Nope, no need to wipe your screen to get rid of that black speck. That’s a piece of pepper that I somehow overlooked in 27 different photos of this dish. Ugh.

I almost scrapped this post because of that stupid pepper piece but my boys loved it so much that I just had to share. They absolutely love Sweet and Sour Chicken and would happily eat it every night but I just haven’t been up to frying lately. I was watching a vlog the other day and whoever I was watching mentioned Sweet and Sour Kielbasa – I started searching for a recipe immediately.

The great thing about this recipe is that, even though it’s a slow cooker recipe, it’s ready in 2 hours! So if you’re an amazing procrastinator like me, you can still have dinner ready in time if you’re too lazy/tired/busy on Pinterest to put it in the slow cooker first thing in the morning. I actually put it in the slow cooker right before we left for soccer practice and by the time we got home, it was ready to go.

My boys went nuts over it. They ate all of it. All of it. My two older boys were actually arguing over who was going to eat what was left on the baby’s plate (there was none).

One year ago: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Two years ago: Hot Cross Buns
Four years ago: Pretzel Bites
Five years ago: Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Kielbasa

Ingredients

2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
4 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound kielbasa

Instructions

  1. Put ketchup, brown sugar, butter, onion, white vinegar, water, and salt and pepper in the bottom of a slow cooker. Stir until combined.
  2. Slice kielbasa into bite-sized pieces. Put in slow cooker and stir to coat with sauce.
  3. Cook on low for 2 hours or high for 1 hour.
  4. Serve hot, over rice if desired.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/03/26/slow-cooker-sweet-sour-kielbasa/

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Can we talk TV for a minute? I have to get this off my chest.

My husband and I finished Breaking Bad last week. I’ve heard so much about it over the past few years so I just knew we were going to love it. We kind of hated it. Well, we hated the first 3 seasons. It took us 3 months to get through them. I finally got really into it in the last episode of the 4th season. Like, really into it. Like, WE HAVE TO WATCH ALL THE EPISODES RIGHT NOW into it. And then when we finally made it to the very last episode? That everyone said was perfect? That everyone said they cried over?

It was stupid. And I hated it. And I wish I’d never even started the show.

Ugh. It was like LOST Part 2 for me. Super frustrating ending where nothing was really wrapped up.

I’ve given up on TV. Except I’m currently marathoning The White Queen (again) because I’ve been sucked into The Cousins’ War book series by Phillippa Gregory (again).

We really loved these Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing though. I tend to avoid recipes that call for ranch in places that ranch wouldn’t typically go. But this one appealed to me because the ranch is blended with green salsa and I am obsessed with green salsa. Plus cilantro and you guys know I’m also obsessed with cilantro.

The pork is slow cooked in a sweet and spicy mixture and was perfectly delicious on it’s own. My husband is really weird about tacos – he only likes ground beef with taco seasoning in his tacos – but he loved this and the next day he mixed up a bowl of just the pork and dressing and had it for lunch.

One year ago: King Cake Cupcakes
Two years ago: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three years ago: Banana Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Four years ago: Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

For the pork:
2 to 3 pound pork roast
3 cups Coke
1 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
For the dressing:
1 cup salsa verde
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup cilantro
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup sugar
For serving:
tortillas
shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Place pork in the slow cooker. In a mixing bowl, whisk together Coke, brown sugar, garlic, diced green chiles, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Pour over pork. Cook on low for about 8 hours or until the meat is easily shredded. Shred and place in a large bowl. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the cooking liquid over the shredded pork and stir.
  2. To make the dressing, put all ingredients in a food processor and process until the cilantro is well chopped and distributed.
  3. Serve in tortillas with cheese.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/02/10/sweet-pork-tacos-with-cilantro-ranch-dressing/

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I’m struggling these days with dinner. My husband is pretty strict paleo and I know the paleo diet would be good for my kids, but I feel bad inflicting it on them. I mean, I did about 5 months of paleo when my husband was deployed and well, that was enough for me. I no longer feel the need to deny myself the amazingness that is cheese. Or froyo. Or margaritas.

For the past few months I’ve been making a paleo meal one day, nonpaleo the next… and just repeating that pattern. The kids would eat sandwiches or cereal on the paleo days and my husband was on his own on the nonpaleo.

I finally figured out that all I have to do to keep everyone happy is cook a ton of meat and just use half of it in something delicious, like pasta or tacos or whatever. I am ashamed that it took me this long to figure it out.

