I remember growing up and spending dinners with my family and special meals on weekends. Nowadays people don't take the time to make full meals and sit down with their families. I know how hard it can be to make time. There is always something going on and with 2 toddlers running around, getting from one end of the house to the other without interruption can be a challenge.
I make dinner most nights and many other meals as well, but sometimes I like to make something special. It is fun for me, and it is really nice to see a larger meal come together after putting in my time and effort. I decided to try a new recipe today that I found on Pinterest for Honey Garlic Chicken. Well, in true form, I don't have chicken thighs, or chicken of any kind, on hand...so, I decided to defrost a pork roast from the freezer and up the quantities of the recipe a bit.
My version of the recipe is below:
3 lb Pork Roast
3/4 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3/4 cup Low Sugar Ketchup
1/2 cup Organic Honey
3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 1/5 cups Baby Carrots
Grease the crockpot with olive oil, non-stick spray, or your favorite crockpot greaser.
In a separate bowl, mix together the soy sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic until smooth.
Put the carrots on the bottom of the crockpot and place the pork roast on top.
Cover the pork with the sauce, set your crockpot and walk away. :-)
Low for 6 hours, or High for 3 hours.
I decided to pair this lovely roast with some homemade mashed potatoes, and an easy bagged salad. I kept the mashed potatoes simple so it wouldn't fight with the full flavor of the roast. I used brown Russet Potatoes, low sodium butter, fat free milk and salt and pepper to taste. The salad was the easiest part, but we kicked it up a notch with a new flavored dressing. We tried the Bolthouse Farms Salsa Ranch. It was delicious.
To round out our meal, and to use up some bananas that were a bit overripe, I made some Banana Snickerdoodles with another recipe I found on Pinterest. I love Pinterest, don't you? This recipe needs a little rest time in the refrigerator, so make sure you plan accordingly. The recipe I followed is below.
Soft Banana Snickerdoodles:
2 large overripe Bananas
2 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/3 cups granulated Sugar (*NOTE: I used lightly packed brown sugar as I didn't have molasses)
3/4 Vegetable Oil (* I used Canola oil)
1 Tbsp Molasses
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Sugar (* I used Splenda, cuz I could)
1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
Now, as far as directions go, I hardly ever follow the whole "mix dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients" so I am going to list the steps that I did. Also, my son wanted to help me make these, so instead of the hand mixer, we just did it with good ol' fashioned elbow grease!
In a medium bowl;, smash the bananas until smooth. Some lumps are ok.
Add the sugar, oil, molasses (*I didn't do this part as I didn't have any) and vanilla and mix it for about 2 minutes with Adult strength, or about 5 minutes with Toddler strength. However long it takes, you can stop mixing when everything is combined and smooth.
Mix in the salt until well combined.
Mix in the baking powder until well combined.
Mix in the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Make sure each 1/2 cup is fully combined before adding the next amount.
Cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. The recipe says it can be stored for up to 1 day.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or silicone baking mats.
Using a spoon, dollop some dough into a "ball" and roll it around in your cinnamon/sugar combo. (* This recipe makes REALLY sticky dough and forming balls was nigh on impossible. I found that having damp hands actually helped me shape the ball before putting it into the cinnamon/sugar topping bowl).
Place the cookies on the cookie sheet a couple inches apart as they will spread out while in the oven.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, but do not over do it as they will firm up a little during the cooling phase.
Cool on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
So, how did it all turn out? It turned out wonderful! I actually timed the mashed potatoes perfectly so they were done just as I was turning off the crockpot and pulling the pork roast out to rest a few minutes. My husband loved the meal and had 2 huge platefuls! My daughter liked the mashed potatoes and pork, and my picky eater liked the carrots. The cookies were loved by all. :-)
I hope you can use these recipes to bring a little joy and togetherness to your family and friends.