One Pork Butt – Three Meals: Pork Quesadillas With Corn Crema

22 04 2016

One Pork Butt – Three Meals.

Meal two, quesadillas, which is always a great go-to vehicle for using up leftovers!

Also, more baby food inspiration here, as I used my son’s corn puree for the corn crema. I’ve seen recipes using heavy cream or mayo added to sour cream to make homemade Mexican crema. I figured corn puree has a similar consistency so why not. Major win folks, its delicious and the perfect sauce to cut through the pork in these quesadillas!

Pork Quesadillas with Corn Crema

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 4 multi-grain tortillas, soft taco size
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 cup Pulled Pork, just eyeball it
  • 1/2 cup sliced and rinsed leeks (remove the hard green top, slice the white part down the middle lengthwise, then slice again into half moons, then rinse pieces in a mesh strainer to remove any dirt and dry slightly)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Sliced green onions for garnish

Preheat oven to 400.

Cook corn according to package directions. Remove 1/4 cup and set aside. Puree the remaining 1/4 cup with a little water in a high powdered blender until smooth and creamy. Combine the corn puree with the sour cream, zest and lime juice and salt to taste. Set aside.

To build the quesadillas, add two tortillas side-by-side on a large baking sheet (or pizza stone). Top each tortilla with a layer of cheese, pork, leeks and cooked corn (make sure cheese is on the bottom which will act as a glue to keep everything together). Add another layer of cheese and top each with another tortilla. Bake for 20 minutes until tortillas begin to brown and cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and once cool enough to handle, cut each into four pieces. Divide among plates and top with the corn crema (I used a squeeze bottle if you’re curious) and garnish with sliced green onions.





One Pork Butt – Three Meals: Pork and Cheddar Pancake Muffins

22 04 2016

One Pork Butt – Three Meals.

And finally, here’s meal idea three…brunch!

It’s mother hubbard here this weekend. This is about as real as it gets folks, I’m talking down to one egg kind-of-serious. I managed to whip up something creative with just a few ingredients and leftovers though, which is what I do best! AND, I was even able to base it off a little inspiration from one of my favorite pancakes.

There’s this crazy tasty, sweet/savory pancake at First Watch made with cheddar cheese and bacon, which was the inspiration for this dish. Sounds weird, but covered in yummy maple syrup, it’s the perfect brunch bite! Making these as muffins allows you to cook them all at once, rather than having to flip a bunch of jacks individually, and I’m all about saving time!

Pork and Cheddar Pancake Muffins

The following makes 6 muffins (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl combine the milk and eggs. Add Bisquick and stir until just combined. Fold in the pork and cheese.

Spray a large muffin tin with non-stick spray, or use liners for easy cleanup like me. Divide the batter among 6 cups. Bake until cooked through and slightly browning on top, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing.

Serve pancake muffins with a side of Peach Habanero Syrup to pour all over!





One Pork Butt – Three Meals: Pork and Broccoli Lo Mein

21 04 2016

One Pork Butt – Three Meals.

Meal one, ridiculously fast Lo Mein! This dinner is so easy it’ll practically cook itself, thanks to the pulled pork ready to go in the fridge (see link above/below for the pulled pork recipe)! You could use spaghetti noodles instead if that’s all you have, but Lo Mein noodles cook up in a fraction of the time.

Pork and Broccoli Lo Mein

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • Lo Mein noodles – the 10 oz package I buy comes in 3 bundles, I used 2 bundles
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 heaping cup Pulled Pork
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or broth from the Pulled Pork
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli and Lo Mein noodles and cook according to noodle package directions (should take like 4 minutes), then strain.

Meanwhile, whisk together the broth, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and cornstarch. Add to a large saute pan and bring to a slow boil. Add the pulled pork, the cooked Lo Mein and broccoli and the green onions. Using tongs, toss everything together and cook on low a few minutes to bring it all together, allowing the noodles to soak up the sauce. Remove from the heat and allow to stand a few minutes before serving.





One Pork Butt – Three Meals: Pulled Pork

20 04 2016

I am really into throwing a hunk of meat into the crockpot to cook all day, shredding it up and using it in several meals throughout the week. It’s such a time saver for this busy mama! In this post I’ve shared how I made a basic pulled pork, which I have divided out and will use in three different meals. Stay tuned for those recipes!

