Showing posts with label pork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pork. Show all posts


Honey Lime Pork Tacos with Sweet Green Chili Sauce

What are you doing May 5?  Instead of heading to your favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, why not create a tradition of celebrating in your home? The folks at Snake River Farms sent me a couple of  Kurobota Pork Roasts which I used in this recipe for Honey Lime Pork Tacos with Sweet Green Chili Sauce.
The incredibly tasty roast, combined with the lime, honey, jalapeño and green chiles made for a memorable meal. One of those meals you hope will be lunch the next day as well. The roast is one I haven't heard of or cooked previously. It was a collar roast. I've cooked Pork Shoulder, and Butt and Brisket, but never Pork Collar Roast. All I have to say is the flavor was incredible. There was a bit of marbling in the meat, which tends to disappear if you slow cook the roast and then shred, but is more visible when roasting over the grill or in the oven and then slicing.

I cooked two 4.5 lb roasts, two different ways: the first roast was slow cooked in the oven with a honey lime marinade, which I let sit overnight before cooking. The second roast was cooked over low  (about 300) heat on my gas grill for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. I checked the meat about every 10-15 minutes on the grill and flipped it  each time I checked the temperature. When the internal temperature reached 185 degrees I removed it from the grill and let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.  I liked both methods. Slow cooking in the oven or crock pot is definitely the most simple way to cook a roast. Just marinate, brown, place in oven, cover tightly and let cook until the meat falls apart. The roasting method takes a bit more care, but I believe yielded a better tasting finished product. Either way, you're going to love this dish.
Happy 5th of May!

Honey Lime Pork Tacos with Sweet Green Chili Sauce
A Bountiful Kitchen

Honey Lime Marinade:
1/4 cup honey
2 limes, or 1/4 cup fresh juice
1 tablespoon smoke (liquid) flavoring
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 jalapeño, most of the seeds removed, chopped
1 4-5 lb pork collar or shoulder or Boston Butt Roast

Green Chile Lime Sauce:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 - 1  jalapeño, chopped
7 oz can green chiles

for tacos:
Corn tortillas
green and purple cabbage, sliced thin
green onions, chopped
chopped cilantro
thin sliced radish

Make marinade:
Mix marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag.
Score the meat lightly, by taking a sharp knife and going across the meat in long strips (about 1-2 inches apart). Then cross the slits in a diamond pattern going back across the meat diagonally.
Place the meat in the refrigerator from 2-24 hours.

Cook meat:
When ready to cook, remove the meat from the marinade. Let excess juice drip off into bag, discard marinade and bag. Place meat on a plate.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a dutch oven. Sear the meat on all sides, just until browned. Remove the pan from heat. Pour about 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth into the pan.  Sprinkle meat generously with salt and pepper. Cover tightly (see tips below). Place in oven and cook for about 6-8 hours at 250 degrees. Mine was done close to the 6 hour mark.
When meat is done, place on cutting board. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then shred or slice thin across the grain. Or shred in pan, and then remove meat from pan. Remove any excess fat before serving.
If roasting over bbq grill or in oven, see directions above in post.

Cook corn tortillas on a lightly greased pan over medium high heat just until soft on each side, or heat a small amount of canola oil in a fry pan and cook tortillas, flipping once. After the tortilla is cooked on one side, flip and fold in half. Drain on a paper towel after cooking.
Place some of the sliced meat on the tortilla, top with green chili lime sauce, top with additional desired toppings. Serve immediately.
Yield about 8-10 servings
(3-4 tacos per person)


-Make sure the seal is tight on the pan when slow cooking. You can do this by placing plastic wrap, (yes plastic wrap) over the top of the pan before placing the lid on. Press the lid down to form a tight seal on top of the wrap.  Doing this will create a seal so the liquid does not escape. It will not melt on the pan at a low temperature. This is only necessary if the lid on the pan does not form a tight seal.

This post was sponsored by Snake River Farms.


Snake River Farms Kurobuta Ham with Grilled Pineapple and Pomegranate Pineapple Glaze and Giveaway Winner!

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror, and Christmas is just around the corner, the big question is- What to serve for Christmas dinner? I'm all about planning our Thanksgiving menu for weeks ahead, and spending hours in the kitchen preparing Thanksgiving dinner. But Christmas is a little different for me. Years ago, I gave up spending Christmas in the kitchen.  It's more of a stay in my jammies,  eat breakfast casserole, and enjoy the family type of day. I usually serve either ham or beef on Christmas day. Both are relatively simple to place in a pan and roast, leaving precious time to make a couple of simple side dishes (which I usually prepare a day or two ahead).  Those dishes can just be heated or pulled out of the fridge and served.

This year, I'm serving a Snake River Farms Kurobuta Ham. Snake River Farms is a family owned business that was founded in 1968. They are located in Boise, Idaho and are a business dedicated to producing the highest quality beef and pork in the USA. Snake River Farms are involved in every step of the beef life cycle including ranching, feeding, animal nutrition, processing meat, marketing and sales.

