Friday, October 31, 2008

Pork and Kraut

3-5 lb pork(pork loin, pork butt, pork ribs)
1 large can crushed tomato
1 large onion diced
3 large carrots shredded
2 tbs sugar
½ tsp (or more) red pepper
2tsp salt
1 bag of sauerkraut and liquid
1 tbs olive oil

This dish always lets me know winter is here. Depending on the cut of meat you use this can be an extremely healthy dish (use a pork loin if you want it be be more healthy). I must confess, this is one time I go whole hog (pardon the pun.. I just had to!!). I use a Boston butt typically on this. Ribs are outstanding too. Obviously both are fatty meat, but sometimes you just got to be bad and this is worth it to me. It is hearty and down home with a little bit of spice (or a lot if you like it). You can also add some bacon in if you want to really, really be bad but I normally don’t. I have also thought about trying a bit of smoky paprika….maybe next time.
Add oil to pot and heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Season meat. Place meat on bottom and add the remaining ingredients. I usually make this with a Boston butt, however it is great with ribs but shouldn’t need to cook quite as long. Bring to a boil and reduce and let simmer for 2.5-3 hours or until meat is done and tender. When I say tender, this should be fall apart tender. So if you are doing ribs you might want to get a spoon to pull them out otherwise they will just fall apart. Check periodically while it is cooking to keep liquid level up, add a bit of water as needed. Serve with a side of mashed potatoes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kielbasa and Collard Soup

This was adapted from a recipe I found off of Epicurious. It is a recipe from “Gourmet.” The original calls for pancetta and for swiss chard. I wanted a heartier soup so I substituted the pancetta for kielbasa and the swiss chard for collards.

1 lb great northern beans (or 4 cans) soaked over night
1 lb package Kielbasa (I use turkey, but use whatever you want)
1 large onion chopped
1 fennel bulb chopped (just use bulb not stalks or top, however you can set them aside for other use)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs minced garlic
5 c. chicken broth (or 5 chicken bullion cubes and 5 cups water)
3 c. water
1 (3x2 inch) piece of parm rind (many stores sell just the rind, if you can’t find try 1/2c. of a good grated parm)
3 Turkish bay leaves
6 large collard leaves, cleaned, and chopped thick part of steams removed.

Soak beans overnight (or at least 8 hours), and drain.

Heat olive oil. Add chopped fennel, garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until soft. Add beans, broth, water, bay leaves, and parm and simmer for 45 minutes (or until beans done). Taste flavorings and adjust now. Add collards and cook another 15 minutes. Served

Mixed Mushroom Pasta

1lb pasta
1 onion chopped
½ lb bacon (lean) chopped
1 package mixed mushrooms chopped
1 c. white wine (not chardonnay)
½ c cream
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper

Just a note on the bacon before I start. I used the Gwaltney 40% less fat bacon. It is just a less fatty bacon which appeals to me, however you have the same flavor. If you use regular bacon, remove about half of the oil after cooking bacon.
Start water to boil, add pasta.
Meanwhile, cut bacon and fry in pan. Once done, remove bacon from pan and set aside. Add onions to bacon grease and cook over low heat to caramelize. Once caramelized add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes, add wine, garlic and salt and pepper. Once you add wine, your pasta should almost be done (2 minutes or so, if not set sauce aside until your pasta is almost done Cook sauce on low until pasta done.)Remove pasta from heat, and take 1/2c. of the starchy water and add to sauce. Turn heat up on sauce to simmer. Drain pasta and put pasta back in pot. Once sauce thickens (about 2-3 min) add cream, cook an additional minute. Toss with pasta and serve.
Now of course you know I am a truffle oil freak, so of course I added about 2 tbs to the entire dish before serving. It was wonderful but I think the sauce will be just as good without it. Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Family Meals for Less

I decided to take on new venture. My husband is starting his own insurance agency. What that means for us, is we are living off of savings until it starts to make some money. I noticed on another blog I follow ( that she is trying to cooking economically, healthy and most importantly flavorfully. Since I highly doubt that I am the only one watching my budget these days, and also highly doubt I am the only gal that likes good food, I decided to try my hand at another blog. I am tasking myself with coming up with a meal for four for under $10. I am going to reserve mommy gourmet for my original recipes, or alterations of favorites. However, if the dish is also economical you will see it posted on my new site. If I make something, healthy and economical but not original it will only be on the new site. I guess what I am saying is there will be some cross over, but you will still have to check both out (if you are interested.) I provided a link to the new blog. However, it is Family Meals for Less ( Please provide comments or suggestions I am always eager to hear what you think!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lamb and Rosemary Stew

This is an adaptation on one of my favorite winter dishes. The original is a wine stew with beef. I simply change the beef out with a leg of lamb, and added rosemary.