So I made these for my kids last night and my husband had the remaining pork on a salad. The kids gobbled these up and they are complained that the sauce was too spicy but they kept right on eating.

The pork is slow cooked so it’s hands-off for the most part. At the end of the day all you have to do is shred it and roll it into tortillas with some tasty cheese. Mmm.

Two years ago: Bang Bang Shrimp
Three years ago: Funnel Cakes
Four years ago: Pumpkin Turtle Cupcakes

Pulled Pork Taquitos with Chipotle-Ranch Dipping Sauce

adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

3 – 3.5lb boneless pork loin
2 cups chicken brother
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces queso fresco, shredded (or Monterey Jack)
18 corn tortillas
guacamole and salsa, for serving
For the Chipotle-Ranch Dipping Sauce:
1 cup ranch dressing
1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce + 1 teaspoon sauce

Instructions

  1. Put pork loin in slow cooker. Add chicken broth, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours. At least point pork should be falling apart. Remove it to a plate and shred with two forks.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or spray with oil.
  3. Wrap 6 tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for about 30 seconds to soften them. Place a heaping spoonful of pork on each tortilla followed by a spoonful of queso fresco. Roll and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat using the remaining ingredients. Spray the tops of the taquitos with oil.
  4. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
  5. While the taquitos are baking, make your sauce by combining the ranch, chipotle pepper in adobo and adobo sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/10/02/pulled-pork-taquitos-with-chipotle-ranch-dipping-sauce/

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I realized recently that 1 pound of meat just isn’t going to work as dinner any longer in this house. Three growing boys plus a husband means this girl has been skipping dinner more often than not just because there isn’t enough! It usually doesn’t bother me but when I make something delicious and barely get a bite before it’s all gone, I get sad. And this meal made me sad.

You guys, it’s so good. I know the ingredient list looks like nothing special but I’m pretty sure I could’ve eaten this 5 days in a row without complaint. Y’all know I love pork and this pork was just spicy enough and had all my favorite Asian flavors. I’ve been hoarding recipes that call for Thai basil forever now because I’ve never seen in it stores but with my new herb garden I finally have access to Thai basil! Honestly, I’m not sure I could tell a difference between it and regular basil but it was fun to use it.

This pork is also incredibly quick to cook so it makes a perfect weeknight dinner.

One year ago: Almond Flounder Meuniere
Two years ago: Toureau de Chevre
Three years ago: Buckwheat Pancakes

Spicy Basil Pork

4 servings

Ingredients

1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 1/4 pound boneless pork chops, cut into 1-in. cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoons chili paste, like Sambal Oelek
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sliced basil leaves (preferably Thai)
white or brown rice, for serving
additional soy sauce and/or chili sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook 1 minute. Add pork and garlic to pan. Cook 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until meat is cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chili paste, sugar, water, and corn starch together in a small bowl. Add fish sauce mixture to meat and cook 1 minute more or until mixture thickens slightly. Stir to coat entire mixture. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Serve over rice with extra soy sauce and/or chili sauce on the side.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/05/06/spicy-basil-pork/

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Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging is that I haven’t really been baking. And y’all know my blog has always been primarily fatty, sugary, sprinkled goodness. Most meals I make aren’t even blogworthy. A piece of meat and a couple different veggies is my go-to these days. I’m only “allowed” to make something carby and/or cheesy once a week (the night before my husband has to ruck) so yeah, food has been pretty boring lately.

I do occasionally sneak in meals like this. Ones that seem healthy at first – until you realize the sauce on top is mainly heavy cream. Whoops. To be fair though, you really only need a little bit of the sauce to get that fantastic Marsala flavor.

Marsala is definitely one of my favorite flavors ever and in this, it’s mixed with another of my favorites: dijon mustard. It’s so good! I seriously could have drank it. And pork is always good. It’s inexpensive and a nice change from the usual chicken.

One year ago: Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Two years ago: New York Style Coffee Cake
Three years ago: Stewed Chicken with Tomatoes, Cinnamon, and Preserved Lemons
Four years ago: Baked Brie

Pork with Dijon Marsala Cream Sauce

adapted from AllRecipes

Ingredients

1 pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, minced
1 cup Marsala wine
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a baking dish with oil.
  2. Rub the pork tenderloin with 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the pork tenderloin on all sides and then transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or until done.
  5. A few minutes before the pork is done, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the shallots in the butter until soft. Stir in the Marsala, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  6. Slice pork and serve with the sauce.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/04/22/pork-with-dijon-marsala-sauce/

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