CHEW THIS! Grandma Barbra’s Secret Holiday Recipe

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, November 2nd 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Grandma Barbra’s Secret Holiday Recipe
Blaise Doubman

My Grandma Barbra and I have been super close since I was born. Some of my most precious and earliest memories, are of that of the two of us in the kitchen. We have encountered just about every problem you can think of in the kitchen and somehow worked our way around it. Awhile back, I shared a recipe for apple pie that was made from a disastrous situation! Ha! That pie is still baked and served at family gatherings and is the best anyone has ever had. Grandma has always told me to look for the silver lining in no matter what situation and she shared this with me through examples through food and kitchen work. I will always be grateful for the lessons, both good and bad, that I have learned through her throughout the years. One of the funniest recipe memories is when, years ago, she explained to me that sometimes when people give out recipes, they leave out an ingredient or two, that way your version is never as good as theirs! I never understood that! I told her, if you are going to put your name on something, you would want it to be good, right!? She laughed and said she sure thought so!

Skip ahead to Easter dinner a few years back. My Mom, Darla, and I were going on and on about this slow cooker pulled pork that Grandma had at her buffet. For some reason I thought she had bought it somewhere but no, I was wrong! She explained that it was a slow cooker recipe that she had made up on her own one time by accident, it turned out and so she had made it ever since! I had to have that recipe! She shared it with me, and I made it and it was so delicious for it being so simple! I shared the recipe on my blog and people went wild over it! Well, since sharing it, I have made a few simple changes that make it even more fabulous, if that is possible. For starters, when making this pulled pork, do not marinade the pork any longer than overnight in the refrigerator. Also, less water and a little honey does wonders for the overall flavor and even the texture when shredding the pork! Leftovers can be kept, covered and chilled, in the refrigerator for up to three days. Make this and enjoy!

Grandma Barbra’s Secret Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

My favorite way of enjoying this recipe is by sandwiching the meat between two thick hamburger buns. However, you can also serve the meat by itself and alongside your favorite side dishes or alongside streamed rice.

1 pork roast (between 2-3 pounds)
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
½ cup water
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

In a shallow baking dish combine the pork roast with the bottle of Italian salad dressing. Cover with aluminum foil and place into the refrigerator to chill overnight, but no longer.

When ready to start the cooking process, spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. I wouldn’t recommend using a plastic slow cooker liner because later, when shredding the pork, there is a chance of ripping the plastic and having it enter your food.

Place pork roast inside carefully along with water. Drizzle on the honey and sprinkle evenly with the salt and black pepper.

Cover and cook on high for four hours. Turn down and cook on low for four additional hours. At the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and carefully shred the pork with two forks.

Serve on hamburger buns with BBQ sauce and pickles or serve as desired.

Ask and Answer: I have heard from some of you who would like to know the difference between table salt and Kosher salt. I have always used Kosher salt in developing and testing my recipes, both sweet and savory. I find table salt to be more of a “chemical” flavor. When using Kosher salt, it is a “purer” clean salt flavor and since it is made up of bigger flakes, the less salt you use compared to table salt. My favorite brand of Kosher salt is “Diamond Crystal”.

CHEW THIS! Tina Tutrow’s Slow Cooker Cube Steak and Gravy

Tina Tutrow’s Slow Cooker Cube Steak and Gravy

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, June 15th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Tina Tutrow Shares Family Recipe
Blaise Doubman

Tina Tutrow is one of the only people who know my true hair color and has been a friend of my family and I for so long, I think we all consider each other family by now instead of good friends. My Dad, Jamie Doubman, went to school, all twelve years, with Tina Tutrow so really between my Mom, Darla, and my Dad, they have known Tina for most of their lives. That is the wonderful thing about small town living, everyone knows one another and, if you are lucky, get to experience their lives with one another. Tina has been one of the best beauticians in the area for close to over thirty years. Several years ago, she decided to try her hand at running her own business, her own beauty shop, and has not looked back since. Successful, talented and well known, Tina is a master at what she does and makes it look easy and effortless. She has also managed to raise a beautiful family, who in turn are all raising their own exquisite families. What some people do not know about Tina, is that she is just as talented in the kitchen as she is in her beauty shop. She cooks, bakes and thankfully, is delighted to share her recipes.

