“There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure.” ~ Douglas Wilson

Since I am now a SAHM – I must admit, there is a decent amount of TV watching going on.

I’ll even go a little farther – I’m back to being hooked on Days of Our Lives – yep, there I said it. Don’t judge.

But I’m not much interested in talk shows except for one – The Chew! It’s fabulous and perfect for a foodie like me – it’s funny, entertaining and has great recipes and food tips.

(Kathie Lee and Hoda are a daily must too!)

I’m giving away all my secrets.

Oh, well.

Anyway, this is the first recipe from The Chew that I have tried and it will not be my last! So good yet totally do-able.

Spaghetti Bolognese

(adapted from The Chew)

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Carrot (chopped)
  • 6 slices Smoked Bacon (chopped)
  • 8 ounces Ground Pork
  • 8 ounces Ground Beef
  • 6 Garlic Cloves (crushed with garlic press or fork)
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 28 ounce can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (crushed by hand)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds Spaghetti
  • Salt
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Saute onion, carrot and bacon in olive oil until soft. Add pork and beef, season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Add crushed garlic, cook until fragrant (30 seconds – 1 minute).

Deglaze with vermouth, then add in wine and chicken broth. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

30 minutes before serving, add in milk and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with al dente spaghetti noodles, reserving some pasta water to thin if necessary. Top with Parmesan cheese.

This dish plays a trick on your eyes – Spaghetti Bolognese is a very traditional Italian meal just like regular spaghetti. It also looks like traditional spaghetti but it doesn’t taste like traditional spaghetti. If you will notice this does not have the familiar ingredients like basil and oregano but do not let you turn you off – it’s a fabulous Italian dinner!

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-abp

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“I wouldn’t know how to find eBay on the computer if my life depended on it.” ~ Marc Jacobs

While pumpkin head and I are staying indoors because of the frigid cold, I thought I’d go back and write up one of my Christmas recipes.

This being a good diversion from Ebay.

Whew, that Ebay can be addicting. Although, I do sell on ebay, not just buy. I just buy more than I sell. 😉

I like for Christmas dinners to be nice, sometimes elegant but with all you have already spent on Christmas, you don’t want to break the bank on this meal. Because of this, I have found good use of pork roasts. Last year I did a crowned pork roast with gravy and this year I did a Sage Crusted Pork Rack with Pear Chutney.

Sage Crusted Pork Rack

(adapted from Southern Living)

  • 3 cups firmly packed fresh sage leaves (about 4 [1-oz.] packages)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 7 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups olive or canola oil $
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest $
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 (3 1/2- to 4-lb.) 6-rib bone-in pork loin roasts, chine bones removed
  1. Process sage, garlic, and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor 30 to 45 seconds or until finely chopped. Add oil and next 2 ingredients; process 10 to 15 seconds or until blended. Rub mixture over roasts. Cover and chill 10 to 12 hours.
  2. Let roasts stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500°. Place roasts on a lightly greased wire rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle remaining 6 tsp. salt over roasts.
  3. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325°, and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portions registers 155°. Let roasts stand 30 minutes before serving with chutney.

~These are the instructions from Southern Living.  I personally like my pork and little more done so I cooked mine for about 30 more minutes.~

IMG_3296(picture from before cooked – got a little crazy right before dinner and I didn’t get one after)

-abp

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~ Confucius

In preparation for how much my life is going to change in a couple months, I’ve been scouring over Pinterest for more simple but still flavorful meals.  I have a feeling that the crock pot and I are going to be taking our relationship to the next level….

This one has now been added to the must do again list.

It smelled so good cooking and this pregnant girl was so hungry – she forgot to take a picture before she dove in. So the pic below was taken with my phone and is of my mom’s plate who luckily is very neat eater.

Oh well. 🙂

Crazy Slow Cooker Pork Chops

(adapted from Recipelion.com)

  • 4 pork chops (I used boneless)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • parsley, for garnish

In a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in broth and seasoning.

Place onion, garlic and pork in crock pot and pour over the sauce on the top.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Enjoy!

-abp

4 loin chops, lean 1 medium onion, sliced 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1 cup chicken broth 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper parsley, garnish
Read more at http://www.recipelion.com/Crock-Pot-Recipes/Crazy-Crockpot-Pork-Chops#yPJvWd2zJYYeE4AY.99
4 loin chops, lean 1 medium onion, sliced 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1 cup chicken broth 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper parsley, garnish
Read more at http://www.recipelion.com/Crock-Pot-Recipes/Crazy-Crockpot-Pork-Chops#yPJvWd2zJYYeE4AY.99
4 loin chops, lean 1 medium onion, sliced 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1 cup chicken broth 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper parsley, garnish
Read more at http://www.recipelion.com/Crock-Pot-Recipes/Crazy-Crockpot-Pork-Chops#yPJvWd2zJYYeE4AY.99

“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” ~ Pat Riley

It’s a good day to be an Alabama fan! Whoot, Whoot! Rooooolllll Tide!

BACK to BACK championships! The 3rd in 4 years! And being the wife of an Auburn fan, I must add it is the 4th in a row for the state of Alabama with AU taking the other of the four.

We are the football state if you ask me.

But I am pooped – I was up way past my bedtime watching that game. So tonight is an easy dinner night, which usually means a crockpot dinner. And tonight that crockpot dinner is a very flavorful pork roast I found on allrecipes.com.

Yummo Pork Roast

  • 1 (2 pound) pork roast
  • 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

Place pork roast in slow cooker and top with onion soup and water.

Add in beef stock and soy sauce. Mix well and turn to coat.

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Top with minced garlic. Spread over top of roast.

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Cook on high for 5 hours. (about 4 hours in start basting a little with the sauce and with with about 10 minutes left flip and mix in the garlic)

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Remove roast from cooker. Slice pork and serve with sauce.

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I served it with refrigerated mashed pototoes (I like Bob Evans) and a bagged salad.

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Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Roll Tide.

abp

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” ~ Helen Keller

Ok, I am feeling adventurous today – maybe it’s the wisdom I feel because I’m a year older this week…….

In any event – I am trying a recipe I found in bon appétit. Although I love reading this magazine – this will be the first recipe out of it that I have ever attempted. They are usually a little too involved, they include ingredients that are either too hard to find or too expensive or they are something that not a whole lot of people would have to eat on an average day.

But alas, I found one that I thought would be a good fit for me and my family, especailly coming off our trip to Italy.

Garganelli with Fennel and Pork Shoulder Ragù. (sounds fancy, huh??)

I did change up a few things though.
The first being the garganelli pasta which is a hand shaped egg based tubular pasta. Well, I’ll be using dried penne pasta. Also – I do not like the taste of fennel so I replaced that ingredient with celery which is common replacement because I’m one of many who is not of fan of the licorice flavor.

So with that being said, here’s what we got.

Gargnelli Penne Pasta with Fennel Celery and Pork Shoulder Ragù

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups minced celery
  • 1½ cups minced onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces (half a can) diced tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz Penne pasta
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil

You start by mixing the pork and 1 tsp of salt by hands until sticky, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

After chilling, roll pork mixture into 8-9 large meatballs (about 1/4 cup each).

Heat olive oil in large, heavy, deep pan over medium-high heat.  Cook meatballs until all sides are brown. Adjust heat so the brown bits on the bottom do not burn.

Drain meatballs on paper towel lined plate. Reduce heat to medium and scatter celery, onion and garlic in pan. Return meatballs to pan and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, or until vegetables are translucent and juices have evaporated.

Add wine, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until the wine has reduced by 3/4.

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Return to a simmer, once again scraping up brown bits.  Continue to simmer with the lid slightly ajar for about 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.

When finished cooking, remove meatballs and break up into small pieces and season with salt and pepper. Then return to pan.

Add cook pasta to ragù, mix well.

Serve topped with cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Such a hardy and unique meal.  It tasted very authentic – and I can say that since I still can taste all that yummy food with had in Italy (more on that next week).

This took a little time but it was well worth it!

Hope everyone has had a great week! TGIF!!!!

abp

“If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.” ― James Beard

TGIF!!!!

Anyone else as ready for it to be Friday as I am??? Goodness, what a long week. At least it’s been a productive one. One of the most productive things I did was re-signup at the gym. I’ve made a pact with myself.  I MUST go at least twice a week! 3 days would be preferable but I will not beat up on myself if its just 2.

Wish me luck.

I have to admit – I’ve never been one to cook many pork tenderloins. Mainly because they always seem dry.

But alas! I have found one that is not!!!

I made it this past weekend and even though my “pan sauce” separated and didn’t’ thicken as it should – it was still yummo!!

The tenderloin went great with mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts!

The marinade is just awesome.  I think I might try it with chicken.

Recipe adapted from Chef Mommy.

Marinade  (I need a good name for this)

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsely (I used dried because it was all I had)
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix all ingredients together. Reserve 2-3 Tablespoons. Marinate 1 lb pork tenderloin in ziploc bag for at least 3 hours.

(Mine marinated all day)

I think the longer the better.

Take the pork from marinade and sear all sides for 2-3 minutes in hot skillet over medium-high heat.

Place in baking dish with several tablespoons of the marinade (from the bag – not the reserved marinade) and bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.

To make the pan sauce (or try in my case)

Take the skillet you seared your pork in and deglaze with ½ cup chicken broth.  Add the reserved marinade and let boil down for 2-3 minutes. Add 1-2 teaspoons of butter (oops! I think thats where I messed up – I did tablespoons). Stir until melted. Pour over sliced pork.

Do you see all the extra butter floating around??? How could you not?!

A little extra butter never hurt anyone……..

As for the brussel sprouts. Just half or quarter them according to size.

Toss with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt and fresh ground pepper. Place on a foil lined baking dish.

Roast for 20 minutes at 415°.

Turn them 1-2 times during that time.

I like mine a little black and crispy.

Right now would be a great time to sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese!

Even with the ugly looking pan sauce this meal was a winner!

Will definitely make again!

On another note – it’s always great to have these nice meals with all the different ingredients, but I gotta tell you – that grilled cheese sandwich that I made tonight (with plain old white sandwich bread, a cheese slice and butter) was like a little slice of heaven after a long day.  I finished it up with Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk straight from the carton, in my pajamas, watching the first college football game of the season. I am one happy, happy girl. 🙂

abp