Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Crockpot Hirino Psito Pork

We had our neighbors over for dinner last week and I served this.  I hadn't made it before, but went with the rave reviews it got from the author's husband.  And it worked!  It was delicious!  My hunk of pork was just a little over 2 pounds and we had one small serving left over after feeding four adults and four kids.  I was also excited to put my rosemary and sage plants to good use.

3-4 pound boneless pork butt or shoulder
10 whole garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sage (dried or fresh)
1 teaspoon rosemary (dried or fresh)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup beer

Put the meat into your crockpot.  Pour on dry spices and brown sugar. Flip the meat over a few times in the stoneware so the spices are kind of stuck to all sides. Peel garlic cloves and add whole. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, honey, and cranberries. Top with bay leaves. Pour in the beer.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork. I cooked on low for 12 hours, and while the meat was tender and flavorful, it did burn a bit on the top and sides. Serve over rice or pasta, or on your favorite sandwich rolls.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gingery Pork Meatballs

This deliciousness came from Cooking Light.  I would have preferred rice noodles, but the wide egg noodles were fine.  I should have learned my lesson from before and doubled the batch of meatballs to freeze (or eat).

08/2012 Update:  I made this again and found the noodles to be a bit dry and boring.  I didn't remember that from the first try.  The meatballs were still very tasty, but the noodles and veggies were lacking something.


1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground pork (I used turkey)
1 large egg, lightly beaten

8 ounces uncooked wide rice noodles
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1 cup julienne-cut snow peas
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Place a foil-lined jelly-roll pan in oven.  Preheat oven to 450.

Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; stir gently just until blended.  Cover and chill 30 minutes.  Divide pork mixture into 20 equal portions; shape each portion into a meatball.  Arrange meatballs in a single layer on preheated pan.  Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until done.

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.  Rinse noodles under cool water; drain.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper, peas, salt, and crushed red pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring.  Sprinkle each serving with 2 Tbsp green onions.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Brazilian Rice and Beans

Alana tipped me off to this More-With-Less recipe.  I'm not sure what makes it Brazilian, but it made enough to feed the multitudes so be prepared to freeze, or better yet - share with friends!  We liked it.

2 cups dried pinto or kidney beans (or 6 cups cooked beans)
4 cups total of 2-4 of the following vegetables, chopped:
- potato
- chayote
- cabbage
- pumpkin
- okra
- carrot
1/2 lb ground meat (beef or pork)
1/4 lb smoked meat (bacon, sausage, etc.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp coriander
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight. Drain.  Bring 6 cups water to a boil then add beans and simmer until tender, about 2 hours.

In large dutch oven, heat 1-2 Tablespoons of oil and cook together about 4 cups of 2-4 of vegetables listed above. Cook just until tender.  Remove from pan.  Set aside.

In the same pan, saute ground meat, smoked meat, garlic, onion, green pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, coriander, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer 30 minutes (I just cooked mine until the meat was done.  There weren't many juices to simmer in).

Add cooked beans and vegetables back to the pan with the meat mixture and heat together 2 minutes. Serve with rice.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yogurt in the Crockpot

My family eats a lot of yogurt.  A lot.  Since moving to England, I haven't found a plain yogurt that won't break my bank and tastes good.  So at the recommendation of my friend, Nikki, I've started making my own - and we love it!  I should have been doing this a long time ago, especially since it's stinkin' easy.  I took most of my notes from here, along with a few other sites that offer suggestions and this is what I've come up with.  You've got to try it!  A bowl of this with some homemade granola and blueberries has become our breakfast of Payne champions!

I've made four batches so far, and each batch has been better than the one before.  It's not as thick as the Greek yogurt you can find in the store.  But it's also not as bitter, which I like.  If you are set on having a super thick texture, try this method.

You'll need:

-1/2 gallon of whole milk (I've always used organic)
-1/2 cup plain yogurt to use as a "starter".  It can be store bought, or 1/2 cup reserved from a homemade batch.  I've used Greek-style, but I'm guessing any full-fat yogurt would work
-a couple of towels or a blanket

Turn your crockpot to low and pour in milk.  Cover and allow to cook for two and a half hours.

