Category Archives: Pork

Back to School Make Ahead Dinners: 5 to Keep You Alive

With the school year starting back up, so many of us will soon be thrown into that business of the after-school hustle. So who can’t use a few easy tricks to getting meals on the table a little faster. Some weeks I am a pre-chopper and other times I am a pre-cooker. All of these meals are meals that you can make on the weekend, or whenever you have time, and then they reheat well when it’s time serve them. The other great thing about these dishes is that because the stand up to re-heating you can easily pack them for lunch, or bring to a pot luck. I hope you enjoy these.

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Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Goat Cheese Enchiladas are a sophisticated Mexican meal that are definitely suitable for entertaining. A delicious combination of goat cheese and green chiles give this traditional comfort food a little glam power.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Cobb Hand Pies

Chicken Cobb Hand Pies are my favorite salad tucked inside a pastry crust. Who wouldn’t love that? I love a good sandwich with a side salad, and this pocket sammy is amped up because it’s stuffed inside of dough!

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Peppers
Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Chicken Stuffed Peppers are a healthier version of the traditional pork and beef stuffed favorite, but just as tender and moist. These reheat really well, so make a batch or two and send them for lunch too.

 

 

 

 

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Veggie filled Chili

Chili what more do I need to say? OK, a little more would be good. This is a fabulous veggie chili that holds its own filled with spices that with keep your mouth begging for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Meatballs
Traditional Meatballs

Traditional Meatballs are one of my tests of a good Italian restaurant. I am super picky to say the least about meatballs, as most Italians are. These are a classic recipe with my favorite homemade marinara to boot!

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Make Ahead Meal: Pesto Chicken. Sorry no photo for this one, but it’s super simple! Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread 1/2 cup of pesto on the bottom of the pan. Top with 2 cups of pre-cooked chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. Spread the chicken with another 1/2 cup of pesto and top with 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese shredded (I used white cheddar). Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly and hot all the way through. Serve this over pasta or brown rice.

Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. I mean really, what’s not to love, the fruits and veggies are wonderfully vibrant and flavorful, the weather is awesome and I don’t have to rush out of the house everyday to work. But, I also look forward to the cooler temps of the fall when it’s socially acceptable to fill my plate with a pile of carbs and gobble it all up.

This sauce is a speedy sauce that you can whip up in a matter of minutes to put a quick dinner of pasta on the table, and it’s delicious. Thanks, Jamie Oliver! Continue reading Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Bacon and Carmelized Onion Pinwheels

In my former life when I held dinner parties for adults, rather than kids, I used to pull out every stop to make an impression with some star ingredients. And I think I kind of do the same thing now, but with a more realistic working-mom approach. With that idea I still love to include food that caters to adults, but with flavors that kids will enjoy too. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve come to realize that a few shortcuts that help to make it seem like I’ve fussed a lot, is certainly worth it.

So one of my favorite shortcuts that makes everything fancier is puff pastry dough. You can easily throw anything in there, and it tastes like you’ve slaved for hours because of the buttery richness of the dough. So, this classic pinwheel appetizer marries some wonderful flavors that certainly impress and at the same time is pretty easy to throw together with a kid or two underfoot. I guess I will need post some of my other favorites with puff pastry, like empanadas and custard pies.

Shopping List:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

1 onion, carmelized (see instructions below)

1 cup crumbled cooked center cut bacon (see this post for a simple technique)

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

4 Tablespoons deli mustard

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk together the egg and water, then set it aside to use later.

3. Lay out the puff pastry sheets on a floured surface to prevent sticking.

4. Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard on each sheet. You want to try and leave a 1/2 inch border on one of the short ends, but otherwise paint a thick layer of this good stuff.

5. Divide the carmelized onion in half and evenly distribute it on top of the mustard.

6. Again, divide the bacon in half and chuck it on top of the onions.

7. Now here’s the tricky part, start rolling it all up from the short end of the pastry. Try and make it as tight as possible, so pull and stretch if you need.

8. Using a serrated knife cut each roll into 1/2 slices. Try to use a gentle sawing motion, so as not to rip the dough. I ended up cutting about 15 slices in each of mine.

9. Place them cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. The brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the parmesan on top.

10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top. I ended up baking both sheets at the same time, to save a bit of time, but if you do the same, just make sure to rotate your trays half way through so that the bottom tray gets some sun too. Also, it allows for even baking. Enjoy!

CARMELIZED ONIONS: a lovely base to many a good dish.

