Our meal planning is still going strong – we still have days when things go a little awry (tonight, I’m going to a friend’s – so I’m not cooking at all, even though we got enough for 5 meals at the store). We’ve made the resolution now to try to include one vegetarian meal (for health) and one crock pot meal (for time- and wallet-friendly dinners) per week. I have to share with you the crock pot awesomeness.
Several weeks ago, I spotted a giant package of pork short ribs on sale at the grocery store. Now, I’m not a huge rib fan and I don’t generally like much in the way of pork (it’s just over the last two or three years that I’ll willingly make and eat tenderloin, but pork chops continue to be on my list of things I don’t want to touch with a ten-foot-pole). But I couldn’t pass up the excellent buy and I figured it would be worth trying in the crock pot.
Yesterday, we had a meeting with the mortgage person (yes, it was better than I thought, no I’m not sure of anything yet; I’ll update once I know) and I knew we’d be getting home later than usual, so I figured it was a good time to break the ribs out of the freezer and stick them in the crock pot.
Even though I took them out 12 hours before I wanted to start cooking them, they were still pretty frozen. So when I unwrapped them, I sort of hacked them into 3 parts and stuffed them into the crock pot. Short ribs are pretty much known as fall-off-the-bone kind of meat (even though I’ve never made them before, I’d had them once at an event), so I didn’t bother with portioning them or anything. Just shoved them in.
I’d looked in my cookbooks and done a general search online but hadn’t found any really simple recipes I wanted to try… So I decided to just experiment (the most fun in cooking comes from this!). Over the ribs, I poured one whole bottle of beer (Karl Strauss Red Trolley) and five or six peeled but not cut-up cloves of garlic with some salt and pepper. About 10 minutes after I left the house to drive to work, I realized that some mustard would probably play nicely with the flavors, and maybe some paprika. So I called my husband and asked him to add them when he got home at 2.
I cranked the heat up to high (hubby turned it to low when he got home because he said it was spitting) and went on my merry way. When we got back from our meeting 10 hours after I’d originally turned the thing on, the whole house smelled like yummy meaty goodness. The meat was literally falling completely apart, juicy and tender, with some pieces actually getting crispy in a way I never knew crock pots could cook meat (ummm… I’m guessing it’s because of the high fat content of spare ribs? because I didn’t add a single drop of fat to the pot!).
I quickly boiled and mashed some parsnip and steamed some green beans and we had a meal (plus enough leftovers to do a lunch of the same combination plus some “carnitas” later on in the week). I couldn’t believe how incredibly good it was, and how incredibly easy!
edited because I totally forgot about the garlic, yo…