Saturday, July 6, 2013

Easy, No Fuss Meal for Hot Humid Days

Here are some simple recipes which can be prepared on any day, but especially good for those hot and humid ones.  This past July 4 in upstate NY was just such a day. Many chose to cook on the grill, but honestly I didn't even want to do that. This was the temperature of my deck at 5pm. Add another  4 degrees to that at 3pm.

With the temperature climbing, I decided to get started early.  The first thing to get done was baking the cake for dessert while it was still somewhat cool in the morning. We'll see this recipe later on. The second thing to do was to get out the slow cooker. To me, this way of cooking is much better than standing in the heat.  The main course was pulled pork sandwiches.  When I make pulled pork, I usually buy the pre-made seasoning mix. When I went to get it out of the cupboard, I realized I picked up pulled chicken seasoning instead of that for pulled pork. I decided to go for home made , which ended up being much better. 

Slow Cooker Carolina Pulled Pork

One 3 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, skin removed & trimmed
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp Worsteshire Sauce

3/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small  head of cabbage thinly sliced and 1 cup shredded carrots ; or 1 1lb. bag of slaw mix


1.  Prepare the pork:  Rub the pork all over with seasoned salt and paprika.  Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, about 12 minutes.

2.  Prepare the sauce:  Combine the remainder of the ingredients in a large bowl.

3.  Transfer the pork to your slow cooker and pour the sauce on top.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

4.  Prepare the coleslaw:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery salt and  pepper. Stir in the cabbage and carrots or coleslaw mix.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

5.  When pork is done, with 2 forks (or with clean hands), shred the meat, discarding any fat or bones.  This can be done right in the slow cooker.  

6.  Divide the meat evenly among the sandwich buns, topping with coleslaw, if desired.

* Note - if the sauce is too thin you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour mixed with a tablespoon of water to the sauce to thicken it up. 

 Adapted from

As you can see from the recipe above, a Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich is topped with cole slaw.  While the pork was beginning it's journey, the slaw was made. Rich and I took a trip to our local farm stands and bought a fresh cabbage and some sunflowers for the table. He was deemed the cabbage chopper as so it went - slaw done and in the frig.

While the pork and slaw were being made, the cake was being cooled in the refrigerator. Yes, a cold cake for dessert was just the ticket. But, add a little jello and Cool Whip frosting and you have a tasty cool treat.

Jello Poke Cake
1 pkg.  (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 cup  boiling water
1 pkg.  (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1/2 cup  cold water
1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Vanilla Frosting, thawed


  • PREPARE cake batter and bake as directed on package for 13x9-inch pan. Cool cake in pan 15 min. Pierce cake with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals. 
  • ADD boiling water to gelatin mix in small bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water; pour over cake. Refrigerate 3 hours. 
  • FROST cake with COOL WHIP Frosting. Refrigerate 1 hour.


  • Choose any color or flavor of jello depending on your mood or occasion.  I used 1/2 a box of strawberry and 1/2 box of Berry Blue to create the pictured patriotic cake below. You need to use 1/2 the amount of water as well in each flavor. 
  • You can use regular Cool Whip if desired. 
  • Instead of a fork, you can use a straw to poke holes throughout the cake. 

The last recipe on my list was the appetizer. I chose a recipe called BLT Dip. 



1 pound turkey bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled, and divided
2 (8-ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded Italian mixed cheese
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
1 cup shredded Iceberg lettuce
Toasted bread rounds or crackers

  • Preheat oven to 350˚. 
  • Spray a 1 1⁄2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. 
  • Set aside 1⁄2 cup crumbled bacon. 
  • In a large bowl, combine remaining bacon, cream cheese, shredded cheeses, sour cream, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. 
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 
  • Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, remaining 1⁄2 cup crumbled bacon, and Iceberg lettuce over hot dip. 
  • Serve immediately with toasted bread rounds or crackers. 
I found a new TownHouse Pita cracker in a Mediterranean flavor to have with the dip. It was a hit. 

A few additions to the menu included home made potato salad and steamed clams , compliments of my mom.   

Now here's the photo of the Jello Poke Cake which, by the way, did not last long after. 

Despite the heat it was a great dinner on a great day. 

I'd love to hear some of your recipes for hot, humid days. Do you have any favorites? 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the poke cakes, both Jello and Pudding.