So the BOY and I didn’t actually host a dinner party (although that sounds like fun!), but we did have our close friends over for dinner tonight. We love hosting our friends, especially in the summer time when we fire up the grill! When the weather is too cold for grilling, I struggle with what to make for dinner. Since my crockpot has been so helpful this winter, I thought maybe it should be in charge of Saturday night dinner.
Crockpot Pulled Pork
Mac n’ Cheese
The first challenge of dinner was finding pork shoulder or butt for the pulled pork. Thankfully, the BOY is a meat consumer and knew exactly where to go. A few minutes away, we found a little country store that sold a variety of meats.
The pork was precooked so we had to adjust our cooking time/plan a bit.
There are so many pulled pork recipes that it is tough to know where to begin. I ended up going with a variation of the Tex-Mex Pulled Pork from The Big book of Slow Cooker Recipes.
I made a few changes to the sauce and because the pork was smoked and precooked, it added even more flavor! The toughest part of making dinner (besides waiting to see if our pork turned out) was trying to get a picture while the BOY quickly filled his plate.
Even a good picture can’t convey how unbelievably juicy and flavorful the pulled pork turned out! You’ll definitely have to dig out your crockpot and try it for yourself. We made sandwiches with toasted Hawaiian bread and coleslaw. Because the quantity is so big, this would be perfect for a casual dinner party, and we sent our friends home with leftovers. Our friend’s brought a delicious appetizer of crab dip on a tortilla topped with avocado…it was so yummy that I will have to find you the recipe. For sides, we had streamed green beans and baked Mac n’ Cheese.
The eating happened way too quickly to get more pictures of anything other than licked clean plates (certainly not literally). We retreated back to the family room for the 15th basketball game of the night (there were some serious nail biters) and dessert.
Wait until you see what I made for dessert!!! I made two awesome new dessert recipes coming your way later today!
What do you like to serve at dinner parties?
Crockpot Pulled Pork
Adapted from The Big Book of Slow Cooker Recipes
3 pounds pork shoulder or butt
1 sweet onion, diced
8 ounces (or half a 15 ounce can) tomato sauce
1 1/2 – 2 cups BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
1 4.5 ounce can of diced green chile peppers
1 tbsp chili powder
2 heaping tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Coat a large crockpot with cooking spray. In crockpot mix together tomato sauce, bbq sauce, onion, green chile peppers, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
Place pork in slow cooker and spread sauce to coat pork.
Cook on low, according to crockpot directions, 8-10 hours.
About 1 hour before done, shred pork with two forks and stir well into sauce. Cook remaining hour on low.
Note: The recipe above is written for uncooked pork. Since our pork was cooked, we cooked it on low 10 hours for 6 hours. We had to cheat and check often to decide when to shred. You know your crockpot, so choose the settings that you think will work best!
Mac n’ Cheese
From the Weight Watchers Pure Comfort Cookbook
1/2 pound whole wheat macaroni, about 2 cups
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups fat free milk
2 cups shredded fat free cheddar cheese (I used light cheese with 2% milk)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (ie Rotel)
1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Cook macaroni according to directions, omitting salt if desired.
3. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Increase the heat and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the cheeses melt, about 1 minute.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the macaroni and tomatoes without their juice. Pour mixture into the baking dish. Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp butter in small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until they are evenly coated, about 1 minute. Sprinkle over the dish and bake until bubbly and the top is golden, about 25-30 minutes.