that is another way to beef it up and stretch it out. I like the way the zucchini and squash take up the flavor of the stir fry. It is usually a nice addition.

Smoked Pork! Oh my goodness!!!!!

Smoked Pork! Oh my goodness!!!!!

Ok, so I was going to throw my pork into a crock pot and forget it and then later come back and pull it and call it pulled pork. Hey, what can I say I am a home school mom with a bunch to do. But then I joined a group whose theme is smoking and grilling and whatnot and started slobbering as I read through the posts in the group. I decided how dumb am I to crock my pork? Today I spent 9 hours manning my smoker. My classroom was in the backyard. Hey I am a home school mom and we can school anywhere 😀 So, here is what I did: It all started last night. I made the rub: 1/2 cup white sugar mixed with a little maple syrup (I didn’t have brown sugar so I improvised). 1/4 paprika I used the smoked paprika you can buy in bulk at Winco 1 TBSP each of onion powder garlic powder chili powder black pepper salt 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

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Adjust this rub to your own taste. I rubbed this all over my roasts after I rinsed them and patted them dry. Then I covered them and put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning I pulled them out and threw em onto the smoker after it was hot and ready. I kicked back and enjoyed the songs of the birds and the breeze and the sounds of my daughter reading to me or doing math. This is the smoker I used. Nothing fancy, but it does a really good job!

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I really like the taste and smell of Frontier brand lump charcoal and today I tried chunk hickory instead of chips for the first time. The chunks are way better. I used some dry and some wet just depending on the level of smoke I wanted the heat inside the smoker. If it was getting on the hot side I would use wet chunks and if it was cooler I threw in some dry ones. I brushed the meats with some olive oil a couple hours in to keep them from drying out. Also, make sure your water bowl has water in it. The water helps to even out the distribution of the heat and it keeps the inside humid which also aids in maintaining moisture in the meat.

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At the stall, I wrapped the meats in foil and put them back on the grill and increased the heat to 250. Once the meats hit an internal temp of 200, I pulled them off and rested them for an hour under heavy towels. Once the meat was cooled and pulled I made a vinegar-based sauce using these ingredients:

1 c Cider vinegar

1/2 c Hot water

1 TBSP Smoked paprika (you can use regular it’s okay)

2 TBSP Dark brown sugar

1 tsp Black pepper

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix the brown sugar with the hot water until dissolved then mix everything else together and pour over the meat. This sauce added a tang and spice that was a real kick in the mouth! Adjust the ingredients to your own taste but you can’t go wrong with this recipe. So to balance the tang and spice of this sauce in the finished product, I also made a white barbecue sauce that was a real hit with the family. Here is what I did:

1 c Mayo

1/3 c Cider vinegar

1 tsp Water (not sure what that was for but whatever)

1 tsp (or more heehee) Worchestershire sauce

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1/2 tsp Onion powder

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1/4 tsp Hot sauce (I used Tapatio)

Whisk it all up and viola! White barbecue sauce southern style!

No pulled pork is complete without a good coleslaw. I went looking online for a good recipe but didn’t find anything that particularly enthused me but I did find some inspiration. For mine, I didn’t really measure I just threw things together. Here is an estimated recipe:

1 cup of mayo

1/2 c sour cream

1/4 c white vinegar

1/4-1/2 c white sugar

2 TBSP black pepper

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sweet relish

1/2 tsp of celery seed

I mixed it all up and poured it over my cabbage which I shredded in my food processor. The slaw added a nice mild flavor to the meat. All-in-all, my mouth was jazzed trying to wrangle all the different flavors and textures in the sandwich. One thing I would change is I would not have used regular hamburger buns. That was dumb. I recommend using a hoagie roll or something that absorbs juice without getting soggy. This is a JUICY sandwich!

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I didn’t stop there, though. As I sat there thinking about how wonderful this meat was going to be when I eat it this weekend I got to thinking about dinner for tonight. I knew I wanted to cook up the pork Spare ribs I had in the freezer and thought, “what the heck? Why don’t I thaw them and throw them on the smoker too?” So I did. I gave em a rub down with the same rub (I had leftovers) and tossed em in with the roasts after the roasts were foiled. Before long, they were done so I put them in a pan, poured in my preferred beverage:

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covered it with foil and left the pan in the smoker a while longer.

Here is what those babies look like!

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There are four of them in there. I know my pictures suck but the lights in my house are just not conducive to capturing true color. Anyway, dinner was so yummy! I served this with tomato/blue cheese salad and broccoli.