In a large saute pan on high heat pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil for a minute so that the oil is hot. Meanwhiile slice your onion. Slice them however thick you like, but know that the thinner you slice the faster they carmelize. Once the oil is hot, add your sliced onion, and coat it in the oil. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the onions become translucent. At this point you can turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it cook away–ignoring it slightly.  You do want to make sure you stir them, so they brown evenly though. It will take about 30-45 minutes for them to get really sticky, so if you’re short on time, do a big batch to use all week and they will definitely freeze well in a freezer safe bag. Having these on hand certainly comes in handy when at the dinner crunch. You can slap them on a burger or sandwich for sure, or you can plop them on some chicken for French Onion Chicken or use them as the starter to a French Onion Soup or slide them inside a tortilla for an inspired take on a quesadilla. The possiblities are endless.

Simple Technique: Bacon in the Microwave

A long time ago (Oh gosh, maybe 20 years ago now) I learned somewhere how to cook bacon in the microwave, and that began my steady decline into a love affair with bacon. Whether it was bacon wrapped shrimp, a BLT or simply a side nestled next to my eggs in the morning, bacon was my temptation.

Then more than a decade passes, and I have a picky eater who refuses to eat hot dogs, but scarfs down bacon at any given moment.

That’s when I knew I had to bring this technique to it’s full potential. Yes, it was a dangerous food to be playing with for a toddler, but I went head first into a diet of daily bacon for the little guy. Eating bacon every day is not good, but I was pushed to my limits. Well, that lasted a few months when I realized he might go into overload, so we took a break from it. But now we’re back in action and adding bacon to other parts of a meal.

Although this blog is all about expirmenting with flavors for the whole family, I think you’ve got to start with what’s familiar first.  So by adding a little bit here and there, I’ve been able to get my kiddo to try new things. And that was the goal. But in all honesty, who can argue with the crispy decadence that comes with a meal sprinkled with the smoky, saltiness of this meat.

Shopping List and Tools:

1 package of REAL center cut bacon

paper towels

microwave-safe plate

microwave

A Simple Technique for cooking bacon fast.

1.  Simply place the bacon on a layer of paper towels on top of a microwave-safe plate. Leave a little space between each slice.

2. Cover the layer of bacon with one paper towel.

3. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Depending the thickness and/or type of bacon, you might need to cook it for an additional minute. With this technique all of the fat soaks into the paper towels, so if you like your bacon more chewy rather than crispy then err on the shorter time frame.

Much less mess to clean up!

If you like bacon like I do, check out these other posts that include it.

Egg Salad-Club style

Club Hot Pocket

Stuffed Potato Chowder

Bacon and Apple Stuffing

Brussel Sprout Salad

For a super-cute Father’s Day idea with bacon, check out Our Best Bites’ Bacon Bouquet.

© Suzanne Brown and The Family Style Chef, 2011-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Suzanne Brown and The Family Style Chef with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Shrimp and Bacon Fried Rice

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe. Honestly, between work and play it’s been hard to get inspired in the kitchen. But what better way to get out of a rut than just man up and force myself to do it, right?  It’s time for a little change in my family’s dinner repertoire.

I don’t want it to seem like I am normally trying new recipes with my family all of the time, but I do try to mix it up a bit and introduce something new once a week, but in the recent past my inspiration was zapped.

For a while there it seemed that every recipe I tried went up in flames…literally. That happened a few times when I was working with the barbecue. I mean what cook wouldn’t become despondent over multiple meals being tossed in the trash. Thank goodness for takeout and frozen meals. But part of my mantra has been to get rid of those premade meals and eat out of the box. So it here it is… time for change and a chance to experiment with flavor. So with this recipe I am trying to add more veggies to our diet and vary our proteins by experimenting with shrimp.

Shopping List:

1/2 orange juice

1 tablespoon crushed garlic, about 5 cloves

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp .  crushed red pepper

5 slices of bacon

1 lb. peeled deveined raw shrimp, 21-36 count size is preferred

1 cup carrots roughly chopped

2 cups of cooked rice

1 bunch brocollini, tops only

5 slices of bacon chopped

Instructions:

1. While the rice cooks (about 15 minutes), marinate the raw shrimp in the orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, honey and red pepper.

2. In a large saute pan on medium-high heat cook the bacon until crispy. Do not drain the fat when it is finished cooking, this imparts wonderful flavor to the rice.

3. Add the cooked rice to the pan and coat it with the bacon drippings. Then add the carrots and brocollini and stir fry 5-7 minutes, until the carrots are cooked to desired tenderness. I prefer them crunchy, so I would only cook them about 5 minutes. That is about how long it will take to cook the brocollini too.

4. Add raw shrimp to pan and cover the pan to steam for 3-5 minutes. Shrimp should be opaque and pink throughout when cooked.

Serves: 3-4 people