Slow Cooked Hoisin Pork

I love my slow cooker, but for some reason I don’t give it much use. This doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, because given the fact that I am considerably busy with school and work and just life in general, the slow cooker would make sure that I had dinner at a reasonable hour without having to rush home from working and going to school to make sure I have time to eat before running to my night class again.

Whenever I use the slow cooker I get the same thoughts, but just as fast as I think it the slow cooker makes its way to the back of the closet where it sleeps until I beckon it again.

This dinner was absolutely delicious. I had this chunk of pork that I had cut into two pieces. Unfortunately the first chunk just turned into a huge fail with another dish I made a few nights before.

Using the slow cooker was definitely the way to make sure this pork was cooked to perfection!

I am only going to share the pork recipe in this post. I served it with white rice and a peanut cabbage slaw. The slaw wasn’t something I’d make again, so it’s not worth sharing.

Slow Cooked Hoisin Pork

Ingredients
3 lbs pork, trimmed of thick fat
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 piece of ginger about 2 1/2 inches long, peeled and grated
about 7 1/2 oz hoisin sauce

Directions

 1. Rub the trimmed pork with salt and pepper. Put it in the slow cooker. Add the garlic, tucking the cloves around the pork. Put the grated ginger in the slow cooker. Pour the hoisin sauce over everything. Cook on low for 10 hours.

2. When the 10 hours has passed, with two forks shred the pork and make sure to mix the sauce around.

* serves about 6 – this kind of depends on what sized servings you get
* no calories calculations on this one due to my uncertainty regarding amount of servings

Swedish Cardamom Meatballs over Orange Mashed Potatoes

After having made Swedish meatballs several weeks ago, when I happened upon this other Swedish meatball variation, I was all over it. While I’ve seen Swedish meatballs served over noodles or by themselves, I decided I wanted to serve them over my favorite mashed potatoes ever. Matt also loves these mashed potatoes which is surprising because he’s usually such a traditionalist with food. These orange mashed potatoes are sweeter than your average mashed potato with a hint of surprise.

The cardamom and the orange paired beautifully together.
It was a meal I wish I had more of.

Swedish Cardamom Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 egg
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup Brummel&Brown, divided
  • 6 cups sliced yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons dry gravy maker mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl soak the breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes. Mix in the meat, eggs, and chopped onion. Season with cardamom, salt, and pepper to taste.  Roll into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.

2. Saute the meatballs in 1/4 cup Brummel&Brown for about 20 minutes.

3. In a separate skillet saute the sliced onions with 1/4 cup Brummel&Brown and sugar, until caramelized about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Remove the meatballs and onions from both pans and set on separate plates and set aside. Deglaze both pans with the remaining 1/2 cup of Brummel&Brown and beef broth. Cook over high for one minute and then combine the contents of both the pans into one.

5. Stir in the cream and caramelized onions into the pan. Season with gravy seasoning, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a simmer. Mix the water and the cornstarch together and then stir into the sauce. Add meatballs and simmer approximately 20-30 minutes.

* serves 12
* A LOT of calories per serving 😉

Sausage Broccoli Noodles

Sausage Broccoli Noodles

Ingredients
4 oz uncooked pasta
2 links of sausage, I used a spicy chicken sausage
2 1/2 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp Brummel&Brown, yogurt spread or other butter substitute
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup broccoli
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Cook the broccoli in another boiling pot of water. Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute the sausage and mushrooms in the butter substitute, until the mushrooms are brown and tender. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.

2. Combine the cornstarch and milk until smooth; gradually add to the skillet with the mushrooms and garlic. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, until thickened. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the sausage mixture. Stir in cheese and cook until melted.

* 518 calories per serving
* serves 2

Pizza Margherita

I meal plan for 6 out of the 7 days a week. This means that on Sunday rather than buying ingredients to make a meal, I use whatever is leftover in the house to make my meals. This reduces how much I end up throwing away due to things going bad.

Last weekend I went through the fridge and noticed among other stuff:

1. An excess of cherry tomatoes
2. A Boboli pizza crust
3. Mozzarella cheese
4. Fresh basil leaves

I used the website supercook to show me recipes I had the ingredients for and I found this pizza margherita recipe.

I decided to use my premade crust and my cherry tomatoes to make this recipe. It came out so delicious. I’ve never made a pizza without putting sauce on it before and I have to say, it didn’t need it a bit!

You could of course make your own crust. It doesn’t take a whole lot more effort.

Pizza Margherita

Ingredients
1 Boboli pizza crust
20-30 cherry tomatoes, cut into small slices
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves

Directions

1. Heat oven to 475.

2. Arrange the tomatoes on the top of your pizza crust, overlapping them slightly. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake the pizza for 10 minutes. Remove and top with cheese and basil. Return to oven for 5-10 more minutes, until as crisp as desired.

