Category Archives: Pork

Bacon Shrimp Linguine

pasta 1

 

In the past months, I finished illustrating two books, some magazine pieces, a promo piece, and some pieces for two gallery shows.  Oh, and I took two online courses.  Now that I finally have a moment to breathe, I have enjoyed cooking and experimenting again!  It’s so nice to spend time in the kitchen and try different things outside of our usual rotation of dinners of late…

I made this delicious shrimp and bacon dish last night and wanted to share it.  Also, I want to remember how I made it as I will definitely have to make it again!  My inspiration came from part of a package of bacon and frozen shrimp in our freezer that I had to use up.  The base of the recipe is similar to a All’Amatriciana dish I used to make often.  I omitted the red pepper flakes because my son and husband don’t like them, but it would be a great addition to my version.  I used smoked bacon instead of pancetta and added shrimp.  It is easy to make and perfect for a week night dinner.

Prep involves deveining and cleaning shrimp, so make sure you’ve done this beforehand:

shrimp

After sauteing bacon pieces until crunchy, drain and set aside for a nice garnish!

bacon

 

When it all comes together, the smokiness of the bacon, the acidity of the tomatoes, and the creaminess of the cheese goes so well with the shrimp!

pasta 3

Shrimp Bacon Pasta

4 slices of bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced finely

3 gloves of garlic, crushed and minced

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

kosher salt to taste

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried basil

About 1 pound of shrimp, cleaned and deveined, chopped

1/2 pound of linguine

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1.  Boil 4 quarts of water in a large pot.

2.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add oil and fry bacon until crispy.  Remove bacon to drain on paper toweled lined plates.  When it is cooled and crispy, break into little bits.

3.  Saute onion and garlic in remaining oil and bacon fat until soft.  Add crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, oregano, and basil.  Let simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.

4.  Add salt to boiling water in large pot and cook linguine according to package instructions after sauce has been simmering for about 10 minutes.

5.  Drain pasta and return to large pot.  Add shrimp to tomato sauce.  Cook another minute or so until it becomes opaque.  Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

6.  Pour shrimp sauce on top of pasta in pot, add cheese and stir.

7.  Serve pasta with crispy bacon and more grated cheese on top.

Makes about 4 servings

Enjoy!

pasta 2 bacon

 

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Filed under Dinner, Pork, Shrimp

Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook

72 weight watchers

I’m embarrassed that I have had this cookbook and have been meaning to post a review of it FOREVER.  The nice folks at Saint Martin’s Press sent it to me, and it’s a fantastic cookbook.  The more I use it, the more I love it. I’ve never done Weight Watchers, but I know a lot of people who have with great success.  Even if you are not dieting or involved in Weight Watchers, though, this this is a great cookbook to have in your library.  The recipes are not all about using fat-free ingredients, and shunning food groups, etc.  The focus is on fresh ingredients and healthy cooking tips.

Lemon Basil Three Bean Salad

Lemon Basil Three Bean Salad

There is a blurb about each recipe (a lot are favorites that have been updated).   Servings and portion sizes, and nutritional information with PointsPlus points (if you are following the Weight Watchers 360 program) are also included with the recipes.  Recipes that are vegetarian and/or under 20 minutes to prepare are noted. The recipes are very easy to follow, the photography beautiful, but best of all, the dishes are wonderful.  I have made the Lemon Basil Three Bean Salad about four or five times.  It is my new go to side dish for grilling or having a get together (see recipe below).

Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

I made the Pork Chops with Onion Gravy last night, and it was AMAZING.  The cool thing about it is that you cook the onions in chicken broth, rather than sauteing them in a lot of oil and butter (a la The Barefoot Contessa), but you don’t sacrifice flavor at all.  So you are only using 1 teaspoon of olive oil for the whole dish.  I will definitely make this again.  It is key that you use bone-in pork chops so they stay moist, and this is noted in the recipe.

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

Another recipe I absolutely love is the Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups.  I make this for myself all the time now. I’m the only one who likes spicy foods, so I just make a single portion using our toaster oven.  I love the idea of making the cups using an inverted ramekin or muffin tin.  It works like a charm. And I love baked eggs and Mexican food, so this is one of my favorites.