How much of a difference can there be in meat, you say? And particularly in ham?   I've cooked everything from grocery brand hams, to ham from specialty stores and mail order businesses, to spiral sliced hams sold in national chains. The Kurobuta hams from Snake River Farms come from 100% purebred Berkshire hogs grown in a network of small family farms using a slow fed process.  This is hands down the best ham I've ever eaten.
In my life.
It has the perfect blend of salt, sweet and smokey flavors.  The Kurobuta ham is "...considered to be equivalent in status to Kobe beef." It's so tender, a butter knife is all you need at your place setting. I love it served with a bit of grilled fresh pineapple and some Pomegranate Pineapple Glaze. This dish takes about 10 minutes to prepare (the glaze).  Place it in the oven and you're free to watch another round of It's a Wonderful Life!

Want one for your holiday table? I've got an exclusive offer on a free ham for you and your holiday guests from Snake River Farms, enter below. Trust me. You want this ham on your table!
If you don't happen to win the ham the awesome folks at Snake River Farms are also offering a coupon code for free shipping, just use the code BOUNTIFUL when checking out. Make sure to order early so your ham will have time to ship and thaw.
Good luck!

Baked Ham with Grilled Pineapple and Pomegranate Pineapple Glaze
A Bountiful Kitchen
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** Snake River Farms Kurobuta hams are shipped frozen, make sure to allow enough time for  shipping and for ham to properly thaw in refrigerator before roasting- about 4-5 days. All Snake River Farms hams are fully cooked, but SRF recommends cooking in 325 degree oven, 20 minutes per pound allowing internal temperature to reach 140 degrees.

1 - Bone in Kurobuta Ham, 12-15 lbs*
1 Fresh Pineapple

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice (sold in refrigerated section of grocery)*
8 oz can crushed pineapple, not drained, or 8 oz fresh chopped pineapple
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Ham and oven prep:
About an hour before cooking, remove ham from refrigerator. Unwrap and place on roasting rack or place in roasting pan or pan that will hold the meat and catch the juices, fat side up.
Place rack on lower third of oven, remove any racks above that will interfere with cooking of ham.
For sauce:
In a small saucepan whisk together juice, crushed pineapple, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.
Whisk together 1/4 cup cold water and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a measuring cup until smooth.
Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the juice mixture in the pan, leaving the pan on heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook and whisk until slightly thickened. This will take about a minute. Cook for about 2 minutes and reduce heat again to low. When sauce is thickened a bit, turn heat off and leave on stove.
Place ham in oven for about 1 hour, uncovered.
After one hour,  slide rack out of oven, and pour about 3/4 cup of glaze over ham, making sure to cover all surfaces facing upward. Use a brush if needed. Slide the ham back in the oven, continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.
Remove from oven. Place a little more glaze on the ham if desired. Serve the remaining glaze with the ham on the side.

For grilled pineapple:
Lay pineapple on side, cut off top and end. Slice the remaining pineapple into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
Brush pineapple lightly with olive oil or canola oil. Grill over medium high heat on bbq grill until lightly golden, or broil on cookie sheet in oven for about 2-3 minutes or slightly softened.

-Allow several days for ham to thaw in refrigerator.
-Use a meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature of ham. I like the oxo instant read thermometer, or a good old fashioned meat thermometer from the grocery store will work as well.
-If you purchase a 14 lb ham, you will need to allow 4-4 1/2 hours for warming in oven. Also allow about 10-15 minutes before carving ham after removing from oven.
- If you are not using an instant read thermometer, make sure your thermometer is facing the oven door, so you can peek at it occasionally and see the internal temp of the ham. You don't want to have to open the oven every time you take a peek at the meat!
-If your ham looks like it is drying out, cover loosely with foil and continue warming.
-If you like to serve lots of sauce with your ham, double the sauce recipe.
-*you may use a boneless ham as well, the cooking/warming time will need to be reduced most likely. Follow package instructions.
-**You may also substitute cherry or orange juice for the pomegranate juice.

Congratulations to R. Labrum, you have won a Snake River Farms Kurobuta Ham! Please email me at Fostersi at msn dot com to claim your prize.


Pork Tenderloin with Sesame Ginger Glaze and Warm Cabbage Slaw

Here's a main dish for your Mother's Day meal that is guaranteed to make Mom feel like a queen and make you her favorite child!
Don't be intimidated by the length of the recipe. It's really simple, with a few steps that can be done ahead (also make sure to read all of the tips below the recipe before heading to grocery store):
-On Saturday, make the marinade and place the meat in a bag to marinate.
-Prepare all of the ingredients for the cabbage slaw by cutting up the veggies and set in the fridge.
-Make the Tarragon Mayo to dress the slaw and refrigerate.
On Sunday all you have to do is cook the pork and steam the cabbage.

This photo is the pork tenderloin after it has been seared and cooked in the oven. This will hold in the moisture and allow the pork to cook for a few more minutes. My sister in law, Sheri always cooks her pork and then wraps it in foil. I love the way her pork is always tender and juicy.
Dry pork? It's not going to happen if you use this method.
Mom's going to be asking you for this recipe.
Count on it.
Come back on Thursday, I'll post a simple and delicious dessert for Mom :)

Three simple steps for the warm cabbage slaw.  Chop.
Cover and steam for 5 minutes.
Toss with vinegar.
That's it.
Serve warm or room temperature. 