One day over at “Tina’s Hair Shop”, my Mom and I were discussing how we were looking for a new recipe for cube steak. Neither of us really cared for the thick cream of mushroom soup that is generally used. Tina said she did not care for the mushroom soup either and said she has used beef gravy for years, instead! My Mom and I looked at each other and immediately knew we had to try it! Why hadn’t we thought of that? Skip ahead a couple of days later and we tried her recipe and oh my! Delicious! It made the cube steaks taste so much better! I think dinner that night disappeared faster than it has in months. Everyone enjoyed it and we decided then and there that number one, I had to share this recipe with everyone and number two, we would never make cube steak with thick cream of mushroom soup again! I highly recommend you try this recipe as soon as possible. Serve alongside baked potato and asparagus for a delicious, and nutritious, meal. Shout out and special thanks to Tina Tutrow for sharing this recipe with me and allowing it to be shared with all of you! Try it and let me know your thoughts! I would love to hear from you. Visit http://trailblaise.com and click “contact”.

Tina Tutrow’s Slow Cooker Cube Steak and Gravy

For optimal flavor and texture, it is important to take the time to brown the steaks on each side before placing them into the slow cooker. I generally follow this rule on most of the meats I put into my slow cooker, aside from chicken. For easier clean up, line your slow cooker with a plastic slow cooker liner. Be sure to reserve the leftover gravy in a small bowl to serve at the table for those who like a little extra gravy on their cube steaks.

4 cube steaks
½ cup white all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Large jar of beef gravy

Start by warming about ½ cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. On a plate combine the white all-purpose flour, salt and black pepper.

Dredge each cube steak in the flour mixture and carefully place in the heated vegetable oil.

Brown both sides of the cube steaks, which will take about 5 minutes.

Carefully place each steak inside of your slow cooker and pour on the beef gravy.

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Ask and Answer: Lots of people have wondered recently if I have any recipes for cold side dishes such as potato salad, macaroni salad, etc. Yes! Visit my website, http://trailblaise.com and in the search box, type in whatever recipe you are looking for! My website is divided up and will search for particular recipes, flavors and even the ingredients you want to use.

CHEW THIS! Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 7th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing is Family Favorite
Blaise Doubman

I love recipe developing and especially love recipe developing meals in a slow cooker. Throw everything together, go about your day and come back to a delicious and flavorful meal! The recipe I am sharing with you all today is no different in that it contains tons of delicious flavor and texture, but it is different in how it is prepared. Everything is layered together and topped with cubed stuffing, almost like a casserole, and the finished result is nothing short of amazing! I have made this meal several times for family and friends and every time I serve it, people go crazy! Serve it alongside honey corn and cooked to death green beans for the perfect meal! To make the honey corn combine canned corn and a couple tablespoons honey in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat about 20 minutes. To make the cooked to death green beans add 2 cans of undrained green beans to a medium pot and fill over half with water. Place in a chicken bouillon cube and boil on high for 40 minutes at least.

What exactly is the difference between dressing and stuffing? I have often found myself wondering the same question and thought that it would really depend on where you were from or how you were raised as to what you called either dressing or stuffing. The correct answer? Dressing is served alongside the meat, as a dressing – whereas stuffing is actually stuffed into the meat! For example chicken and stuffing would be a chicken filled with stuffing, whereas the recipe I am sharing with everyone today is chicken served alongside dressing, so it is called dressing, almost like a side dish. How easy is that to remember?

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

If you can not find cream of chicken and mushroom soup – it is like the best of both worlds combined – you can substitute one can of cream of chicken soup and one can of cream of mushroom soup. I use Campbell’s brand. Also be sure to use an herbed stuffing mix with nothing else added. My favorite brand is Pepperidge Farm. You can find this in a clear plastic bag either in the crouton area or the stuffing mix area in your local grocery store.

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 slices Swiss cheese
2 cans cream of chicken and mushroom soup
1 can chicken broth
¼ cup milk
2 cups herb stuffing mix
1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter, melted
Salt and Pepper

Start by lining your slow cooker with a slow cooker plastic liner and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Place in the boneless skinless chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the slices of Swiss cheese evenly over the top of the chicken breasts.

In a medium sized bowl combine the cans of cream soup with the chicken broth and milk. Whisk together well before pouring over the cheese and chicken.

Evenly sprinkle the herb stuffing mix over the contents in the slow cooker.

Drizzle evenly the melted butter over the herb stuffing mix.

Cook on low 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours, being sure to check for doneness.

Once cooked, serve and enjoy!

