Saturday, January 17, 2015

Low Carb and (Nearly) Gluten-Free...and You'd Never Know It!

I went to Aldi the other day, and they had this GINORMOUS, nine-pound pork shoulder roast on sale for $1.99 a pound. I bought it, split it, and froze half of it for another meal. Then I trolled the internet for recipe ideas (search terms: "crock pot" and "pork roast") and found a good one on Skinny Taste. I used their recipe as a jumping off point, made a some additions and adjustments, and it turned out great! I just love it when the crock pot does most of the work for me.

For a side dish, I saw this loaded cauliflower bake scrolling by on my FB newsfeed recently and thought it looked pretty yummy, despite the fact that I hate cauliflower. My diabetic roommate is still trying to cut carbs (and it wouldn't hurt me, either!), plus, I figured the pulled pork and cauliflower mash would taste yummy together...and I was right! All the flavorful additions would fool the most ardent cauliflower hater like me. This meal is also low carb, and if you used gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos (or just omitted the soy sauce), and gluten-free beer or just vegetable broth alone, it would also be gluten-free. So maybe this dinner will help you keep some resolutions while still feeling indulgent.

Crock Pot Balsamic Pulled Pork 

1/2 cup beer
1 teaspoon vegetable soup base
1 onion, slivered
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Pour the beer into the crock pot, stir in the soup base (or you can just use 1/2 cup of vegetable broth instead), and add the slivered onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

In a large skillet on medium, heat the olive oil. Season the pork roast with Cajun seasoning, then brown on all sides. Place the browned roast in the crock pot and pour over the balsamic, Worcestershire, soy sauce, and honey. Cook for about four hours on high (or eight hours on low), or until it's tender enough to pull apart easily with two forks. If you are around the house while it's cooking, flip the roast about once an hour so each side gets to soak up the savory liquid.

When it's tender, pull the pork, and return it to the delicious broth and let it go for at least another half an hour or so on low. Serve over mashed potatoes or cauliflower, or soft polenta for an entree, or make a killer sandwich with it!

Loaded Mashed Cauliflower Bake

1 medium head cauliflower, leaves and core removed, broken into florets
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped green onions or chives, divided
6 slices of chopped crispy bacon, divided (don't you DARE use "bacon bits")
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
Cajun seasoning and black pepper, to taste

Place the cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe dish with a lid and add the water. Cover and microwave for 12-15 minutes, or until cauliflower is completely tender and mashable. Drain and mash with potato masher or pastry cutter to desired consistency.

Stir in the sour cream, mayo, a half cup of the cheese, one tablespoon of the green onions or chives, and half of the chopped bacon. Season with the granulated garlic, Cajun seasoning, and black pepper. Taste the mixture and make any adjustments you deem appropriate.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and bacon, and bake for another five minutes until the cheese is completely melted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the rest of the green onions or chives.


Anonymous said...

You haven't updated your blog for a while. Just wondering how you're doing and hoping you're okay (if it's not too creepy and presumptuous of a total stranger to say so). I found your blog recently and enjoyed your crockpot recipes and insight about living in the Northeast. Thanks for sharing! --AI

Joy Bugaloo said...

Hey, total stranger, or better yet, new friend Al! THANKS so much for noticing my prolonged absence and worrying about me. Happily, rumors of my (blog) death have been greatly exaggerated! I am alive and kicking, but I have been extraordinarily busy this year. You may notice that the last time I updated was in January, when I was on my winter break from teaching college. Spring semester was CRAZED, then I went right into summer school and rehearsals for a show that's running right now. Next week, my roomie and I leave for Maine for a week of well-deserved R&R, and when I return home and finally have a bit of summer break, getting my blog caught up is priority ONE! Again, thanks for checking in. As Arnold says, "I'LL BE BACK!" --Gina