Saturday, April 4, 2015

J-Dawg's Homemade BBQ Sauce

J-Dawg's Homemade BBQ Sauce
J-Dawg's is a restaurant in Utah Valley (created by a BYU business student). Jesse has been there several times and likes their "dawgs." I found this recipe on the Internet, so Jaret made the sauce and served it on a bun with grilled Hillshire Farm Beef Smoked Sausage which he grilled on his George Foreman Grill. We learned that the sausage is too big for his grill, and we should have cut it in half (lengthwise). One package of sausage made 4 servings how we did it, but if we had cut it in half, it would have made 8 servings. This meal was served with corn on the cob and watermelon.

3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat, cool, and serve on grilled hot dogs with good quality buns. If you add criss cross X's all down the dog before grilling, you have more surface area for the sauce.

We used dill pickles and banana peppers as condiments. The restaurant also offers jalapenos, sauerkraut, and yellow mustard. On request, they also have ketchup, celery salt, mayo, relish, and spice brown mustard.

Best-Ever BBQ Ribs

Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs
(We ALL agree with this title! The ribs really were the best-ever! It's the first time we've had baby back ribs at our house. I think you could easily substitute boneless spare ribs which are typically a lot less expensive than the baby back ribs. I think the DRY RUB is the key to making ribs "best-ever." I've never used a dry-rub before on the spare ribs we've cooked, but this recipe has changed my way of thinking about ribs!)

1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

3 - 3 1/2 lbs well-trimmed pork baby back ribs, cut into 4-rib pieces

BBQ SAUCE of your choice (we used Sweet Baby Ray's), or:
1/4 cup ketchup
2 T. packed dark brown sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. soy sauce

Combine dry rub ingredients. Sprinkle over meaty sides of ribs and rub mixture into meat. Place ribs in crock pot. Cover; cook on LOW 7-8 hours or HIGH 3-4 hours or until ribs are tender.

Combine sauce ingredients, or use favorite BBQ sauce of your choice. Remove ribs from crock pot; discard cooking liquid. Coat ribs with sauce; return ribs to crock pot and cook on HIGH 30 minutes, or until ribs are glazed. We served the ribs with French fries and corn on the cob.

Chunky Chili

Chunky Chili
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cans (14 1/2 oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained (we used a quart of tomatoes, blended)
2 can (15 oz each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup prepared salsa
2 T. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
Toppings: shredded cheese, diced onions, black olives

Cook and stir beef and onion in large skillet at medium-high heat until beef is browned and onion is tender. Drain and discard fat. Place beef mixture, tomatoes with juice, beans, salsa, and seasonings in crock pot; stir. Cover; cook on LOW 5-6 hours or until flavors are blended. Serve with toppings, if desired. We had this with scones made from Rhodes rolls.

Chinese Cashew Chicken

Chinese Cashew Chicken
1 can (16 oz) bean sprouts, drained (we used a package of fresh sprouts)
2 cups sliced cooked chicken (we used 2 cooked chicken breasts)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup sliced celery (we sliced diagonally)
1/2 cup chopped green onions with tops (we used 2 green onions)
1 can (4 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained (we used 6 fresh mushrooms, sliced)
3 T. butter
1 T. soy sauce
1 cup whole cashews (we used pieces because they're a lot less expensive)
Hot cooked rice

Combine bean sprouts, chicken, soup, celery, onions, mushrooms, butter and soy sauce in crock pot; mix well. Cover; cook on LOW 4-6 hours or on HIGH 2-3 hours. (Note: if using fresh sprouts and mushrooms, saute them in the butter before adding them to the crock pot.)

Serve over rice. Sprinkle each serving with desired amount of cashews.

Simple Shredded Pork Tacos

Simple Shredded Pork Tacos
2 lbs boneless pork roast
1 cup salsa (we used medium)
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Flour or corn tortillas
Toppings: sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, rice, beans, etc.

Place roast, salsa, chilies, garlic salt and pepper in crock pot. Cover; cook on LOW for 8 hours, or until meat is tender. (The roast we used was partially frozen, so Jaret cooked it on HIGH for about 7 hours before it was tender enough to shred.)

Shred pork roast in crock pot with 2 forks. Mix meat with any juice and chilies in crock pot. Serve on tortillas. Top as desired.

Creamy Peach Smoothie

In an effort to change my lifestyle and develop healthy habits, I created this smoothie recipe. Everyone loves it, and Kaysen even has the recipe memorized (it wasn't hard since there are only 3 ingredients!) so he can make an individual smoothie whenever he wants.

Creamy Fruit Smoothie
1/2 cup skim, 1%, or 2% milk
4 or 5 slices frozen peaches
1/2 fresh banana

Place all ingredients in blender. Mix until blended and thick. Makes 1 serving, 1 WW PointsPlus.

Variation 1: The banana adds the sweetness. If you don't have a banana, you can add a few teaspoons of granulated sugar or agave nectar. (This will add an additional PointsPlus.)

Variation 2: If you don't have an aversion to green drinks, add a small handful of washed baby spinach.

My Favorite Quick & Easy Breakfast

I love oatmeal! I never thought I'd say that, especially when I was younger. Maybe it's an acquired taste. Regardless, the important thing is I love it now, and it's a super healthy way to start my day! One of my goals is to reduce my cholesterol. Oats is one of the best foods to eat to help with that goal.

Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup water
1 tsp. agave or honey
1/4 cup skim, 1%, or 2% milk

Mix oats and water in microwaveable bowl. Cook on HIGH in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in agave or honey. Add a splash of milk. Enjoy! Makes 1 serving, 3 WW PointsPlus.

A note about agave: I'd heard a lot of hype about agave before finally giving it a try. Really, the only reason I purchased it was because I walked by it at Sam's Club, and it seemed to be a reasonable price. I bought Better Body Foods Organic Agave with fiber and calcium, and the package says:

  • it is a low glycemic sweetener
  • it saves calories versus sugar and honey
  • it is great for cooking and baking
  • it is raw & vegan.

I compared calories per tablespoon:

  • agave = 32
  • honey = 60
  • granulated sugar = 48 calories

In my opinion, the important thing is whether or not it tastes good. I'm happy to say that I like it! But I also like honey, and I have a lot of that in our food storage. I'll continue to use both honey and agave.

Sticky Finger Salad

This main dish makes everyone in my family happy. Kaysen is happy because he gets to have chicken fingers for dinner. I'm happy because the main dish is a salad and has lots of vegetables. And Jesse is happy because it's delicious food, and he gets to eat it all!

Amazing Sticky Finger Sauce
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 T. Frank's Hot Sauce
1 1/2 T. corn syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for about 1 minute. Cool. Leftovers will keep in refrigerator. Makes approximately 1 cup; 16 servings; 1 serving = 1 T. = 2 WW PointsPlus.

Sticky Finger Salad
Classic romaine salad
baked and chopped chicken tenders of your choice
shredded cheese
grape tomatoes
thinly sliced red onions
optional add-ins: craisins, chopped apples tossed in lemon juice, brown-sugared chopped pecans

Layer the salad ingredients on individual plates; drizzle salad with Amazing Sticky Finger Sauce and Ranch salad dressing.