I started last year with a post that included a vow to attempt to blog more often. I held true to that for a little while, but as time went on it went by the wayside. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I’m a full time working mom of an almost three year old and an eight month old. I’m not in any way complaining. I love my beautiful little family and I actually do love my job. It’s just that every minute of every day is accounted for. After the hide and seek, play doh, puzzles, reading books, kissing boo boos, nursing, and pumping, there’s not a whole lot of time left. Sure, there are a lot of things I’d like to do more – spend more time with my kids and husband, sleep, cook, blog, get a pedicure… But really, life. Is. So. Good.
So with a heart full of gratitude, here we are at the start of another new year. I hope to bring you some fun, delicious new recipes this year whenever I can. The video recipe trend has exploded, and who knows, maybe some time this year I’ll give that a try. No promises though! 😉
The first recipe I want to share with you this year is one that is very easy, requires very little prep, is healthy, and is so delicious! I have already made this a couple of times, and it will definitely be in my rotation. It’s a slow recipe – and a “true” slow cooker recipe – one that doesn’t require any cooking ahead of time. You put everything in the slow cooker and let ‘er rip. It’s perfect for a meal on a busy weeknight when you want something delicious and healthful, but you don’t have a lot of time. And you can feel good that it’s a nutritious meal for your family – much better than take out or frozen pizza anyway!
I actually came about this recipe in a backdoor kind of way. I stumbled across a recipe someone had posted that sounded good. It was for a turkey and sweet potato crock pot stew. They had used another recipe as inspiration, and I thought the original recipe sounded really good. Incidentally, I have made both versions, and we have loved both.
The first one, with ground turkey and sweet potatoes tasted phenomenal. The flavor of the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk and the savory salty sauce were such a nice compliment to each other. But, the sweet potatoes got obliterated into mush and really became part of the sauce. I didn’t mind this so much; I rolled with it. Also, I liked the ground turkey fine, but I started to think the dish would be good with meat a large piece of meat.
So I traced back to the original recipe that used pork loin and no sweet potatoes and decided to give it a try. Like I said, I had really enjoyed the coconut milk, so I did add that to the pork recipe, as it wasn’t originally there. The result was outstanding! I may try throwing the sweet potatoes back in there some time, but I probably wouldn’t cook them as long.
To finish this off, you will just need to add coconut milk about a half an hour before you are ready to eat. You want to shred the pork to let it soak up all of the good juices. While that’s warming up, you can cut up the bok choy and herbs and make the rice.
Full disclosure. At first glance, I thought this was a little outside the box for me. I had never used bok choy before, and I didn’t have any garlic chili sauce. I don’t typically cook Thai food – it’s just not in my wheel house. But, everyone loved this one. Even our picky two-year old gave it several “mmmm mmmm mmmmm”s. I call that a win! Like I said, this will definitely be in our rotation.
Thai Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Pork Loin
Adapted from Real Simple
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce (found in the Asian aisle of the supermarket)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon of dried ginger)
- salt and pepper
- 2- 2 ½ pound pork loin
- 1 medium head bok choy, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
- 1 can of lite coconut milk
- 4-5 scallions, sliced
- handful of cilantro, chopped, optional
- lime wedges for serving, optional
- rice for serving
Prep slow cooker with a liner if desired.
Trim the silver skin off the pork loin if there is one. Place pork loin in the slow cooker.
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour half of the sauce over the pork loin. Turn the pork loin over and pour on remaining sauce.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for about 4-5 hours). If you happen to be home, you can turn the pork loin over halfway through cooking, but it’s not necessary.
About thirty minutes before serving, add the coconut milk and use two forks to shred the pork.
When you’re ready to serve, gently stir in the bok choy, scallions, and cilantro if using. I serve over minute brown rice (in keeping with the quick and easy theme), but you can use whatever rice you like. I like to finish this off with a squeeze of lime for just a little brightness and zip.