Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork.

Pulled pork is legendary. I could probably eat it a few times a week. But its 4-6 hour cooking time can be brutally long, especially on a weeknight, when you’d have to be nuts to attempt it. Four to 6 hours cooking after work means either a midnight meal or a “creative solution,” and that’s what I’ve got for ya here. Complete with its own quick homemade sauce, this one-pot dish cooks on the stove top and is ready to go (even if you’re a slow recipe-maker!) in under an hour. Now of course, this isn’t the same as the 6-hour slow-cooked version, but it’s tender and flavorful and still makes for awesome leftovers the next day. And the day after. And it’s an excuse to eat some of my favs – coleslaw and refried beans!

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork by KellyintheKitchen | 2 tbsp butter, olive oil, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 lb boneless pork loin roast

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp butter
olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup ketchup
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 lb boneless pork loin roast, cut into 4 pieces

DIRECTIONS

Heat a Dutch oven or other large pot with a lid over medium heat. Melt the butter (plus a splash of olive oil to keep the butter from burning) and add the onion, cooking until soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and salt and cook another minute, careful not to burn the garlic. Add the cayenne pepper, cumin, and ground coriander. Stir and toast the spices for about a minute.

When the spices are fragrant (and you feel like you might sneeze from the smell of the cayenne pepper), add the ketchup, stock or water, brown sugar, thyme, and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and then add the pork to the pot. Cover the pot and keep at an active simmer for about 25 minutes. I flipped the pieces of pork over halfway through.

When the pork is tender and cooked through, remove it to a plate. Turn up the heat so that the sauce comes to a steady boil and let it bubble away until thickened a bit – I let mine go for about 15 minutes.

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork | KellyintheKitchen Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork | KellyintheKitchen

Let the meat cool until it’s not too hot to work with, and then shred it with two forks. It won’t shred as easily as the slow-cooked kind—don’t worry, just power through it. Toss the pork in the sauce and serve!

Quick Weeknight Pulled Pork by KellyintheKitchen | 2 tbsp butter, olive oil, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 lb boneless pork loin roast

S’mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers.

Ohmygod these are the best s’mores ever. I don’t even give ’em the ol’ campfire treatment and they’re still the best ever—even in the oven, they’re toasty and good. I’m eating my way through my current batch very very quickly. The crackers have just a bit of ginger and cinnamon—enough to make things interesting—and their texture is different from your average light and crispy graham cracker. They’re a little more crumbly and a little more substantial. Makes for a really nice batch of s’mores! The only problem is keeping enough of the graham crackers around so that I can have one whenever I want. I think this means I have to up my graham cracker production…

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

INGREDIENTS

for graham crackers:
1 cup plus 3 tbsp almond meal (or grind up 1 heaping cup of whole almonds)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp milk
splash of vanilla

to assemble:
jumbo marshmallows
chocolate (I only had chocolate chips in the house, so that’s what I used)

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, pulse together the almond meal, coconut flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Then add the maple syrup, molasses, butter, milk, and vanilla and pulse just until the dough comes together. If it’s looking too wet, add a bit of coconut flour and pulse again.

Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper, press into a flat disc, and wrap in the parchment. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few days.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into squares (or whatever shape you want) and lay flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, use a fork to make some kind of cute little design. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges just start to brown.

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That’s it for the graham crackers! When you’re ready to make the s’mores (which, for me, was immediately), turn the oven up to 400 F. While it preheats, top the graham crackers with chocolate and add a marshmallow to each. I tried sandwich s’mores and the open-faced kind, and open-faced is the way to go. You get double the s’mores goods that way, and still all that toasty marshmallow on top. Pop them in the oven just for a minute or two, until the chocolate has melted and the marshmallows are lightly browned.

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

That’s it! Keep the rest of the graham crackers in a sealed container and just repeat the melting process when you’re ready for another s’more. I put them in my cast iron skillet to toast in the oven, and maybe I’m imagining it, but they seem to toast up just perfectly this way.

S'mores with Homemade Spiced Graham Crackers | KellyintheKitchen | Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal (or grind up about 1 cup of whole almonds), 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp potato starch (or use arrowroot powder), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp milk, splash of vanilla, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate

Strawberry “Nutri-grain” Snack Bars.

I was traveling for work this week. That meant four nights in a hotel, with – dun dun DUN – no access to a kitchen! And as nice as it is to have the hotel make you breakfast every morning, I am now sick to death of *other people’s* food. I want Kelly food again! After all, who is Kelly if she isn’t in the Kitchen? So to celebrate being home again, I made these snack bars. Snacks might be the worst part of travel food – the standard options are almost always processed, over-salted, and packed with sugar. Gross. These are the opposite of the airport convenience store snacks I ate this week. Strawberry Nurtri-grain-esque snack bars – yay, I’m home!

