Four Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese

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Have you heard about the four ingredient macaroni and cheese?

It’s so easy!

All you do is throw elbow macaroni, shredded cheddar, cream cheese and milk into a slow cooker and turn it on low. Voila–in four hours a pot of creamy, cheesy mac with no aritificial colours, flavours or powders. Just homemade goodness!

It sounds too good to be true, right?

Sadly, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Despite following the recipe to the letter (something I rarely do), we ended up trying to choke down a thick, starchy mass that didn’t resemble macaroni and cheese in anything other than scent.

We each did our best to eat a small serving with dinner, but even the dog couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for four-ingredient slow cooker mac and cheese.

There was a bright side to our dinner debacle, though. When I chiseled it out of the slow cooker, I found a smooth surface with the consistency of rubber. A home cook with a talent for whittling could produce an assortment of paper weights, bouncy balls and dog chew toys with the leftovers.

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A BBQ in my Crock Pot

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I’m not much of a meat eater, but my sailor, our boy and of course our little Mexican friend are all blood-thirsty carnivores. Pulled pork is a particular favourite with the boys (and the canine).

Pulled pork has become very popular and it’s usually my boy’s choice whenever we eat out. Although he’s a purist and prefers it in its classic form, mounded on a crusty roll, I’ve seen pulled pork eggs Benedict, chowder, pasta, soup, wraps… It seems the only thing this versatile meat dish can’t do is dessert.

When I saw small pork roasts on special recently, I decided to give it a try. I have a slow cooker, I’m fairly bright and the directions are pretty simple. Mix up the sauce, pour it over the meat, cook for eight hours and shred with two forks. How hard can it be?

Both the boy and the dog spent a good part of the day sniffing around the kitchen eagerly awaiting the appearance of slow cooked pulled pork. When it was shredded, it looked just like the product served at so many family restaurants.

“How is it?” I asked my boy as he dug into the meaty goodness.

“Not quite up to restaurant standards.” He took another bite and chewed thoughtfully. “There’s a sharp background flavour that shouldn’t be there, but it’s okay.”

D’oh–I knew I should have washed the pork before popping it in the crock pot. I bought a pre-seasoned roast at Walmart because they were on special. It was prettily covered in rosemary boughs, parsley flakes and all manner of other seasonings that have no business on pulled pork with its smoky faux Barbeque sauce.