MDHF #5: Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Pork

Make Dinner Happen Friday #5
Yes, I know that is a picture of chicken 🙂

Make Dinner Happen Friday is a series where I share with you what I am planning on cooking next week – plus recipes and tips!  So come and join me in making dinner happen!

It has been another quiet week in our home on the meal planning frontier.  We have gotten into a better groove for our family’s routines, although we are still tweaking our weekly schedule 😉
This week I am including two different types of barbecue: a chicken Korean barbecue (a new recipe for us) and a more traditional pulled pork barbecue recipe – check out the recipe at the end! (Yes, I know that is not actually a picture of BBQ Pork!)

Recap from Last Week

We followed our meal plan very closely this week, except that we did not make the crepes – it turned out that I ended up using up most of my gigantic sourdough starter before then.  Instead, I made Buffalo Chicken Wraps (big hit!).
The Black Bean Lime Rice was not so good, so I don’t recommend it.  The Chicken and Rice Skillet turned out really good, so hopefully I will post that recipe soon.  The Garlic Roast Pork was also good, but nothing very special :).


Lentil Barley Stew and Rolls
We had some leftover Lentil Barley Stew in the freezer, so we had that with some homemade rolls for supper.  So easy and delicious!
Friday Meal Prep: Make rolls
Friday Prep for Saturday: Pull down the chicken to thaw.


Korean BBQ Chicken and Rice
We are trying out this new Korean BBQ Chicken recipe.  I am going to be using bone-in chicken legs and thighs (about 1.5lb), so we will have enough left over to put into the fried rice for Sunday.  I will also cook extra rice to use for that (btw, if you are planning on saving rice, be sure to only save it for one day so that it doesn’t make you sick).
Saturday Meal Prep: Make rice (+ 1 cup for Sunday), make bread (rolls + loaf for Sunday)
Saturday Prep for Sunday: Prep the French Toast Casserole for the morning


Brunch: Apple French Toast and Hash Brown Cups
We enjoyed the Apple French Toast casserole so much last week, that we are having it again this week!  We’re adding the Hash Brown Cups again make it last longer!
Dinner: Chicken Fried Rice
We will be using the leftover chicken and rice from Saturday to make a basic fried rice similar to this vegetable fried rice recipe.  I always use a similar “formula” for making fried rice every time and just throw in whatever meat or vegetables that I have on hand.  This week, I will put some peas in.
Sunday Prep for Monday: Pull down pork to thaw


Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw and Chips
Check out the recipe for the BBQ Pork below (you could also use chicken).  I am going to be trying this coleslaw recipe – I have never found a coleslaw recipe that my mayonnaise-hating husband will eat, so hopefully this will be the ticket!
Monday Meal Prep: Get the food in the slow cooker early!  Make the coleslaw at lunchtime to give it time to chill (save half of the cabbage for tomorrow).  Make buns (man, I’m going to be cooking this day!).


Kenyan Cabbage Casserole with Applesauce
I’ll be using the rest of the cabbage to make a baked cabbage with sausage and peppers.  The seasonings of it remind me of another dish that I had when was in Kenya.  Super tasty, lots of vegetables, and, best of all, the kids love it!
Tuesday Meal Prep: Cut up peppers.


Apple Pork Curry and Rice
I have some leftover curry in the freezer as well, so we will be eating that up this week!  I love freezer cooking!
Wednesday Meal Prep: Make rice


Spaghetti, Salad, and Bread
We have a busy evening this day, so we are keeping it simple with some spaghetti (with sauce from the freezer), salad, and bread.
Thursday Meal Prep: Make bread (if needed)
There you have it – our plan for this week!  Help me out – anyone have a good coleslaw recipe for those who don’t like mayonnaise? Share it on Facebook or Twitter with #makedinnerhappen!

 Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Pork

Needs Fulfilled: Slow Cooker, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly
Serve As: Sandwiches, Salad, Loaded Baked Potato
Serve With: Coleslaw, Potato Chips, Carrot and Celery Sticks, or Fruit Salad
Prep: 15 minutes  Inactive Cook: 3-8 hours   Active Cook: 10 minutes
Time to Table: 10 minutes
Needed Equipment: Slow cooker
Serves: 4


  • Thaw pork (in the fridge overnight or in the microwave).
  • If you need to save time in the morning, mix together the spices (not the wet ingredients) the night before in a bag.


  • 1 lb boneless pork roast
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp molasses
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp soy sauce (see substitutions below)
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Pinch each of cloves and cinnamon


  1. Place the pork in the slow cooker. If the slow cooker is too big (you want the sauce to come up at least half way), place a casserole dish inside and place the pork in that (this will ensure that your food cooks thoroughly without getting dried out or burned). Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the pork. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  2. When you are ready to serve, use two forks to pull the meat apart and mix into the sauce.


  • Soy sauce substitutions: tamari sauce (gluten free but contains soy), Braggs aminos, and coconut aminos (those last two are harder to find) – as always, check the label before using if you have food allergies!
  • Adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe – you can reduce the sugar significantly (down to maybe 1 Tbsp?) without compromising the dish.  You can also substitute the types of sweetener that you prefer.
  • Use a similar amount of chicken, adjusting the cooking time to 5-6 hours for high.
  • As with all recipes, adjust the seasonings to fit your family!

Cook Once – Eat Twice: Ratatouille and Rice and Middle Eastern Vegetable Soup

Ratatouille and RiceThis easy slow cooker ratatouille pairs with a simple garlic risotto for one dinner, and easily transforms into a delicious, spiced soup the second night.  These two recipes work well together by easily creating different flavors and textures in the second meal for a whole new dish!  You will be making a double batch of the ratatouille (stewed eggplant, squash, and tomatoes) and risotto (a creamy, but dairy-free rice dish) and using half of it for the Middle Eastern Vegetable Soup.  It is important that you have the second meal the next day, as rice that has been kept longer than one day can make you sick even after being thoroughly reheated.

Ratatouille and RiceRatatouille and Rice

Needs Fulfilled: Slow Cooker, Prep Ahead, Cook Once-Eat Twice, Allergy Friendly, Vegetarian/Vegan
Serve With: Fruit Salad
Prep: 10 minutes   Inactive Cook: 3-8   hours   Active Cook: 40 minutes
Time to Table: 40 minutes
Needed Equipment: Slow cooker, 2 saucepans
Serves: 3
Arborio rice is a particular kind of short grain rice that you can find with the grains and beans at the grocery store.  It is essential for making the risotto that you use this type of rice as long grain rice does not form the right kind of starch when it cooks to give the risotto is creamy texture.  Eggplant is a very tricky vegetable to get right.  You can tell it is done when it starts to taste good – if it is chewy and bitter, it is not done yet.  If you would prefer to avoid this finicky food, you can substitute 2 yellow squash.


  • Cut eggplant and zucchini according to directions (you can do this ahead of time and store together in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days – the eggplant will turn brown but it doesn’t affect the taste or texture and you cannot tell once it is cooked).


  • 1 small eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes (peeled if preferred)
  • 3 zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 30 oz canned diced tomatoes (I prefer the petite diced tomatoes with no salt added)
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stems removed and cut into ½-inch pieces
Garlic Risotto:
  • 5 cups broth
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • ¾ tsp oregano
  • 1 ½ cup Arborio rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place all the ingredients for the ratatouille except the pepper into the slow cooker.Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Place the broth for the risotto in the smaller saucepan (if you have two sizes) on a back burner of the stove on medium-low heat (you are just going to warm it – you don’t want it to be boiling).Place the second saucepan on a front burner, add the oil and heat over medium heat.Add the peppers for the ratatouille to the slow cooker, cover, and place on high to continue cooking while you make the risotto.
  3. Add the garlic and oregano to the oil in the larger saucepan (front burner) and saute 1-2 minutes.Add the rice and saute another minute until the edge of the rice starts to be translucent.
  4. Add about a quarter of the broth to the rice.All the rice to cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently but gently (this helps to develop the texture). As the liquid is absorbed, add in another quarter of the broth, again allowing it to be absorbed while stirring frequently but gently. Once all of the broth has been absorbed, taste the rice and add the salt and pepper as desired. (If you need to, you can cover and let the risotto sit off of a burner until you are ready to serve.)
  5. Serve the ratatouille over the rice, remembering to save half for the soup the next day, storing them covered in the refrigerator in separate containers.