This one is drizzled with a little tarragon mayo...if you think Mom will like dressing that's a little creamy

Pork Tenderloin with Sesame Ginger Glaze and Warm Cabbage Slaw
A Bountiful Kitchen
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2 1/2 lb Pork Tenderloin
1/2 cup balsamic port vinegar ( I used "O" brand), regular balsamic is fine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 shallot, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
salt and pepper
olive oil for searing meat

Place the pork tenderloin in a gallon Ziplock bag. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl and pour  3/4 cup of the marinade over the pork. Squish the pork around in the bag to make sure has covered all areas of the pork.  Reserve the remaining (about 3/4 cup)  marinade to make a reduction after the pork is cooked. Do not put the reserve marinade on the pork. Set aside remaining marinade.
Marinate the pork for at least 2 and up to 24 hours in refrigerator.
This is a good time to wash and cut up the cabbage and carrots for the warm slaw to be served with the pork.
Preheat oven to 425, with rack on top third of oven.
When the pork is done being marinated, Turn the heat on the stove to medium high heat. Place a tablespoon  or two of olive oil into the pan after the pan is hot.
Remove the meat from the marinade and season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Let any excess marinade drip off the meat before searing, so you won't get splattered by the hot oil/liquid reaction. Discard marinade.
Using tongs, carefully sear the meat on all sides for about 2 minutes per side. When the meat is browned on all sides, remove from pan with tongs and set on a baking sheet.
Cook for 15-18  minutes at 425.  Do not over cook. Remove meat from oven, and immediately wrap meat in Saran or other plastic wrap tightly. Set aside.
Make the reduction:
Take the remaining reserved marinade (that was not used with meat) and place in the same pan used to sear the meat, do not wipe out pan.  Heat over medium high heat until boiling. Simmer for about one minute. Add water if too thick (1-2 tablespoons). Remove from heat.

Warm Cabbage Slaw with Tarragon Mayo
2 cups green cabbage, washed and sliced thin
2 cups purple cabbage, washed and sliced thin
2 cups dark leafy greens, such as: spinach, kale or mustard greens
2 large carrots, or 1 1/2 cups baby carrots, sliced into thin pieces,
or 1/2 bag of matchstick carrots
1/2 cup water
2-3 tablespoons white balsamic or cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Tarragon  Mayo (optional, but yummy)
1/2 cup mayo, regular or low fat
1/4 cup fresh, or 2 tablespoons dry tarragon
2 tablespoons green onion
1 tablespoon vinegar
salt and pepper

Use a wok or large fry pan to cook the slaw. Place the cabbage and carrots in the pan with the water. Turn the heat on high and bring water to a boil. Cover and cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Remove from heat. Toss with salt and pepper and vinegar. Keep lid on until ready to serve.
Whisk together all ingredients to make tarragon mayo. Serve drizzled on top of cabbage slaw or (I like it) on the side.

When ready to serve dinner:
Remove the meat from plastic wrap. Place on cutting board and slice into 3/4-1 inch thick medallions. Place the meat on a serving platter and pour the sauce over the meat. Serve with warm cabbage slaw and tarragon mayo.

Serves 8

**Very Important**-
Buy the right kind of pork. This is Pork Tenderloin.  The package is long and skinny. Pork Tenderloin is often confused with Pork Loin. Do not buy Pork Loin roast.  It's usually a fat (shaped) roast. It doesn't work well with this cooking method.  I can't tell you how many times a friend has called and said they are ready to make a recipe that calls for Pork Tenderloin, but instead have purchased Pork Loin roast. Oops. Check the name of the cut of meat carefully. Remember, the package is long and skinny. You may purchase Pork Tenderloin at any grocery store or at Costco in a two-pack. If you purchase in a two pack, usually one side of the package will weigh about 2 1/2 lbs. or enough for a single recipe above. If you double the recipe, I would 1 1/2 times the sauce. You won't need two times the sauce/marinade.
- If you are following instructions for make ahead (above in the post) remove the meat from the fridge about an hour before cooking, and let sit on counter in bag.
-Make sure the oven is preheated for at least 10 minutes before cooking the pork. You want the oven to be all the way up to temperature.
-Wrapping the meat: Use plastic wrap. This adds an extra measure of trapping the juice in, and next to the meat. If you are waiting more than about 10 minutes to serve dinner after the pork is cooked, try wrapping in foil over the plastic wrap as well to keep it warm. One more note about wrapping the meat in plastic wrap. I watched a chef from the Grand America Hotel in action last year at a fund raising dinner. He wrapped the pork roast he cooked in plastic wrap. If it's good enough for the Grand, it's good enough for me :)
-Don't over cook the meat. it will continue to cook after removed from oven while wrapped in plastic wrap. 


Boneless Pork Ribs with Apple Cinnamon Barbecue Sauce

The convo tonight at the ballpark turned to important things. Number one on the list: What's for dinner?
If I don't plan early in the day, it's drive thru, or quesadillas, or grilled cheese with tomato soup. Again.
I came up with this dish last week. Served it with some rice I threw in the rice cooker and a salad.  My inspiration? Boneless ribs on sale for about $2.50 per pound.

Boneless Pork Ribs with Apple Cinnamon Barbecue Sauce
A Bountiful Kitchen
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2 1/2 lbs pork boneless ribs
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup steak sauce ( I used HP)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cider vinegar

Set rack on lower half of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat heavy pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and ribs seasoned with salt and pepper.  Brown ribs on all sides quickly, remove from pan and set aside. Turn heat  down to medium and add apple and onion. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until softened. Turn off heat. Add garlic. Cook in hot pan for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients to pan. Stir until combined. Add ribs back to pan and turn to coat with sauce.
Cover pan with foil and lid. Place pan in preheated oven, shut oven door and reduce heat to 250 for 3 1/2- 5 hours.
Turn oven off and leave meat in oven until ready to serve. As long as meat is covered tightly, it may stay in the oven for 2-3 additional hours.

