Cue-ing it Up in the Slow Cooker

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Any time of year is perfect for putting your slow cooker to use, but when temperatures are so hot that you don’t want to put on the oven, it’s even more perfect.   My favorite slow cooker recipes are those that allow me to put the ingredients in and turn it on– no messing up other pans, and minimal prep– AND has a long cook time, so that I can assemble everything in the morning and go about the rest of my day.  This one, by Hungry Girl, not only meets all of those criteria, but it’s also a perfect summer dish– Barbecue pulled pork.  Some baked beans and salad or coleslaw on the side, and you’ve got full meal.

You can see the original recipe here.  Hungry Girl is a great site for recipes, and doubly so if you want a caloric count, or if you’re tracking carb intake or following Weight Watchers.   She also makes a great foldable flat bread that you can buy in supermarkets.  I modified her recipe slightly by using less onions, Splenda brown sugar blend, and using only a pork tenderloin.

You’ll need:

1 cup canned tomato sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Splenda Blend brown sugar

2 tbsp plus 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup chopped onion

1.5 lb. raw boneless pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat.

You start by making your own sauce from ketchup, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, brown sugar blend (if you use regular brown sugar, double the amount you add),  and, if you want to make clean up a breeze, a Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liner.

 

You just pop the sauce ingredients directly in your slow cooker.  Stir them together thoroughly.

 

 

 

After stirring to combine your sauce ingredients, add your chopped onion and whole pork loin.  The big old chunk of it.

 

 

Roll your pork loin around to coat it and the onions in sauce. You want the flavor to get into every bit of the meat.

Turn your slow cooker on for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on high.  You’ll smell everything cooking up nicely.  Your friends will comment on how delicious it smells.  Tell them how easy it was to make, they’ll love you for it.

When it’s cooked through (pork should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees), carefully remove the pork loin and place it in a large bowl.  Shred the pork using two forks.  Just drag the forks through the meat.  It will shred easily if it’s thoroughly cooked.  Shred it nice and fine. Then return it to the slow cooker and stir it into the sauce and juices.  Coat everything evenly.

I eat mine plain or on a bed of lettuce (I call it barbecue salad), which saves me a few carbs and calories.  My husband and boys eat it on hotdog or hamburger buns, depending on what’s handy.  It’s good on anything.  And it makes a lot, so you could even score lunch leftovers out of this minimal effort dish.

If pork is not your thing, try using the same sauce and substituting boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the pork tenderloin.  Just keep in mind that the internal temperature of chicken should be 165 degrees when it’s fully cooked.  I’ve used frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs in similar recipes, and set the slow cooker on high for an hour, then decreased the temperature to low for 6–8 hours.  The chicken will just fall apart when it’s done.

Little effort, no mess, and big taste.  What are your favorite no fuss summer dinners?

 

 

 

 

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