Weekend Lunch: Ravioli Pasta Salad and BBQ Pulled Pork, Dr Pepper Style (and the day that Backstreet came back…again)

Now, first things first. If you know anything about me, you likely know my deep, near-crazy love for the Backstreet Boys. This began at an early age, and affected nearly everyone in my family. DS and Suzie Q used to be forced out of bed at 4 a.m. to go stand in line at the Ticketmaster (those were the days when you had to actually go out of the house to buy tickets) to try and get front-row seats. The closest we got was row 13, which was just close enough to try to jump on the stage. They have some seriously good bouncers. This was also the only time in my father's life that he wished he owned a pair of parachute pants just LIKE the BSB… they were very stylish in 1996. 


This obsession also drove me to demand my dad follow their tour bus, as we pulled out of the concert and noticed their tour bus was doing the same. We may or MAY NOT have followed said bus all the way to a gas station in Michigan, in which I may or MAY NOT have gotten out of the car, approached the bus and proceeded to tell the BSB's manager that I was their biggest (and cutest fan). That little stint landed me a meet & greet with some of the Boy's (ok, they waved at me, and autographed a picture for me). I also was a dues-paying member of their fan club ($50 fee split between my friend Elizabeth and I got us secret passwords to unlock tickets way before you ever could. Worth it.) We also cried as if someone had died when AJ went to rehab and the Black & Blue tour, which we had 8th-row tickets for… was canceled. (That was a very difficult year for BSB fans). And, yes, every time I went to a N*Sync concert, or listened to 98 Degrees, it just felt wrong.  

Whilst catching up on my tweets Thursday morning, I found one from Good Morning America stating that Backstreet Boys were .. BACK. AND on tour. AND stopping in the CLE – literally in my backyard at the Pavillion. I shared this excellent news with Mr. Grumpy, to which he reminded me of our planned trip to Athens the weekend they'll be here. Obviously BSB trumps Athens (sorry) – especially because now instead of having to follow their tour bus to a gas station like a crazy person, I can just hope that they visit a bar after the concert and I run into them very calmly and hope they never remember me, the crazy fan who stalked them for most of the 90s. 

I shared this excellent news with Ashley, who of course already knew all about it, plus knew that Pauly D was ALSO on tour with them, and was not surprised when this made Mr. Grumpy even MORE grumpy about the whole situation. I also shared the news with my grandlittle Cami, who responded with the following conversation (shield your eyes if you're a child… Also, if you're a child I'm confused as to why you find my blog interesting. Unless you are one my nephews or my awesome cousins Lily or Rosy. In which case, you are awesome, but you probably shouldn't read the following excerpt.) 

May 16 (3 days ago)

to me
If I weren't going to Michigan when they're coming to Cleveland, I'd buy a ticket to their concert and throw my panties at Nick.  I might even throw more than one pair.  I know the question is rhetorical, but when Nick asked if he's sexual in "Backstreet's Back" on GMA, I answered.  Sitting in my apartment with my cats, in my PJs, I screamed "YES" at the TV.
I know he's a Carter, which is a name synonymous with "hot mess" (http://www.eonline.com/news/222117/dwts-aaron-carter-enters-rehabhttp://www.eonline.com/news/291204/leslie-carter-cause-of-death-drug-overdose-says-police-report), but for him, I'd still be The One.  I hope he's Larger than Life.  I could go on, but I know you're already saying, "Gross!" and shaking your head.  We need to keep each other informed of BSB's movements, because I'm finally legal and Jon would probably understand if I hooked up with Nick Carter, the love of my 10-year-old life.
Cari Steiner
May 16 (3 days ago)

to Cami
Glil, you underestimate my fandom if you think I was shaking my head and saying gross at your amazing references to one of my FAVORITE BSB albums. However, if you were that cheesy with any other topic, I would shake my head in disgust. 

Now, let's remember that I am the one who chased DOWN the BSB tour bus, demanded that I receive an autograph, and cried when I met Nick Carter…. (why didn't they arrest me??) Although, I will always be AJ's number one fan and soon-to-be-wife (is he slightly sober or all the way there?). 
We need to talk about how I can get tickets to this Cleveland concert. I'm not ashamed and WILL go by myself. I hope they sing, "Don't Want You Back," as I might just throw my bra onstage for that one.
Sigh Sigh Sigh Sigh Sigh. 
Also, please know that this email conversation will likely end up on my blog.
May 16 (3 days ago)