Ask and Answer: While I was posting my recipe development process of this dish on my Facebook page, I had a friend write with a suggestion that I thought I would share here with everyone. Phyllis R. suggested instead of using canned cream soups – make your own! She said to make a roux with butter and flour, add sautéed chopped mushrooms, chicken and stock with garlic, salt, pepper add cream and cook it down. Can also use sautéed celery and onions. She suggested to pour the finished mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until ready to use. 2-3 frozen cubes equal about 1 can of soup. She also said she really doesn’t follow a recipe but instead uses whatever she has. Finished cream soup is silky and flavorful.

Grandma Barbra’s Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” May 1st, 2017

This recipe comes straight from my Grandma Barbra. She served this for Easter and everyone went crazy so naturally I had to find out the recipe!

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Grandma Barbra’s Slow Cooker Pork Roast

1 pork roast (between 2-3 pounds)
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

In a shallow baking dish combine the pork roast with the bottle of Italian salad dressing. Cover with aluminum foil and place into the refrigerator overnight – or at least 6 hours.

Line your slow cooker with a plastic slow cooker liner, for easier cleanup, or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Place pork roast inside carefully along with water. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Cook on high for 4 hours. Turn down and cook on low for 4 additional hours. At the end of the cooking time, shred the pork with two forks.

Serve on hamburger buns with BBQ sauce and pickles if desired.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Slow Cooker Chicken and Noodles

Slow Cooker Chicken and Noodles

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 4th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A Warm, Comforting and Healing Slow Cooker Meal
Blaise Doubman

My Mom, Darla, makes this recipe a few times a month and it is delicious each and every time! You would think that chicken and noodles would really be more of a winter comfort food but I firmly believe that this is more than just comfort food, it is healing food. Sometimes, no matter the time of year or temperature, you just need something that warms and comforts the soul. This recipe provides that and so much more. Whenever my Mom makes this I am immediately taken back to my childhood when I would smell this cooking from the kitchen as I walked through the front door. Whenever I am feeling down or low and need a pick me up, somehow my Mom always knows exactly what I need; a huge bowl full of chicken and noodles.

My Mom makes this in the slow cooker, which is how I make it because it was the way I was taught. Cooking the chicken in a slow cooker, low and slow, really makes the chicken so tender and flavorful that you may never cook your chicken any other way again! After the chicken cooks and you remove it from the slow cooker, it leaves behind some of the most delicious chicken stock you can imagine. The chicken juices join with the butter, water and seasonings and create, what my Mom calls, “liquid gold”. I’ve always heard that chicken and chicken soup had healing properties and after many bowls of this, I am a firm believer.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Noodles

You can substitute chicken thighs or chicken breasts for the whole chicken in this recipe. If you prefer to use homemade noodles use your favorite recipe or try this one – Mix together 2 tablespoons milk with 1 large egg. Stir this mixture into 1 cup white all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Stir this mixture with a fork until it forms a ball. Roll the dough out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until about the thickness of a dime. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into thin strips, lightly flour again and place on floured baking sheet. Use as desired. For this recipe, add right into the slow cooker.

2-3 pound whole chicken, rinsed and pat dry
4 cups cold water
1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter, cubed
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 package (24 oz.) Amish noodles, fresh or frozen

Start by lightly spraying your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray, or place in a slow cooker plastic liner and tuck around the rim. Place the prepared whole chicken inside and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Add in the cold water and scatter around the cubed salted butter.

Place on the lid and cook on the low setting for 4 hours.

After the chicken has cooked, remove the lid and carefully lift the chicken out of the slow cooker and into a large bowl. Allow the chicken to cool for several minutes before moving on. Using a portable strainer, strain the chicken stock and remove any impurities.

After the chicken has cooled to the touch, remove the meat from the bones, discarding from the bowl the chicken bones, skin, fatty areas, and anything else undesirable.

After discarding, you should be left with only the chicken meat. Using two forks shred the meat into large bite-size pieces and place them carefully back into the slow cooker.

Add in the noodles, stir and cover. Cook an additional hour on the low setting.

Serve when the noodles are cooked through and everything hot.

Ask and Answer: Jamie, “jmnich77” on Instagram, asked what the difference was between my “Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie”, that can be found in Donna Cronk’s book, “That Sweet Place”, and the Kentucky version called, “Kentucky Sugar Cream Pie”. The difference, other than the geographical location, is that the official Kentucky version is made using brown sugar, whereas Indiana’s version is made using white granulated sugar.