-If you are in a hurry, skip the browning step, mix everything except the meat and olive oil together in a bowl. Place the meat in a lightly greased oven proof pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with sauce.  Cover pan with foil and a lid. Bake as directed.


America's Test Kitchen Spaghetti and Meatballs

Who doesn't love a good spaghetti dinner?  The America's Test Kitchen  recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs intrigued me because it calls for bread soaked in buttermilk, instead of the dried bread crumbs I use in my go-to recipe. The meatballs were extra tender, and the buttermilk added a bit of tang, as the Test Kitchen book promised. Yummy.
If you are looking for the perfect Sunday meal, (which in my opinion includes a good part of the meal prepared ahead) make these Saturday afternoon. After completely cooking the meatballs and preparing the sauce, let the meatballs bathe in the sauce overnight in the fridge.
Trust me, you'll want to double this recipe.
One step closer to the day of rest.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
adapted from America's Test Kitchen
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2 slices white bread (crusts discarded), torn into small cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 tablespoons sweet milk
3/4 pound ground beef  ( or 1 pound if omitting ground pork below)
1/4 pound ground pork (to be mixed with ground chuck)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 large egg yolk
1 small clove garlic , minced (1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for pan-frying

Simple Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1 pound spaghetti
grated Parmesan for topping pasta

For the meatballs: 
Combine bread and buttermilk in small bowl, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms.
Mix all meatball ingredients, including bread mixture and pepper  in medium bowl. Lightly form 2 tablespoons of mixture into 1 1/2-inch round meatballs; repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 18-20 meatballs. (Compacting them can make the meatballs dense and hard. Can be placed on large plate, covered loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for several hours.)
Meanwhile, heat  about two to three tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat in 10- or 11-inch non stick saute pan. When edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles, add meatballs in single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, regulating heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking. Transfer browned meatballs to paper towel--lined plate; set aside. Repeat, if necessary, with remaining meatballs.

For the sauce:
Discard oil in pan, leaving behind any browned bits. Add olive oil along with garlic; saute, scraping up any browned bits, just until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, bring to boil, and simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and basil; add salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs and simmer. Keep warm over low flame.

For pasta:
Heat 4 quarts of water to boiling in a large pot to cook pasta. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water. Follow package directions and cook until al dente, drain, and return to pot until serving. 

-This recipe serves about 6 adults. 
- The longer the sauce simmers, the more flavorful the dish will be. Preparing the dish the day before allows for best flavor. This dish may be prepared up to five days before serving. On day of serving, cook pasta and heat up sauce on stove top over low to medium heat for about 45 minutes. 


Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas with Homemade Corn Crepes

Jo Murdock is one of my favorite people in the world!  Jo met her husband Dave at Disneyland when she was17 on the Carnation dance floor by the castle Move over Cinderella. They were married when she was 18. She is the most devoted mother of 8 children (7 living, one passed at birth).  Her daughter Lindsay once told me, "She's awesome...the bestest friend a girl could ask for. I'm truly blessed to have her as my Mom....and her cooking is AMAZING!!"  I agree with Lindsay.  Besides being a great cook, awesome mom and grandmother, Jo is a great example to me. She's always serving others. A few years ago, she organized a neighborhood cookbook that contains 300 pages of tried and true recipes from some of my dearest friends. This book is a treasure, not only because of all of the great recipes contained in one book, but also all of the memories associated with people who submitted recipes. I pulled the book out a few weeks ago, and tried this recipe from Jo. You know how I love anything that resembles an enchilada. This one is exceptional! Corn Crepes replace the usual tortilla.
Oh. My. Goodness. You have to try these. If you have some leftover turkey sitting around in your fridge, they would be perfect for this recipe. I  subbed pork for the chicken, and the fam inhaled them. Wouldn't this make a fun entree for a Christmas party with a Mexican theme? A little Cranberry Salsa on the side?  Thanks Jo.

Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas with Homemade Corn Crepes
Jo Murdock
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1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken, or pork*, or turkey
6 oz cream cheese, diced
salt and pepper to taste
12 corn crepes (recipe below)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese
lime wedges for garnish

Separate onions and saute in butter ever medium heat until beginning to brown about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add meat and cream cheese. Mix lightly and season. set aside.
Prepare crepes. Set aside.
To assemble enchiladas:
Divide the filling into 12 equal portions. Spoon each portion into the center of a crepe. Roll up. Place seam side down in greased casserole dish in a single layer. pour Cream down sides of crepes, about 1/2 inch deep. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Serve with garnish of olives and lime wedges. Serves 6.

Corn Crepes:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Masa Harina flour, found in specialty section of grocery near Mexican foods
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Heat a 6 inch skillet or crepe pan. Grease the pan with oil or butter. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter into the pan and swirl batter until it covers the bottom of the pan. Cook until lightly browned, and flip to cook other side. Set in a pan when cooked, and finish cooking rest of crepes. 

