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Is it just me or is this summer FLYING by?! It’s crazy!

Here’s what’s going on in our neck of the woods….

My daughter got glasses! She’s so excited about them, and being able to see, and she just looks absolutely adorable (of course I don’t have any great pictures of her with them on yet…I need to get on that!). I told her someday she’ll probably want contacts and she looked at me like I was insane. “Umm, no, Mommy, I’m NEVER going to want to stick my finger in my eye.”‘

My son is just as fun as ever and cracks us up on a daily basis. The other day we were chatting, and he tells me that he’s famous for being a ninja (obviously) but sometimes he just lies in bed and drinks coffee (also obvious, since he’s my kid).

I asked him, “Oh yeah how do you take your coffee?”

He said, “What do you mean?!….In a mug!”

To clarify, the kid doesn’t actually drink coffee (and definitely does not need it!). 

My mom started working for me! That deserves an entire post of its own, though. I’m very excited about her joining the Rachel Cooks team and I can’t wait for all of you to “meet” her. 

Ben still works all summer, even though he’s in education. Principals don’t get summers off, but he does 4 ten hour days instead of 8 fourteen+ hour days, so I’m enjoying every extra minute of having him home. 

Listening to: Allllways listening to music. Loving this playlist right now that I created for summer beach days. Well, kid-free beach days because there are a few not-kid-friendly words in a couple of the songs. Do kid-free beach days exist? I like to listen to it while I cook, too.

We’re watching: What everyone else is watching, Stranger Things of course! I wish there were more episodes! There aren’t many things that Ben and I enjoy watching together, but we both really like Stranger Things. And apparantly the nightmares it gives us, too.

Things I’m into and/or bought lately: 

  • The very creatively-named Bug Bite Thing – We’ve only used this once (I’ll report back after our week at the cottage), but the reviews are so good, I had to try it. Now if only I can get my kids to not be afraid of it (if you were sitting across the table from me right now, you’d see me rolling my eyes). They come in packs of 1, 2, or 3. I got two.
  • These eye gels – I haven’t tried the night time ones, but I love the daytime variety. I’ve tried a few different eye masks, but these are my favorite to help with puffy under eyes from lack of sleep or allergies.
  • Party Smart – this may seem like a silly recommendation…but if you’re like me, you tend to have a few more cocktails or adult beverages during the summer. What it is about that sunshine that makes you crave a frosty beer? These help me feel great in the morning! I’m not recommending over-indulging…even with just a couple glasses of whatever drink you like, these will help you feel more like yourself in the morning. I like early morning workouts, so this is essential! 
  • This shimmery-sheer lip balm: I’m not a huge lipstick person, but this is just enough color and feels like chapstick. 
  • Completely obsessssed with this hair mask. I was having a ton of issues with my hair being dry and breaking and my stylist suggested this. I use it 2-3 times a week and it’s completely transformed my hair; it’s so much softer now. Love, love, love this stuff. 
  • This watch band for my Apple Watch. My friend Alissa recommended it and I love it. I have it in white…but now that I have the link open, I’m thinking I might need a couple more colors?
  • Watercolor paints. Not gonna lie, I grumble a little when my kids ask to paint. But they love it, and I love that it keeps them busy for awhile. These are really vivid, fantastic watercolors. 
  • This clock: My son has been an early bird from the second he was born and despite all my wishing, he’s still always the first person awake in our family on weekends and summer days. I got them both one of these clocks and he’s been instructed that he can’t leave his room ’til seven…which if you ask me, is still a little too early.

Nordstrom Sale: Tell me, do you want me to share my favorites? I feel like the blogger favorites from the Nordstrom sale are a bit overwhelming and ALL we see online for the 2 or 3 weeks that it is going on. I do love Nordstrom, but if you guys aren’t interested, I won’t waste my time.

Great Summer Recipes:

That’s all for now! I hope you are all having an amazing, relaxing, warm summer! 

The post What’s Poppin’ appeared first on Rachel Cooks®.

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This fresh tomato tart with herbed ricotta tastes like summer on a flaky puff pastry crust. It’s easy to make and visually stunning. Make it for your next party! 