 * one pizza serves 4
* roughly 387 calories per serving

Easy Creamy Sour Cream Chicken Casserole and Spicy Brussels Sprouts

Though it was just the small side of this meal, this post is about how much I typically I hate Brussels Sprouts. When I was growing up my mom had a policy that basically, I couldn’t say I didn’t like something until I’d tried it. This resulted in me taking a lot of tiny bites of food thinking I was going to hate it, and then gagging like I had eaten the most disgusting thing in the world.

As I grew up and began to cook for myself, this pickiness decreased actually much thanks to my mom. I still kept the notion that I couldn’t say I didn’t like something if I had never tried it. For me this also turned into trying foods that I was certain I despised (like spinach) and trying them in a way prepared differently than I’ve had before.

Brussels sprouts and I have been having a go with it. Every time I make them, I still hate them. But I knew there had to be a way I would enjoy the sprouts. There just had to be.

Now, I will say Brussels sprouts are by far not my favorite food in the world, but I have found one way that covers up the taste of them enough to make me enjoy the dish.

Spicy Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
1 lb Brussels sprouts
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

 1. Place the Brussels sprouts in a pot and fill with water. Boil for 30 minutes or until the sprouts are to your desired crispness.  Remove and drain.

2. Season with garlic, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. Add the green onions, mustard, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated.

* 62 calories per serving
* serves 4

Easy Creamy Sour Cream Chicken

Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 lb
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
25 reduced-fat Ritz crackers
1/2 cup Brummel&Brown yogurt spread, melted (or other butter substitute)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Boil the chicken in a pot of water until it is cooked all the way through. Let cool and then cut into cubes.

3. Spread the chicken cubes over the bottom of a baking dish.

4. Mix sour cream and cream of mushroom soup in a bowl. Spread the mixture over the chicken.

5. Crush the Ritz and cover the dish with the crushed crackers.

6. Pour the melted Brummel&Brown over the dish.

7. Bake for 30 minutes, until brown on the top.

* 483 calories per serving
* serves 4

Wrapped Tilapia and Warm Sweet Potato Salad

This fish recipe was originally intended to be made with salmon. Salmon however is not my favorite of fishes. I find the flavor too powerful for my palette. I do like fish though, but I prefer the white fishes. Tilapia is one such fish that suits what I like in terms of fish. This recipe was shared with me by emilytgs24 at the recipe swap I participate in on myfitnesspal.

It was easy. I made it on a Monday night, my busiest day of the week where I’m running between class, work, and then class again. I barely have time to eat on Mondays, but this dish not only was done before I needed to run out the door, it also tasted like more time was spent on it than actually was.

With the dish I served a warm sweet potato salad. Sweet potato is my absolute favorite food (along with spinach). The fish and the sweet potato paired together perfectly and made a great dinner.

Wrapped Tilapia

Ingredients

4 tilapia fillets
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper

Directions

 1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Cut the fillets in half, lengthwise.

3. Mix the mustard and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Set aside.

4. Take 2 sheets of phyllo dough and put one on top of the other. Place both the halves from one fillet on the dough, close to one edge. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 of the mustard mixture on the fish and then roll in the phyllo dough, making sure all the corners are tucked in.

5. Place on a cookie sheet and spray the phyllo with Pam. Bake for 20 minutes.

* serves 4
* 182 calories per serving

Warm Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients
1 1/2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 slice bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1/4 red onion, finely chopped

Directions

 1. Place the sweet potato and russet potato in a pot. Fill the pot with water until the potatoes are all covered. Put over high heat and boil for 20 minutes. Cook until they are tender. Drain the potatoes.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, Balsamic, turmeric, green onion, bacon, and red onion. Stir the sweet potatoes and potatoes into this mixture, making sure to coat well.

* serves 3
* 190 calories per serving

Pastitsio

I love pasta because it has the capability of turning into so many different types of dishes. From spaghetti and meatballs, to macaroni and cheese, to lasagna, pasta dishes are so transformable. Pasta can also make an easy meal for the quick nights. But it can also provide a fancy meal. Or a warm meal on a cold night. Or a cold pasta salad for a picnic in the summer. What other food is there that is so transformable?

I used my pasta this time in a pastitsio. According to my google scoping, patitsio is a Greek noodle dish. It is created through the combination of noodles, a red sauce, and a bechamel sauce. Cinnamon is also incorporated into this dish which gives it a sweeter flavor than other meat-pasta dishes. This is actually one of my go-to recipes because of the cinnamon giving this pasta dish a different taste than usual.

Yum!

Patitsio

INGREDIENTS: 

1/2 lb noodles, cooked
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp beef broth
2 tbsp white wine
1/2 can tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp Brummel&Brown yogurt spread
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can petite diced tomatoes

DIRECTIONS: 

1. Preheat the oven to 375. In a large saucepan cook the meat for 6-8 minutes, until no longer pink. Add the onions and garlic, stirring until translucent.