-For a do-ahead recipe, you may make the crepes the day before and store in the fridge until ready to assemble. 
-*I had some boneless "Country Style  Pork Ribs" I  wanted to use. I cooked the ribs at 275 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours in a dutch oven. I seasoned the ribs with salt, garlic salt and pepper, and added about 1/2 cup of water to the meat before tightly covering the pan. Before cooking, the ribs weighed about 4-5 lbs. There was enough meat for a double recipe of enchiladas. 


Cafe Rio-Style Sweet Pork Salad

If you live in the great state of Utah, or have visited here in the past ten years, you know about Cafe Rio. Or Costa Vida. Mexican food with a Southwest flair.
This recipe is a great option for feeding a crowd,  because there's something for everyone. Don't like meat? Have a meatless salad. Don't like meat or salads? Have a tortilla with cheese, rice, dressing, pico  and beans.  Everyone builds their own. It's worked for me when cooking for a crowd of 30-300.
There are loads of copycat recipes on the Internet for Cafe Rio/ Costa :  rice, beans, dressing and the fan favorite/flagship item-Sweet Pork.  I'm posting my family favorite copycat recipes this week. I know I'm a few years behind this trend, but it will save me jumping around from site to site, looking for the recipes, or searching for the crumpled pieces of paper with my scribbles written all over. They'll all be here, in one place.  Ole!

To Build a Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork salad:
print instructions/grocery list

Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork- find it here
Cafe Rio style Black Beans-find it here
Mexican Rice with Cilantro Dressing - find it here
Cafe Rio style Cilantro Dressing- find it here
Pico de Gallo - find it here
Our favorite Chunky Guacamole- find it here

Other items you will  need/want to make a Cafe Rio style salad:
Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
Cheese, Mexican blend and/or Cotija (Mexican cheese) for sprinkling on top, if desired
Flour Tortillas, we like the type found in Costco in the refrigerated section, grill for a few minutes on each side at home, or you may use grilled corn or regular grocery store flour tortillas, warmed
corn tortillas and vegetable oil- cut the corn tortillas into strips, fry over medium high heat, drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt
Sour cream for topping salad
Fresh cilantro to top salad
lime slices, to top each salad
8 or 9" disposable foil tins found in baking section of grocery or the dollar store, or plates work too

Place all items on serving table in this order:
Tins or plates, tortillas, beans, rice, meat, lettuce, cheese, pico, guacamole, dressing, sour cream, tortilla strips, cilantro and lime slices.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork for a crowd
A Bountiful Kitchen
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For roasting meat:
13.5 lb Pork Shoulder* (yield approx 6 1/2 lbs cooked, fat removed, shredded pork)
2 teaspoon onion salt
fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
1 can or approx 12 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper, not Diet (see reader comment below by Bonnie)

For sauce after roasting:
3- 4 oz cans diced (mild to medium) green chilies
1-28 oz can red enchilada sauce
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cans or 24 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.
If making a full recipe and using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more  pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.
Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.
Place the pork in a large heavy roasting pan or crock pot.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast.
Cover tightly with foil, so no steam escapes. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open oven. Turn oven to 200 roast for 2 more hours. Alternately, Place the pork into two large crock pots. Follow directions, except cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan.
Place meat back into roasting pan, shred with forks.
Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess. Visualize the icky barbecued meat in the frozen section at the grocery. I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Yield: about 35 servings.

-*Important: Make sure to buy Pork Shoulder or Pork (Boston) Butt.  Pork Roast or Pork Loin does not have enough fat to produce a product that will shred properly. I like Pork Shoulder best for this recipe. A large Pork Shoulder can be found at Costco for approximately $2.00 per pound.
-This recipe may also be used as a taco filling or for burritos.
-If preparing ahead, follow directions until meat has been shredded. Refrigerate or freeze meat at this point. When ready to serve, prepare sauce and pour over meat. Heat up in oven or on stove top at low heat.
-This recipe freezes well. When I have leftovers, I freeze the meat and drain off the sauce. When I want to use the frozen meat, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight; then place the meat in a pan on top of the stove. I make fresh sauce but only prepare 1/3 of the recipe above.
-If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you may add water, 1/4 cup at a time.
-If you are looking for a recipe that is scaled down to 6 servings, read this post at Family Favorite Recipes. The recipes are a bit different than mine, but the quantities are smaller for the pork. Fam Fav Recipes also does a great job of thoroughly explaining the assembly process in making the salad. 


Green Chili Enchiladas for a Crowd

I love enchiladas. We make several different types, my absolute favorite being this recipe for Santa Fe Enchiladas. It's a wonderful recipe, but time consuming. Not great if you have to make, say, enchiladas for 200.
I looked for a recipe I could easily make in bulk, without losing the great flavors found in the made from scratch recipe I love... read several different recipes and came up with my own simple dish.
"Green Chili Enchiladas for a Crowd".
Spanish for the day (per my live in translator): Puro delicioso. Va a gustarlo mucho! 

