Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Savory Pork Roast

On the topic of crock pot meals… here is another recipe from the current “Fix-It and Forget-It” Magazine that is available until 4/12.  It called to me because it sounded very German!  Pork and Sauerkraut with caraway is a classic German combination! This one is easy to make and very yummy indeed.  Be sure to drain the Sauerkraut, but don’t rinse it – it will add flavor to the roast.  After removing the pork and sauerkraut, the sauce is thickened in the end with a slurry of cornstarch.

I will make this again.  I served it with wide egg noodles and peas.  I used a pork shoulder roast, but you could use one that is less fatty.  The good thing about pork shoulder is that it really falls apart after long cooking times without being overly dry. Another change I made, was seasoning the pork with salt and pepper before browning it.  It added a touch I think that was needed.

Savory Pork Roast

adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Magazine (2012 issue) p 29

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb pork roast (boneless is preferred, but bone in pork shoulder works as well)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 jar Sauerkraut, drained (I liked Nathan’s New York Style Kosher)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 3/4 cup water

Thickeners:

  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water

Instructions:

Season your pork roast with salt and pepper on all sides and heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Add vegetable oil to the pot and then proceed browning the pork roast on all sides, turning the roast about every 4 or 5 minutes.

Once the roast is nicely browned on all sides, place it into your crock pot.  Sprinkle the minced garlic over the top of the roast and top with sliced onions, drained sauerkraut (but not rinsed) and caraway seeds.  Pour the water around the outside of the roast.  Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low heat.

Remove the cooked pork and sauerkraut to a large platter and strain the cooking liquids.  Place just the liquids back into your crock pot.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water and stir to combine.  Add the cornstarch slurry into the cooking liquid.  Cover and cook for about 15 minutes to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally.  Serve the gravy with the meat.

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Salmon with Creamy Herb Sauce

I recently picked up a copy of Fix-It and Forget-It slow cooker magic.  You should be able to find a copy until April of this year (04/12).  They had several recipes that caught my eye.  I liked the look of this recipe but I adapted it to serve 6 (not 4), so the sauce ingredients are doubled and instead of 4 pieces of salmon I used 6.  I also changed a few ingredients in the sauce.  I thought there was too much mustard, so I reduced that and I increased the sour cream and added a dash of Worcestershire sauce to give it that last oomph that it needed.  I was afraid that cooking the salmon in a crock pot would make my whole house smell fishy.  It was not the case.  I think I found some very fresh salmon, which I am sure helped keep it from smelling too fishy.

Salmon with Creamy Herb Sauce

adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Magazine (4/12) p. 70

Serves 6

Crock Pot Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 2 large lemons, sliced
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or 1 cup white wine/1 cup chicken broth)
  • 6 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillet (1 inch thick)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or reduced fat if you like)
  • 5 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce

Instructions:

Place the first 4 ingredients into the crock pot and pour the chicken broth over them.  Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours.

In the meantime, season the salmon with the garlic salt and red pepper flakes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is time to add the salmon.

Prepare the Creamy Herb sauce:  Combine the ingredients listed and stir together.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

When the two hours are up for the lemon slices.  Carefully place the salmon on the lemon slices.  Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 30-45 minutes or until the salmon is cooked.  Remove the salmon to a platter and discard the liquids.  Serve the salmon with the creamy herb sauce.  Good with steamed rice and broccoli.

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Breaded Goat Cheese

I recently had breaded goat cheese slices in a salad at a restaurant.  After I researched the process, I discovered that they are so easy to make.  I decided to make them last weekend when our friends Mike and Anneke came to visit us with their children.  We do not get to see them very frequently, so our time with them was sweet.  I decided that since I had goat cheese, that I would try this new technique.  It is super easy to make.  The hardest part is slicing the goat cheese as it has a tendency to crumble like Feta does.  One site recommended using dental floss, but since I only had mint flavor, I passed and used a sharp knife which worked out okay.  These can be made ahead and then added to your salad later – they would also be even more fantastic warmed a little just before serving.

Panko Crusted Goat Cheese

(for salad) goodcookbecky

Ingredients:

  • 1 log goat cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Panko breading
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Preparation:

Dip the goat cheese rounds into the egg and then coat in the Panko breading (Japanese style bread crumbs that you should be able to locate at your well stocked grocery store in the International isle).  Melt the butter with the olive oil in a small non stick skillet over medium high heat and fry the breaded goat cheese on both sides until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel and refrigerate until dinner time if making ahead – otherwise just add to the salad and eat.  It is a very nice addition for a quick change.

