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Pork & Veggie Stir Fry

15 Jan

A delicious, healthy meal on your table before Chinese take-out can get there. Change this up according to the ingredients you have on hand, easily customizable.

Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 4 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/3 cup water, stock, or wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 12 oz. pork tenderloin cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed & halved
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (button/shiitake/baby bella)
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 2-4 green onions, white/light green & green parts sliced & separated

How to make it


  • Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain & set aside. (I ran mine under cold water so they wouldn’t stick together too much – gasp! – but also tossing bit a splash of toasted sesame oil would work.)
  • Combine cornstarch, sugar, red pepper flakes, water and soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat oils in a large skillet or wok over medium-high. Add ginger, garlic, and pork. Cook for 3 minutes then stir and add carrots. Cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, snap peas, zucchini and white/light green parts of green onions. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Add soy sauce mixture and rice noodles, tossing to coat. Cover and cook another 3-5 minutes until sauce has thickened.
  • Garnish with green onions.
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Baked Pasta with Meat Sauce

11 Jan

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This name sounds very ordinary but this dish is extraordinary! I’m open to suggestions on how to spruce of the name. This is a great make ahead dish to keep in the freezer for an effortless homemade meal. The slow-cooked sauce develops such great flavors as it sits, so make it a day or two before you plan to make the baked pasta.

Time: 45 minutes hands-on               Serves: 12

Ingredients


  • Meat Sauce


  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild/sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 3 celery stalks, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed & roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 6 dry bay leaves
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 16 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Béchamel Sauce


  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used a Gluten Free baking mix to keep it wheat free)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese
  • The Rest


  • 16 oz. short cut pasta, cooked al dente (I used quinoa and corn elbows, again to keep the dish wheat free)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese

How to make it


  • Meat Sauce


  • Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of a large medium stock pot, you’ll want about 1/4 inch. Heat over medium. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Next, add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add parsley, basil and oregano and cook, stirring, until beef is browned all over and vegetables are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add Lawry’s and stir. Then, add bay leaves and remaining ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours. Tastes best after sitting, so allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Béchamel Sauce


  • Heat 3 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large skillet or medium saucepan. Add mushrooms and saute for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Add flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Slowly whisk in milk. Add nutmeg. Cook for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add cheese and stir. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • The Rest


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a very large mixing bowl or stock pot, combine meat sauce and cooked pasta. Toss well.
  • Pour mixture into baking dish. Pour béchamel sauce over top evenly. Top with grated cheese. Cover and bake in middle rack of oven for 40 minutes.
  • Switch oven to broil at 425F. Uncover and place on top rack under broiler. Broil for about 4 minutes, until top is golden brown and lightly crisp. Check every minute or two to see that it does not burn. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before serving.

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Red Beans & Rice (Version 2)

5 Nov

I planned on making my Cajun Red Beans & Rice but decided to try something different with one of my favorite homemade seasoning blends. Its not exactly pretty to look at but boy does it taste good!

Time: 30 min prep, 2 hour cook           Time: 4

Ingredients


  • 1/2 pound dry red kidney beans – picked over, soaked overnight & rinsed
  • 1 tbsp sazón: Sazón Seasoning Blend
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced/cubed smoked ham (I used Bavarian)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used Basmati)

How to make it


  • Place beans in a medium stock pot and cover with the 2 quarts fresh cold water. Add sazón and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat; reduce heat to simmer, cover with vented lid, and cook for about 2 hours or until beans are tender, adding more water as needed.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add ham and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to pot of cooked beans.
  • Add tomato sauce, pepper, oregano and more salt if needed. Add green onions (reserving some for garnish if you want). Feel free to add more sazón at this point if needed/desired as well. Mix to incorporate.
  • Serve over rice or mix rice into the pot.

Smothered Pork Chops

8 Aug

One of my beau’s favorite dishes.. I would have been making these for a while now if I knew how simple they were to prepare! I took a recipe from “The Best of New Orleans” cookbook for chicken and adapted it for pork.

