Archive for ‘Pork’

May 25, 2012

Slow cooker brown sugar pork loin

Diana Rattray, About.com

Serves: 6-8

  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, 4 to 6 pounds
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Wash pork roast, trim excess fat, pat dry, and rub with garlic halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then prick the roast all over with a fork or skewer.In a cup or bowl, combine 1 cup of the brown sugar, the mustard, and vinegar. Rub all over the roast.

Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours. Pour off the excess juices.

combine the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar with cinnamon; Spread the mixture over the top of the roast. Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 1 hour longer.

*Chef’s note: An interesting flavor! I liked it. However, I think I should have adjusted the cooking time because I used only a 2-pound tenderloin (though I used almost all the sauce quantity); even with a splash of chicken stock before adding the rest, it still turned out a bit dry and was too dry without any of the thick glaze it produced. If you use a smaller tenderloin like I did, check it after 4-5 hours or so.

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May 17, 2012

Buttermilk-soaked baked Parmesan pork chops

How Sweet It Is

Serves: 4

  • 4 thin-sliced, boneless center cut pork chops
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry, any flour will do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese + a little more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Tenderize and trim fat from pork chops if you’d like. It’s not necessary but I do it. Add pork chops to a baking dish and pour buttermilk over top. Soak for at least 2 ours, or over night. Remove pork chops from fridge 30 minutes before you plan to make them.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl, combine panko, flour, salt, pepper and parmesan. Heat an over-safe skillet on medium-high heat and add olive oil. Grab a pork chop from the buttermilk, letting any excess milk run off. Dredge through panko mixture, coating completely. Lay down in skillet and repeat with remaining chops. Brown pork chops for 3 minutes on each side only! You don’t want them to toughen up. After six minutes, turn off heat and add chicken stock to pan. Sprinkle a little parmesan on pork chops and cover skillet. Bake for 20 minutes.

*Chef’s note: These were quite yummy! A pork chop is probably my least favorite cut of meat that I eat, but these earn a thumbs up from me! I trimmed and tenderized the chops as suggested and soaked them for about 5 hours, which made them moist and easy to cut. I liked the slightly tangy hint of buttermilk flavor, and I’m always game for Parm. and panko. I used all-purpose flour I had on hand.

May 16, 2012

Lemon-garlic spaghetti with sausage meatballs

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, 5 thinly slices and 1 grated
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 mini whole wheat pitas, torn into big pieces
  • 3 cups baby arugula, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded gruyere
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 box (13.25 oz.) whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1  1/4 cups grape tomatoes, halved

In a small saucepan, cook 1/4 cup EVOO and the sliced garlic over low heat until the garlic is fragrant and golden, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.

In a food processor, pulse the pitas to very fine crumbs and transfer to a large bowl. Finely chop 6 Tbsp. of the arugula and stir into the crumbs along with the sausage, cheese and grated garlic. Form into 12 meatballs.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until well browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup water and a generous pinch of salt. Cover, lower the heat to medium and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot and toss with the garlic oil, lemon juice and zest, the remaining arugula and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the meatballs.

*Chef’s note: So we all know Rachael Ray is a talented woman, but has anyone ever noticed that she just nails meatballs and burgers? Dang! This spaghetti would be fantastic even alone, the meatballs would be great in a red sauce; but they are so incredible together! Best pasta dish I have made in a long time. Yum, yum, yum. As you may be able to tell, I used a mixture of leftover whole wheat and traditional spaghetti. There was still a lot of water left (which had turned a golden yellow) when the meatballs were cooked through, but they weren’t soggy and I just took them out of the liquid to serve.

May 16, 2012

Croque monsieur pockets

Food Network

Makes: 4

  • 1 cup grated gruyere cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup deli-sliced ham, chopped (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 11-ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough
  • 1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the gruyere, ham, mustard, nutmeg and cayenne in a bowl until combined. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands to make it compact.

Brush a baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and fill the dinner pockets. Step-by-step directions.

Place the pockets seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; brush the pockets with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

*Chef’s note: My gosh were these good. And the hardest part was finding the seam in the dough to unroll it. Definitely spring for the gruyere here; it is perfect! A fancier, much better-tasting Hot Pocket. Mmmm.

May 16, 2012

Spinach and ricotta ravioli

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach, finely chopped and squeezed dried
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 small lemon, zested and juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 40 square wonton wrappers
  • 4 butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, shallot, egg and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Arrange 10 wonton wrappers on a clean work surface. Top each with a rounded tsp. of filling. Moisten the edges with water and, working with 1 at a time, fold in half to form triangles; press down around the filling to seal. Transfer the ravioli to the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, drop in the ravioli in 2 batches, letting the water return to a boil between batches. Cook until the ravioli bob to the surface, about 3 minutes per batch; strain.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, swirling, until it browns and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat immediately. Stir in the lemon juice, capers, and half of the parsley; season.
Divide the ravioli among 4 plates, drizzle with the butter sauce and top with the remaining parsley.
*Chef’s note: Rach delivers again! Please don’t let my sub-par photograph fool you; these ravioli were not slimy and shiny but scrumptious, indeed. This was great with one link of browned spicy Italian sausage added to the filling. The wonton wrappers were surprisingly easy to work with as well, so don’t be intimidated!
April 2, 2012

Bacon-wrapped pineapple shrimp

Rachael Ray

Makes: 4 appetizer servings

  • 12 jumbo shrimp, deveined
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple cut into bite sized chunks or 1 (14-ounce) can pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 6 slices center-cut bacon, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 12 wooden toothpicks

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Holding a shrimp, nest a chunk of pineapple in the natural curve of the shrimp then wrap bacon around the shrimp and pineapple and secure with a wooden toothpick. Wrap and secure all 12 shrimp then add to the hot pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until bacon is crisp and shrimp are opaque and firm.

