slow cooker pork sandwiches

Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches | anutritionisteats.com

So not Christmas cookies. Or Christmas brunch ideas or even really Christmas-related. Which given that we’re only a few days out from Christmas, may not make sense.

But it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s Eve. I’m not trying to rush Christmas, or anything crazy like that. But menus need to be planned, food needs to be considered and drinks, drinks definitely deserve a little thought.

So what are you doing? I’m flying back to LA on New Year’s Eve and to be perfectly honest, I’m not feeling very confident that I’ll be able to stay up until midnight. Last year we had friends over for dinner and we drank fancy champagne – it was perfect! This year? Maybe a nice dinner at home.

Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches | anutritionisteats.com

But we’re getting off-track. These slow-cooked pork sandwiches? Perfect for casual New Year’s Eve get-togethers or New Year’s Day football and lounging.

I absolutely love slow-cooked pork. It’s so versatile, so comforting and so tasty. Usually I keep it ridiculously simple and season it with some garlic, salt and pepper before letting the slow-cooker do it’s magic.

Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches | anutritionisteats.com

Here, pork is seasoned with a flavorful rub and then slow cooks away, until it shreds with the slightest touch. The rub is easy and SO worth the few minutes it takes to pull-together.

Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches | anutritionisteats.com

So the pork cooks away and your work is essentially done. There are a few things to prep, but really, it’s nothing.

Serve the pork sandwiches on baguettes or soft buns with:

  • a variety of mustards (hot, yellow, spicy, etc.)
  • pickles (I went with sweet, but dill would also be great)
  • freshly chopped parsley (always a good idea)
  • cooking juice/broth

Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches | anutritionisteats.com

The mustard and pickles cut through the succulent pork in a superb way. You definitely don’t want to skip them!

Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches | anutritionisteats.com

Oh, and serve with plenty of napkins – it’s juicy!

Slow Cooker Pork Sandwiches
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 3 Tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • 3.5-4 lb pork shoulder
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 baguettes or 8 buns
  • various mustards
  • pickle chips
  • freshly chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Mix together orange zest, rosemary, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper.
  2. Cut 6 small slits into pork and fill with garlic cloves.
  3. Rub pork with spice mixture.
  4. Pour orange juice around the pork.
  5. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
  6. Season with salt & pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve pork sandwiches with various mustards, chopped parsley and pickle chips.
Notes
Nutrition info is for 8 sandwiches.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 561 Fat: 30 grams Carbohydrates: 35 grams Sugar: 3 grams Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 37 grams

 

slow cooker paella

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Is this week over yet? Between having my parents in town (SO fun!), some big projects at work, a work trip to New York this weekend AND looking for someplace to live, I’m ready to collapse.

Which is precisely the time to bring out the slow cooker. (Or, actually collapse…which might happen.) So let’s pull out the slow cooker, slow things down a bit and enjoy a nice, easy dinner. And please drink some wine for me. At minimum, a glass – preferably more.

Paella. In. The. Slow. Cooker.

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.com

This isn’t really authentic paella. It’s more like the paella for those of us who don’t have a paella pan. And don’t really have the time to spend an hour and a half on dinner. And don’t really have the money for dinners that include not only chicken and chorizo, but clams, shrimp and lobster tails.

I like to think of us as normal people. Real people. And people who sometimes need to collapse. :)

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.comThis slow cooker paella takes a half hour of prep work and two hours in the slow cooker. (And NO clams or lobster tails!)

And after it’s finished in the slow cooker, and you’re ready to eat, you must promise me three things:

  1. You’ll squeeze some fresh lemon over each plate
  2. You’ll sprinkle fresh parsley over each plate
  3. You’ll season (each plate) with some (hopefully high-quality) salt if it needs it

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.com

Slow Cooker Paella
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ lb (skinless, boneless) chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups short-grain rice (I used arborio)
  • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 oz cured chorizo, roughly chopped (I found this in the packaged deli meat section)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of saffron
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped parsley for serving
  • lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large pan.
  2. Add chicken and sprinkle with half of paprika and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer chicken to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
  5. Add rice to pan and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to slow cooker.
  6. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  7. Cook on high for 2 hours, until rice is soft.
  8. Stir in peas and let sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with parsley and lemon wedges.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 467 Fat: 12 grams Carbohydrates: 58 grams Sugar: 8 grams Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 27 grams Cholesterol: 81 milligrams

 

slow cooker brats with sauerkraut + potatoes

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

If Wisconsin had a slow cooker-themed meal, this would be it.

And it feels SO appropriate to share a slow cooker recipe with you today, because I finally felt a bit of fall!

