As I mentioned in my last post, I did find time to cook despite traveling so much this winter. One thing I’ve found useful is to do bulk meals in the crockpot every week, and in the days before I traveled to Portland for work I did just that for Mark and Georgia, leaving them with pulled pork sliders and baby back ribs for dinner while I was away. Thanks to an awesome freezer meal workshop that I recently attended, I have these recipes and more to share over the next few months. So let’s start with the ribs! Sorry for the low lighting. The taste makes up for the bad photos, I promise!
Slow Cooker Ribs
(makes approximately four servings)
- 3 lbs. baby back ribs, fat trimmed (optional ~ mine looked pretty lean so I didn’t trim)
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 2 TBSP oil (I used Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed oil)
- 2 TBSP + 3 reserved (5 total) southwest seasoning (I used Wildtree Rodeo Rub)
- 2 TBSP minced garlic (I actually used the jarred kind and it worked great!)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup BBQ sauce (I used Wildtree Cactus Pete’s Agave Sauce — amazing)
You can either marinate this for a day or two in the fridge, or prep ahead and put in freezer storage until it’s ready to cook. I bought fresh ribs, marinated them 48 hours in the fridge, then cooked them in my slow cooker on the third day while I was at work. If you freeze this, I’d double-bag and defrost in the fridge the day before you cook them).
Mix all but the water and BBQ sauce (including TWO of the southwest seasoning TBSPs) into a freezer bag. Remove the air and seal.
When you’re ready to cook, pour 1/2 cup of water into your slow cooker and layer the ribs (plus everything in the bag) into the slow cooker. I had to really bend the rack of ribs to fit in there (same with the freezer bag at prep time) — that’s ok!
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours (I did the latter).
When you get home or are ready to serve them, preheat the oven to 375. Transfer the cooked ribs to a baking sheet, discarding everything else in the slow cooker, including the onions. Coat the ribs with the remaining 3 TBSP southwest seasoning/rodeo rub and then add 1 cup of BBQ sauce on top. Bake until the sauce caramelizes and sticks to the ribs, approximately 10-15 minutes.
I’ve never made (or eaten) ribs before, but I could tell by the way these fell off the bone that they were awesome even before Mark told me. And he would know, having grown up eating them somewhat regularly!
To make the green beans you see on the side, I just covered a baking sheet in foil, added about a pound of green beans from Costco, ends trimmed, and drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting at 400 for 25 minutes. This is Mark’s favorite way to cook vegetables, and the flavor is ridiculous for something so simple to do.
Now, about that freezer meal workshop. It was a lot of prep, but so worth the effort now that my freezer is JAM PACKED with family-sized meals! This may turn me into a convert for freezer cooking, which I’ve heard a lot about (especially since becoming a parent). I always assumed my tiny fridge couldn’t handle it, but by making sure to really clean out the freezer before prepping for this kind of workshop, I found I was more than able to handle the influx of gallon bags full of ready-to-cook dinners. You have to be organized, and doing it as part of a group helps keep you on task. Read more here if you’re interested in what large-scale freezer cooking takes.
more meat than I’ve ever bought before, in my entire lifetime, altogether.
Next up, I’ll be sharing the recipe for the pulled pork sliders I made. What a crowd-pleaser! While I love Wildtree products and am fortunate to know someone who sells them, you can substitute anything comparable that your family enjoys, from barbecue sauce to steak seasoning and so on. These recipes are easily replicated with the ingredients you love. Love having a fully stocked freezer 🙂
And have a Happy Easter this weekend! We are having brunch with my brother and his girlfriend (maker of the famous Stuffed Mushrooms), which is great because I’m not cooking like I did last year (though I’ll miss the leftover pea soup from having made ham!) Looking for a last-minute dessert idea for this weekend? How about Orange Creamsicle Cake, a last minute idea for us a few years ago that became a holiday staple. Also check out some Easter gift ideas in this post from a couple years ago, when Georgia was still a chubby baby! Now just look at her, having frappes and french fries with daddy on his day off!