Bacon

Pork bacon

At the store: check the packages and select the meatiest bacon.

When ready to cook: Open the package and take out all the slices of bacon in one block.

With a sharp knife, cut the whole block of slices in half cross-wise. You will now have twice as many short slices. These shorter slices are easier to manage in the pan and to get them cooked evenly. Trim large areas of fat from the sides and ends of the slices. Wrap the fat scraps tightly in the bacon packaging, secure with a rubber band, and throw in the garbage can outside.

Place a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet on the stove and turn on the heat to medium. Lay as many trimmed slices in the cold pan that will fit without touching each other. Let the slices cook on the first side for a few minutes, then turn with a fork. Repeat cooking and turning until the slices are as done as you like.

Cover a large plate with three layers of paper towels. Lay the cooked bacon on the paper towels in a single layer to drain.

Under your sink you should keep an empty rinsed-out can from soup or tomatoes or beans. Now get out that can and put it in the sink. Cover the bacon pan handle with a potholder, grab the pan and take it over to the sink and pour the bacon grease into the can. (Grease/drippings should never be poured down the sink to avoid clogging the plumbing. Bacon grease will solidify completely within several hours. Drippings from cooking chicken may stay a bit liquid so be careful not to knock over the can.)

Return the pan to the stove and cook the remaining bacon in batches. (I recommend cooking the whole package of bacon in one session.)

Put the bacon grease can back under the sink. (When the can is eventually full, put it into a plastic bag [a newspaper bag, or a bread bag is good], twist the bag at the top of the can, pull the top of the bag back over the can, and secure the bag with a rubber band around the can. Take this carefully out to the garbage and put it in the garbage can right-side up.)

Refrigerate leftovers.

To reheat slices: warm in a pan on the stove; or put on a plate, cover with a paper towel, and microwave for a few seconds at a time until as hot as you like.

Turkey bacon

At the store: select a package without any large white bits appearing in the bacon slices – they could be bone or cartilage, which you don’t want to eat.

When ready to cook: Open the package. Place a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet on the stove and turn on the heat to medium. Lay as many slices in the cold pan as will fit without touching each other.

Place a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet on the stove and turn on the heat to medium. Lay trimmed slices in the cold pan so they are not touching each other. Let the slices cook on the first side for a few minutes, then turn with a fork. Repeat cooking and turning until the slices are as done as you like.

Cover a large plate with three layers of paper towels. Lay the cooked bacon on the paper towels in a single layer to drain.

Repeat with remaining bacon.

Turkey bacon is best served immediately. It gets rather hard and leathery when reheated so I don’t recommend cooking it ahead to serve another day.

Published in: on March 21, 2021 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions

From Cooking Light

Serves 3-4

1 pork tenderloin
olive oil
salt
pepper
garlic powder

Remove the silverskin from the pork.  Film a 12″ skillet (I prefer cast iron) with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat.  Slice the pork crosswise into 12 equal pieces.  Press the slices down with your palms to flatten.  Sprinkle the tops with salt, pepper and garlic powder according to your preference.  Place 6 slices in the skillet, seasoning side down.  Set a timer for 3 minutes.  Season the tops with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  When the timer goes off, turn and cook another 3 minutes.  Let rest a minute or two, then serve.

Published in: on July 25, 2020 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Roast Pork Loin

Pat pork dry with paper towel. Salt & pepper the roast.  Place roast in a shallow pan and roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound, until internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Remove roast from oven; let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Published in: on April 4, 2019 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Broccoli

Super easy, delicious, quick, and inexpensive!  What more could you ask?

Serves 3

1/3 to 1/2 lb rigatoni or other shaped pasta
3 cups small broccoli florets
1 or 2 Italian sausage links (I like chicken sweet Italian)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Parmesan, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes, for serving

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat, remove sausage from casing, and crumble into the skillet.  Brown well, stirring as needed, breaking into bite-sized pieces.  Drain any excess fat and keep warm in the skillet over low heat.

Meanwhile:

Method 1) Fill a large pot half-full of water, add a teaspoon of table salt and the pasta, set over high heat, and cover.  When the pasta is almost done, add the broccoli, and continue to cook until the broccoli is the way you like it. Drain the pasta and broccoli and finish the dish.

Method 2) If you have a pot with a pasta insert, try it this way:
Use the new method of putting the pasta in the pot, cover with 1″ of water, add salt, and set on the stove on high.  When the water has started to boil, add the pasta insert with your broccoli in it and cook until the broccoli is done to your taste.  Then remove the pasta insert and broccoli and cover the broccoli with ice cubes if you want to stop the cooking sooner than later.  When the pasta is done to your liking, drain it (not completely) and finish the dish.

To finish:

When the sausage is fully cooked, add the pasta and broccoli to the skillet , along with the garlic powder and olive oil.  Stir well until the pasta is coated with oil.  Serve with Parmesan, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

 

 

Published in: on July 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slightly adapted from a recipe from Meal Makeover Moms’ “No Whine With Dinner”

Makes 8 Servings

  • 2½ pounds pork loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half across the equator and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 6 oz barbecue sauce
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns, lightly toasted
  1. Put the pork, carrot, red bell pepper, onion, and barbecue sauce in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the pork is tender, 6 to 8 hours.
  2. When the meat is done, drain off juice as desired. Use two forks to pull the meat into shreds.  Stir until well combined, adding more sauce as desired.  Divide the pork mixture evenly between the hamburger buns and serve.

Ma  yes
Sam  so-so
Anna  so-so
Da   yes

Published in: on May 19, 2016 at 5:56 pm  Comments (1)  

Kalamata Cavatini

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This dish was inspired by Mama Ang’s Cavatini at Just a Pinch, Baked Ziti by Jeanne Lemlin and my own ideas. Scroll all the way down for a vegetarian version.  The photo is of the first time I made it, before I got the olive inspiration.