There are a lot of really simple recipes that I’ve tried out that I am not reviewing here, but that I use regularly and vary to my liking.  Omelettes for Two (you use 2 large eggs and 3 whites),  Canadian Bacon-Cheddar Frittata, Potato Leek Soup, Kale Chips,  Banana “Ice Cream”, Oven Fried Fish and Chips, Vegetable Quesadillas, to name a few.

I chose to highlight these three because they were all very good, and I learned something from them that I think is valuable and that I’ll incorporate into other recipes (e.g. Including edamame in bean salad, and using lemon juice and zest, rather than vinegar; making tortilla cups; and cooking a pile of onions and softening them in chicken broth).

And there are  TON of recipes I want to try out in the future, like:  Bubble Bread with Herbs and Sun Dried Tomatoes, Southwestern Chicken Vegetable Soup, Mexican Chicken Wraps, Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy, Individual Beef Wellingtons, Boston Cream Pie.  These are just a handful of them.  If I were to wait until I made everything, photographed the dishes, wrote about them, and posted about it, this review would take even longer than it has to get out!

Please enjoy these three dishes from Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook, and buy the book for more great healthy and delicious recipes!

Lemon Basil Three-Bean Salad

From The Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook

Serves 6

20 Min or Less

Vegetarian

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 (15-ounce) can small white, rinsed and drained

2/3 cup cooked shelled green soybeans (edamame)

1/3 sweet onion, finely diced

1/3 red bell pepper, finely diced

5 large basil leaves, thinly sliced

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, salt, and ground pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the black beans, white beans, soybeans, onion, bell pepper, and basil; toss to coat evenly.  Serve at once, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Per Serving (3/4 cup):  160 Cal, 3 g Total Fat, 0 g Sat Fat, 0 mg Chol, 427 mg Sod, 26g Carb, 8 g Fib, 9g Prot, 94 mg Calc.
PointsPlus value: 4

bean salad

Skillet Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

From Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook

Serves 6

4 (6-ounce) bone-in pork loin chops, trimmed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 sweet onions, thinly sliced

1 ¼ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1        Sprinkle the chops with the salt and pepper.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. (I used a cast iron one).  Swirl in the oil, add the chops and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

2        Add the onions, ¼ cup of the broth, and the garlic to the skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very tender, about 12-15 minutes.

3        Sprinkle the onions with the flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Add the remaining 1 cup broth, mustard, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, stirring until the sauce bubbles and thickens.  Return the chops and any accumulated juices to the skillet.  Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chops are heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Per Serving (1 chop with ¼ cup sauce):

253 Cal, 11 g Total Fat, 4g Sat Fat, 76 mg Chol, 420 g Sod, 9 g Carb, 2 g Fiber, 29g Prot, 30 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value: 6

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

Serves 4

Vegetarian

4 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green pepper, celery, and onion

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

½ cup canned diced mild green chiles, drained

2-3 tablespoons mild peepper sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

4 large eggs

¼ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

  1. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 425 F.  Lightly spray both sides of the tortillas with nonstick spray.  Place 4 inverted custard cups on a baking sheet, and drape a tortilla over each to give it a bowl shape.  (You may also use an inverted 12-cup muffin pan, placing the tortillas over alternate cups.)  Bake until the tortillas are crisped and lightly golden around the edges, 10 minutes.  Remove the tortillas and set them on a rack to cool.
  1. Combine the diced tomatoes, beans, chiles, pepper sauce, cumin, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in an ovenproof skillet.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the flavors are blended, 4 minutes.  Break the eggs one at a time, on top of the sauce, spacing them evenly apart.
  1. Immediately place the pan in the oven and bake until the eggs are almost set, 6-8 minutes.  Sprinkle the cheese on top of the eggs and bake until melted, 1 minute.  to serve, place the tortilla cups on serving plates and spoon the eggs and sauce into the tortilla cups.  Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Per Serving  (1 filled tortilla cup):  289 Cal, 8g Total fat, 3 g Sat Fat, 216 mg Chol, 840 Sod, 40g, Carb, 8 g fib, 17g Prot, 200 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value:  7

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Filed under Breakfast, Eggs, Lunch, Pork, Sides

Easy Weeknight Pork Enchilada Casserole

Ooey and gooey, and yummy

Ooey and gooey, and yummy


Imagine this:  It’s a weeknight and you need to make dinner fast.  Instead of take out (which actually takes some time because you have to order and then go pick it up or wait for it to be delivered), make this!

