Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

Yesterday felt like fall, and I wanted to make something warm and comforting. I had heard spaghetti squash could be a decent substitute for regular pasta, so I picked one up at the farmer's market. Turns out, it can be used as a tasty and healthy alternative to spaghetti. At least every now and then.


1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds with a spoon
2 chicken cutlets (or 1 breast butterflied and cut in half)
2 - 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
28 oz. can san marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil (plus some for tomato sauce and squash)
1/2 cup parmesan
1 tbsp. basil


Coat medium sauce pot with olive oil and heat over medium. Add onion and sprinkle with salt. (This helps to sweat the onion.) Cook until translucent and soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add san marzano tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Depending on your tomatoes, the sauce might be bitter; if it's bitter, you can add a little sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°. Sprinkle spaghetti squash with salt, pepper, and cup olive oil. Cook facing down on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Let cool slightly and use fork to pull spaghetti squash away from skin.

While the squash is cooking, marinate chicken in 1/4 cup olive oil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes. Heat oven safe pan over medium high heat. Sear chicken for 2 minutes, flip and coat top of chicken with generous serving of sauce sauce, then top with
mozzarella, and parmesan. Bake at 450° for 3-5 minutes, until cheese begins to bubble and brown. Broil if necessary. Remove from pan, sprinkle with basil and extra parmesan and serve over spaghetti squash.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce and Watermelon Radish Slaw

This was my first attempt at using the Big Green Egg. I decided to go with a southern favorite, pulled pork. I am not a fan of mayonnaise based coleslaw but wanted something to compliment the sweet and juicy pulled pork. I made a vinegar based slaw with watermelon radish, which added a great crunch to the sandwich and the bitterness of the radish balanced out the sweetness of the pork.

Pulled Pork:


Bone in pork shoulder, about 7 lbs, fat cap trimmed (I think it is juicy enough without the extra fat)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp mild paprika
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Hamburger buns


In small bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Rub on pork. Marinate overnight in refrigerator.

Remove pork shoulder from refrigerator at least an hour before cooking. Heat smoker to 250°. Cook for about 10 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 190°. Wrap pork shoulder tightly in aluminum foil and let rest for 30 minutes. Internal temperature should reach 195°. Remove bone and using two forks shred pork, removing excess cartilage and fat. Serve on hamburger bun with slaw and barbecue sauce.

Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce:


2 cups apple cider vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced
Dash hot sauce (I used Texas Pete to keep it a true NC sauce) 
1 tbsp crushed red pepper 
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper 
1 tbsp honey 


In small saucepan, combine vinegar, garlic, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for 15-20 minutes. Take off heat and whisk in honey. Let cool before serving.

Watermelon Radish Slaw:


1 watermelon radish, julienned 

3/4 head green cabbage, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper


In large bowl, mix the radish, cabbage, and carrot. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour sauce over cabbage mixture and stir to combine. Put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 12, 2013