Summer is finally in full swing in Michigan and I am happy happy happy about it. We’ve been fighting summer colds, so I’m not super thrilled about that, but I’ll take the hot summer days nonetheless. 

The kids were both sick over the 4th of July holiday, and I was sick all weekend. 

Ben and I still managed to squeeze in a little fun over the holiday, thanks to kind in-laws willing to babysit so we can keep our plans, despite our kids being under the weather. 

Next Independence Day, I’m whipping up this tart and inviting everyone over! Who’s coming over?

This tomato tart is really easy to make, but it’s so visually stunning. I ordered the tomatoes via Shipt on the day I planned to photograph this, and I’m likely the most high-maintenance Shipt shopper ever, but I tip well. I had originally put heirloom tomatoes and mini heirloom tomatoes on my list, but I knew my chances were slim for late June heirlooms in Michigan. 

Sure enough, my shopper texted me and said there weren’t any large heirlooms. She asked if I wanted kumato tomatoes (they’re the pretty dark ones). I said yes, and then I also asked for the biggest reddest tomatoes they had. 

End of story, I ended up with enough tomatoes for about 6 tarts, but it was worth it. 

Tomato Tart Basics

This tart starts with frozen puff pastry. It’s a great thing to have on hand (you can use it for this asparagus tart, too), and it thaws super quickly at room temp. 

When the tart is thawed, you’ll roll it out a little using a rolling pin and parchment paper. This makes it a little bigger so you have more room for all the good stuff! 

You’ll score the edges to make a crust and then poke the middle all over with a fork. This keeps it from puffing up as much as the rest, so you get that nice crust all the way around the edge. As you can see from the photo below, perfection is not necessary here. 

While you bake the crust, you can prep the ricotta filling. It’s super fresh and flavorful thanks to lots of lemon and fresh herbs. My favorite trifecta of herbs, as a matter of fact: Parsley, chives, and mint. You’ll find the same trio in this addicting feta dip recipe.

It’s fresh and screams spring-summer, but the fresh mint always throws in a little curveball for people…they’re always asking, “What’s in this? It’s so good!” Same with the feta dip — trust me on this one.

When the flaky, irresistible puff pastry has cooled down, you’ll spread on the ricotta mixture. Next, you get to become an artist with the tomatoes, arranging them however way you think looks best! Sprinkle with a little extra herbs (I went with mint), drizzle with the best extra virgin olive oil you have, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. 

It’s appetizer perfection and you are going to L-O-V-E it. 

Other great summer appetizers:

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The post Fresh Tomato Tart with Herbed Ricotta appeared first on Rachel Cooks®.

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The perfect blend of tangy and sweet, these crock pot baked beans are perfect for any BBQ or party! They’ll stay warm all evening, but they’ll disappear quickly!

These beans are not the prettiest recipe on the block, but what slow cooker or crock pot recipe is? 

Despite not being the most attractive to the eyes, they are usually one of the most popular recipes at the party. They’re fantastic for parties because they’ll stay warm all evening in your crock pot. 

It’s a true, real-life story of “It’s not what you look like…it’s what’s inside that counts!” or “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” 

Both apply for these humble-appearing crock pot baked beans. Unassuming and….brown, they aren’t showy until you take a bite.

After that first bite, you’ll realize that they’re packed full of flavor and are the life of the party. They’re the perfect balance of tangy and sweet. And of course, the bites of bacon will keep you coming back for bite after bite after bite. 

As with most of my recipes, you can adjust these to fit your tastes. I should copy and paste that line because I feel like I use it with nearly every recipe. 

But it’s true! I want you to love every single one of my recipes, even if at first glance it doesn’t seem perfect, we’ll make it perfect for you. Don’t you worry! 

So let’s talk.

About these crock pot baked beans:

These really couldn’t be any easier to make, you guys! You’re going to love them for parties because you can flip the slow cooker to warm and they’ll be ready to go all night, until they disappear. They’re based on my recipe for baked beans that are baked in the oven (but don’t click on that link because it’s an OLD recipe and the photos are B-A-D). 