3 links sweet Italian turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
1 jar pasta sauce
1 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup penne
1 cup rigatoni
2 cups shredded Muenster
16 oz. low-fat cottage cheese (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or a combo of basil and oregano)
1/2 cup quartered kalamata olives
1/4 cup Parmesan + more to pass at the table
fresh chopped basil and/or parsley for topping each serving, if you like

Oil a tall 9×12″ pan.

Fill a pasta pot 2/3 with water, add a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add pasta and cook 10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet, breaking into small bits.  Remove meat, set aside.  Wipe out the pan and set it back on the burner.  Add the olive oil, onion and green pepper.  Saute until soft, then add the mushrooms and saute another 3 minutes.  Stir in the olives, if everybody likes them.  If not, use them as topping on part of the dish before baking.

Combine the shredded cheese, optional cottage cheese, and Italian seasoning in a medium-sized bowl.

Put the pasta, meat, vegetables and the jar of sauce into the pasta pot and stir well.

Put half the pasta and sauce mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Top with half the cheese mixture.  Add rest of the pasta & sauce, then the rest of the cheese mixture.  Top part of the casserole with olives if not everybody likes them.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan over everything.

Oil (or spray) a piece of aluminum foil and cover.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

 

Vegetarian Version 6/10/17:

2 cups each Trader Joe’s Fusilli, DeCecco Cavatappi, Trader Joe’s organic Penne cooked separately until al dente+
28 oz. Cento tomato puree (Sprouts)
1/2 lb mushrooms
1/2 green pepper, 1/2 red pepper
1/2 onion
dried basil & oregano
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinager
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper

no cottage cheese, no Italian seasoning in the cheese

kalamatas on 1/3 but should have been 2/3 because everybody liked them except the kids

could have added a can of chopped tomatoes too

sausages on the side for carnivores

Published in: on November 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Green Chili Pork Stew

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Sam:  “Mom, what do you put in this pork stew to make it so delicious?”

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs Country Style Pork Ribs (boneless), cut into 1.5″ pieces
1 large onion, small dice
2-4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 stalks celery, small dice
1 large can chopped green chilies
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and saute until starting to soften.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat until completely soft.  Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.

Meanwhile, brown the pork in the other 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium straight-sided pan with a lid.  Do this in batches if needed, so the pork browns nicely and quickly.  Salt and pepper the pork as it cooks.  When all the pork is browned, return it (and any juices) to the pan and add the soft onion and celery, the green chilies, chicken broth and tomato sauce.  The pork should barely be covered with the broth – add water if necessary.  Cover with the lid and let it just barely simmer for about 2-4 hours (be sure not to boil it).  (I like to cook this a day ahead, then cook another 3 hours or so the next day, adding more water or broth as necessary.)  The pork should be very tender.  Break up the pork with the back of a spoon or fork, removing any chunks of fat, before serving.

Serve with sour cream and salsa, with rice and corn on the side.  Also makes a lovely enchilada filling.  Freezes well.

You can also make this in a crock pot – put the vegetables (raw or cooked) in the bottom, the browned meat on top, cover with broth (use only about 1 cup) and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Published in: on September 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

from Seventeen magazine, circa 1974

They spelled it Lasagne, like Lenora Mattingly Weber did in The Beany Malone Cookbook, which I bet was a ’70s thing.

Serves 6
503 calories per serving

9 lasagne noodles
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed, meat crumbled
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1/2 c. sliced green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook noodles in boiling salted water per package directions, about 10 minutes.  Drain, spread on paper towels.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until browned, about 8 minutes.  Drain off fat.  Add spinach, stir in scallions and garlic and cook one minute.

In a bowl combine ricotta and Parmesan with eggs and nutmeg, blending well.  Stir in spinach/sausage mixture.

In the bottom of a greased 11 x 7″ baking dish, arrange 3 noodles.  Spread with 1/3 spinach mixture, then sprinkle with 1/3 mozzarella.  Add another layer of noodles, 1/2 the remaining spinach mixture, and 1/2 the remaining mozzarella.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Cover loosely with foil and bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Lasagne will be easier to cut if you let it stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Published in: on May 4, 2013 at 7:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Easy Pork Chop Casserole

From one of the Beany ladies.  Speak up if this is yours!  :o)

Use 1 thick, bone-in pork chop per person. Brown in olive oil, then place in a casserole dish.  Saute some chopped onion until soft, spread over the pork chops.  Top with a peeled, sliced russet potato (1/2 to 1 potato per person).  Do not add salt – the soup is salty enough. Mix one can cream of mushroom soup with half a can of water.  Pour over the casserole, cover with lid and bake at 350 degrees F for 90 minutes.

(For boneless chops, make sure potatoes are cut very thinly, and cook 60 minutes.)

“Old fashioned, but tasty, and never dry.”

Published in: on April 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sausage, Kale & Potato Hash

Serves 1

1 cup leftover Sausage & Potato Bake
1 cup steamed, chopped kale
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Heat oil in a medium-sized skilled over medium heat.  Tilt the skillet to distribute the oil evenly.  When hot, add the kale to half the skillet and fry until starting to crisp and brown, a few minutes.  Then add the Sausage & Potato Bake to the empty half of the skillet and let it cook, undisturbed, until it browns, a few minutes.  Turn each side and brown more if you like.  When it’s done to your taste, stir it all together, add salt & pepper to taste, and serve.

Of course this would be terrific with poached eggs on top, or next to scrambled eggs…

Published in: on April 20, 2013 at 9:07 am  Comments (1)  
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