I used leftover slow cooker pork shoulder, but you could easily use shredded rotisserie chicken instead.

I was inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light.  Instead of seasoned ground beef, I used pre-cooked pork, and instead of the enchilada sauce, I got really lazy and used bottled barbecue sauce.  We love Trader Joe’s Bold and Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce.  It’s tangy and tasty, but not spicy (for the little one).  tj sauce

Saute some onions, and mix in the pork or chicken and the barbecue sauce.  Add a handful of cheese.  Layer mixture in pie pan with flour tortillas. Top with a bit more sauce and cheese and bake until melted.  Easy peasy!

In the pie pan

In the pie pan

Cut into wedges and serve.

ooey gooey up close

Easy Weeknight Pork Enchilada Casserole

Non-stick spray

¼ cup onion, diced

1 teaspoon oil

2 ½ cups leftover pulled pork (see recipe here) or shredded rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup barbecue sauce

4 flour tortillas

1/2 cup grated cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a pie dish with spray. Set aside.
  2. Sauté onion with oil in a large pan until soft.  Add pork and 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce. Stir together to combine and sauté gently until heated through.  Stir in a handful of the grated cheese, and remove pan from heat and set aside.
  3. Place one tortilla in pie dish.  Spread 1/3 of pork mixture on top. I divide the mixture in the pan first by making a “peace” sign with three equal portions, so I have a clear idea of what 1/3 of the total is.   Cover with another flour tortilla.  Continue to layer with another  1/3 of pork mixture, another tortilla, and last 1/3 of pork mixture.  Cover with last tortilla.
  4. Spread rest of  barbecue sauce on top layer.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Bake in oven for about 10 minutes until cheese melts.  Cut into wedges and serve.

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Filed under chicken, Dinner, Pork

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

One of the many quick uses for slow cooked pork—Cheesy pork quesadilla. Mmm.

Here’s another — pork burger with cheese and grilled onions.

If you want to economize and save time, try investing in a slow cooker.   It’s one of the best appliances I’ve ever bought — and cheap too!  I think it was $20-something at Target.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t taken full advantage of it — there are so many things you can make with one!   Our favorite though is  slow cooker barbecue pork shoulder.  When pork shoulder goes on sale, it is one of the cheapest cuts of meat at $.99/lb. in our area.  I buy a 4-pounder, slow cook it, and freeze half of it — it makes so much.

The meat becomes so tender and tasty, and it can easily be used in quesadillas, burritos, burgers, on top of pizzas.  It is also good by itself with some of the sauce and rice or noodles.  I often eat it as is with my cauliflower “rice”.
To prep the pork shoulder, I remove the huge slab of skin and fat that I know some people would cringe to hear that I discard.  You can roast the skin to make cracklings, and save the rendered fat, but it’s not my kind of thing. Here’s a great overview if you want to try it out though!

That is a lot of skin for pork “crackling” I don’t plan on making…

Then you just throw the pork in the slow cooker and top with onions and some ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.  I forgot the brown sugar the last time, and it came out fine. You might feel you don’t even need it.  To make your life even easier, you could also just buy a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce and throw that in instead.  You just have to weigh your priorities — a little extra time to measure ingredients, or a little extra money for the bottled stuff. Either way, this is a very forgiving easy way to cook a lot of tasty meat without much effort!

*By the way, if you are in the Brooklyn area this weekend, come check out Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene. It is a fantastic independent book store and they have a great selection of books and events.  Denis and I will be reading there Saturday, September 22, at 11 am.  We’d love to see you if you can make it!*

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

4 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder, fat and skin removed

2 medium onions, sliced vertically

1/2 cup ketchup

¼ cup tomato paste

¼ cup brown sugar (optional)

¼ cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  1. Cut onion in half lengthwise, and then cut into half round slices.
  2. Place pork in slow cooker pot, then sprinkle onions on top.  Pour rest of ingredients over meat and onions.  Cook at low heat for 8 hours.
  3. Remove bone and discard.  Shred meat with forks.  Serve with sauce.

Note:  I use some of the meat the day of cooking.  Then the next day after it has been in the refrigerator, I remove the excess oil at the top and divide into smaller containers and freeze the meat and sauce for a quick week night dinner later on.

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Filed under Dinner, Pork