Strawberry "Nutri-grain" Snack Bars | KellyintheKitchen | 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tbsp butter, melted (or coconut oil), 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 1/4 cups almond meal, 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 10 medium-sized strawberries, 1 tbsp honey, pinch salt

INGREDIENTS

for crust:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp butter, melted (or go for coconut oil if you want)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups almond meal
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt

for filling*:
10 medium-sized strawberries, washed, dried, stems removed
1 tbsp honey
pinch salt
*if you don’t want to make the filling, just skip this step and use use 1/2 cup pre-made jam.

DIRECTIONS

First, make the crust. Combine maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in almond meal and salt until dough comes together. Refrigerate 1 hour.

While the dough chills, make the filling. Use a food processor to totally blitz the strawberries and honey. Transfer the puree to a pan, add salt, and heat over medium low. Bring to a low bubble and stir occasionally. Cook about 15 minutes, until reduced and thickened. You should end up with about 1/2 cup of cooked filling. Put it in the fridge to cool down.

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Then take the chilled dough out of the fridge and split it into quarters. Put one quarter on a sheet of parchment paper and put the rest back in the fridge. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, into a long rectangle. Trim the sides so that it’s actually a rectangle and not a free-form wavy-edge shape. Then spread one quarter of the strawberry filling over half of the rectangle.

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Use the parchment paper to gently fold the non-filling half over the filling half, creating a long seam. Cut into bars and use your fingers to pinch the sides closed, so the filling doesn’t leak out (mine did leak out a bit and it really wasn’t a big deal). Carefully move the bars to a baking sheet and put them in the fridge to keep cool while you repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

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Bake for about 10 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the edges are darkened.

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That’s it! These are good right out of the oven, but they’re also super good at room temperature. Make sure to cool them completely before storing in a sealed container; they’re best when eaten within 2-3 days.

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies.

I pin and bookmark a lot of recipes that involve marbling, because I think that swirly mingling of colors is just so loose and free and pretty. This particular recipe has been on my list for at least three years. “On my list” is what I say about literally anything that I want to try eventually but have no real motivation to try right now. Mostly I use it about recipes, books, and TV shows. There is no time constraint for how long something can be “on the list;” case in point: it took me three friggin’ years to try this recipe. And someday I’ll watch 24 and read William Faulkner, but I have no plan to do either of those right at this moment.But wow am I glad I finally got down to business with this recipe, because it’s easy and tasty and fancy, all at the same time. I brought a batch to a Memorial Day barbecue, and while there was also an offering of special brownies at the party, mine more than held their own. What they lack in the party enhancement department, they make up for with major tasty goodness. Score one for cheesecake!!

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies | KellyintheKitchen  | For brownie layer: 6 tbsp butter, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, splash of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 packed tbsp coconut flour, 3 tbsp potato starch (I haven’t tried it, but corn starch should work here, too), 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt. For cheesecake layer: 8 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 egg

INGREDIENTS

for brownie layer:
6 tbsp butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
splash of vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 packed tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp potato starch (I haven’t tried it, but corn starch should work here, too)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

for cheesecake layer:
8 oz (1 package) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, room temperature

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To make the brownie layer, use a double-boiler to melt the butter and chocolate chips together, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and mix in brown sugar and vanilla. Let cool slightly before stirring in one egg at a time.

Sift in the cocoa powder, coconut flour, potato starch, baking soda, and salt, and stir into chocolate mixture. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and pour in all the batter except 4-6 tbsp (we’ll swirl this portion into the cheesecake). Set aside.

To make the cheesecake layer, put the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat with a spoon until smooth. Mix in the sugar and vanilla, and then stir in the egg. The mixture will look curdled, but continue to stir gently until the egg is worked in and the mixture is smooth.

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies | KellyintheKitchen

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownie batter and carefully spread it into an even layer. Drop the remaining brownie batter in a line down the middle of the cheesecake. To marble the top, use a knife or toothpick to drag the chocolate part up through the cheesecake, making whatever marbling shape you like (or just marble at random).

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies | KellyintheKitchen  | For brownie layer: 6 tbsp butter, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, splash of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 packed tbsp coconut flour, 3 tbsp potato starch (I haven’t tried it, but corn starch should work here, too), 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt. For cheesecake layer: 8 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 egg

Put the dish in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheesecake is set but still a little bit wobbly. The way I decide if cheesecake is done is by Nigella Lawson‘s helpful suggestion to look for the top to be barely-set, with “a hint of inner thigh wibble.”

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies | KellyintheKitchen

Cool at least an hour before cutting the brownies.

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies | KellyintheKitchen  | For brownie layer: 6 tbsp butter, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, splash of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 packed tbsp coconut flour, 3 tbsp potato starch (I haven’t tried it, but corn starch should work here, too), 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt. For cheesecake layer: 8 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 egg

I actually recommend keeping them in the fridge at all times. Serving them cold just makes such a difference – the consistency is creamy and almost fudge-like, and the chilly cheesecake is perfection!

