Slow Cooker Balsamic BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

Pulled Pork Sliders

By Troy Johnson

This recipe uses a crock pot to cook the pork shoulder, but you can also smoke it. Slow cooking is key for the meat to be ‘pull able’ and tender.

  • A nice 2 ½ lb boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • ¾ cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
  • 1 cup of your favorite local beer (med or dark is best)
  • ¼ cup liquid smoke (Hickory or Mesquite)
  • ½ tsp. rosemary
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp.  smoked paprika (or more if you like!)
  • ½ to 1 cup of Troy’s balsamic BBQ Sauce (click here for recipe)
  • Coleslaw or pickles (from the deli or make your own)
  • 20 cocktail size Hamburger Buns (Slider rolls)

Trim any excess fat from meat. Put onions and peppers in bottom of crock pot. Place pork shoulder on top. Mix beer and Liquid Smoke and pour over meat. Top with rosemary, salt, pepper and the smoked paprika. Cook in your slow cooker on LOW setting for 9-10 hours. Transfer meat to cutting board, pull pork into shreds using fork and discard any fat, juices and the cooked onion and pepper. Return shredded pork to crock pot and cover with the Balsamic BBQ sauce. Stir. Cook on low for 1 hour.

To serve, spoon meat mixture onto bun bottoms. Top with coleslaw or pickles (optional) and bun top. Enjoy!

Fresh Harvest Premium Olive Oil and Balsamic

Slow Cooker Maple Balsamic Chicken Wings

Slow Cooker Maple Balsamic Chicken Wings

This easy recipe is a winner. These wings marinate as they cook and the results are incredibly delicious. They meat literally falls off the bone. There are several ways of doing the final step and each yields a slightly different result. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Harvest Maple balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ancho or Cayenne or your favorite pepper
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 15-20 chicken wings (cut into drumettes)
  • 3-4 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3-4 tablespoon water

(Garnish options: chopped green onion, fresh cilantro or sesame seeds)

Directions:

In a sauce pan add the honey, brown sugar, maple balsamic, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Ancho or Cayenne and season to taste with black pepper. Add more Ancho or Cayenne if it suits your tastes (if you want them more spicy).  Bring the mix to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for a few minutes (until the sugars have dissolved and the sauce is beginning to thicken). Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Cut the chicken wings into drumettes. Discard the wing tips.

chicken drumettes

Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray and place the chicken inside. Pour the sauce over the chicken and move the chicken around a bit with tongs so that it is completely coated with sauce. Put the lid on and cook on high for 3 ½ to 4 hours. Gently stir the chicken drumettes a few times during cooking to ensure maximum coverage of the sauce.

Once finished cooking, remove the chicken drumettes carefully and place on a plate. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water, then pour into the crock pot with the leftover sauce. Mix together well, place chicken back into the slow cooker, and let cook for about 20-30 minutes or more (until the sauce starts to thicken up). Just before serving, sprinkle with garnish.

If you want to speed up this process, pour the sauce with the cornstarch and water added into a saucepan and cook on the stovetop for 4-5 minutes or longer, until the sauce thickens and pour over chicken drumettes. This works better if your drumettes are falling off the bone. (Add more cornstarch and water mixture as needed to get a thicker sauce. Sauce will thicken more upon cooling a bit.)

Another option, which is good for reheating them as well, is to put the cooked drumettes on a non-stick baking sheet in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes – brushing the glaze on the wings before baking.

Fresh Harvest Premium Olive Oil and Balsamic

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Slow Cooker Lasagna

By Peggy Pot

Ingredients

  • 4 Tb Fresh Harvest Tuscan Herb or Basil EVOO, divided
  • 1 medium onion (chopped = 1 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper (chopped = 1 cup)
  • 2 small zucchini (chopped = approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 small box white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz fresh baby spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (I like flat, wider type)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground Spice Boat salt and pepper of choice
  • 1/2 tsp Spice Boat dried organic oregano
  • 1 16 oz tub part-skim ricotta
  • 1 8 oz pkg shredded 5 cheese Italian blend cheese
  • 1 24 oz jar marinara of choice
  • 1/4 (approx.) cup red wine (optional)


Directions

Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tb of olive oil. Brown mushrooms and set aside. Add remaining olive oil to skillet and sweat onions and peppers until softened. Add zucchini and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until zucchini begins to soften. Add browned mushrooms, garlic and seasonings to pan and continue to cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Spread 1/4 jar (6 oz) of marinara in bottom of crockpot. Cover with a layer of oven ready noodles, breaking to fit. (You will not notice that they have been broken when it is cooked!) It is ok to overlap a little.

Spread 1/2 of the ricotta over the noodles. Top with 1/2 of the spinach, and then spread 1/2 of the sautéed vegetables on top of the spinach. Cover with 1/3 of the grated cheese. Repeat a second layer by spreading 6 oz of marinara over grated cheese, topping with noodles,  the remaining 8 oz of ricotta, remaining spinach, the rest of the cooked vegetables. Top with 1/3  of the cheese just as you did with first layer. Spread 6 oz of sauce over shredded cheese, add another layer of noodles and then cover them with the remaining 6 oz of sauce. Top with the rest of the shredded cheese.

** Cook on High for 2 hours. Let it stand about 10-15 minutes before cutting just as you would with oven lasagna.

** You can cover and refrigerate the prepped lasagna for up to 24 hours before cooking if you would like to make ahead during busy times. Just add about 30 minutes extra cooking time due to the cold starting temperature.**

If you would like a meat version, you can add 1 cup cooked Italian sausage or ground beef to the sautéed vegetables or simply use a marinara sauce with meat. This is a delicious lasagna and not terribly heavy or cheesy.

 

Butternut Squash Soup (Slow Cooker Method)

butternut Sqaush SOUP

By Troy Johnson

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into chunks (about 2 1/2  cups)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp. Fresh Harvest Butternut Squash Seed Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sage, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • ½ cup coconut or almond milk
  • Optional garnishes: Fresh Harvest organic toasted pumpkin seed oil and, sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. (See photo above).

Directions:

Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion, Butternut Squash seed oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg to a slow cooker.  Toss to combine.

Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork.  Stir in the coconut milk.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  (Or you can transfer the soup in two batches into a traditional blender, and puree until smooth, being very careful when working with the hot liquid.)  Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and cayenne if needed.

Serve warm, with optional garnishes if desired.