Green Chili Enchiladas for a Crowd
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

for meat filling:
1-4-5 lb. roast, Beef Cross rib
1 package Lipton Onion  soup mix, dry

for meat filling, after cooked:
1-16 oz far Herdez Salsa Verde or any other type of green chili salsa

for enchiladas
1 - 28 oz. can Green Chili Enchilada Sauce, mild
24 small corn tortillas
1 lb Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1-2 cups sour cream, low fat or regular

Meat filling- early in the day or the day before serving:
Place roast in a crock pot on low, pour  dry soup mix over top, fill pan or crockpot with water, until water level reaches about 3/4 way up sides of roast. Cover tightly, cook for about 8 hours on low heat (275 if in oven).
Remove meat from pan, let cool slightly. Shred or chop meat, discarding any fat, and place in  9x13 pan salt and pepper generously. Pour Salsa Verde over top of meat.  Pour about 2 cups of the leftover juice over meat. Bottle any remaining juice and freeze for later use (gravy, soup, etc)
Preparing pan-Grease a jelly roll pan (approx 10 1/2 by 15 1/2 ") Pour about 1 cup green chili enchilada sauce into pan, making sure the sauce covers the bottom of the pan in a thin layer.
Cooking tortillas-Turn on a griddle or using a fry pan on the stove,  at medium high heat spray pan with non stick cooking spray. Quickly cook all of the tortillas on both sides, just until the tortillas are pliable or soften.  This will take about 15-30 seconds per tortillas (total for both sides, about 10-15 seconds per side). Do not overcook or the tortillas will become hard. Place the tortillas on a plate and stack them as you go.
Assembling tortillas: In an assembly line place the tortillas, sour cream, meat, cheese, and finally, the prepared jelly roll pan.
Take the tortilla and spoon about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of sour cream in the center, spreading around a bit.  Add some meat and cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place seam side down on the pan. Continue to roll until all 24 of the tortillas are stuffed and rolled. You should have three rows of 8 tortillas each.
Pour the remaining sauce on top and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, loosely covered with a sheet of foil.
Remove from oven and top with some Jack or Cojita cheese. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

-I like this with best with yellow corn tortillas.
-If you want to make this the day before, assemble the tortillas up to the baking point. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. The next day, Remove the wrap and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. You may need to add sauce as the tortillas will absorb some of the sauce overnight.
-These do not freeze well (become mushy). Better to make no more than one to two days ahead.
-These work well with slow cooked pork or chicken instead of beef.


Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas

I wanted to have a little Cinco De Mayo celebration earlier this month. Between baseball rain outs and reschedules, end of school year craziness, and lifeingeneral, our celebration was reduced to a throw together dinner. You know how my kids LOVE Boston Butt. I found a couple of recipes that looked easy and yummy-one was a Cooks Illustrated recipe and another claiming to be the "best pork carnitas, EVER."
So, I ran to Dick's Market, came home, turned on the oven, threw a butt roast in the oven for about 4 hours. Went back to micro managing my kids lives. At the 4 hour 15 min mark, dinner was ready. So- about 20 minutes total prep (working) time.
Other than Stephen picking off the radishes, it received rave reviews, which is no small victory. Trust me, this can be a tough crowd.

Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas
adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1- 3 1/2 to 4 lb boneless pork butt (don't go smaller than 4)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 small onion, sliced
2 bay leaves, crushed
2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/2 cup water
1 medium orange, halved

Tortillas and garnishes:
12-15 6 inch corn tortillas, (I like white corn)
lime wedges
minced onion, red, white or yellow
fresh cilantro leaves
thinly sliced radishes
avocado, chunked
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place roast in heavy oven proof pan. Squeeze lime and orange juice on top of roast. Rub pork with all dry ingredients. Pour water around sides of roast. Lay halves of lime and orange in pan with roast and water. Lay onion slices on top of roast. Cover pan with tight fitting lid.
Place roast in oven. Set timer for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn oven to 225 degrees, or off completely. Do not open oven. Leave roast in oven for an additional hour, or two. Remove and let cool for a few minutes. Pull all remaining fat off of meat and discard. Chop pork and set aside.
About 15-20 minutes before you want to eat, chop garnishes and set aside. Turn on griddle to about 300 degrees, or if using a pan on stove, medium high heat. Spray surface with Pam or rub with vegetable oil. Quickly grill tortillas in hot pan until each side is puffed, about 10-15 seconds each side. You may grill the tortillas ahead of time and wrap in paper towel and foil to keep warm. Top each tortilla with a bit of meat and other garnishes.
Serves 4.

Tips, confessions:
-I actually forgot to add the orange juice, it was still wonderful.
-I grill the tortillas as we eat.
-Often people ask me if it's ok to substitute Pork Loin Roast for Boston Butt. Boston Butt is a roast that has a high fat content. If you use another type of roast in this type of recipe, it will not be as flavorful. If you trim the fat off of the Boston Butt, it will not be as flavorful. The fat is what keeps the meat moist, and gives it a hard to duplicate flavor.
-When I cook Boston Butt's I vary the amount of cooking time. It's a perfect Sunday or busy day type of roast. Set the timer to cook the meat for about 2 hours, then either reduce the heat to about 225-250 or simply turn the oven off for up to 3 hours. If the oven door is not opened, it will stay warm for several hours and continue to cook the roast at a low temperature.


Dad's Favorite Navy Bean Soup

Do you ever feel totally guilty about throwing out the bone that is in the middle of your Honeybaked Ham after the holidays? I do. Not surprising, since Guilt is my middle name. My mom always made Navy Bean Soup after Christmas and/or Easter with the leftover ham and of course, the bone. She made bean soup with her trusty pressure cooker. I remember watching that thing heat up, and was so afraid of the top popping off and exploding all over the kitchen. No idea where this fear came from...anyway, I make it on the stove in one of my stockpots. It's not quick, but really simple and inexpensive. If you are into food storage, and wondering (like me) what in the heck to do with all of those dried white beans, this is your chance to use up a few.
This was one of my dad's favorite foods- it's filling, and served with cornbread, feels like a meal. If you don't have a ham bone, (this sounds like an old Country Western song, doesn't it?) you can just chop up some ham and call it good.