They’re nice and tangy thanks to ketchup, mustard, and vinegar; and they’re sticky sweet thanks to dark brown sugar and molasses. 

The flavor is deepened with onions and bacon and they’re just irresistible. My daughter is obsessed. My son eats nothing. 

How to make these slow cooker baked beans your own:
  • Feeling lazy or short on time? I GET IT. I really, really get it. Between you and me….Bush’s Beans are quite tasty. Throw in a can of the butter beans and the bacon with a couple of cans of Bush’s…maybe a splash of vinegar to tone down the sweetness of the canned beans, and everyone will think you made them from scratch. Your secret is 100% safe with me.
  • Make vegetarian (and vegan, for that matter) by leaving out the bacon. Such a simple change! You could add back some of the smokiness by adding a splash (1/2 – 1 teaspoon) of liquid smoke, or 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (the paprika would be my first choice). 
  • Beef them up: Want them to be even heartier? Brown a pound of ground beef and add that to the mix. 
  • Want BBQ baked beans? Try using your favorite barbecue sauce instead of ketchup.
  • Make them extra smoky: Try adding 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
  • Add some heat: Add 1 diced jalapeño (leave the ribs and seeds in for extra heat), or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder. 
  • Like them extra sweet? Add more brown sugar, or add honey or maple syrup. 

Best Foods to Eat with Baked Beans:

This list is endless in my opinion, but I love them with traditional BBQ foods. Consider:

Other side dishes for a perfect BBQ:

Okay this list is also endless, but here are a few reader favorites from Rachel Cooks, and a few that I love from other sites: 

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This is the best classic taco salad recipe that everyone LOVES. You’ll also find lots of ways to adapt it and make it just the way you like it!

There is just something about the classic taco salad recipe that is so appealing to me. Whoever originally decided to crush up Doritos and put them into a salad with all the taco fixings deserves a medal. 

I put my own spin on this classic recipe to make it a touch healthier by using homemade catalina dressing. Of course, you’re more than welcome to use the bottled dressing, too. I may or may not have a bottle in my fridge right now as a back-up plan. No judgment here! 

I’ll also, as usual, suggest some ways to make this your own or tweak it to fit a certain diet or make it a tad healthier. I wanted to start with a really classic version of taco salad though, because it’s just so great in that form. It’s a universal crowd pleaser (although I’m sitting next to my mom right now and I’m willing to bet if I asked her, she’d probably turn her nose up just a bit at the ground beef and Doritos – going to ask her, stay tuned), and it’s a picnic and bbq staple. 

So let’s start with the basics.

What’s in a taco salad?

Clearly, this is up to you. You’re the boss! Here are the basics, and then we’ll talk about how you can switch it up.

  • Lettuce
  • Cheese
  • Beans
  • Seasoned Ground Beef
  • Doritos
  • Dressing

So those are the ingredients, boiled down to the very basics. But it’s a salad, and salads are made for fixing up and making them just the way you want them.

How I make taco salad & how you can do it differently:
  • Lettuce: Obviously lettuce is the base of the recipe, and usually iceberg lettuce is the standard option. I went for romaine because I like my lettuce to be a little more green than iceberg typically is. Either one will work! Leaf lettuce would also be good. 
  • Cheese: I like the bold taste of sharp cheddar. Like things a little hotter? Try a pepper jack. Wanna get a little fancy? Try cotija or queso fresco.
  • Ground Beef: I go with an extra lean ground beef, but you could also use ground turkey or ground chicken if you’re not into red meat. The beef gets browned with taco seasoning. I, of course, always use my recipe for homemade taco seasoning. You could also make it vegetarian by leaving out the meat and doubling up on the beans. 
  • Beans: I always choose pinto. Black beans would also work well. 
  • Green Onion: Not a classic add-in, but I love the flavor it adds.
  • Dressing: I use my homemade catalina but you could also do store-bought. You could use French dressing as well (store-bought or homemade).
  • Doritos: I just love them in this. I think they’re what makes this salad so irresistible, but if you want to leave them out, go for it! Fritos would be delicious too, if you wanted to mix it up a little. 
  • Add-ins: I went with the classics, but try adding in cilantro, jalapeno, chopped bell peppers, or whatever your heart desires!