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Desperation Dinners

Desperation Dinner: You know this kind of dinner.. your pantry has some ingredients but not enough to make something you have in mind.. so you substitute.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not work.  This is one that worked and boy did it ever work!  My family loves Lasagna, but I had neither ground beef or sausage to add to the filling and we didn’t want just plain or just spinach lasagne – no, that is too close to being healthy!  We like to live on the side of not good for you!  Well, actually, we are in process of changing that… but last year we lived!!!

My brother was in town for Thanksgiving – he lives in Harrisburg, PA and we do not see him very often.  Since he is single, he comes to see us about every other year.  He had a craving for lasagna, but I did not have the meat as I mentioned before… but I did have this: Pepperoni!  I made the lasagna as usual, except used pepperoni instead of the sausage.  Baked it as usual and the result was wonderful!  It is now my families favorite lasagna.

Pepperoni Lasagna

by goodcookbecky

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 (28 oz) cans spaghetti sauce (I like Hunts Traditional in the can- sometimes on sale for a dollar)
  • 1 (9 oz) box Barilla No Boil Lasagna (or other pasta will work- even the ones you should pre cook but you don’t have to trust me)
  • 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (4 oz) package Hormel sliced pepperoni
  • 1 (16 oz) bag Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

I like to use my large pampered chef stoneware casserole. The sides are over 2 inches and the lasagna so far has never bubbled over like it has in a pyrex dish- but you still can use it, just place a cookie sheet under it if that is all you have.  The beauty of the stoneware is that you do not have to spray it with non stick spray.

To make the lasagna, ladle half a can of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of your baking dish.  Place the (uncooked) lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, slightly overlapping.  Combine the ricotta cheese, egg, oregano, basil and half the Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and spread half of the cheese mixture over the lasagna noodles.  Top with half of the pepperoni slices.  Ladle the remaining sauce from the first can of spaghetti sauce.  Top with noodles.  Repeat layers.  End with lasagna noodles, pasta sauce, and remaining Mozzarella Cheese.  If you would like an extra crunch add about 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.  Uncover and cook until the cheese is melted for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cover with foil again and let sit for about 10-15 minutes.

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Gyros

I was recently looking through my very first cookbook that I bought for myself.  I was a Freshman in College then – and the Betty Crocker Cookbook was just the beginning of a growing passion.  I found a recipe for Gyros in the cookbook and I hesitate to try new recipes on my family – my two girls were off to winter camp with their church youth group – and the only child remaining was my adventurous eater… so I stopped at Trader Joe’s and picked up a few pita bread pockets.  I looked for ground lamb, but all they had was ground beef and it was an acceptable substitute. I also picked up some crumbled seasoned Feta cheese (though not in the original recipe) and it took the Gyro to the next flavor level.  Yum!

The recipe:

Gyros
adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook (1998)
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 lb ground lamb (beef)
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp canola oil
Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek works too)
1 Tbsp fresh minced mint (or 1 tsp dry)
1 tsp sugar
1 small cucumber peeled, seeds removed, chopped

2 roma tomatoes, small dice
4 pita sandwiches, cut in half and opened
Crumbled seasoned Feta cheese

Instructions:
Mix first 8 ingredients together.  Form into 8 small meat patties.  Heat a skillet and add oil. Cook the meat over medium heat, turning frequently until meat is cooked. About 10-12 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, combine the yogurt, mint, sugar and cucumber. Stir to combine.

Serving Instructions:
Open the pocket of each half of pita bread and put one meat patty inside. Top with a heaping spoon full with the cucumber sauce, diced tomatoes and about 1 Tbsp feta cheese in each pocket. 2 halves equal 1 serving.

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Happy New Year

My husband was recently looking at pizzas in various shapes on New Years Eve.  He challenged me and my daughter to make one for 2012. Challenge Accepted! I used my usual pizza dough (but doubled it) let it rise and then formed the numbers 2012 out of the dough proceeded to top them and bake as normal.  I think it turned out rather well.

My pizza dough (link)  This is my pepperoni Calzone recipe but use the dough recipe for pizza dough.

Toppings: crushed whole tomatoes, pepperoni, cheese

Bake 375 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  I treated it as I would a square pizza cutting them in slices.  The dough was rather thick, but it worked and tasted well for the occasion.

Happy New Year!