Pulled Pork

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • 3.5 lb pork shoulder/butt
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, skins removed and whole
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 Tbsp Himalayan pink sea salt

Add the onion, pepper, garlic and bay leaves to a crock pot. Place pork fat-side down on top of the veggies. Add chicken stock and salt the pork. Close lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours until meat falls off the bone and can easily pull apart.

Remove pork to a large cutting board and allow to cool slightly. Using two large forks (or your hands), pull the pork into pieces, discarding any visible fat, and store in a large covered container in the fridge.

Strain the broth left in the crockpot through a fine mesh strainer and store in a covered container in the fridge as well. Once the broth cools, the excess fat will settle at the top and can be easily discarded, while the broth can be used in other dishes.





Easter Bread Baked French Toast

5 04 2016

My hubs fam makes a delicious Easter bread similar to the Italian sweetened bread, Panettone. This thick, dense bread is just perfect for baked french toast! And because the bread itself it already sweetened, you don’t need extra sugar. To make this casserole more savory for dinner, I topped it with breakfast sausage browned with a little cayenne before baking. Love enjoying breakfast for dinner, especially when leftovers can be gobbled up the next morning too!

Easter Bread Baked French Toast

The following makes a 9×13 casserole (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 8-10 cups cubed Easter bread (or Panettone or other sweetened bread)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 oz mascarpone or cream cheese
  • Butter
  • 1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  • Cayenne pepper

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 casserole dish. You could also use non-stick spray.

With a whisk, beat milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add the cubed bread and toss to combine. Pour bread and liquid in the greased casserole dish and add dollops of mascarpone or cream cheese all over and in between the bread. It doesn’t have to be perfect and if the bread starts to tear and get mushy don’t worry about it! Cover with foil and store in the fridge overnight, or at least 8-10 hours.

Brown the breakfast sausage with a little cayenne pepper, breaking up in small pieces as it cooks. Store in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the casserole.

When ready to bake, top the casserole with the browned breakfast sausage and preheat the oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes to an hour. I keep the sausage separate and only add to the top (rather than mixing it in) to keep it crispy, which adds another layer of texture to the baked french toast.

Top with your fav maple syrup before serving (my go to is organic maple agave syrup).





Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Flat Bread Pizza

30 03 2016

This pizza was a vehicle to use up the leftover Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette I made for Easter, and it was every bit as tasty as I thought it would be! Roast the cauliflower and make the dressing over the weekend, so you can get a weeknight din on the table in a flash!

Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Flat Bread Pizza

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 pieces Mediterranean-style flat bread, I used wheat
  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 cup fresh spinach
  • About a 1/2 cup or so of roasted cauliflower florets (toss florets with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon zest and bake in a single layer at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large skillet, saute the pork in a little olive oil until browned, breaking up into bite-size pieces with the back of a wooden spoon.

Mix ricotta with a heaping Tbsp or so of the grease from the cooked pork and salt and pepper to taste, then spread evenly among the flat bread. Next, add a layer of spinach, the cauliflower and the pork. Bake on a pizza stone for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with goat cheese and continue baking another 5 minutes or so until the cheese is warmed.

Drizzle some Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette on top before serving.





Fruity Orzo Salad

8 06 2015

Saw this fruity salad idea in my latest Rachael Ray Mag and had to give it a try! It’s pretty versatile too, you can switch up the pasta, the fruit and the herbs – perfect for quick summer meals!

Fruity Orzo Salad

Fruity Orzo Salad

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray):

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 4-5 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Golden balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 nectarine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup drained mozzarella pearls (small, fresh mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives or basil
  • Zest of half a lemon

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook orzo to al dente according to package directions. Drain, cool and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next add the cooled orzo, the chopped nectarine, mozzarella balls, chives (or basil) and lemon zest. Toss everything to coat in the dressing. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil and/or seasoning if needed. Add in the bacon and toss to coat.

Serve salad with a protein of your choice. Pictured here is a salmon burger.