to me
I've checked into your intended's sobriety status via Wikipedia, and A.J. McLean went on his third rehab vacation early in January 2011 for "personal reasons."  I wish I knew why celebrities use that excuse when they go into rehab – why doesn't he just acknowledge that he was putting his money up his nose?  The same money, I might add, willingly given by prepubescent girls from hard-earned babysitting and taking out the trash.  A kid I babysat for locked me in the closet, but it was worth it for "Black & Blue." I'd like to take this moment to pause and apologize to any nuns who might read your blog.
If you received a hug from any of the boys, we have to snuggle.  Not that either of us appreciates being touched for an extended period of time, but you've touched them.  I don't care which one.
Honestly, what do you think will be the dude-to-lady ratio at that concert?  I think I saw all of three guys (not including the five glorious man hunks on stage) when I saw them in 2006.  It must have been what it felt like filming "Magic Mike."
Also, AJ is married, so you might want to look into those polygamy homes that they have on Sister Wives.  Your babies would come out wearing little knitted hats.
Cari Steiner
May 16 (3 days ago)

to Cami
You are hands down my favorite person on the planet. 

ANYWAY. So, I looked up ticket prices, and whoever responds to my blog post first with a RSVP YES gets to come with me to the VIP Meet & Greet. No, this is not a giveaway. No, I will not pay for your $599 ticket. But, if you'd like to come. The invitation is out there. I really can't have an entourage though, as I really want the Boys to focus on me. I just can't afford any distractions that evening. August 10. Be there. Mr Grumpy has informed me he will not be there. Which is disappointing because I already bought him a ticket… He also was in a bit of trouble as he knew the BSB was back several hours prior to me finding out, and didn't alert me immediately. 

Now, all this excitement really worked up my appetite, even though I will officially be dieting so I can look better than all the 19 year olds who will go to the concert but really not be able to fully grasp the talent of the Boys, as 19 year olds were not even BORN when their first album came out. Loser 90s babies. 

Since the weather is completely beautiful outside, I obviously craved one of my favorite summertime foods – BBQ and pasta salad. These are two super-easy recipes that also make some great leftovers. A perfect weekend lunch, with leftovers to take for lunch on Monday! 

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork Sammies


I actually got this recipe from my friend, Robin, except that she uses Root Beer, and I used Diet Dr Pepper. She made this for a football party she had at her and Mr. Salty's apartment, and it was a huge hit.

What you'll need:

  • 4 lb pork-loin roast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cajun seasoning
  • 1 can of Diet Dr Pepper
  • 1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce

First, trim some of the fat off your pork loin. You don't want to fully remove the fat, but you don't want it all on there. If you remove the fat all the way, it will be a bit dry. Next, sprinkle the cajun seasoning (I make mine from scratch) over both sides of the meat. Cut the pork loin into 4 pieces. Next, in a pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the pork slightly, cooking about 3-4 minutes on each side. Place the meat into your crock pot. Cover with Dr. Pepper, and cook on low for 8 hours. Once you're ready to eat it, drain the juice from the crock pot. Shred your pork (fun trick: you can use a potato masher and it is SUPER easy!). Add the BBQ sauce, and let it heat all the way through (about 30 more minutes on high in your crock pot). We topped ours with coleslaw from the West Side Market, and ate on Challuh rolls. YUM!! 

Ravioli Goat Cheese Pasta Salad


For the side dish, I made this delicious pasta salad. Mr G was a little disappointed because when I said I was making pasta salad, he didn't think it would have lettuce in it. But, alas. Sometimes life just doesn't work out the way you planned. I adapted the recipe from TheKitchn blog: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-pasta-lite-salad-84429

What You'll Need:

  • 1 package of frozen ravioli (or tortellini is cool too). I used sun-dried tomato and goat cheese ravioli. But, you can use any flavor. Just be careful because some of the meaty flavors may taste kind of weird. Pesto tortellini would be good. Or something with chicken.
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 5 oz. package of herb and garlic goat cheese
  • 1 cup of peas 
  • 1 bundle of asparagus, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives

The dressing (my aunt Mary's special dressing!!)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • The juice and zest of 1 lemon 
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt 

First, put your pot of water on to boil. While you're waiting for it to boil, cut up all your veggies and make your dressing. Also, make a bowl with ice water in it, and set it aside. 

Once your water is boiling, place your pasta in it, and let it cook for 3 minutes. When you've hit the 3-minute mark, add you asparagus to the boiling water. Once you've got 1 minute left to boil, add your peas. This should all be a total of 5 minutes. Awesome math skills, I know. 

Now, immediately drain the water and get the pasta in the ice water. Let it cool, and drain it again. Mix together the pasta, asparagus, peas, spinach, cheese and pine nuts. Voila! You've got yourself a super yummy salad. I add the dressing as I eat it so the spinach doesn't wilt and so you can keep it for a few days. 


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