Buffalo Burgers

Buffalo Burgers

So, the other day at Winco I found some yellow tag meats in one of the cold cases and at first was like hmmm what is this? So I picked it up and saw the price was $3.15 on the yellow tag so I looked for the original price and saw $8.89! The label said ground bison. I thought hmmm. Ground bison. I always heard buffalo was amazing and for $3.15 a lb I think it is a smokin deal! So I grabbed four pounds of it.  I found a good price on Jimmy Dean sausages, too. So, yep, I grabbed four of those, too! Four is a lucky number for me. I like four. It may be an OCD thing. Anyway, I invited a friend over the other day to share my bounty of buffalo meat. Here is what I did:

I took my four pounds of meat and one pound of the sage flavor Jimmy Dean’s sausage and mixed em up. I dumped in a bunch of onion powder and some of that super yummy garlic rub they have Winco right now in bulk and mixed it all up.

Here is the kicker! I shredded Gouda cheese and stuffed my burgers with it! MMMMMM!!!!! Once all that was done, I threw em on the grill for about 5 minutes per side then put em on the buns with all the fixins! Even bacon and avocado! This girl knows how to eat!

That bison meat is well worth every dang red cent of that $9.00 per pound I didn’t have to pay! Oh ya, and I made spaghetti with the leftover meat cuz I still have about two pounds left even after feeding seven people. That spaghetti… BOMB!

One day when all the kids are at camp and you want to have a date night with your honey and you wanna fix up something you can’t usually afford, I highly recommend bison meat! I’m really sorry I have no picture for this blog. I ate the burger before I could get my phone out.

Rainy Day Dinner

Rainy Day Dinner

What’s more comforting than cup of hot cocoa on a snowy day? Split pea soup on a rainy one. Too cold and wet to go out and garden, The kids are inside full of energy. This is Spring Break in Northern California! Not fair! I decided since we didn’t have Easter dinner on Easter that we would have it the day after. As a result, today I have some delicious ingredients to make some soothing comfort food. I used two pounds of dry split peas. Yes, two pounds! I love my split pea soup! We have tons of leftover ham which I will use lots of cuz I like my soup chunky! I found some frozen organic carrots that I froze a couple of months ago to throw in and ham juice and spices. Ham juice? Oh yes. Ham juice. Lots of people make gravy out of their ham juice in the bottom of the roasting pan but not me. Nope. I make crappy gravy and save that liquid gold for soups! Ham juice is a wonderful season for soups; any soup!

Here is what I did: Prep the peas as usual rinsing and checking for field debris which I never, ever find so I don’t really know why I still do that, dumped em in the pan and covered em with water until they were covered then brought em to a boil.

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I then shut off the stove and waited a bit. I think no matter what dry bean you use it is always a good thing to do to get the cooking started.

Normally I would add 10-12 cups of water at this point but I subtracted 2 cups for ham juice (most hams I cook yield much more drippings than that. This ham wasn’t very generous) and it looked like there might have still been about 2 cups of water in the peas so I added just 8 cups of water, bay leaves, dehydrated onions that I dehydrated myself, celery salt, Himalayan salt, carrots and onion powder (not pictured) into the pot. If you use ham juice, refrigerate it and then skim the hardened fat off the top. Yuck. You don’t want that going into your body 🙂

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I almost never measure in my kitchen. I am an eyeballer cook. I season to taste not to recipe. So, I recommend 3 or 4 bay leaves, half a handful of dehydrated onions, two carrots or more if you like em, a tablespoon or so of onion powder or more if you want, easy on the celery salt. It can get a little powerful quickly, maybe start with a tablespoon. You can use the Himalayan salt like regular salt and just add enough to enhance the flavors. Stir it all up and throw the lid on and wait for it to boil on medium heat. Turn it to low and walk away.

Let it cook about three hours then cut up the ham and toss it in and wait another hour to check for doneness and flavor. If it gets too thick, add water or chicken broth. The peas should be tender and squish under your tongue when it is done. Adjust the seasons to the taste you like.

This can be made ahead of time and then frozen in quart bags for a quick dinner later. Just take it out of the freezer in the morning and I am a counter defroster. I won’t recommend that you do that cuz someone might get mad at me but I do and it is usually thawed by dinner then just pop in the microwave and dump it in your bowl. It may need a little water but otherwise dinner is done.

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Forgive me for the lack of color in this pic. It was a rainy day so I had very little light. But it sure was yummy!!