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


Sweet Sausage Lasagne

When I graduated from high school back in 1080, oops, I meant 1980- and left for college at the age of 17, I cooked.
One thing.
It wasn't because I liked to cook, it was out of necessity. I wanted it- and my mom didn't know how to make it. My dad was a Navy man, and never liked to eat anything that even remotely resembled a casserole. He said he ate enough casserole dishes in his 20 years in the Navy to last a lifetime. So Mom never made casseroles. In our house, lasagne fell into that category.

Setting: the late 60's- Bremerton(my hometown) was just across the water from Seattle. A ferry ride to Seattle almost always included a trip to the Seattle Center. Before malls had food courts, we had the Seattle Center International Food Fair aka- the "Food Circus". The Seattle Center was home to the World's Fair in 1962 . There were rides outside and a HUGE (well it seemed huge to me) building that housed food booths from "all over the world" :) My favorite was the lasagne shop. I LOVED lasagne. My love for lasagna was satisfied every few months by either going to the Seattle Center, attending a potluck at my little brother's sports banquets (where there were sure to be several pans of my favorite creation), or getting out the BH&G red checked cookbook and making some at home. Over the years, I've tried lots of different lasagne recipes: spinach (chopped frozen and fresh) , beef, four cheese, vegetarian, with ricotta, with cottage cheese, with only fresh mozzarella, the list goes on. This recipe was found while surfing food blogs recently. I loved the Italian sausage in this recipe and the spice it gives to the sauce. I also love the pasta in this recipe. I tried using the "no boil" pasta years ago,(didn't like it) but I think it was different then, thicker? Now, the noodles are really thin. Cook's did a story about using "no boil" pastas, and declared their love for it because it's so thin, it tastes more like fresh pasta. I think you're gonna love this. Buon appetit. Yes, I now speak Italian.

Sweet Sausage Lasagne
adapted from Food Network
print recipe

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1/3 cup dry white wine or water
2 (28-ounce) containers crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium dried bay leaves

For the lasagna:
1 (9-ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
24 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
1 pound part skim mozzarella cheese, low-moisture or fresh, thinly sliced
2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)

For the meat sauce: Heat oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion and garlic, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until just softened. Add sausage and ground pork and stir to break up meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine or water and cook, scraping bottom of pan to incorporate browned bits. Add tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, basil, oregano, bay leaf, and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Stir until well mixed and tomatoes start to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

For the lasagna: Heat oven to 375 degrees F and arrange rack in middle.

Spread 2 cups sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Layer 4 noodles over sauce, top with 2 cups sauce and spread it evenly over the noodles. Evenly dollop 1/4 of the ricotta across the sauce, top with 1/4 of the mozzarella, and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cover with foil and let sit on counter before baking for about 1/2 hour. Bake until liquids are bubbling and noodles are beginning to soften, about 40 minutes.

Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown and noodles are completely tender, about 20 minutes more. Allow to rest 20 minutes before cutting.

PS - Lasagna is the singular - as in one lasagna noodle, lasagne is plural - did you know that? I didn't.


Chili with Brats

I like this green chili sauce, it's chunky with onions, tomatoes and roasted chilies. You can use any brand, or if you can't find green sauce, add some fresh green chilies or a can of chopped green chilies.

Colosimo's Bratwurst, made in Utah.

To continue our string of "Manly" dishes, I thought what's more manly than chili? When my little brother played Pee-Wee football at the old Chico football field, I loved buying Frito Pie. Frito's, chili (probably canned), with grated cheese on top. I remember the chili was made with small red beans, and I loved it. It was different than my Mom's. Dad loved Kidney beans, so she always used those in her chili. I like a combo of beef and sausage in chili. For my Southwest and Texan friends who read this blog - I know you are thinking- No respectable chili has beans as a main ingredient!! Kind of like being from the Northwest and hearing people say they love fish- only Halibut, and then only as "Halibut Au Gratin" which I really dislike. All of that sauce totally masks the fish! Sick. But I like beans more than meat, so I always make chili with beans AND meat. Anyway, moving on. This past week, I made some with a combo of ground beef and Bratwurst. We have a local company that makes great Bratwurst*, I used a plain Brat this time. I don't use a recipe when I make chili - I tried to record the amounts used this time, so I could post a recipe. Oh, and I like the zip the green chili sauce adds. I'm not a big fan of spicy food, so this is a mild chili recipe. My boys love eating the leftovers on top of hot dogs and buns, topped with lots of grated cheese. Testosterone city.