Time: 20 min prep, 90 min cook            Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 4 bone in pork chops (boneless work too, just check an hour into cooking for tenderness)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf fresh (or 2 dried)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 green onions, white & tender green parts, thinly sliced

How to make it


  • Combine flour, salt, and peppers in a pie plate or similar.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Dredge pork chops in flour mixture and place in skillet. Brown on each side for about 5 minutes. Remove to plate.
  • Add remaining oil to skillet. Add veggies and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Stir in chicken stock, scraping up any browned bits. Add bay leave. Return chops to pan along with any accumulated juices.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, stirring 2-3 times, for 1 1/2 hours or until very tender.
  • Discard bay leaf. If you’d like to thicken some of the sauce, remove skillet from heat and spoon desired amount into a small sauce pan over low heat. Add cornstarch to thicken to desired consistency .
  • Add green onions to pork chops. Serve with gravy or pan sauce spooned over top.

Pork Medallions With Dijon Dill Sauce

24 Jul

This quick dish combines simple flavors for a fresh taste.

Time: 15 minutes           Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1 pound boneless pork tenderloin chops (thin cut, about 8 pieces)
  • vegetable oil to coat skillet
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp dill weed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

How to make it


  • Combine yogurt, mustard, dill, sugar, and black pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute pork for about 3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and season with garlic salt & pepper to taste on both sides. Serve with sauce on top or on the side.

Frittata with Swiss Chard, Italian Sausage, and Feta

9 Jul

I got this recipe from June 2011’s issue of Bon Appétit magazine. It was featured as an appetizer but I served it as a main dish, so cut the pieces a bit larger (and I think it would serve about 6 this way). It is so good!

Time: 30 min prep, 1 hour cook                Serves: 6 entree/20 appetizer 

Ingredients


  • nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 12 oz bunch of Swiss chard, stems and center ribs removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8oz mild Italian sausage(s), casings removed, sausage broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (about 4.5oz) crumbled feta cheese (I used garlic & herb and closer to 5.5oz)
  • fresh Italian parsley leaves

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Spray 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add Swiss chard and cook just until wilted; about 2 minutes. Drain. Finely chop, then place in kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (we have an electric stove so I go medium). Add onion to skillet and saute until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add sausage and saute until brown and cooked through, breaking up with fork, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add eggs, cream, salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add chard and cooled sausage mixture, then feta. Stirl to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
  • Bake until set in center, 45-55 minutes. Transfer baking dish to rack and cool 15-20 minutes.
  • Place platter atop dish with frittata. Using oven mitts, hold baking dish and platter firmly together and invert onto platter; place another platter atop frittata and invert again so that it is right side up. Cut to desired portion size.
  • Garnish with parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • *Note: This can be made 1 day ahead. Place frittata pieces on rimmed baking sheet. Cover and chill. Rewarm in 325F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes

Asparagus Bacon Boursin Pizza

26 Jun

A wonderful tribute to the end of asparagus season here in Michigan.

Ingredients


  • 1 12″ Boboli Original crust, or comparable
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, Kenzoil w/garlic & basil if possible or similar
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed & cut diagonally into 1-2″ pieces
  • 6-8 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 3 oz. garlic & herb boursin cheese
  • crushed red pepper, to taste

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Drizzle 1 1/2 tbsp oil on crust.
  • Top with shredded mozzarella, followed by asparagus and bacon.
  • Crumble Boursin over top, making sure to distribute as evenly as possible.
  • Drizzle with remaining oil and top with crushed red pepper.
  • Bake directly on center rack of oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on your preference of crispness.
  • Cut into 6 or 8 slices with pizza cutter & allow to cool just a bit before biting in, if you can 😉 I say serves 4-6 as it would be 2 slices each for 4 people or 1 bigger slice each for 6. Or half of it for each person, serving two, just kidding! Or am I ?!