Asian-Paste Pork Loin with Two Onions

Have you ever noticed that there are times in your life when you are staring down a pork loin (or a “beefy” 5 1/2 pound half pork loin) and your slow cooker, and you simply cannot stick it in there with a little salt and pepper, some onion, carrots, and potatoes, and call it a fix-it-and-forget-it day?

And, at the same time, been on an Asian (especially Chinese-ish) food craving binge?

No?

Me neither.

Whistles oh-so-innocently.

Today found me in such a predicament.  I wanted to squeal over aromatic slow cooker pork with an Asian zing that didn’t taste completely processed.  Get it, squeal, pork?

I also wanted to challenge myself to use a Chinese hot mustard packet Josh picked up when he got Chinese a week or so ago.  Did I mention that this Chinese food craving binge has been going on for over a month?

At the same time, I felt the need to use up the remainder of green onions I purchased at Aldi yesterday.  I only needed two for Tuesday’s menu, and that left 10 or 12 more that would languish and eventually become oozy goo (trust me; it is not pretty!) in the fridge until is tossed after a week or so.

The solution?

Something I will only call “Asian-Paste Pork Loin with Two Onions.”

What do you do?

Wash out your new trusty slow cooker (or your old trusty).  Peel, cut in half long-ways, and slice into rings the quantity of one onion.  Separate the rings and scatter in the bottom of said slow cooker.

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Trim, clean, and chop 10-15 green onions into 2-inch lengths (greens and whites).

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Do you call them green onions, spring onions, or scallions?  To me, they are always green onions.  Scatter said green onions over the onion rings in the slow cooker.

Mix together the yummy paste ingredients with a plastic fork.

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Go all slasher flick on the pork loin, gouging it repeatedly with your sharpest knife.

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It’s very stress relieving and anger managing to do so.

With a pastry brush (or a barbecue brush), slather paste on the fatty side of the loin, making sure to fill the gouge-wounds with paste.  Place the loin fatty-side-down in the slow cooker atop the onions.  Pour the remaining paste over the pork loin, using the brush to smooth and spread the paste evenly.

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Cover with the lid and cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve with rice and a veg.

The verdict?

It was so aromatically awesomesauce.  And, yes, that is the technical description.

Asian-Paste Pork Loin With Two Onions

Source:  My Brain

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(It tastes so much better than it looks!)

half pork loin (mine was 5.5 pounds, but it can definitely be smaller)

1 onion, cut from pole-to-pole and sliced into half rings

10-15 green onions, trimmed and chopped into 2-inch lengths

1 cup brown sugar

sprinkle of cayenne or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flake

2-3 tablespoons ground ginger

twenty grinds of freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

one lone packet of Chinese hot mustard

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

soy sauce to thin the mixture to a paste

Scatter first the white onion, then the green onions, on the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker.  Perforate the pork loin in several places with either a skewer or a sharp knife.  Mix paste ingredients (stirring together dry ingredients first before adding the mustard packet and then the vinegar).  Thin paste to thick pancake batter consistency with soy sauce.

Using a silicone brush, brush the paste on the side of the pork loin (the fatty side).  Place the pork loin, fatty side down, in the slow cooker.  Pour and spread the remaining paste over the top of the pork loin.

Cook on low for six hours.  Serve with rice and appropriate veg.

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Tip Tuesday: Kitchen Essentials #1: The Slow Cooker

Tip Tuesday

It seems fitting that my new Tip Tuesday series on essential kitchen items should begin with a slow cooker.

Anyone who knows me or who has read this blog for any length of time knows of my love of my slow cookers.  I have two, in fact.  Big Bertha (my 7-quart programmable behemoth) and ‘Red (my smaller, saucier 5 quart).  I wouldn’t mind having more, however (hint, hint).

It uses almost no electricity (compared to my power-draining oven).  When it’s hot in the summer, it keeps the kitchen as cool as possible.  The crock insert is its own serving bowl.

On this blog I have already featured several slow cooker recipes.