Chili with Brats

3-4 *Bratwurst
1 lb ground beef, extra lean
1-2 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
1-2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
3 15 oz. cans small red beans, drained
2 14.5 oz. cans chopped tomatoes, with juices
1/2 jar 16 oz medium green chili sauce (if it's mild, I throw the whole jar in)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt, ground pepper

Cook the Bratwurst in a pan on medium high heat, turning once. After brown on both sides, add a little water to the pan - about 1/4 cup, and cover. Let steam for 8 minutes. Remove to cutting board. Let sit.
Cook ground meat in large heavy pan. Drain any grease, add chopped onions, pepper and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and chopped garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add the drained cans of beans, chopped tomatoes, green chili sauce and sugar. If you like a thicker chili, add a can of tomato sauce or some tomato paste. Slice the Bratwurst, add to the pot. Cook for several hours, covered on stove top- low heat.

- I usually double this amount.
-*You can substitute any type of sausage - ground or Polish,'s all good. If you live in or around Utah, I recommend Colosimo's Sausage. They make great Bratwurst, and other flavors of sausage- even an Apple Sausage if you are a "Vegetebelarian" as my kids call it. They have been making sausage since the early 1920's, and they produce a great product free of unmentionable fillers usually found in sausage. AND they sell at Costco, the happiest place on earth, according to Corrine.
-Slow cooking a roast- pork or beef, then shredding or dicing it into the chili is great too. Or cut the roast into small pieces, brown and season and throw all of the ingredients into a dutch oven or crock pot and cook for 10 hours on low heat.
- Beans - you may use canned, or soak and cook some of the 10, 000 pounds of beans you have in your food storage. Any combo - I have tried black, red, chili (which I think are pintos), butter beans (icky), white.
-This is best when cooked for at least 6-8 hours on low heat.


Smoked Boston Butt with homemade BBQ Sauce

Whenever we go to the South, our (my) first order of business is to find a good place to eat a pulled pork sandwich. When we landed in New Orleans last month, we found a little hole in the wall place where the locals eat. Our plates were heaping with ribs, pulled pork and brisket. Yum. The next day we went to a family favorite,
Corky's. They're famous for their barbecue.

Making delish pulled pork at home is really simple. I love Paula Dean's recipe for Boston Butt. It has smoky flavor, without barbecuing or actually smoking the meat. Now, It's not quite as good as authentic Southern barbecue, but it's a close second. In my opinion, pulled pork needs sauce. Don't make this unless you can commit to the sauce too. Making your own sauce takes one pan and less than 5 minutes. Please tell me you would not compromise the integrity of your pulled pork with a store bought bottled sauce!
A little warning- First, get at least two roasts. Everyone, and I mean everyone loves this, and it will go fast. Dick's (useless info unless you live in B-town) puts this on sale a few times a year for $1.29-$1.69 a pound. I buy several and throw them in the freezer. And pick up some food handlers gloves either in a restaurant supply store or your grocery. Sometimes you can even get the deli people (in your local grocery) to sell you a package. They have 100 uses, especially if you are a germaphobe, no names, please- and will keep your hands from smelling like smoke flavoring. Uh, wait, maybe you WANT to smell like smoke flavoring. I heard a news story the other day about men loving food smells as opposed to flowery perfume scents. Interesting. Maybe just put a little behind your ears while you are preparing the meat. Oh, one more thing. My kids, especially the boys LOVE it when I make this. Not only because they love the dish, but they also love saying "I am So excited to have BUTT tonight" or "I love it when you make BUTT" or "Pass the BUTT".
I know.