3-4 lbs of cubed lamb
1 qt (small bottle) red wine
2 can tomato soup
2T kitchen bouquet (can find in seasoning isle)
3bay leaves
2 TBS fresh rosemary chopped up
6 medium potatoes quartered
6 carrots chunked
6 stalks of celery in chunks
4 medium onions (cut into large piece, quarter than half the quarter)
2 c. frozen peas
Salt to taste
1 tbs of fresh rosemary chopped up

Season meat (salt pepper, garlic..whatever) and brown. Combine the first 6 ingredients and cook over low heat for 2 hours. Add vegetables and cook an additional 40 minutes before serving. Stir occasionally add water if needed. Add the last TBS of rosemary about 10 minutes before done or when you reheat it if you make this the day before serving (see note below).

One very important thing to note with this is that it is better if made a day a head of time which makes it ideal for a dinner party.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oyster Nirvana At Mama Zu

Last night me and my husband went to Mama Zu. I love their food. Hands down it is got to be the best pasta in town (among other things). Last night Joel and I decided to get an appetizer. We noticed they had fried oysters. Now normally I don’t like fried oysters (or most fried food for that matter) that much, however I had just been standing next to someone at the bar who was eating sweetbreads, that looked so heavenly… I think it just put me in a fried frame of mind. I think in my mind’s eye these friend oysters would have some panache, maybe some chopped mushrooms and sauce over top. Somehow I thought they would look like the sweetbreads I had been salivating over. I was so disappointed when they came out. It was just a plate of fried oysters….whoopee. Now anyone in Richmond knows Mama Zu is not only wonderful but CHEAP. I am talking $9 for a HUGE pasta dish cheap. These oysters were $15. So I expected there to be something special about them, or at least there to be a lot of them. However, it was just 8 measly oysters on a plate. Just in case you are a math whiz that is almost $2 a pop. I felt sad. Let down. Disappointed in Mama. Then I tried one. Holly Good Mother of Our LORD!! These were no typical fried oysters. They were barely breaded, they were barely cooked, they were sweet, and salty and juicy and crisp all in one pleasingly perfect mouthful.

I can now die happy. …… Or at least I can once I figure out how make them myself!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Goat Cheese and Pine Nut Spinach

1 tbs olive oil
1 bag spinach
¼ c. soft goat cheese
2tbs pine nuts
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in skillet. Add spinach, turning often. After about 2 minutes. Add goat cheese and nuts and cook for about 1 more minute. T

The doneness of this is based on your preference. I like my spinach, just wilted. However, you might like it cooked through. I will say, if you like it a bit less done, take it off the stove before you think it is done because it will keep cooking. A good rule of thumb is about the moment you think, “One more minute and this will be done.” Take it off.

Another way of doing wilted spinach and a favorite of mine as well is:
2tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
¼ blue cheese
¼ c toasted walnuts

Heat oil and vinegar in skillet. Add spinach turning often. After about 2 minutes add cheese and nuts and cook for about one more minute.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

1.5 lb split chicken breast
¼ c. lemon juice
¼ olive or lemon infuse olive oil
1 tsp lemon rind
1tbs chopped rosemary
¼ greek yogurt (or sour cream or regular plain yogurt)
2 tsp general purpose seasoning (greek, lemon pepper)

Heat oven to 375. Heavily salt and pepper chicken and bake covered for 35 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together lemon juice, rind, oil, rosemary, yogurt, and general seasoning. After 30 minutes increase temperature to 400. Cover chicken with marinade and put chicken uncovered back in to bake. Bake for 15-20 more minutes or until done.

This would be great with pork or fish.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Indian Experimenting

Okay, clearly this is not a recipe of mine, this isn’t even pilfering. However, it was a great find and I had to share. As I have said, I am thrilled with the new made over Food Lions. I know! I swear just go in, you will be shocked. It used to be so bad I called it the Food Dog (well that and the logo looked more like a dog than lion to me). So one day while shopping in there new little international section, I came across something I typically would not have bought if not been for my giddy mindset. (Okay… don’t expect whole foods or Ellwood when you go there. It is still a Food Lion after all, it is just so nice to have a decent store, other than Ukrops which I hate, near me.) While in this happy state, perusing the Indian section, I put two things in my cart. The first, I might have considered before, it was a “Kitchens of India” paste for butter chicken curry. The other was “MTR” Palak Paneer. It was a ready to eat package. I know! I would have never done this if not intoxicated by my new choices! (can you tell we are woefully in need of a really good store hear on the city’s south side?)

I made both last night, more as a precaution hoping at least one would be good. Let me tell you, Palak Paneer is one of my favorites and a must order for every Indian outing Joel and I have. Butter chicken curry I have never had, so I didn’t have any point of reference. I augmented the butter chicken. The package calls for you to melt 3 tbs of butter and add a pound of chicken, season packages and a cup of water and cook for 20 minutes. I wanted more than sauce and meat. I added onions and carrots (I know not a big deal, but made me feel less like a total carnivore). I have to tell you, it was outstanding. It had a great heat level that built, it was rich (butter will do that though!!) it was wonderful, easy and CHEAP. The seasoning was $1.60 or there about, a pound of chicken, some rice and viola a great meal for two in under thirty minutes for about $5. Can you beat it? Really? Next time I would add potatoes, I thought that would be a really good addition. Leave it to me to make the simple more complicated!
Now on to the Palak Paneer. I have a mixed review on this. It was good. It was. It was NO WHERE near as good as what you would get in a restaurant. Nowhere close. That said, it was good. The spinach was thin and saucy not thick like I am used to. The cheese was good. I suspect that an Indian would look at this like an Italian looks at Chef Boyardee. That said, I would get it again. Honestly, some days you just don’t want to cook. This was about $2.75, throw it over some rice and again, viola a meal for two. Like I said, we made both last night. My husband had one and a half helpings and we still have enough left over for a really nice lunch. So for under $10 bucks and under 30 minutes I get two meals that maybe aren’t as good as the restaurant but are a heck of a lot better than a hot pocket.