The “don’ts” of taco salad:

Of course, there are lots of things you can do, but there are a few things you shouldn’t do. 

  • Lettuce: This is not the place for fancy microgreens or even a spring mix. They’ll get trampled by all the other salad mix-ins here, you need a sturdier lettuce to hold up to all of that. Stick with romaine, romaine hearts, leaf lettuce, or good ol’ iceberg lettuce.
  • Don’t mix in the chips until immediately prior to serving. They’ll be soggy and gross and the point of the chips is to add that great crunch. 
  • That’s all really! 

PS: I asked my mom and she embarrassedly admitted, “Oh yeah, I actually really do like taco salad. There’s just something about it.” There really is just something about it. It’s so stinking good.  

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The post Taco Salad Recipe – with optional homemade dressing appeared first on Rachel Cooks®.

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The perfect blend of tangy and sweet, this homemade catalina dressing is great on homemade taco salads and so much else!

I recently gave you guys an entire list of homemade salad dressing recipes, and I already have one to add to that list! And this is a good one. It’s a take on catalina dressing, which is a variety of french dressing. 

It’s sweet but tangy, zesty, creamy (but dairy-free), and so super easy to make! In typical Rachel fashion, I tried to tweak it a little to make it a touch healthier. 

When I was researching and planning this recipe, I noticed that many existing recipes for catalina dressing included granulated sugar. Now, I eat my fair share of the stuff, but I do try to cut out refined sugars when possible to make things a touch more healthy.

Instead I used honey (even better, Michigan honey!). You could also use agave, which has a slightly more neutral taste. When you use honey in this recipe, you can taste it. Especially if you use an amazing local honey like I did. I love that you can pick up hints of honey, but if you want something more true to the bottled catalina dressing, try using agave. Or just stick with granulated sugar! Don’t forget, this is always and forever no-judgement zone.

What’s in this catalina dressing?

Well, besides honey, here’s what’s in it:

  • ketchup (look for a kind without high fructose corn syrup!)
  • red wine vinegar
  • paprika
  • onion powder
  • celery seed
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • garlic powder
  • oil – I use grapeseed, but you can choose any oil that doesn’t have much flavor. Consider light olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil

Instead of shaking these up in a jar like I typically do with dressings, I created an emulsion by using my hand blender (aka immersion blender). You could also use a traditional blender for this. 

To do this, you blend everything except the oil together and then slowly add the oil while you’re blending. This will do two things for the dressing. First, it thickens the dressing and gives it that creamy consistency without adding any dairy ingredients. Secondly, it helps prevent separation, so you get the dressing you want on your salad every time instead of just pouring the oil off the top of your separated dressing.

I hope you guys love this dressing! Stay tuned for the taco salad that goes with it! 

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More than 15 delicious, easy, and healthy salad dressing recipes – you might never go back to bottled dressing again!

Anyone else hate how much room salad dressing bottles take up in your fridge? Or how many weird ingredients are in those bottles? Don’t get me wrong, I keep a couple bottles of my faves in the fridge for a quick salad, but when homemade dressing is so easy to make, it’s hard not to default to that option. You have more control over the ingredients, more flexibility in the flavors, it’s cheaper, and 99% of the time, they taste way better. Unless you screw something up. It happens. 

I’ll be adding to this list as I develop new dressing recipes, so this is a great page to bookmark or pin and refer back to when you’re ready to dress a killer salad. I start the list with salad dressings, and I’ll end the list with salad recipes that involve a salad dressing. You can of course use those dressings on any type of salad you’d like.

Once you have the dressings down, don’t forget about toppings! Try homemade croutons, crispy chickpeas, or seasoned tortilla strips. They’re all so great on salads!

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The post The Best Salad Dressing Recipes appeared first on Rachel Cooks®.

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This bruschetta chicken is the perfect summer chicken recipe and it’s made in one pan! Browse all the adaptations to make it your own.

I know I say this all the time, buuuut I’m going to do it again.

