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Friday, January 18, 2013

Restaurant Recreation: Applebee’s Veggie Patch Pizza

Did you know that Applebee’s took the veggie patch pizza off their menu?

I was pretty shocked when I found this out a little while back. I don’t eat at Applebee’s all that often but whenever I do find myself there, I almost always to order it. This is probably why I thought it was a favorite for their customers. Apparently, it wasn't.

Since I love the challenge of recreating my restaurant favorites, it has occurred to me several times over the years that I could create the veggie patch pizza (VPP) at home. (I've posted a couple of them here and here and here, and I do have another one that I’ll post eventually.) So once I knew it was off the menu, I decided it was time to finally give it a shot.

I think I knocked it out of the park on the 2nd attempt. My first attempt was to use pizza dough and make it more pizza-like. Big mistake – don’t do it. You need to use a tortilla because it brings it all together.

We shamelessly ate these for dinner with nothing else. If that is the route you want to go, then the recipe below will serve two. But as an appetizer, or paired with some soup or salad, I think you’ll serve four with no problem. And of course, you can always double the recipe!

Applebee’s Veggie Patch Pizza Knockoff
*Makes 2, 10” pizzas – serves 4 as an appetizer

-          1 ½ cups sliced button mushrooms
-          2 tbls butter, divided
-          2-3 cloves garlic, minced
-          1/3 cup minced onion
-          1 cup artichokes, chopped
-          2 – 2 ½ cups packed baby spinach, chopped
-          1 cup heavy cream
-          ½ cup parmesan cheese
-          2 teas oil  - veggie or canola
-          2 10” flour tortillas
-          ¾ - 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian mix cheese
-          1 tomato, seeded and diced

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork

I love my slow cookers. Despite having three, they all surprisingly get a fair amount of use, and I actually wouldn't mind having a fourth. But according to Brent, we don’t have room for anymore kitchen gadgets.

So I buy them and don’t tell him about it.

I do this with clothes and shoes too.
Shhhhh! It’s a secret, k?

While I love using my slow cookers for a variety of things, I find the most useful (or maybe it’s just my favorite) to be for making pulled pork, beef, or chicken. It is incredibly simple to do and the possibilities are endless.

This recipe is for spicy pulled pork that is great for tacos, burritos, southwestern bowls, sandwiches, or anything other vessel you may want to use to get it in your mouth.

Like nachos? Oh, yes. Do it, like now.

Little tip! Puree the chipotles in adobo whenever you open a new can. I do this and keep some in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar, and then divvy up the rest in small freezer bags and freeze them for future use. It makes it so much easier to measure out and you don’t risk wasting any.

Spicy Pulled Pork
*Serves 6-8

-          3-4 lbs pork roast*
-          1 15.5oz can tomato sauce
-          2.5 tbls chipotles in adobo
-          1 tbl chili powder
-          1 tbl cumin
-          1 tea garlic powder
-          1 tea onion powder
-          1 tea oregano
-          1 tbl brown sugar
-          Salt and Pepper, to taste
             *I generally use about a 3 lb roast but a little larger roast will be fine.


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