Navy Bean Soup
adapted from Food Network

1 pound navy beans, picked over, rinsed and drained
10 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 large smoked ham hocks, about 1 1/2 pounds (or leftover ham bones)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
4 cups cold water
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups carrot, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper at least 1 teaspoon of each

Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by about 2 inches (about 10-12 cups water). Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes; remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for one hour. Drain. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, hocks, onions, and garlic with the 4 cups water and 4 cups broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans and hock are completely tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Turn off the heat and remove the hocks. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the hocks, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender, or use immersion blender to blend some of the beans. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.


Sara's Sunday Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy

Want a slamdunkeveryone'sgonnaloveit Sunday dinner recipe? I've made this a few times for my family. They always love it. I took this to an extended fam dinner last Sunday, and served it with Sheri and Amity's delish fresh Idaho mashed potatoes. The result - tripled the recipe and 22 people later - no leftovers. It's a no fuss- brown, chop, slide into the oven and bake recipe. This recipe comes from the lovely and talented Sara (yes, Sara's Salmon Sara).

Sara’s Sunday Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy

2-1 lb. Pork Tenderloin (not pork roast)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, washed and quartered
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup fresh thyme, optional
salt and pepper

In a Dutch oven, brown pork in melted butter and oil. Remove from pan. Sautee mushrooms and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium high heat, tossing so mushrooms brown a bit. Reduce heat, add flour and stir until smooth. Add chicken broth, Worcestershire and fresh thyme. Stir. Place meat back into pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½- 2 hours*.

-I usually turn off the oven after 2 hours cooking time, then let meat sit in the oven, covered until ready to cut and serve. Last Sunday, it was in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours past cooking time, and then on the counter covered for about another hour. It never dries out, and always falls apart when cutting.
-I have cut the amount of butter by half, and the recipe still works. Don't cut the amount of mushrooms or onions, unless you substitute another vegetable that yields a high amount of water, or there won't be enough gravy to keep the meat moist.
-Costco sells Pork Tenderloin in a two pack. Each sleeve has two tenderloins, so 4 tenderloin per purchase, enough for a double recipe. Oh, and the happiest place on earth (what Corrine calls Costco) also sells mushrooms, whole in a 1 1/2 lb package. I use a mixture of their white and brown mushrooms.


Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

Nineteen years ago next month, my dad passed away. He loved his country. Served in the Navy for 20 years. Fixed his own cars. Was a hard worker and a Johnny Cash fan. A Republican. Loved baseball, basketball, football and boxing. Spent time at the horse track. Loved gambling, hunting, camping, horseback riding and fishing. Fishing was his favorite.
I dreaded fishing season. We owned a little lot up by Lake Cushman growing up. Parked our camper there every summer. We spent HOURS and hours fishing. Trolling was his favorite. My brother, mom and I would take turns going with Dad. If it was my turn, I would throw on my swim suit, and hope to catch some sun during those long days of fishing. If I got a tan, it didn't seem like a total loss of a day. SO many hours spent on the lake fishing...listening to the little brown, and later a black transistor radio. No ipods back in the stone ages, kids. For Dad it was always country music. How I hated country music. Funny...I love it now. He also loved to fish rivers for steel head salmon. The Cowlitz, and Toutle rivers were among our summer hangouts. One summer Dad discovered Moses Lake fishing, where we caught TONS of Crappie. Seriously, they are called Crappie! But pronounced Croppie. Not my favorite fish. I remember complaining about eating SO MUCH FISH. Dumb kid. Especially the salmon. What was I thinking? Hmmm.
I think about those days fishing with my dad, and wonder, why didn't I talk to him more about his childhood? Ask him more questions about his parents, grandparents, and his life? More about growing up on the farm in Delta, Utah? His early 20's traveling the world on the various Navy battleships? How I wish I could turn back the clock now. My Dad was 57 years young when he passed away. Lung Cancer and cirrhosis. He wasn't perfect, but he loved his family. He was a family man. Honored his mother and father. Loved his pioneer heritage. He loved us unconditionally, and was always forgiving of the mistakes we made. My most precious and lasting impression of my dad will always be - he loved us, and we knew it.
Every time I make biscuits, I think of my Dad. He LOVED biscuits and gravy. Maybe that's why my kids love gravy with their biscuits so much? In honor of Dad, and all of the other Fathers out there whose lives on the earth were way too short- rustle up some biscuits and gravy. Love you, Dad.

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

12 oz tube of Jimmy Dean Spicy Sausage
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour, sifted
3-4 cups milk, whole is best
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
dash cayenne

Brown sausage in skillet, drain grease from pan. Remove sausage and place in small bowl. Lightly wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium high heat. Add the flour, and whisk in until the lumps disappear. Continue to cook for about 1-2 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned. Add salt, pepper and cayenne. Using a whisk, add in the milk, a cup at a time, whisking during each addition, letting the gravy thicken as the milk is added. If needed, lower temperature of stove. I usually add about 3 1/2 to 4 cups total, depending on how long the gravy sits on the stove before serving. Add the cooked sausage to the gravy and heat through. Add more pepper or salt to taste. Serve with home made biscuits, fried eggs and potatoes.