After two and half hours have elapsed, turn off cooker, unplug from wall and allow to sit, still covered, for three hours.

After the three hours have gone by, add the starter yogurt and use a whisk to gently mix.  Recover.  Then cover and wrap the entire crockpot with a large bath towel or blanket and leave on your counter for eight hours.

After the eight hours have elapsed, you're yogurt is done!  I normally lift the entire crockpot out of the base and keep it in my fridge until I have time to decant into smaller containers.

Tips I've picked up so far:
- Don't mess with the yogurt unless you have to.  When stirring in the plain yogurt starter, 4 or 5 figure-eight motions with the whisk is all you need. 

-I usually start the process at 4 or 4:30pm, which makes me done for the day by 9:30 or 10pm and then it's ready at 5:30 or 6am

-After 2 or 3 times of using your own yogurt as a starter, go back to 1/2 cup store-bought so the yogurt doesn't get too runny

-update: I tried it for the first time using non-organic milk.  I noticed a big difference in taste and texture that I didn't like.  

Uses for plain yogurt:
-substitute for sour cream
-with granola and dried or fresh fruit for breakfast or snack
-in smoothies . . . strawberry, blueberry, and banana is one of our favorites
-blended with a little bit of orange juice concentrate and then frozen for creamsicle-ish popsicles
-use instead of milk for biscuits, pancakes, or cornbread

I'd love to hear any of your ideas or tips . . .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jerk Chicken

I stole Jessie's picture along with the recipe for this yummy dinner.  I actually have mixed feelings about this meal.  I absolutely LOVED the chicken, but ruined my grill pan in the process of making it.  That being said, I liked the chicken so much I would probably just buy a cheapo one-use-grill at the corner store to make it again.  I'm sure it would taste even better grilled.  I also thought about putting everything in the crock pot and serving the chicken shredded over rice.  Don't tell Jessie's dad, but I think it just might work.

1 Tbsp. ground allspice
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp. ground sage 
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¾ cup white vinegar
½ cup orange juice
juice of 1 lime
3 habanero peppers, finely chopped (I just used one jalapeno so it wouldn't be too spicy for the kids)
1 cup chopped white onion
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 whole chicken, cut up into serving pieces 

In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and sugar.  With a wire whisk, add the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, and lime juice.  Add the habanero peppers, onion, green onions and mix well.  Add the chicken, cover and marinate overnight.  Remove chicken from marinade and grill until fully cooked, basting the chicken with the marinade while it's cooking.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

These enchiladas were simple and filling even without the meat.  They tasted good, but weren't great leftovers since the tortillas got pretty soggy.   The recipe makes more than enough filling for ten tortillas, but would be yummy served over rice or chips.  Also, I would do without the bell pepper next time.  I just didn't care for that flavor mixed with everything else.

Mix in bowl:
4 cups black beans
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups salsa
2 cups plain yogurt
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup chopped bell pepper (I would leave this out next time - I thought the flavor was too strong)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
10-12 8" tortillas

2 cups cheese
2 cups enchilada sauce

Spoon mixture into a tortilla and roll in an ungreased 9x13 pan. Continue to fill tortillas and roll until you're out of mixture. Pour enchilada sauce and top with 2 more cups of grated cheese. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Strawberry Nutella Muffins

This was the perfect way to use up some fresh strawberries bought on our way home from Canterbury last weekend.  The batter is thick and makes more cake-like muffins that were delicious!  Thanks for the link, Pam!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1/3 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
In a small bowl, combine canola oil, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla together. Use a fork or whisk and mix until well combined.
Incorporate the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Add slowly and gently stir, you don’t want to over mix. The batter will be thick. Carefully fold in the strawberries.
Fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Next, add a small spoonful of Nutella to each muffin cup. Cover the Nutella filling with the remaining batter.
Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mexican Chicken Soup in the Crockpot

We'd been gone away all weekend.  I hadn't planned ahead for meals on Monday and certainly wasn't prepared to do grocery shopping.  As my husband headed out the door, he asked what we were having for dinner and I told him I had no idea.  No big deal, except that when I headed back to the kitchen, I embraced the reality that we had next to nothing of the edible variety.  I should have taken a picture of the fridge so you'd believe me.  I had more food stocked three days before we moved overseas than I did Monday morning!  So this is what I came up with.  And I'm proud to say that I thought it was delicious.  Simple, yes.  But my husband and I both agreed it was tasty enough to make again (especially with some exciting toppings).