Try it out and enjoy!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pork With Apple Stuffing

It is sad, my aunts and uncles and cousins are all having a pig roast this weekend in Indiana. I couldn’t go. So I am missing all the food and all the fun. So I decided in honor of them, I would do a little pig myself. Not exactly a pig roast, but hey… it is just two of us after all.

3 lb pork tenderloin
Filet Pork tenderloin (you slice horizontally, essentially making a V on it’s side so that instead of one big round piece of meat you have a wide flat piece you can stuff and roll). Salt and pepper heavily.

1 tbs olive oil
2 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
3 small apples chopped (I used Macintosh You need a good tart cooking apple)
2 cups chicken stalk
5 pieces bread
2 tbs fresh sage
1 c. raisins
Salt pepper
1 egg
Heat oil and sauté onion and celery. Cook on medium for about 3 minutes. Add apples. Cook on medium for 5 minutes. Add chicken stalk, sage and raisins. Bring to simmer and let simmer 3 minutes. Add bread breaking apart before adding. I used whole wheat because I like the nutty flavor, but use what you want. Season to taste before adding egg. Cook until liquid is absorbed by bread. Should be mushy but not wet. If need to add more bread a little at a time. Remove from stovetop, add egg.
You will only need about ½-¾ of the stuffing. Put a generous amount along the center of the meat. You want a good amount of stuffing but need to still be able to bring the meant up around and secure. You can secure with toothpicks or string.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. While baking make glaze.

Finely chop one apple (I used Macintosh You need a good tart cooking apple)
1 cup sherry
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
Add all ingredients to skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium low until apples are soft and liquid reduced by half. Let cool, put in food processor and process until smooth.
After roast has cooked for 35 minutes turn up the heat to 400. Pour glaze over top of roast and cook uncovered for 10 more minutes. Pull out and let stand for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Green Tomato Pasta

Tis that time of year again. Green tomato season! So here is another attempt at using up those green tomatoes. Not bad!
1/2 lb pasta
5 medium green tomatoes chopped
1 small onion diced
¼ lb chopped pancetta (you can get this at Trader Joes!!)
1 c. marinated artichoke heats
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper

Sauté tomatoes, onions and pancetta in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile boil the pasta. When pasta is almost done, take one ladle full of the water and add it to sauce. Add artichokes and seasoning. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickened a bit. Add lemons zest and cook one more minute. Drain pasta, toss immediately and serve.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf

This recipe is a bit of a break from my normal approach. I tried to task myself with coming up with a meatloaf that I felt was appropriate to serve at a nice dinner party. I don’t know if I accomplished it, it still is a meatloaf after all… but I did dress the girl up a bit. It is also a bit more complicated (okay not complicated, again it is just a meatloaf, but rather more involved) than my average fair. I do have to say I think it came out pretty good.
Meat mixture
2 eggs
2 TBS tarragon (Okay, I used tarragon but I really wanted to use marjoram but I was out of it.)
1 tsp of Fines Herbs (omit if you don’t have)
1 TBS salt
1TBS minced garlic
½ tsp Pepper
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
8 slices of bread that have been soaked in milk (about ¼ c milk)
Mix together and set aside
Mushroom Mixture
2 packages of mixed mushrooms (or portabella or whatever you like. ) shopped
4 shallots chopped
4 TBS butter
2 TBS Olive Oil
6 oz (two shot glasses worth) of dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter and add oil. Sautee shallots for 3 minutes add chopped mushrooms, sherry, and salt and pepper and sauté for another 3 minutes. Set aside
This is very much like a Marsala sauce and would have been if I had marsala so feel free to substitute.
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 C beef stock
2 c. dry sherry
Pinch of tarragon
2 TBS cream
Melt butter and add flour to form paste. Slowly add stock while whisking. Add sherry one cup at a time. Add tarragon and cook on high heat until sauce has thickened some. Add cream. Set aside.

In a large baking dish line bottom with ½ of the meat mixture. Bring the meat up the sides of the pan (you are essentially making a stuffed meatloaf ) forming a shallow cup of sorts. Put the mushroom mixture in the center and spread 1/3 of the sauce on top. Cover with remaining meat. Cover meat with 1/3 of sauce and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Heat the remaining sauce right before serving. Once you have the slice of meatloaf on the plate, over each serving spoon a little more sauce…enjoy.
If you don’t love mushrooms try making a bread stuffing with apples or pears, I think that would be really good as well.