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  1. Wednesday, October 14, 2015

    Homemade Slow Cooker Sweet Korean BBQ Beef

    Two years ago I wrote a sponsored post for Campbell’s when they launched their new line of dinner sauces. The flavor I featured was the Sweet Korean BBQ. We LOVED it and I have used that Campbell’s product many times since I wrote that sponsored post. I have also gotten other people hooked on it. It’s really easy and delicious!

    homemade slow cooker sweet korean bbq beef from @janemaynard

    Well, I had Korean BBQ tacos on the menu a few weeks ago but could not for the life of me find the Campbell’s sauce at the store. But by that point I was totally craving the tacos and needed to figure out how to make them happen, even without help from Campbell’s.

    So, I created a homemade version of Campbell’s Sweet Korean BBQ dinner sauce. I’m pretty sure when they paid me to write about their delicious sauce they weren’t anticipating this move, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? AND I still love their version of the sauce and highly recommend it. That said, if you want to make the sweet Korean BBQ sauce from scratch, now you can!

    homemade slow cooker sweet korean bbq beef from @janemaynard

    This Korean BBQ meat is tasty served simply over rice with a veggie on the side, but our favorite way to enjoy it is in tacos. Whenever we have the Korean BBQ tacos, every single person in the family eats all of their dinner. It’s miraculous and wonderful.

    homemade slow cooker sweet korean bbq beef from @janemaynard

    Here’s the best part about the homemade version of the sweet Korean BBQ: it is seriously EASY to make. It takes like 1 minute longer than the store bought version, bringing you to about 2 minutes of prep time total. Also, I’m 90% sure you already have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your kitchen, making this a great go-to dinner recipe.


    Homemade Slow Cooker Sweet Korean BBQ Beef
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    This slow cooker beef is perfect served over rice or as tacos/burritos!
    Serves: 6-12
    • 1½ - 3 pounds beef roast (chuck roast/chuck shoulder/round roast/rump roast/bottom round all work well!)
    • ½ cup soy sauce
    • ¼ cup apple juice
    • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 6 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • When Served as an Entree, also cook jasmine rice
    • For tacos: Flour tortillas, Quick Asian Slaw (see recipe below), Sour Cream, Hot Sauce (optional), Fresh Chopped Cilantro (optional)
    • For burritos: Taco ingredients + cooked jasmine rice
    1. In your slow cooker pot, whisk together all of the ingredients except the roast.
    2. Place roast in the slow cooker, flip over, then cook on low for 7-8 hours, turning roast 2-4 times during cooktime.
    3. Serve on flour tortillas topped with sour cream and slaw, plus hot sauce and cilantro if using, to make tacos. Add rice to make burritos. WARNING: These tacos are very drippy, but it's worth the mess! As my 4-year-old Owen tells everyone, "Make sure you lean over your plate!" Wonder where he got that from...
    Each 1 pound of beef cooked will make about 6 generous tacos and would serve around 4 as an entree on rice.

    Quick Asian Slaw
    Prep time
    Total time
    I make this to top our Korean BBQ tacos!
    • 1 16-ounce package cabbage-based coleslaw from the produce section at the store (plain cabbage or cabbage with carrots both work great!)
    • ¼ cup white or rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
    • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes optional)
    1. Whisk together all ingredients, except the coleslaw, in a large bowl. Add coleslaw, stir well.


  2. Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Easy Homemade Carnitas, My New Favorite!

    I love carnitas. Well, let me clarify, I love good carnitas. I’ve had bad carnitas and, well, not only do I not love bad carnitas, when I’ve had bad carnitas, the experience was traumatic. But good carnitas? Well, good carnitas are downright irresistible. It’s definitely one of my favorite meat dishes.

    easy and delicious homemade carnitas with the crock pot from @janemaynard

    I live in Southern California where Mexican food is as common as a hamburger, so we’ve been eating carnitas for years, even pre-Chipotle. I think most people probably know about carnitas nowadays, but in case you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, carnitas (which translates as “little meats”) is a Mexican pork dish where the pork is cooked for a long time and comes out all tender and delicious like.

    easy and delicious homemade carnitas with the crock pot from @janemaynard

    As you now know, I love these ‘little meats’ a lot, but for some reason I never thought of making carnitas myself. But last week I was like, “Self, why don’t you make your own carnitas already?” And I was like, “Self, you are totally right.” And then I did. And it was awesome.

    easy and delicious homemade carnitas with the crock pot from @janemaynard

    Here’s the thing. The carnitas came out perfectly. So so so so good. And it was crazy easy to make. Also, pork shoulder is my new favorite cut of meat. I am for sure going to use it next time we do Korean BBQ beef tacos. Why was I so clueless about pork shoulder and the fact that homemade carnitas is basically the best thing EVER? And I call myself a food blogger!