5 frozen chicken tenders
1 cup frozen corn
3 cups frozen chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 chicken bouillon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
three shakes crushed red pepper
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinse
one handful cilantro, chopped

Put everything but cilantro in the crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for eight hours, or until chicken can be shredded with two forks.  Shred chicken, add cilantro, cover, and cook for thirty more minutes.  Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips, or whatever makes it taste more "mexicany" to you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cream of Carrot-Cheddar Soup

This recipe comes from my More-With-Less cookbook (one I'm going to make an effort at using more often).  Everyone really enjoyed it, especially served with homemade rolls.  I followed the instructions and shredded both the carrots and potatoes, but if you have the means by which to puree some of the soup before serving (Vitamix or immersion blender), coarsely chopping the vegetables would be sufficient to still get a smooth soup, and would save time.

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 pound carrots (8-10), shredded
1 pound potatoes (3-5), shredded
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups milk (may use part cream)
1-2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large pot, saute onion in butter 3-5 minutes.  Add carrots, potatoes, broth, thyme, bay leaf, Tabasco, Worcestershire, sugar, salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables are tender.  Add milk and cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.  Discard bay leaf and serve hot with fresh parsley or extra cheese sprinkled on top.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry

This was fantastic!  My Vitamix whipped up the sauce beautifully, and I'm now thinking about how to make other curried-flavor sauces the same way.  A side of naan for soaking up the extra juices is a must on this one!

1 kg (about 2lb) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in large cubes (I used chicken tenders and put them in the crock pot as is)
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 can (156ml) tomato paste (I only used 2 Tbsp.  The whole can seemed like too much)
1 can coconut milk
1.5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Garam Masala (make your own)
1 Tbsp Curry powder
(I also used 1 Tbsp Penzeys' Rogan Josh spice blend just for fun)
1 small green pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 to 2 dry whole red chili pepper (optional, for those who like their curry on the burning side - didn't use these)

For thickening: 1.5 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water

Place chicken cubes inside slow cooker.
Place all the rest of the ingredients (except the chili peppers, cornstarch and water) in a food processor bowl and process together until the mix is smooth(ish). Pour sauce mix on top of the chicken, mix well, add hot peppers if using any, then close the lid. Cook on low for 6 hours.
An hour before serving, mix together water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is completely disolved. Add to the chicken curry and mix well. Place the lid back on for the rest of the cooking time.
Serve on top of steaming white rice, something wonderfully aromatic like Jasmin or Basmati rice. Decorate with chopped cilantro. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sausage and Swiss Chard Strata

My husband and I loved this recipe from Everyday Foods.  I love things that can be made ahead!  This was my first time using Gruyere cheese.  I'm not a big fan of swiss cheese in general, and the smell bugged me a bit, but the flavor went perfectly with the bitter swiss chard and sweet chicken and apple sausage I chose.

2 shallots, finely chopped
1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems diced medium, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces and rinsed
salt and pepper
1 day-old baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 1/2 cups whole milk
7 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high.  Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer sausage to a small bowl, leaving behind as much fat as possible.  Add shallots and chard stems to skillet and cook over medium heat until shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add a little water to pan and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a spoon.  Add chard leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spread half the sausage in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and top with half the chard mixture.  Top with bread, overlapping slices slightly.  Top with remaining sausage and chard mixture.  In a large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs, season with salt and pepper, and pour evenly over top.  Firmly press on strata to submerge bread in egg mixture.  Cover dish tightly with foil and let sit 10 minutes (or refrigerate up to overnight).

Bake strata 45 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake until cheese melts and the egg mixture is set in center.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mushroom Rice Bowl

My husband is such a trooper.  I admit that my taste buds aren't all together "normal", but my man just goes along with me and gratefully eats what he is served.  He admits to being a bit skeptical when he heard my answer to his question of what we were having for dinner on this particular night, but after the first couple of bites, he suggested I "cook like this" more often.  Needless to say, we both thoroughly enjoyed this satisfying meal.  I didn't have shichimi sauce, which I guess was the intended star of the original recipe, but I thought the red pepper flakes were enough to add a kick without killing the natural flavors.

