Sunday, January 24, 2016

Barbeque Pork Sandwiches and Pasta Salad

Hello Everyone!
I know that I have been a bad blogger and have missed two posts on the two week menu. For this, I apologize.  In my defense, it is Mardi Gras Season in Louisiana.  For those of you who do not live in Louisiana, I know that Mardi Gras is not even a blip on the radar, but down here, it can get busier than Christmas with the different balls and functions that you attend.
This weekend I went to the Apollo Ball on Friday, left the ball and started preparing food for my friend whose daughter was having her first birthday, and was up until 3am preparing food.  I woke up at 7:30am to finish preparing the food and then was at the party til 3pm.  By that point I was dead on my feet and I went home and took a nap. I had every intention of posting when I woke up, but my brain had decided that it was done functioning for the day and I just couldn't write.
So, I have been spending the morning trying to figure out how I should do the two posts.  I thought about doing one long  post, but that seemed a little too much. So I decided that I would post the two blogs that I missed today and then post what I was planning for today sometime later this week.
I do not plan on blogging every day except for when I am doing the two week menus, and I plan on spreading them to about one two week menu per month as I figure out better ways to present them to y'all and make them more enticing and interesting to view.
For now though, I will continue on as I have been doing the past two weeks. Today We are doing Barbeque Pork Sandwiches and Pasta Salad. The sandwiches are made using the last bit of meat that you have left over from when you cooked the pork tenderloin.  They are super easy and super fast to make and are perfect for those nights where you have somewhere to be and you know there will be no food served.  For me, that would be when I have rehearsals for a show so, for those of my friends who are in the theatre, this is a good rehearsal night meal.


Barbeque Pork Sandwiches

To be honest, I do not have a set recipe for this.  It is one of those meals where I throw in a little of this and a little of that and let the spirit move me.  Which I only realized when I sat down to write this recipe.   So, if you want to add things or take things out of this recipe, go for it!  (I know I do.)
Here is a tip for when you are putting in a little of this and a little of that, I learned this from my best friend, Chris,  years ago and it stuck with me--along with her recipe for a homemade breakfast sandwich that kicks all of the restaurant chains breakfast sandwiches in the butt.  If you are putting in all kinds of different herbs and not following a recipe, do the smell test.  Open up the bottles of herbs and smell them along with your main ingredient.  The rule of thumb, which I have found to be usually true, is that they smell good together, they will taste good together.

1-2 cups shredded pork (depending on how much is left over from your roast.)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2-1 cup barbeque sauce (do this per your preference depending on how much you like barbeque sauce, I usually like Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque Sauce but you can use any kind you like--including one you made yourself!)
1/2 cup sherry (or chicken broth/stock)
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
1 tsp.  onion powder (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
(I do not usually add salt to this recipe as I find that there is plenty in the barbeque sauce.  However, if you are using a homemade barbeque sauce, you may want to add a pinch of salt.)
Hamburger bun (Can be put on bread if you don't have any hamburger buns.)

1.  Using a fork, shred the pork roast. You can do this using one fork or two forks.  I usually start with one fork and then work my way up to two.  If shredding is too much work for you, and I have had nights where it has been for me, you can take a knife and chop the pork roast into small pieces, or you can use the food processor to "shred" the pork, making certain that you only pulse a few times or it turns into a weird consistency.
2.  In a large cast iron pot or heavy skillet, put in your shredded pork and 1/4 cup chicken broth.  Since your pork is already cooked, you can lose some moisture when you reheat it, adding the chicken broth will help to keep the meat moist, it will also help keep your meat from sticking to the pan.  Cook on medium heat.
3.  When the liquid in the pan starts to simmer, add all of your remaining ingredients to the pot and stir until combined.  Continue cooking on medium heat until the liquid has reduced and the barbeque pork has reached the desired consistency, usually about 15 minutes.  I like my barbeque pork to slightly thick, so when I put it in the bun, it doesn't run or soak through to the bottom of the bun. (Think of the consistency that you like for sloppy joes and apply the same rules here.)
4.  Put on a bun/bread and serve warm.

Pasta Salad

This is a recipe that I came up with when I could no longer find the Italian Pasta Salad that I loved that Betty Crocker put out.  I don't know if they stopped making it because it wasn't a top seller, or if my local grocery stores stopped carrying it, but I made it my mission in life to try to come up with one similar myself because I loved it so much.  After many experiments, this is the recipe that I came up with.

2 cups tri-colored pasta
1/2 package of Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. truffle oil (optional--but this one ingredient really takes the recipe from something ordinary to something delicious.)
2 tsp. Progresso bread crumbs (I like the Italian or garlic and herb)  This is to taste, if you want to add more, please do.
2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese (Again, add more or less per your personal taste.)

1.  In a medium sized pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  ( I always add about a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of kosher salt to my pasta water, bring it to a boil and then add my pasta.  I find it helps keep the pasta from sticking and adds a little flavor.)
2.  While the pasta is boiling, in a medium/large bowl  combine the Italian Dressing seasoning mix, the mayonnaise and the truffle oil.  Set aside.
3.  When the pasta has reached your preferred pasta consistency, I like mine a little al dente, drain the pasta in a colander.  After the pasta has drained, run cold water over the pasta, mixing/folding with a spoon until all of the pasta becomes cool to the touch. Shake the pasta until most of the moisture is gone.
4.  Pour the pasta into the bowl with the mayonnaise mix and stir until all the pasta is coated.  
5.  Shake bread crumbs over pasta.
6.  Grate the parmesan cheese over the pasta and bread crumbs.
7.  Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for no less than 15 minutes allowing the pasta to cool even more and the flavors to combine.)

TIP:  I usually make the pasta first and allow it to cool in the fridge while I make the barbeque pork.

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