Crockpot Thai-Peanut Chicken

Apple Cider (Slow Cooker Adaptable, easily)

Chipotle’s Copycat Barbacoa

BBQ Sausages

Biscoff Baked Oatmeal in the Slow Cooker

Crockpot Baked Ziti

Crockpot Cheesy Ravioli Casserole

Crock Pot Creme Caramel Bruleed French Toast

Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Crock Pot Low-Country Boil

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Crock Pot Pork Tips and Gravy

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops

Crock Pot Style Gyros

Dr. Pepper Pork Chops

Mom’s Pork Loin

Pizza Meatball Subs

Chipotle’s Carnitas

Simple Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken

I’m going to share with you another recipe today that is a reader recommendation:  Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes from Southern Living.  The addition of sausage really makes the recipe.  Feel free to substitute ground turkey, chicken, or pork for the beef.

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Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Source Southern Living

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (16-oz.) package ground pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped (I used a whole one.)
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (I used red wine vinegar.)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 hamburger buns, toasted
I microwaved the onion and bell pepper for two minutes and browned the meats together in a large skillet.  I then mixed together all of the ingredients in my crock insert.  I cooked on high for four hours.
*The recipe also lists directions for making it only on the stove top if you are pressed for time.
What is your favorite slow cooker recipe?

Meal Plan Monday: Labor Day Week

Meal Plan Monday

Yes, this is my second Labor Day post in less than a week.  And, Happy Labor Day to all Americans and Canadians.  Labor Day is not actually in my list of favorite holidays.  I know the historical background behind it as well as the seasonal connotations behind it, but I’m still very indifferent to it.  Yes, it is the holiday in September.  I got that.  But it always seems to me to be the most under recognized and under utilized holiday of them all.

I can’t even bring myself to be so cliche as to have Josh grill on Monday; we are grilling on Sunday, instead.

Speaking of upcoming holidays, the Canadian Thanksgiving We Plan Wednesday post is upon us.

Saturday:  dinner out

Sunday:  grilled chicken leg quarters, bratwurst, hot dogs with grilled corn

Monday:  Pizza Meatball Subs and chips (and veg sticks)

Tuesday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas, beans  (I am bound and determined to take a pic this time for the upcoming post.)

Wednesday:  soup made from a roast and veg, grilled cheese

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dog/corn dog

Friday:  mini pizzas and corn

Saturday:  Chipotle Carnitas (copycat) tacos (Better in Bulk) and refried beans, chips and salsa

Sunday:  chicken spaghetti from Crock Pot Gourmet, garlic bread, green veg

Muffin Lunches for This Week:

Tuesday:  Meatball sub slider, fruit cup, veg sticks, juice box, chips, pudding cup

Wednesday:  leftover grilled meat (drumstick?), cheese stick, clementine, sweet pickles, Propel water, Churro chex mix

Thursday:  leftover soup in his thermos, cheese stick, plum, chocolate milk, crackers in bag, fruit snack

Friday:  chicken tacos (from leftover ranch chicken enchilada meat), cheese, sour cream, clementine orange, tomato, olives, veg sticks, Kool Aid Burst, cookie

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Meal Plan Monday: It’s Only July and I Don’t Want to Heat Up the Kitchen!

Meal Plan Monday

It’s July, people!  July!  Today, we will hit 100 degrees for the fourth day in a row!  I REFUSE to heat up the kitchen.  I priced it out.  Little Caesar’s is cheaper than running the oven and then the air having to work even more overtime to cool the house afterward.

Until Friday (when I’m having Mexican Pizzas gosh darnit!), there will be NO using of the oven.  If it can’t be made in the slow cooker or cooked outside or made in the slow cooker (repetition intentional), we will eat out.  I’ve drawn that line.

We still have all of August to go through.

It should be noted that not too long ago I was hoping the rain would go away.

Could we have the rain back please?

I have plans to use the slow cooker seven times over this nine-day span.

(Yes, it’s that bad.)

I’ve heard that the area where my in-laws live is under heat advisory being in the low 30s Celsius.  We will be kissing 40 Celsius (at 39ish now) shortly.

I’d really rather not.  For those who are Fahrenheit-inclined, 40 Celsius is 104 Fahrenheit.

It is literally too hot to eat.

If dairy didn’t give me such a problem, I would be drinking shakes and smoothies only, rather than eating.

If it’s bad enough that I can barely choke down a Monterey Melt from Whataburger, we’ve got issues.

Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that I’ve been sick with bronchitis and sinusitis.  I would really like to drink (cold) my meals for the next month or so.

I thought about calling my boss and saying that I’m relocating to Australia (They’re having winter, I believe) for the month of August. (Teachers start back to school on August 5…yay!)  I don’t think she would appreciate that much.

Yes, it’s that bad.

Anyway…enough of my whining…

Saturday:  Chipotle Carnitas

Sunday:  Mom’s Pork Loin

Monday:  Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday:  Crock Pot Dr. Pepper Pork Chops

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  Mexican Pizzas from Life in the Lofthouse (The only concession that I’m making to the oven.)

Saturday:  Crockpot Coconut Lime Chicken from Crock Pot Gourmet

Sunday:  Grill something/anything or leftovers

How are you beating the heat in the kitchen this week?

Meal Plan Monday: A Cinco de Mayo Chipotle-Inspired Feast

Meal Plan Monday

Sunday dawned with two slow cookers percolating in the kitchen (Big Bertha sported pork loin, potatoes, and carrots for Sunday dinner; and ‘Red was filled to the brim with seared beef roast chunks and Ninja’d sauce for Chipotle Barbacoa, much cooled from the version tried last year, using only one chipotle pepper and only one teaspoon–rather than a tablespoon–of the accompanying adobo sauce).

I looked a lot more productive than I felt.  Since before spring break, we have been passing around a spring cold.  Having suffered from a sore throat since Wednesday (causing me to miss Wednesday services at church), the cold settled in my sinuses (and, sorry to be TMI, produced copious amounts of mucus that had to be blown out seemingly every second) by the weekend.

As a result, I didn’t get the tater tot casserole prepped (nor did i get all the chopping for the pico, corn salsa, or cilantro for the cilantro-lime rice).  I did something both Saturday and Sunday that I rarely do:  I took a nap.

But, here’s the meal plan for the week (thank goodness for the productivity of my slow cookers).  I told my mom that I would really like a third (or even a fourth) slow cooker; I could really have been productive while sick on Sunday if I had more.

Saturday:  Home-Alone-(the movie)-Inspired Filthy Animal Pizza from Foxes Love Lemons

Sunday:  my mom’s pork loin, potatoes, and carrots in the slow cooker (with a side of “fried” apples)

Monday:  Smothered Chicken from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, vegetable, bread

Tuesday:  Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Chipotle Barbacoa, Cilantro-Lime Rice, Chipotle Corn Salsa, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole in bowls

Wednesday:  Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole from Michelle’s Tasty Creations and salad

Thursday:  leftovers/hot dogs

Friday:  Crock Pot Pizza Potatoes from Kayotic Kitchen, salad or green veg

Saturday:  Josh is off to grill!

Sunday:  Citrus grilled shrimp (recipe and pictures forthcoming) or Josh’s lasagna (recipe and pictures forthcoming)

What’s your plan for the week?

Meal Plan Monday: Why I’m Thankful for Make-Ahead Meals!

Meal Plan Monday

Recently, my Facebook friends and family were privy to this photo:

Two slow cookers perking away making meals that would not be served that day…or even that week.

The one on the right held Root Beer Pulled Pork using Recipe Girl’s recipe.  The one on the right held the beginnings of Chipotle’s Carnitas from a previous recipe challenge.

This week, after being away at my sister’s for Thanksgiving and arriving home exhausted after family time and shopping and picking out pecans and enjoying myself (and chasing Muffin!), I didn’t do the weekend dinner prep.  I knew this was going to happen and prepped the two slow cookers above for that eventuality…and placed the spoils in the freezer.  This also will be the weekend of putting the tree up which results in snacky eats, many of which will be featured in future posts for the 25 Days of Holiday Goodies.  It is also Josh’s birthday this week, and my parents, as part of our birthday presents, treat us to dinner out.  His birthday is Wednesday, but we are going out Friday for his birthday.  I also work a basketball game this week.  This is a really busy, crazy week!