  • You could add 15 oz Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed) or 1 lb ground meat, browned to the ratatouille with the peppers for a punch of protein.
Credits: The ratatouille and rice recipe is adapted from the “Provencal Vegetables and Rice” recipe in One-Dish Vegetarian Meals by Robin Robertson.

 Middle Eastern Vegetable SoupMiddle Eastern Vegetable Soup

Needs Fulfilled: Quick Meal, Cook Once-Eat Twice, Allergy Friendly, Vegetarian/Vegan
Serve With: Bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (there are also gluten-free breads in there!)
Prep: 0 minutes  Cook: 15 minutes   Time to Table: 15 minutes
Needed Equipment: Saucepan
Serves: 3




  • Leftover Ratatouille
  • Leftover Garlic Risotto
  • 1/2-1 cup water
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the leftover ratatouille and risotto with the water, coriander, and cinnamon in the saucepan over medium high heat.Heat through, stirring occasionally.Taste and add additional seasonings (salt, pepper, or more coriander or cinnamon) and serve!


  • You could use other seasonings such as ½ tsp ginger for the coriander for a slightly sweeter flavor or ½ tsp rosemary with 1 stalk celery, chopped for both for a more Italian flavor.

Kale & Kielbasa Soup Dinner

Kale and Kielbasa SoupWhen I made this hearty kielbasa and kale soup with potatoes and red beans, I made WAY too much, which turned out just perfect as it was even better as leftovers!  So, go ahead and make a double batch to have later in the week (but don’t freeze it – those potatoes will turn into watery nastiness).  I served this with hoecakes (fried cornmeal cakes), which were an adventure, but I recommend pairing this with regular cornbread.

Kale and Kielbasa Soup

Needs Fulfilled: Prep Ahead, Leftovers, Allergy Friendly, Low Carb
Serve With: Cornbread – I like this Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread or Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Time to Table: 45 minutes
Needed Equipment: Saucepan
Serves: 6
-Cut the kielbasa and potatoes according to the directions (you can do this ahead of time and store the sausage for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator and the potatoes covered in water in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).
  • 1 lb kielbasa, sliced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 potatoes, cubed (you can peel first if you prefer)
  • 15 oz red beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ Tbsp dried minced onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ bay leaf (or a small one)
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  1. Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned a bit on the outside. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients except the kale. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat (or turn it very low if you have a gas stove) and leave the pot on the burner. Stir in the kale and let sit for 5-10 minutes until slightly wilted.
  • For a low-carb option, substitute 1 lb of turnips, peeled and cubed for the potatoes.You can cut them ahead of time according to the directions and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • For a legume-free option, substitute 1 lb ground meat for the beans.Brown the ground meat with the sausage, then drain any excess fat after sautéing the garlic.
  • You can use other greens, including spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, or collard greens, in place of the kale if you prefer.
  • If you cannot find kielbasa that will work for your family, you can use the same amount of breakfast sausage or use this substitute recipe for 1 lb of breakfast sausage:
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ½ tsp dried parsley
    • ¼ tsp dried sage
    • ¼ tsp pepper
    • ¼ tsp dried thyme
    • ¼ tsp coriander
  1. Mix together in a bowl, then use as directed in the recipe.
Credits: This soup was inspired by a recipe in At My Grandmother’s Knee.