Au Gratin Potatoes with Ham

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIngredients
One box (3.95 ounces) of Idahoan Au Gratin Homestyle Casserole
Ingredients as directed to make the above casserole ^
1 cup of cheddar cheese (I used Braum’s Cheddar Cheese)
1 cup of cubed ham (I used Farmland Cubed Ham)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare potatoes as directed. Add ham and mix gently. Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake as directed.

Allow casserole to rest for about five minutes to let the cheese thicken.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again, the McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub comes to the rescue!

Ingredients
2-3 pound pork shoulder
canola oil, as needed
McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub, to taste
1 cup water
Barbeque sauce, to taste

Directions
Place the pork shoulder into a big enough plastic container; you’ll need the lid, too.

Rub canola oil over the pork shoulder, both sides. You won’t need a lot, just a bit so that it will help the rub stick to the meat.

Now comes the fun part! Pour some pork rub onto one side of the pork shoulder; massage the rub in. Note: unless you use food-grade plastic gloves, your hand will look like this:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ll need to wash your hands after handling raw meat, so it’s really no biggie. Rub a nice coating onto the pork shoulder.

Turn the pork over and repeat. Here’s my pork shoulder, after its massage. It looks pretty happy, doesn’t it?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover the container and allow it to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

In the morning, take out your slow cooker! Pour the water into the slow cooker. Now add the meat. My pork shoulder didn’t quite fit into my small cooker, so I cut it in half and added it to the slow cooker in two layers.

Set slow cooker on HIGH and cook for four hours; remove the meat and flip the meat layers (put the half that was on the top, on the bottom first so it can cook in the juices; put the bottom half on top). Cook for four more hours on LOW.

After the eight hours have passed, turn off the slow cooker and carefully lift the two pieces of meat out into a bowl. My pork shoulder was already falling apart at this stage, which made me very happy!

Using two forks, shred the meat. Taste it and make sure it’s incredible…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you have finished shredding the pork, it’s time to add some barbeque sauce. We love Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce. Add as little or as much as you like.  Serve on buns, with the barbeque sauce available for those who like drippy sandwiches (like my son).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Pork Chops, Rubbed the Right Way

Pork chops are another easy supper.  My favorite way to make them is with McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is for two pork chops; my son and I just each one chop each. The preparation of the chops is very easy.

Ingredients

2 pork chops

2 tsp. canola oil

McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub (to taste)

1/4 cup flour

1 tbsp. canola oil

1/4 cup water

Directions

Take the pork chops and pour 1 tsp. canola oil on the top of both chops; rub the oil into the meat. Then, turn them over and pour the another teaspoon onto the chops and rub that in.

My son loves this pork rub, so for his chop, I will take 1 tbsp. of the rub and massage the rub into one side of the chop. Another 1 tbsp. of rub goes on the other side of the chop. For my chop, I just use maybe 1 tsp. of rub for each side of my chop. Depending on how spicy you like your chops, you can add more or less.

For this meal, I tried something different and dipped the chops in flour after rubbing the seasoning in.

Pour in the 1 tbsp. canola oil into a medium-sized skillet. Turn on medium high and when the oil starts to shimmer, add the chops. Cook on one side for 4 minutes or until the chops are browned; flip them and let the other sides get nice and browned (4 more minutes).

Pour in 1/4 cup water, turn the heat to medium and cover. Let the chops cook for ten minutes; flip them and cook for another ten minutes. Uncover and turn the heat up to medium high again and let the chops sizzle and the water evaporate.

Always, always, always use a meat thermometer! Pork chops should register at 180 degrees F. What I like to do is check their temp and if they’re not quite at 180 F but they’re within five degrees, is remove from heat and cover with foil for five minutes. Meat continues to cook after its removed from the heat source. Before serving, check with meat thermometer again and make sure it’s 180 F.

Your temperatures may vary with your own meat thermometer, thickness of the chops and how hot your stove is. I have a brand new stove and I’m still learning to watch temperatures and when meat is at the proper serving temperature.pork chop plate 1-14-15I didn’t like the way the breading worked on the chops. When I added the water, the breading pretty much fell apart. Next time, I won’t bread them and will just use the rub!