Hopefully, you weren't thinking about using canned (gasp!) biscuits with sausage gravy. Click here for the real deal: Buttermilk Biscuits.

-Make the biscuits while the sausage is cooking. Pop the biscuits in the oven when you are making the gravy. They will be ready about the same time.


Pork Loin Chops with Balsamic Cherry Sauce

School is out and it's suppose to be summer weather. You know, barbeque's, watermelon, the ice cream man -with whom I have a love/hate relationship- I mean why is it he always comes right at DINNER TIME?? You know the drill - the kids all get that wild look in their eyes like they have seen a grizzly bear slash LeBron sighting slash offer for free passes to carnival rides. What? You need $3 for an ice cream bar? One ice cream bar? Right now? Hurry, heeeee's leeeeaviiiiing. Good Grief. Ok.
It's suppose to be that time of year, but it's been raining like we live in Silverdale, Washington (my hometown). So instead of bbqing last week, I made comfort food. Pork Chops. I bought these from Costco, because they looked so plump and delish, who could resist? They were so thick, I could have sliced them in half (width) and still had a meaty chop. There were only 4 of us home that night, so we ate leftovers the next day. The day after that, I sliced and chopped the meat, and added some bbq sauce and served it up on some big buns. Home of the big bun, that's us. Sorry, inside joke.
Absolutely LOVED the Balsamic Cherry Sauce. I love sweet and salt or spice together. I can hardly eat a fish taco without mango-pineapple salsa. When I made this, my boys turned their noses up at the sauce. They both protested the cherries with
"MOM, I don't like fruit on my meat." Whatever. How can you not like fruit on your meat?? Who raised you???
Anyway... any civilized person with good taste will love this recipe. It's really, really simple, took me 1/2 hour start to finish, including making a salad, and cooking a vegetable and rice.

Pork Loin Chops with Balsamic Cherry Sauce


4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4-5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup cooking marsala
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 cinnamon stick
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
3/4 cup dried sour cherries (not craisins)
1 tablespoon cornstarch stirred with 1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper

For Chops:

8 3/4 inch thick boneless pork loin chops (2-2 1/2 lbs total)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Make the sauce:
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until reduced to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Careful not to burn glaze. Add marsala, shallots and cinnamon stick, bring to boil and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup. About 8-10 minutes.
Add stock and cherries, bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered, until cherries plump, about 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture, add to sauce, and simmer uncovered, whisking occasionally for about 2 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick, then stir in lime juice, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cover. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of water or apple juice to thin a bit.

Cook Chops:

Pat the chops dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 10-12 inch heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat until just smoking. Cook half of the chops, turning once, until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer meat to a platter and loosely cover with foil. Cook the remaining chops in remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Serve chops with sauce spooned over.

-If you buy the mammoth 1 1/2 " Pork Loin Chops at Costco, and you don't cut them in half, cook for about 8-10 minutes on each side. Check to see if cooked in middle before serving.
-I added a bit more Balsamic to the sauce, and about 2 tablespoons water.


Tessa's Spaghetti Carbonara

Remember my friend Tessa? I love Tessa. And I love almost anything she cooks. She whipped up this Spaghetti Carbonara for me several years ago, and it's still one of my favorites. You probably have everything you need to make it right in your fridge. If not, run down to the store and keep it on hand. Then, when you need to make a quick dinner because you are running to your 6th soccer, or baseball, or softball or lacrosse game of the week, and you are sitting at the field, and it's 7PM, and you are thinking - "We can not eat hamburgers or Taco Bell one more night this week" - go home and have this on the table in about 20 minutes. The secret to having it all done fast is to put the water on to boil while you are cooking the bacon. You can use the pre cooked bacon too, to save time and mess. Serve it with a green veg or salad and some crusty bread, and your family will thank you for being the most wonderful Mom (or Dad) in the world. Oh- almost forgot. You should really heat your plates or pasta bowls when serving Carbonara. If you are placing it in a serving bowl, heat that too. Just turn your oven on for about 10 minutes to 250 degrees, put your oven proof dinner plates and serving bowl in, and turn the oven OFF. Keeping the serving bowl and the plates warm keep the pasta and sauce warm, and you won't get that icky sticky pasta mess you get when you serve this dish on a cold plate. I know you are saying cream and butter!! No, it's not low fat, but neither are those frozen corndogs or Hot Pockets you were going to pawn off as dinner.

Tessa's Spaghetti Carbonara
print recipe

1/2 lb spaghetti
4 tablespoons butter (if you double, I leave the butter at 4 tbsp total)
1 cup whipping cream
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese (No green cans)
4 slices bacon, cooked, drained and chopped

Heat water in large pot to boil. Cook pasta al dente, as directed on package. Meanwhile, cook bacon in sauce pan, remove and chop. Drain off all grease from pan, and wipe inside of pan with paper towel. Melt butter in saucepan. Add cream and cook for about 10 minutes until reduced a bit. Remove 1/4 cup cream to small bowl, mix 4 egg yolks to the 1/4 cup cream mixture with a fork. Return the egg and cream mixture to the pan with the remaining cream. When pasta is done, drain and pour into heated bowl. While pasta is still hot, pour egg mixture over pasta, toss to cook egg slightly. Add the chopped bacon and grated parmesan. Serve immediately.