I like all my recipes. I do! Sometimes I put things in them that I know would complement the flavors well, even if I don’t personally like them (I’m looking at you, olives in my tortellini salad). And sometimes I make recipes with shrimp because I know most people would love a good shrimp taco. And I’ll straight up tell you guys…I’ll tell you that I don’t like olives and I picked them out! I’ll tell you that I tried a shrimp to make sure the flavors were on point, and then gave the rest to the guys installing our windows. 

But then there are the recipes that my family ends up eating time and time again because we love them so much. This bruschetta chicken recipe is destined to be one of those recipes. If you wanted to take the bruschetta-ness to the next level, you could serve this with my bruschetta pasta salad (a reader favorite!). 

This chicken is really easy to prepare and you could also adapt it slightly (as always!). We’ll talk more about that in a minute. It’s also naturally gluten-free (keto, too!). 

About this bruschetta chicken

You begin with a flavorful and zesty bruschetta topping. It starts with lots of ripe tomatoes (mine weren’t super ripe on the day I shot these photos, but you gotta work with what you have). I take the seeds out but if you’re in a rush, you could skip that step and your topping would be slightly juicier. 

To the tomatoes, you’ll add diced red onion, minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, salt, and pepper. 

You’ll combine this mixture and let all the flavors meld a little bit before you cook the chicken. I left the basil out so it would stay nice and green, and I also left the cheese out so that it would maintain its white color. I also used white balsamic vinegar so that the colors would stay bright and vibrant. All of these things are completely optional. 

How to make it your own:
  • Pump up the flavor: Try marinating it in balsamic marinade for 2-24 hours before cooking.
  • No grill pan? No problem, you can make this in any oven-safe skillet or frying pan. I just have a think for grill marks. 
  • Take it outside: This would be fantastic grilled on any type of grill! 
  • To make dairy-free: Just leave out the Parmesan cheese!
  • To make Whole30 compliant and Paleo: Again, just leave out the cheese.
  • To take it up a notch: Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Honestly, I 100% meant to when I shot these photos, but forgot. Thankfully, it’s great both ways.
  • Make it extra cheesy: Try adding small pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese instead of or in addition to the Parmesan cheese.
  • Want to use chicken thighs? GO FOR IT. This topping would also be tasty on pork chops…or even tofu, I bet! 
  • Don’t like raw onions? You have a couple of options here. First, keep in mind that while they sit and mingle with the olive oil and vinegar, they do lose their bite a little and become much more mild. You could also soak them in ice water for 10 minutes before adding them. This also takes out some of their bite. Or, of course, you could leave them out. 
What to serve with bruschetta chicken:

The options are endless, as usual. I already mentioned the bruschetta orzo salad, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It would also be fantastic with some warm, crusty bread and this irresistible bread dipping oil. You can’t go wrong with a fresh, crisp green salad with homemade healthy ranch dressing. It would also be great with a simple pasta like this cacio e pepe

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Creamy and smooth no churn chocolate ice cream is easy to make without an ice cream maker! Add chocolate chips for double the chocolate!

As many of you know, my kids both have severe food allergies. My little lady is allergic to all nuts, and my son is allergic to nuts and sesame. Ice cream is without a doubt one of the most difficult foods to find a safe option for them (tied with cupcakes and doughnuts). Ice cream shop visits in the summer are pretty much out of the question. Those fun fro-yo bars where you can add your own toppings? Not a chance. 

It makes me feel sad, like they’re missing out on some part of their childhood, but it is what it is and we just make the best of it. One of the things I can do is make homemade ice cream as a fun treat, and this no churn ice cream couldn’t be easier to make. They are obsessssssed with all the chocolate in this flavor of ice cream. It’s creamy, melty, cold, and rich…and it’s the best taste of summer I can give my kids. 

Oh and I don’t have to haul out my ice cream maker and since I’m slightly lazy, that’s a win-win. 

How to make no churn ice cream

This no churn chocolate ice cream starts just like my other no churn ice cream recipes, the three ingredient vanilla ice cream and this yummy cinnamon ice cream. They all start with two basic ingredients: heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. You don’t even need to add sugar because the sweetened condensed milk has plenty of it. 

How can I adapt this to make it my own?