    I had googled carnitas recipes and read through a whole bunch of them and was leaning towards Melissa D’Arabian’s recipe. Then Sara commented on my menu a few weeks ago specifically saying to try that recipe, even though I hadn’t mentioned it, so I figured it was meant to be. The recipe was fabulous and is definitely the one I will use from here on out. Maybe I should do some experimenting but, honestly, when something is this good why mess with it?

    Pork Carnitas
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    From Melissa D'Arabian, but I re-wrote the directions to incorporate my notes and changes.
    Serves: 6-8 people
    • 2½ pounds bone-in pork shoulder (2 pounds boneless)
    • Salt (I like kosher, especially for the final step, but it's not necessary)
    • Black pepper (freshly ground if you have it, regular if you don't)
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 4 cloves of garlic, pushed through a garlic press or minced
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 onion, cut into quarters
    • 1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, roughly chopped
    • 1 orange
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Salt and pepper liberally. Place pork shoulder in a slow cooker.
    2. Mix together the oregano, cumin, garlic and olive oil. Spread half of the oil mixture on one side of the pork shoulder, flip over and then rub the rest of the oil mixture on the other side of the pork shoulder.
    3. Place the onion and jalapeno in the slow cooker with the meat. I put some of the veggies on top and some around the edges.
    4. Cut the orange in half and then squeeze the juice into the slow cooker. Place the two orange halves in the slow cooker.
    5. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours (I cooked it on low for 8 hours). Flip the meat over halfway through cooking.
    6. Once the meat is super tender, turn off the slow cooker and remove the meat. Pull the meat apart with a fork, discarding bone if using bone-in shoulder.
    7. Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Sprinkle pan liberally with more salt. Evenly layer the carnitas in the pan once the pan is hot and cook just one side until you get a nice crispy edge on the meat touching the pan.
    8. Remove from heat, stir together, do a little taste test and add a bit of salt if needed (probably not needed, but check anyway).
    9. Serve with fresh cilantro, salsa, hot sauce and tortillas. You could also add other items to your taco (rice, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, guac, etc), but Nate and I found that the carnitas were just so good it was better to have a simply-dressed taco.


  3. Tuesday, October 7, 2014

    Cozy Chicken Mole Rojo

    The first time Nate and I tasted mole sauce was at a Mexican restaurant in Arlington, MA when we were in college. My roommate and best college friend Estela was from Juárez and was always educating me on what good Mexican food was. One such dish was mole, which she described as a savory “chocolate” sauce served over chicken. When Nate and I spotted it on the menu that night so long ago we knew we had to try it, and we loved it. Sadly, we’ve hardly eaten mole since then. It’s not a dish you generally find served in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and we had no idea how to make it…until now! (If you live in the Bay Area, Lulu’s serves both green and red mole and they are both divine.)

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    I finally sat down to figure out how to make a red mole sauce on my own and it turned out so so so good. This recipe is great for about a million reasons, but I’ll just share a few. It’s a crockpot recipe, making it very hands off. You just blend most of the ingredients together, dump it over chicken in the crockpot and let it cook. Easy peasy! Traditional mole sauces can take days to prepare, but the crockpot actually helps speed up the process. (That’s probably the first time a crockpot meal has been described as speedy!) This red mole sauce is quite rich and full of flavor, but not too spicy, so kids can enjoy it, too. However, you can definitely add cayenne pepper for more heat. Heat is good. And the richness from the unsweetened chocolate counterbalances the heat of the peppers beautifully. Lastly, this recipe for chicken mole rojo is healthy! I originally developed it for Disney and had to follow strict dietary guidelines, all of which I met in this recipe.

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    And, if you have kids, just tell them they are eating mud and they will eat every bite of their dinner. It’s like magic.

    (>> Find out more…)