Sunday:  taco soup (recipe will come soon…I promise)

Monday:  carnitas as tacos

Tuesday:  I work the game (Josh and Muffin are on their own.  I will probably bring something so that I don’t have to worry about leaving the school and getting back on time).

Wednesday:  root beer pulled pork sandwiches (with coleslaw) at my Mom’s (surprise, Mom…if you’re reading this)

Thursday:  leftover taco soup/pulled pork/carnitas

Friday:  Josh’s birthday dinner out

Saturday:  snacky eats for putting up the tree

Sunday:  leftover snacky eats or Pioneer Woman’s Salisbury Steak Meatballs and noodles

Phew!  I think I have it all straight, now.

What do you plan for this week?

Meal Plan Monday: And the Dish That Made Muffin Ask Me Three Times to Make It Again!

Meal Plan Monday

Yah, you read that title right.  Muffin REALLY, REALLY loved a recipe I tried on Saturday.  He ate two helpings.  He danced around.  He begged me THREE times to make them again.

The recipe?

Dr. Pepper Pork Chops.

Five ingredients not counting salt and pepper.  Two ingredients that include one of Josh’s (and Muffin’s) favorite things on Earth (ketchup) and one of my favorite things on Earth (Dr. Pepper).

Six hours in the slow cooker.

A sweet, thick sauce (after a cornstarch thickener) coats the chops.  The original poster used bone-in chops.  I used chops that Josh cut from a pork loin (that normally would have gone into the “meat factory bee-sheen” to make ground pork), boneless.

I used ‘Red (my 5 quart slow cooker) to make it, but you could have gone even smaller.  I drizzled the chops with extra gravy for serving (and I drizzled the gravy on rice, as well).

Muffin ate it all.

Even the corn and green peas that I had mixed together.

And then he ate another chop.

Dr. Pepper Pork Chops (In the Slow Cooker)

Source:  Debbie Doo’s

6 pork chops (I used chops cut from a boneless pork loin)

12 ounces Dr. Pepper (The original recipe calls for a can and a half and my brain mixed this up to a cup and a half, so my recipe is more “tomatoey,” but Muffin loved it this way.  I have a feeling if I made it next time with the full 18 ounces, I would not be allowed to bring it to the table.)

12 ounces ketchup (half of a standard sized bottle)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons cornstarch

In the crock of the slow cooker, whisk together Dr. Pepper, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  Arrange chops so that they are submerged.  You may have to re-submerge or turn them over during the cooking time.  Cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Half an hour before the 6 hours are up (at the 5 1/2 hour mark), remove roughly two cups of liquid from the crock.  Whisk into the liquid 2 tablespoons cornstarch until there are no clumps of white.  The liquid should thicken immediately to almost loose pudding consistency.  Whisk the thickened liquid back into the slow cooker.  If desired, spoon thickened liquid over the chops to coat.  Serve, drizzled with sauce, alongside rice drizzled with sauce.  Muffin ate his shredded and kept calling it “chicken.”

This is a shot of Muffin enjoying his second helping.

Did I mention this recipe was Muffin Approved?

Muffin Approved

But…back to the purpose of this entry.

This week is one of those crazy weeks.  For the un-United States peeps reading the blog, this is the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S.  I’m off work this week, and Josh is off Tuesday-Thursday.

We are heading to my sister’s on Wednesday (Josh will come back Thursday evening for work on Friday; Muffin and I will return on Saturday with my parents).

So, if things below look a bit crazy…that’s because they are.

Saturday:  Dr. Pepper Pork Chops (in the slow cooker!), rice and gravy, salad, green peas and corn

Sunday:  Rotisserie Chicken in the Crock Pot, stuffing (a la Stove Top), black eyed peas, salad

Monday:  Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish rice (one of the recipes of the December series), refried beans, chips and salsa/pico

Tuesday:  leftovers/clean out the fridge before the trip

Wednesday:  dinner at my sister’s

Thursday:  Thanksgiving dinner

Friday:  Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (if I have my way)

Saturday:  Josh prep (He’s off, and Muffin and I will be returning home Saturday afternoon)

Sunday:  chicken taco soup (made from chicken frozen from the previous Sunday’s rotisserie chicken)

If all goes well, I will be posting this to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

What are you planning for this chaotic week?