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies | KellyintheKitchen  | For brownie layer: 6 tbsp butter, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, splash of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 packed tbsp coconut flour, 3 tbsp potato starch (I haven’t tried it, but corn starch should work here, too), 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt. For cheesecake layer: 8 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 egg

Toasted Marshmallow Coffee Brownies.

My many experiments in non-traditional baking have had mixed results—sometimes they turn out delicious, sometimes they are horrible failures, and sometimes they’re surprisingly, differently good. Because I’m lucky enough not to have any food allergies (*knocks on wood*), I’ve tried a lot of different methods, including gluten-free, grain-free, low-sugar, low-carb, and always with as little processed foods as possible. I feel experienced enough now to say that most of these substitution-based recipes are only better than the original if you have no other options (or are totally delusional). It’s the hard truth about healthy desserts.

The results definitely range though, depending on the baked good, and I think cookie recipes are the worst offenders. No matter what healthier option you try to sub in or out, there is no cookie better than the one on the back of the Toll House bag (that recipe is nearly perfect, by the way – if you use a little less flour than called for, and a little more vanilla and brown sugar, you’ll have the ABSOLUTE perfect chocolate chip cookie).

Meanwhile, I’ve found that brownies are the most flexible when it comes to subbing. For whatever reason, they can take a replacement here and there and still turn out totally delicious. That’s what we have here – a gluten-free, grain-free, soft and chewy chocolatey brownie recipe, with a little something special on top. I’d put these crumbly goodies up against any other brownie recipe I’ve made! What a wonderful taste test that would be…

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INGREDIENTS

6 tbsp butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup hot coffee
splash of vanilla
1/2 packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 packed tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp potato starch (I haven’t tried it, but corn starch should work here, too)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
about 14 jumbo marshmallows

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a double-boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips together until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before stirring in one egg at a time, followed by coffee, vanilla, and brown sugar.

Sift together cocoa powder, coconut flour, potato starch, baking soda, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into batter and pour into greased 8×8 baking dish.

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Dot the surface of the batter with marshmallows. Love those cute & fluffy little pillows.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set. If you stick a toothpick into the center, it doesn’t need to come out totally clean, but it shouldn’t be wet. Be conscious of the marshmallows burning; I ended up tenting a sheet of foil over the pan to slow the browning partway through the bake time. When the brownies are baked, remove them from the oven.

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As they cool, the brownies and marshmallows will deflate and fall a little bit. Good, the more condensed the better! If you’re planning to cut the brownies into nice neat squares, you may want to adjust your expectations, because these are gooey and crumbly. You’ll want to cool them at least an hour, if not more, and potentially give them some fridge time to firm up if you need them to really hold together. If you don’t mind a crumbly brownie, then ignore me and eat them whenever you want. They’re dang delicious!

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Superfood Berry Crisp.

I loved the blueberry almond crisp recipe I posted last time SO MUCH that I’ve made it twice since then. It has that great balance of nutty, buttery, and sweet that I’ve found pretty addicting lately. And after a few tweaks and additions, I have another crisp recipe to share. It’s the nutritionally-amplified fruit dessert of my health food dreams, packing in tons of superfoods: almonds and walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds, and any mixture of berries your heart desires (I used blueberries, but Trader Joe’s frozen section has a nice mixed berry medley that I bought for next time!). This superfood berry crisp works overtime to give your body what it needs, in terms of both nutrition and sweet tooth satisfaction. And while these healthy ingredients are totally awesome, I think I may start a petition to give butter and brown sugar their own superfood status (their kind of “super” is slightly different, however). Then there would be no stopping this thing!

Superfood Berry Crisp | KellyintheKitchen

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup whole almonds, chopped
1/2 cup whole walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp chia seed
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp cold butter, cubed
splash of vanilla
2 cups frozen berries
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp corn starch
2 tsp granulated sugar
optional: 1 heaping tbsp turbinado sugar (or another large-crystal sugar like demerara)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together ground almonds, chopped almonds, chopped walnuts, flax seed, chia seed, salt, and brown sugar. Use a fork to work the cold butter into the dry mixture until there are no more chunks of butter. Then add the vanilla and stir.

In a pie pan or other baking dish, stir together the berries and lemon juice. Then add the corn starch and sugar and stir to coat.

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Starting at the outside and working your way to the middle, sprinkle the nut mixture over the top of the berries. Then finish with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar for an extra bit of sweetness and crunch.

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Lightly lay a sheet of tinfoil over the pan, but don’t tuck the ends around the pan. This keeps the nuts from browning too quickly as the fruit bakes. Bake until the fruit filling is bubbling and the topping is fragrant and browned, about 15-25 minutes.

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Let the crisp cool slightly and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream, or frozen Greek yogurt. Another superfood, look at that!

I forget – what did I say about how to serve this? Was it, “use a spoon and eat it right out of the pan even if it’s too hot”? Because that’s a pretty good way, too.

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