What’s Cookin’? Pepperoncini Favorites

When my kids were young, we were always on the go… I wanted good meals that could be made without my constant supervision. I found a very versatile three ingredient dish that works well with chicken, pork or beef. All I needed to provide was extra sides and I had a crowd pleaser and a great meal.

What are the magical three ingredients? First ingredient is your choice of meat …beef, pork or chicken. The second ingredient is pepperoncini’s. The third ingredient is zesty Italian salad dressing powder mix. This little packet works together with the pepperoncini’s to create a mildly spicy main dish.

If you choose beef, the best cut to use is the chuck roast. This cut has great beef beefflavor and tends to be a leaner cut of beef. The chuck roast comes from the shoulder of the beef animal. You’ll need a 3-4 pound roast. Fun fact: Iowa ranks # 9 in beef production nationally.

When I make this dish with chicken, I use the boneless & skinless breast meat. Usually 4-6 large breasts. The breast meat comes from the front of the bird and one chickenpiece is harvested from each side. Chicken breast is available bone-in, boneless, skin-on and skinless. Breast meat consists of white meat only. White meat muscles in animals like chickens are used for quick bursts of activity. Dark meat in birds have more myoglobin proteins and are muscles that are used frequently (like the thighs). White meat is usually leaner, but dark meat usually has more zinc, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins, iron, and amino acids.

For the pork lover, a boneless shoulder roll (a roast from the blade shoulder) pork is the best for this recipe. The bones are removed and the meat is rolled and placed in a string type bag. The boneless shoulder roll is available fresh, or cured and smoked. I use the fresh version and cook with strings taken off. Iowa ranks #1 in pork production

The zesty Italian salad dressing mix  is loaded with spices and great flavor.

  • One main ingredient is onion flakes. Onion flakes are simply chopped onions that have been dehydrated. Onion producing states are Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California.
  • Garlic is the next seasoning. California is the major garlic producing state, followed by Nevada and Oregon. The majority of garlic is dehydrated and used in a wide variety of processed foods.
  • Xanthan gum is a food additive usually made from the sugar of grains. When combined with water, it helps enhance the appearance, texture and stability of food.
  • Dried red bell peppers  are a great source of vitamin C, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein. Many health benefits are packed into this popular vegetable. Peppers are low fat, a good source of vitamin E and full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Maltodextrin is used as an inexpensive additive to thicken food products. Maltodextrin comes from corn, rice and potato starch. These starches are cooked down into an easily digestible powder.
  • Dried citric acid is a natural preservative . Citric acid sold in a dry powdered form is commonly sold in markets and groceries as “sour salt”, due to its physical resemblance to table salt. Commercial production of this preservative comes an microorganism called Aspergillus niger, a mold in the same family of the penicillins.
  • Soy sauce  which comes from soybeans and soybeans are Iowa’s #2 crop. Read more about soy sauce here.

Pepperoncini (pronounced pep-per-awn-CHEE-nee) Grown on sun-drenched Mediterranean farms, their golden color and mildly fruity flavor make them a classic favorite. These crisp golden peppers with just a hint of heat are grown in both Tuscany and Greece.

The recipe is very easy: Just spray the crock pot with a no stick spray. Add in the Capturemeat of your choice. Sprinkle the entire zesty Italian salad dressing powder over the meat and add the bottle and juices of the Pepperoncini’s (I hold back about ¼ of the pepperoncini’s for decoration on the completed dish). Cook on low in the crock pot for 8 hours. When the meat is completely cooked it will shred apart easily. Shred the meat and it is ready to serve.

All that’s left is to decide if this dish will be a stand-alone with a vegetable or part of a stuffed baked potato or an awesome zesty sandwich. The choice is yours! Enjoy!

     –  Sheri

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