*Chef’s note: Tasty, tasty, tasty. I used a whole 1.5 pounds of medium shrimp, 7 or so pieces of low sodium bacon and fresh pineapple chopped in small pieces. It was a bit tough to assemble these with smaller shrimp and short bacon, but I decided the bacon didn’t need to go all the way around; as long as everything was in one bite, who cares?! I also marinated the shrimp for about 20 minutes in Trader Joe’s “Soyaki” sauce first, which I definitely recommend, as I think it completed the dish. After reading negative reviews, I decided to precook the bacon a bit first in a skillet (until cooked a bit but still pliable), and then I finished the whole thing in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Easy peasy, no flipping involved! When I ran out of bacon I just used the marinated shrimp and pineapple, then just the marinated shrimp. All tasty stuff. [Another lovely plate by Ms. Kay, by the way.]
April 2, 2012

Oven-grilled bacon cheddar sandwiches

Food Network

Makes: 4 sandwiches

  •  6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 slices potato sandwich bread
  • 8 ounces sliced cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices crispy cooked bacon
  • 4 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Butter one side of each piece of bread. Place 4 slices, buttered-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Layer half of cheese slices on bread followed by bacon and scallions. Place remaining cheese slices on top. Cover each sandwich with remaining 4 slices of bread, buttered-side up.

Bake sandwiches until bottoms are a toasted golden brown, about 10 minutes. Flip and continue to bake until cheese melts and other side is toasted, 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve immediately.

*Chef’s note: These were a great accompaniment to some Whole Foods conch chowder. Mmmm. I used sourdough bread, which was tasty but probably a little too bready and crunchy; if you use a crusty bread like sourdough, be sure to use plenty of cheese to balance it out. I liked the new “grilled cheese” method! (I also used Publix lower sodium bacon, which tasted just fine with the salty cheese. Actually, cheese aside, it tasted the same to me…. Win!)

March 24, 2012

Orecchiette with spicy sausage

Food Network

Serves: 4

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 ounces fresh chorizo or other spicy sausage, casings removed
  • 2 spring onions (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced, plus more for topping
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the spring onions and cook until softened, about 3 more minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 more minutes.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the broth to the skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the pasta and cheese, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil and top with more cheese and spring onions.

*Chef’s note: A nice solid dish. I love all the components, and they came together nicely. Next time I’ll add a splash of white wine! I used spicy Italian sausage (not a huge fan of chorizo), and I didn’t need the reserved pasta water or think it needed the added EVOO at the end. Any short pasta would go nicely in this dish, but I found those little orecchiette to be too darn cute not to use. And yes, I pretty much always use this bowl for pasta.

March 24, 2012

Pioneer Woman quiche

Pioneer Woman

Makes: 2 standard pies

  • 3/4 pounds Thick Cut, Peppered Bacon
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1 whole Large (or 2 Medium) Onions, Very Thinly Sliced
  • 2 boxes (5 Oz. Each) White Mushrooms, Washed And Sliced
  • 1 can (14 Oz.) Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 1 whole Pie Crust, Or Half A Recipe Of “Sylvia’s Perfect Pie Crust”
  • 7 whole Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 cups Grated Swiss Cheese
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Fresh Parsley, Fresh Chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Pour out excess grease but don’t clean the pan.

Melt butter in the same skillet. Add onions and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and artichokes and cook for a few more minutes. Salt mixture to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.

Roll out pie crust and press into deep dish tart pan. (May also use 2 standard pie crusts for this recipe.) In a large bowl, beat eggs with cream. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper, and set aside. (Add cayenne pepper if you’d like a little kick.)

With a slotted spoon, add mushroom mixture into egg/cream mixture. Stir together. Add bacon and stir. Add parsley or chives, if desired.

Pour into pie crust and press to submerge ingredients. Cover loosely with foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Bake for slightly longer if quiche is overly jiggly.

Remove from oven and allow to set for ten minutes before serving. Remove quiche from pan and slice into wedges.

*Chef’s note: Gosh, I love quiche. A true BLD (breakfast, lunch or dinner – Rachael Ray) meal. I used half and half in place of cream and added one egg, and this recipe was great for 2 standard pie dishes (I just used Pillsbury crust). If you don’t like artichokes, just leave ’em out! That’s the beauty of a quiche (besides its BLD versatility) – you can throw in whatever veggies or proteins you like, and it probably will still taste great.

March 24, 2012

Ham and egg cups

Family Circle

Makes: 8 servings

  • 8  slices sugar-cured deli ham
  • 4 tablespoons (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 8 muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
Position 1 slice of ham in each of the muffin cups, doubling each slice over to insure that there are no holes in the bottom of the ham “cups.” Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of the cheese and about 1/2 tablespoon scallions in the bottom of each cup.
Place one raw egg in each ham cup. Sprinkle each egg lightly with pepper. Bake about 15 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Carefully remove the egg cups using the ham to lift onto serving plates.
*Chef’s note: Aren’t these just adorable?! They’re adorable. And so simple. Few ingredients, not much time, win. I cooked mine a bit longer to ensure the yolks were completely set.