Smoked Boston Butt
printable recipe

1 4-5 pound Pork Butt Roast
1 Tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon pepper
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings
1 cup water
homemade barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Place gloves on hands, if using. Sprinkle all of the seasoning on the roast evenly, both sides. Rub into the meat. Repeat the process with the liquid smoke. Place the meat in a large roasting pan, or if you don't have one use a 9 x 13 pan. Remove the gloves and discard. Chop the onions, and throw over the meat. Pour the water into the pan. Make sure not to pour over the meat, or you will wash away the flavorings. Cover the meat with foil. Seal to edges of pan, so steam won't escape. Place in oven and cook for 3 hours at 325 degrees . You can remove at this time, but I like to turn the oven off, and just let it sit in the oven for another couple of hours. Do not open the oven until ready to remove. When ready to serve, pull away excess fat, and either chop or pull pork apart with forks. Place on a serving platter and drizzle with sauce. Serve extra sauce on the side.

-Serve with hamburger buns, or white bread slices.
-great side dishes are : (click here) coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad.
-After cooking the meat - Don't cut the meat and "mix" with bbq sauce. It will get mushy and have that yucky consistency of frozen bbq meat. Just carefully lay the meat in a pan or serving platter and pour a little sauce over the top.

BBQ Sauce:

2 cups Ketchup
1-cup brown sugar
5-8 drops hot sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 clove garlic (optional)
3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
ground pepper

Heat all ingredients in pan on stove. Add more sugar, hot sauce or garlic according to your taste.

-You can substitute honey for the sugar. If you like onions in your sauce, saute half of a chopped onion and add to the mixture.
-Without onions, this will keep in the refrigerator for at least a month.


Apple, Sausage and Herb Stuffing

If I had to pick only one food item to eat for Thanksgiving dinner, it would be the stuffing. Did you know stuffing and dressing are the same thing? Traditionally, stuffing was placed inside of the bird, dressing, cooked outside in a dish. Also, depending on where you come from, and what era you were raised, you either call it dressing or stuffing. Or stuffin. 
I was appalled when I first heard people say they "made" STOVE TOP stuffing for Thanksgiving. THAT, my friends, is a crime. Seriously. All you have to do is brown sausage, chop some veggies, throw in some bread, broth and butter and mix it all together? Repeat after me. This is easy. This is easy. This is my mom's recipe for stuffing. 
Thanks Mom! I love you.

Mom's Apple, Sausage and Herb Stuffing

½ lb. sausage (Jimmy Dean Regular)
½ lb. lean ground beef (mom uses ground beef, I use all sausage)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ cubes (3/4 cup) butter, melted
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
½ large sweet apple, peeled, chopped
2-3 cans chicken broth, MSG free
8 cups dried bread cubes, or 1 ½ bags cubed stuffing
½ bag herb seasoned stuffing (crumbly) Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing (optional) or make your own crumbly stuffing from bread crumbs
sage, garlic salt, poultry seasoning
salt and fresh ground pepper

Cook meat, drain fat. Add celery and onion. Cook until soft. Season to taste. In a large bowl or container, add dry bread crumbs and cubes. Pour melted butter over bread and vegetable mixture. Add chopped apples. Pour on chicken broth, about a cup at a time until moistened, but not soggy. Mix well. Stuff turkey loosely, place any leftover stuffing into a greased baking pan, cover with foil. Bake any stuffing outside of the turkey at 350 for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. When finished baking, if stuffing seems dry, add a little more chicken broth. Taste, and add seasonings again if needed.


**I buy Artisan bread or white bread, thick slice. Cube and set it out to dry. Or dry in the oven a week or more before Thanksgiving. A couple of loaves are plenty. Just spread on cookie sheets (un-greased) for about 1-1 1/2 hours on 250-300 degrees. Let cool, bag, and save until the big day.You may also add some olive oil and salt and pepper for flavor before baking.

**I like all sausage instead of the ground beef and sausage combo.

**Add broth just until the bread is moistened and barely clinging to other pieces when shaped with hands.

**My mom adds one well beaten egg to the mixture before stuffing the turkey or baking.
**I generously season the stuffing. Especially with sage. Fresh is best, but dried will work.
**I usually double this recipe for a group of 25.