2. Add the broth and wine, and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated.

3. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes, cinnamon, and 1 cup of water. Stir and cook until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. While this is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the Brummel&Brown over medium heat; whisk in flour until incorporated. Whisk in the milk until there are no lumps.

5. Cook, whisking often, until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the cayenne and Parmesan.

6. Add the pasta to the ground beef. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with the cheese sauce. Bake for 35 minutes.

* serves 6
* 436 calories per serving
* This post is being entered to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by briciole.

Chicken Biryani

If I could eat a particular cuisine of food forever, I would pick Indian in a heartbeat. Almost every time I see an Indian recipe I save it and try to make it later. I went to India several years ago and I can’t do the food justice. But I keep trying and trying.

But I know I’m never going to get it right because the ingredients here are just lacking. The flavors aren’t the same. I can’t get the same level of spiciness or the same flavor of spiciness.

Even the Indian restaurants around here just don’t have it right. There is one place I’ve been to in Sacramento that was better than most, but it’s still just not the same. I guess eating with utensils makes it not the same too, because eating the curries using only curry and your fingers is quite an experience itself. I don’t know how that’d go over though if I tried to eat like that in public.

Chicken Biryani

Ingredients
2 tsp canola oil
1 lb chicken breast
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
1/3 cup raisins
14 oz chicken broth

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; saute 3 minutes. Add onion and jalapeno; saute 3 minutes.

2. Add ginger, garam masala, cumin, salt, and garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add tomato, rice, raisins, and broth, bringing to a boil.

3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, until rice is tender.

* serves 4
* 435 calories per serving

 

Burrito Bake

Despite not having children, I sometimes really enjoy the comfort food that kids enjoy. Things like mac and cheese and spaghetti and meatballs remind me of being a kid. Sometimes though it’s those comforting dishes that I crave. Casseroles are another category of food I would consider in those childhood comforts.

In the Recipe Swap group on MFP Thirstygirl shared one of her family favorites, something I wish I had in my childhood and something that I’m going to continue making into my future. Not only was this dish incredibly easy to make, it really was just.. good. I loved the Bisquick crust, I loved the flavors, and it just made me feel so full.

Burrito Bake

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup water
1 can refried beans
1/2 pack taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cotija cheese

Directions

1. In a skillet brown the beef. Add the taco seasoning according to the directions on the packet. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl mix the Bisquick, water, and the refried beans. Spread in the bottom of a greased pie pan.

3. On top of the beans, cover with the beef. Pour the salsa over the top and then top with cheese.

4. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

* serves 6
* 394 calories per serving
* shared by Thirstygirl on MFP

Lentil Chicken Soup and Spinach Pinwheels

I’ve written about this before, but I’ll mention it again since it’s relevant right now because of the dish I’m posting. I’ve lost about 50 pounds since August of 2010. This has all been thanks to the website myfitnesspal. Besides the wonderful calorie database, it also has a great community of other individuals also losing weight. I’m part of a group over there called RECIPE SWAP. Each week two members of the group share a recipe for everyone else to cook.

Last week nattiec21 shared this recipe with the group. It definitely pushed me outside of my “normal” ingredients. I have never cooked with kale before and really, I’m not even sure if I’d ever eaten it before. Also, I had an unopened package of lentils in my cabinet, but I had never used them before. The nice thing about the group is I get stuck on the same flavors sometimes, the same ingredients, and the same dishes. This allows me try things I just wouldn’t otherwise.

I made this dish with those cute spinach pinwheels in the picture. They worked similar to croutons and were very delicious. Overall, I’d rank this dish high on the recipe chain and I would make it again.

Lentil Chicken Soup

Ingredients
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tbsp fresh basil
2 cups coarsely chopped kale
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup dry brown lentils

Directions

1. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Preheat the pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the heated saucepan. Cook and cover for 5-7 minutes, allowing the vegetables to begin to tenderize, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the kale and the dried lentils. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and cover for 30 minutes.

3. Stir in the chicken, tomato, and basil. Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

* serves 3
* 228 calories per serving
* shared to be by nattiec21

Spinach Pinwheels

Ingredients
1 8-oz package refrigerated reduced fat crescent rolls
2 wedges Laughing Cow creamy Swiss cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
several handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped (I didn’t measure this)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Split the crescent dough in half along the center to form a rectangle. Press the perforated edges of the dough together with your fingers.

3. Spread each rectangle with one block of the creamy Swiss cheese. Sprinkle with garlic powder and spinach.

4. Starting on the long side of the dough, roll together as if you were rolling a cinnamon rolls. Cut into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Continue until you have used up all of the crescent roll dough.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

* makes 10 servings
* 3 pinwheels per serving
* 165 calories per serving