2 cups cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
sea salt
12 ounces chanterelles or mushrooms of your choice, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces firm tofu, cut into tiny cubes (I prefer extra firm)
1 bunch kale, well chopped
Shichimi Togarashi or red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the mushrooms in a single layer, stir well, and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, and then brown, about 5 minutes more.  Stir a few times along the way, but don't overdo it; you want the mushrooms to be deeply browned on both sides.  Stir in the garlic roughly 20 seconds before the mushrooms finish cooking.  If you need to cook the mushrooms in two batches; do so.  Transfer the mushrooms to a plate, set aside.

Using the same large skillet, no need to clean it out, cook the tofu along with a couple pinches of salt over medium-high heat until heated through, and until it starts to brown a bit.  Roughly one minute before the tofu is finished cooking, stir in the kale.  It should collapse and cook down over the next 60 seconds.

Season all components with Shichimi Togarashi (or red pepper flakes) and salt to taste.  For each serving, dish up a heaping spoonful of brown rice along with some of the tofu/kale mixture and some of the mushrooms.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

All I have to say is don't knock it 'til you try it.  I thought these were good, especially with homemade wheat rolls/buns.  Not as good as Morning Star's black bean burgers, but good.  The edges did crisp up in the oil, but the inside was still mushy.  So I would definitely recommend serving these with some crisp add-ons like pickles, iceburg lettuce, cucumbers, or bell peppers.  I used the rest of the mix to make "black bean bites" for our lunches the next day, putting a little piece of cheese on top of each bite.

1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 jalapenos, optional, seeded
1/2 tsp ground cumin
one can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked green lentils
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs

Rinse black beans and cooked lentils (can be canned) well with cold water and drain.

Heat olive oil in a small saute pan.  Saute vegetables in the oil until they have softened, about five minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Pulse the sauteed onion, pepper and garlic in a food processor (I used my Vitamix), along with the fresh cilantro and option jalapeno, until finely chopped.  Add the beans and lentils and process until pasty.

When mostly smooth, add salt, pepper, and the eggs.  Process until combined and then add 3/4 cup of bread crumbs and process briefly until incorporated.  You may just want to remove the legume/vegetable mixture to a bowl and simply stir in the rest of the ingredients (this is what I did).

Add more bread crumbs bit by bit until the mixture starts sticking together.

Put some flour in a salad bowl to use in flouring your hands and the outside of the patties.  Form 1/2-3/4-inch thick patties.  They might seem a little fragile, but you don't want them too stiff or they might dry out and get crumbly once cooked.

Cook in a well-greased skillet over medium to medium-high heat, or an indoor grill, for about 5-8 minutes on each side, turning at least once for even doneness.  You can add oil between sides, especially if you want a nice even brown look.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Roasted Broccoli Hummus

I'm really excited to share this recipe with you!  I've tried so hard to find a good hummus recipe that didn't require Tahini paste.  But when I saw this recipe and then found jars of Tahini buy one get one free, I decided to just give in.  So glad I did!  I love this hummus dip.  Do expect to taste the broccoli, but if you like roasted broccoli (like my daughter and I do), then you will most likely enjoy this nutritious and filling snack.  My favorite was to spread it across a toasted baguette.  Mmmm . . .  

Makes approximately 2 cups

1 15 oz can white beans (I used garbanzo)
1/2 pound roasted broccoli (recipe follows)
2 garlic cloves, roasted (these are roasted with the broccoli - sweet on the outside with a pleasant garlic heat internally)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp Tahini

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender.  Add a little bit of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to help blend and to achieve desired consistency.  Taste and add salt.  Taste again.  And again.

Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Serve with a drizzle of a fine olive oil.

Roasted Broccoli

1 pound broccoli florets
1/4 tsp chili flakes
4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

Scatter broccoli across a sheet tray.   Do not overcrowd the tray as this will cause steaming rather than roasting.  Add chili flakes, garlic, olive oil, and salt.  Stir to coat.

Roast 20 minutes or until cooked through with parts of the florets having a nice bit of char.  Let cool slightly.
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