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

We spent last weekend in DC and while our first day was sunny and warm, the rest of the time was cold and drizzly. We’ve been craving this type of weather and while I would have preferred to be snuggled up watching movies to “enjoy it,” walking around the national mall made it really sink in. Cold feet, damp clothes and a yearning for anything hot. Hot chocolate, soup or a hearty slow cooker meal. Without access to a slow cooker, I settled for a coffee one afternoon and the next, some hot tea and a bowl of crab soup. Even with the less-than-ideal weather, DC was amazing. We went to the Capitol, walked down the mall, visited the Newseum (LOVED!) and Arlington Cemetery and had some perfect meals: Founding Farmers, Hanks Oyster Bar, Eat the Rich and the cafeteria at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Los Angeles greeted us with warmth and sun upon our return, but that small dose of fall was so very appreciated.

So from oysters to brats…how do you all feel about brats? It’s pretty much part of the culture I grew up in. The local meat market in Baraboo, WI has no less than 22 varieties of brats. We take it very seriously and from the moment it’s warm enough to step outside to grill (and let’s be real – even when it’s not for some) the aroma of brats are essential to spring/summer/fall nights.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Typically, brats are a warm-weather meal, but this slow cooker version takes it into fall and winter. Brats, sauerkraut and potatoes are slowly simmered in a mustardy-beer sauce. And though the result may not be the prettiest food around, the warm, comforting meal more than makes up for it.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Not only does your home (or tiny one bedroom apartment, in our case) smell incredible, but it takes a mere 10 minutes of prep work and some time in the slow cooker. It’s easy. It’s super-satisfying. It’s divine.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds of baby red potatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 5-6 brats (I used a 1lb, 3oz package)
  • 1 cup beer of choice
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Layer potatoes, sauerkraut, onion and garlic in slow cooker.
  2. Nestle brats on top.
  3. Combine beer, mustard and caraway seeds in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
  5. To serve, top with fresh parsley.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 734 Fat: 27 grams Carbohydrates: 85 grams Fiber: 8 grams Protein: 33 grams

 

5 trader joe’s meals (5 ingredients or less!)

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Deep question of the day: where do you guys grocery shop?

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

I tend to shop based on proximity, but the store has to have the natural and organic selection of foods I’m looking for or it just won’t work. In my current neighborhood (West Hollywood!) there are quite a few options within walking distance. I tend to visit most of them (Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Bristol Farms) on a pretty regular basis to see what new foods are out there, but Trader Joe’s is, without a doubt, a weekly stop for me. I can find most of the things I need – and for a pretty reasonable price – but I’ve got to admit that I love the frozen and convenience foods that Trader Joe’s offers. (If you’re ever wondering how something is, just ask. I’ve probably tried it!)

Recently, my friend Lynn and her husband came up with this super-clever buzzfeed video featuring Trader Joe’s mashups:

I loved the video and the premise –  it’s absolutely what inspired this post!

I started brainstorming some of my favorite trader joe’s combinations that fit the following criteria:

  1. under five ingredients (all but one are made with three ingredients)
  2. fairly healthy (all of them come in under or around 500 calories)
  3. include a vegetable (because every meal should!)
  4. delicious (again, because every meal should be!)

Here are the 5 Trader Joe’s meals that I came up with:

Classic Southern Dinner:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Let’s start with an easy, classic meal: bbq chicken breast, mac & cheese and collard greens. Prepare the mac & cheese and bbq chicken as directed and lightly steam or saute the collard greens. *I really like their “reduced-guilt” mac & cheese, but have yet to try the gluten-free variety!

Palak Paneer Eggs:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Why have I not combined Indian food with eggs before? Ah-mazing. Top cooked palak paneer with a fried or poached egg and serve with hot naan. This will definitely become a regular in our meal rotation – perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tortilla Pizza:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats
Tortilla pizzas are one of my favorite meals and considering that I’ve eaten them on  regular basis for years, it was a no-brainer. When topped with sauce, arugula, cheese and turkey meatballs, this is a particularly filling pizza. Simply bake the tortilla until crisp, top with sauce, cheese, arugula and warmed meatballs and bake until cheese has melted. (Brown rice and sprouted tortillas are my favorite to use.)

Chimichurri Rice & Sausage:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Chimichurri rice is a somewhat new item and I’m so glad I finally put it in my cart – it’s delicious (so is the kimchee rice!).  When it’s combined with chicken sausage and a vegetable, you’ve got a balanced dinner that comes together in minutes. Slice and saute the sausage and rice as directed while you roast the broccoli in the oven.

Pasta with Mushrooms & Parmesan:

5 Trader Joe's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

This vegetarian meal is delicious and simple. And absolutely OUTSTANDING if you add a drizzle of truffle oil or sprinkling of truffle salt. Simply prepare the pasta and mushrooms as directed and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Use your favorite pasta variety.

Got any favorite quick meals to share? 

P.S. I’m really sorry if you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s! Come visit and I’ll take you on a tour. :)