I know sometimes I’ll tell you guys how to make a recipe Whole30/Paleo/Vegetarian/Keto/Whatever, but yeah…that’s not happening here. Ice cream is ice cream and while there are some great dairy-free varieties out there (I think maybe that might be true??), this is not one of them. 

This is creamy, rich, decadent ice cream. However! I will tell you some fun add-ins to create your own twists on this.

  • Rocky Road! If you aren’t a nut-allergy fam, try adding mini marshmallows and nuts. I like almonds or peanuts in rocky road, but go crazy with whatever you like! Fold them in where you fold in the chocolate chips in the recipe below.
  • Fudge swirl. Want triple chocolate? I’m with you! After you pour the ice cream into the pan, drizzle with 1/2 cup hot fudge sauce and swirl it in using a knife. This will give you big beautiful ribbons of hot fudge when you grab a scoop of the ice cream, rather than it unintentionally getting all stirred in. This method would also be great for caramel or peanut butter – just warm the peanut butter a little first in the microwave (30 seconds should do) so you can pour it. How good does peanut butter sound??? I miss it so much.
  • Mocha ice cream. Add in 1 tablespoon of espresso powder when you add the cocoa powder. Yum!
  • Mexican hot chocolate. Such a good combo! Add in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a little pinch of cayenne when you add the cooca powder to the recipe.
  • The world is your oyster! What would you put in this ice cream?

What does no churn mean?

This is a surprisingly common question that people have! Traditional ice cream is “churned” in an ice cream maker of some sort. There are different varieties, but most all of them have something that turns and moves the ice cream (churns it) while a frozen bowl or container chills the ice cream.

This yields that super creamy texture that you want from a good ice cream by preventing it from freezing from the outside in only, in a solid block. The movement allows the ice cream to freeze more evenly and adds lots of air, making it super soft, creamy, and smooth. The partial freezing also allows the ice cream to thicken slightly so that when you add mix-ins, they don’t all sink to the bottom.

So, with that being said, no churn means you skip that process, and you don’t need extra equipment in your kitchen. You just need a stand mixer or hand mixer to whip the cream. You can also whip the cream by hand but it will take significantly longer…I’ve done it before (I think a baby was napping), and while it’s doable….it’s not enjoyable. 

The mixture is pretty thick even before you freeze it, so you can safely add in all those chocolate chips without worrying about them sinking straight to the bottom of your container. 

This ice cream is the perfect summer treat; I hope you guys try it and love it! 

More great summer treats:

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The post No Churn Chocolate Ice Cream (double chocolate!) appeared first on Rachel Cooks®.

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A warm roasted romaine salad made all on one pan in less than 45 minutes start to finish! Bonus “chicken nuggets” if your kiddos love them! 

Half salad, half sheet pan dinner, 100% delicious. This is a twist on grilled romaine, which if you haven’t had it, is so good! It might sound strange if it’s new to you, but it gets charred and softened on the outside and it’s still super crisp on the inside. It’s so yummy and you can achieve the same textural contrast by roasting it in the oven. 

I made it into a wedge salad type situation that can act as an entire meal by cooking a few other things on the sheet pan along with the roasted romaine. I made crispy chicken pieces (I don’t want to call them nuggets…..buuuuuuut if all your kids will eat are chicken nuggets, let’s just say this meal will kill two birds with one stone. Or should I say kill two birds with one sharp knife and a 425ºF oven?

Moving on…

I also added some juicy roasted grape tomatoes and roasted garlic. The roasted tomatoes turn so sweet and flavorful in the oven and the garlic adds a punch of flavor that’s perfect with the roasted romaine and chicken.

I crammed mine all onto one sheet pan, but to be honest, you could probably spread this out a little and put it on two sheet pans. I hate dishes though…so if you’re like me, do what you gotta do, okay? I’ll just say that it’s better if it’s not super crowded on the pan.

When this comes out of the oven, you have two choices. You can eat it all separately (that’s 100% Ben’s M.O.), or you can eat it as a delicious warm salad.

I love drizzling this with balsamic reduction, that’s all it really needs to tie it all together into a pretty amazing meal. 