Chorizo and Ramp Pizza

27 04 2015

I recently enjoyed a tasty chorizo and ramp pizza at Michael Symon’s Lolita restaurant. When I received ramps in our CSA grab bag this past week I knew instantly I’d be recreating that Lolita pizza! Thanks for the idea, Michael!

Chorizo and Ramp Pizza

The following makes one pizza (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • Ground chorizo
  • Whole wheat pizza dough
  • Cornmeal
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Ricotta
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • Ramps
  • Sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Eggs
  • Hot sauce for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 450.

Brown the chorizo in a skillet until just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

With some cornmeal on your counter, roll out the pizza dough to your desired thickness.

Put a little cornmeal on a pizza stone, then carefully transfer the rolled out dough onto the pizza stone and brush with olive oil. Bake the crust for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven to add your toppings.

Mix a little ricotta with olive oil and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Eyeball it, you just need enough ricotta to spread on the pizza to create a sauce.

Spread the ricotta evenly on the pizza dough. Top with cooked chorizo and the sliced shallots. Use as much of each ingredient as you like.

Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or so. Remove and add the ramps and shredded cheese, again as much as you like of each. Return to the oven to finish baking, another 5 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on the oven to make sure everything is cooked through, hot and the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven.

Fry up some eggs to your desired likeness, I recommend one egg per slice of pizza and making sure to leave it runny to help create a sauce.

Slice pizza and serve each slice with a fried egg on top and hot sauce if desired.





Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

26 01 2015

Tonight’s dinner paired zesty chorizo with sweeter veggies like carrots and corn, along with ginger beer, creating a unique chili recipe that offers a sweet beginning with a spicy finish. I’m betting this will be equally delicious, if not better tomorrow after it’s had time to sit!

Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lb bulk chorizo
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) ginger beer (I used a low-calorie option)
  • 1 pint chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Rinse the beans well, then add to a large bowl with 3 cups of water. Let the beans soak for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans, rinse and add to a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. Strain the beans and discard the bay leaf, and set the beans aside until later.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Season lightly with salt. Then add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook for another minute, stirring to toast the spices. Deglaze the pan with a little of the ginger beer, one good turn of the pan, and cook for a minute or two. Reserve the rest of the beer for later. Next, add the chorizo and brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Once the chorizo is cooked through, add the tomatoes, cooked beans, the rest of the beer and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook chili for 1 to 1 and a half hours, stirring occasionally. During the last 20 minutes, add the corn and remove the lid. Let the chili stand for 5 minutes or so off the heat before serving.

Garnish with lime wedges, sour cream and cheese. If you like it spicier, just serve with some hot sauce as well.





Sausage and Lentil Soup

17 01 2015

This hearty Italian soup, packed with protein, is a great addition to your winter recipe lineup! I didn’t grow up with lentils like a lot of Italians, but my Mom did….eating them all the time. Which is likely why she left them out of her meal plans, she was over them.

But I’m a lentil convert now, thanks to this soup (and maybe my Ma will be again when she sees this)! Don’t be intimidated by the amount of ingredients. They basically all go into a large pot and time will do the rest. I recommend making this over the weekend so you can enjoy it throughout the week – the longer it sits the better it gets.

Sausage and Lentil Soup

The following serves 6 (adapted from Food.com and The Italian Table):

  • 1 lb bulk mild chicken sausage – if using sausage that’s in a casing, just remove the casing first
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 pint fresh, diced tomatoes or a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups of water or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving

In a large dutch oven, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until the veggies begin to softened, 3-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Next, add the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and broken up in little pieces.

Next, add all the spices (parsley, oregano, basil, salt, thyme, pepper flakes and pepper) – stir to combine well and toast for a minute until the spices become fragrant. Add the dried lentils, stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the lentils are lightly toasted.

Add the tomatoes and all their juices, mix well and scrape up any bits that formed on the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the water or stock, stir to combine and bring to a slow boil. If using water, you can also add a few chicken bouillon cubes for extra flavor (1 cube for each cup of water).

Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 – 1 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you let it cook, the thicker the soup will become on its own.

Turn off heat, stir in vinegar if desired and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Allow the soup to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese.