4:19 AM. Little Gal decides it’s time to wake up. I stumble into her room, groggey-eyed and tripping over train pieces and headbands. I try to convince her it’s way too early to get up, but I have to say, “It’s way too late“, because early and late are transposed in her mind. I’m silently praying, no – silently BEGGING – that she will go back to sleep and we won’t have a fit on our hands.
“It’s too late to get up”. “No you can’t have juice”. Please don’t cry please don’t cry please don’t cry.
Then I have an idea.
“Hey! remember how Dad is traveling? He’s not in his bed, so you can sleep with me for a little bit. But you HAVE. TO. SLEEP. And we can only do this if Dad isn’t home”.
I already feel like backpedaling the offer – I know I’m potentially starting a bad habit.
But she confirms with me: “Yeah. I can only sleep in your bed if you are gone or if Dad is gone but not on usual nights”. Huh. Maybe she gets it.
“Yup. Right. But you HAVE TO SLEEP”. Did I say that already?
“Ok mommy. I will”.
So we traipse back into my room. I plop her on Dad’s pillow and slide into my side. We hold hands, and, after tossing, turning, giggling, eye-ball poking, and tucking her under the soft side of her blankie until it is just perfectly, exactly, uncontestably right, after all that – twenty-eight or so loooooong minutes later – she’s asleep.
I drift off.
5:15 AM: My alarm.
Sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Or the way the cake falls. Or the way the turkey gobbles. Or the way the stupid alarm stubbornly sticks to it’s pre-programed schedule. Stupid alarm. Who set that thing anyway?
Let’s eat pork tacos with perfectly tangy quick pickled veggies and buffalo ketchup.
Let’s do it because this meat is so darn easy to throw together.
Minimal work goes into the slow cooker, awesome meat comes out.
I dare you to tell me it gets better than that.
And don’t let the accoutrements stop you if you’re not into having to prep those. Just skip them and make the meat anyway.
It’s good in cabbage leaves, but equally as good in tortillas or on a hard roll.
You get it.
It’s weeknight food, it’s football food. It’s food that’s easy to prepare on limited sleep.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Red Cabbage “Tacos” with Quick Pickled Cucumbers
This pork is SO EASY. With no browning or pre-cooking necessary, it pops into the slow cooker within a matter of minutes - which leaves you with plenty of time to quickly throw together the pickled cucumbers and store them in the fridge for later.
The Buffalo sauce is certainly a treat for topping, but not necessary if you don't want to go to the trouble. A few spatterings of Frank's Original is fantastic in a pinch too, and honestly - the pickled veggies add enough perfect tang/sweet/crunch to the tacos that you may find you don't even want any extra sauce.
My point? The meat is darn good. Don't let a lack of sauce stop you. Just go ahead and do it anyway!
For the Slow Cooked Pork:
- 4 pound pork roast ( I used two 2 lb roasts), cut into 4 evenly sized pieces
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup dry white cooking wine (optional - you could sub water or chicken broth here)
- 1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlitc powder
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- dash of ground allspice
- 2 bay leaves
For the Quick Pickled Cucumbers:
- 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 of a medium sized red onion, peeled, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (rubbed between palms)
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
For the taco "shells"
- 1 small head red cabbage, carefully peeled to preserve the individual leaves without tearing, rinsed, and dried
- 1 recipe Buffalo Ketchup
For the Pork:
Rinse pork and pat dry.
Place in the slow cooker.
In a medium bowl, all ingredients except the bay leaves.
Stir well to combine.
Pour sauce evenly over meat.
Add bay leaves to the slow cooker.
Cover, and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 6-8.
When the meat is cooked and easily falls apart with a fork, it's done. Remove it to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Pour all but about two cups of the cooking liquid out of the slow cooker and into another bowl and set aside for later use if necessary. Place shredded meat back in the slow cooker and stir to cover with cooking liquid. Cover, and set slow cooker to warm and allow meat to reheat. Serve when ready.
For the Quick Pickled Cucumbers:
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.
Cover, and chill for several hours.
Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are
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