Unlike some sheet pan dinners where you can throw it all in at the same time and practically forget about it, this one needs a little more attention. Each element requires a slightly different cooking time, so you’ll put them on the sheet pan gradually. 

You start with the tomatoes and garlic, to give them a head start to really develop their natural sweetness. While those cook for 10 minutes, it’s the perfect opportunity to quickly prep the chicken.

After you add the chicken, you’ll have another 10 minutes to prep the romaine. All in all, this recipe still will only take 30-40 minutes to cook start to finish.

More Sheet Pan Dinners

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Instant Pot pulled pork is going to become your new favorite way to achieve perfectly cooked pulled pork in an hour and a half start to finish. 

Sometimes it’s hard to write a whole bunch of words about a recipe. I just asked my kids, what should I write about this pulled pork? My little man, N, who is 6 said, “write pulled pork is gross!”

Thanks a lot, kid.

He likes hardly anything…it’s really a blast. 

Almost everyone likes pulled pork though…his loss! I love pulled pork for parties, for giving to families in need, or for a good weeknight dinner that will probably feed us for three nights. Pulled pork is a jack of all trades. Make it in your smoker/grill (really no replacement for that, but sometimes that method isn’t feasible), make it in your slow cooker, or make it in your Instant Pot! 

Here’s what I’ll say. I’ve used my slow cooker maybe 2 or 3 times since buying my Instant Pot, and I’ve had it for probably a couple of years now. If I had to choose between slow cooker pulled pork and Instant Pot pulled pork, it would be an easy decision and the Instant Pot would win every time. Here’s why:

  • It’s faster! Instant Pot pulled pork is ready in less than an hour and a half. Even if you cook it on high in the slow cooker, you’ll need at least four hours.
  • The texture is better. I feel like everything tastes the same when it comes out of the slow cooker and just has a generally mushy texture.

About this Instant Pot Pulled Pork

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s super versatile. You can use a few different types of pork, you can use any type of barbecue sauce you like (I recommend homemade BBQ sauce), you can use the spice mixture I outline in this recipe or you can use a BBQ rub

You can put the onions in for added flavor, or you can leave them out. You can mix the cooked onions into the pulled pork after cooking, or you can discard them.

You can brown the meat before pressure cooking it, or you can skip that step (I skip it!). 

You can swap out the broth for Dr. Pepper or root beer if that’s your thing. 

You can 100% make this pork exactly the way your family likes it, and that is the beauty of this easy pulled pork recipe.

What kind of pork should I used for pulled pork?

Okay here’s the thing. IT’S UP TO YOU! The classic choice is a pork shoulder or a pork butt. Oddly enough, they’re nearly the same thing…don’t know what genius came up with the names, but it is what it is. They are a little bit different, but there’s a good chance that you’re going to find one or the other at your grocery store, not both. Either one will work great for this recipe. I always use pork shoulder or pork butt when I’m using my smoker to make pulled pork, or when I’m serving a crowd. Because it really is the best and tastiest choice. 

The next most common choice is a pork loin. Pork loin is more lean — there is less fat marbling. It will be slightly more dry, but it is a lower calorie option. It will still pull apart just fine, but might not fall apart quite as easily as a pork shoulder or pork butt will. A pork loin is usually my go-to when I’m only serving my family.

The third option is a pork tenderloin. To be fair, I wouldn’t really typically consider or recommend a pork tenderloin for pulled pork. It’s a more expensive cut and shines on its own (try this spice rubbed pork tenderloin, it is amazing!). HOWEVER, my Shipt shopper brought me one by accident on the day I was shooting this recipe, so I ran with it. Not surprisingly, it was delicious! Still wouldn’t be my first choice for pulled pork, but I wanted you to know that it works. 

Tip: Take it to the next level! Try topping this pulled pork with homemade healthy coleslaw, pickled red onions, or pickled radishes.

What to do with leftover pulled pork 

It seems like there is always pulled pork leftover. It makes a lot! Thankfully, this recipe freezes great and will be just fine in your freezer for up to a couple of months. 

Other options? Try it:

(more…)

The post Instant Pot Pulled Pork appeared first on Rachel Cooks®.

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