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Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Ribs

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Yet another recipe I found on Facebook courtesy of Tasty on Buzzfeed! I changed it up a little bit and they came out amazing! And yes, they browned IN THE SLOW COOKER!  Wow, talk about falling off the bones. I will definitely be making these again! The original recipe called for 1 rack of ribs, I had 2 so I doubled the recipe. Took a little clever maneuvering of the ribs but they came out just beautiful.  The recipe will be for 1 rack but definitely double it up to two.

The smell in my kitchen all day was heavenly. I also used a mix of honey and agave. I didn’t have enough honey in the house so I improvised. I think if I had used all honey they may have been a little sweeter but these came out just fine. Use all honey if you want or all agave or both. Sticky, messy, tender, melt in your mouth pork. They are a little bit like chinese spare ribs but better, way more meat for sure. I used St. Louis style ribs but I am sure you can use any type. I like the St. Louis because they are meatier. Make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand! Leftovers will be divine!

Tip: Use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup! Trust me!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (2 ½-3 lb) rack of pork ribs, halved
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup agave
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine in a small bowl the salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Season the ribs evenly by rubbing all over and on the sides.
  2. Add the honey/agave, soy sauce and garlic to a large slow cooker. (I used a 5 qt)
  3. Carefully place the ribs into the cooker and turn them over into the sauce until they are coated. Then place the ribs standing up (yes I said standing up, this confused me at first too), with the meatier side down so that the meat side is against the walls of the slow cooker. Bones should be facing in. (Since I used two racks I had 4 pieces and I just overlapped them a little making sure most of the meat part was against the wall) You can also now pour sauce all over them making sure all gets covered.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours. (I checked them at 7 hours and turned them over, still keeping the meat to the wall)
  5. Check to make sure also that the meat is cooked through and tender when time is up.
  6. Carefully remove the ribs to a cutting board and cut apart. They will most like fall off the bone. 
  7. Serve with additional sauce from the slow cooker if you desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hearty Pork Soup

Hello all! I am back! It’s been awhile and I have so many recipes I need to get posted! I have no excuse really. I’m out of work again and should have no problem posting more often. But as we all know the plans we have in our heads don’t always mesh with reality. But here we go with a new recipe. I adapted it from a recipe on the Betty Crocker site. If you want the original check out Southwestern Pork Soup.

This soup came about because about a month or so ago I had bought this really inexpensive Boston Pork Butt Roast. It was a pretty big roast to begin with, I think 5 or 6 pounds. And with only two people in my house we had lots of leftovers. (I will post the recipe for that in the near future also) We ate the pork a couple of times the same week, then I decided to freeze the rest before it was lost forever. I think we got about 5 or 6 uses out of it! Well this week I decided I wanted to use up the rest of what I had in the freezer so I searched for any recipe with leftover pork. I would say 90% of the recipes I found were some kind of pulled pork. Not a fan. So I kept looking till I found the soup recipe. And voilà! I created my own version of a delicious hearty soup! I put kale in this soup also. That is another story! Let’s just say trying to make ‘kale chips’ didn’t work out so well and when you put leftover chips in a container, they don’t stay so crisp. So I just chopped them up and added to the soup. I was originally going to add spinach but the kale was there! It was perfect for the soup!

This recipe originally said it made 5 servings. My husband and I have had it twice this week so far, yes it’s only Tuesday! We had it as a meal for dinner and each had two bowls the first night. Second night we weren’t as hungry so only had one bowl each. There is at least another two bowls left! Yummmm…. It thickens up a little the second time around so if you like a little thinner soup, add more broth or water!

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound or so, of pork leftovers, cubed into bite size pieces

4 medium green onions, sliced

1 small jalapeño chili, seeded and finely chopped (I used the jar jalapeño)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¼ cup chopped red onion

4-6 cups reduced sodium, fat-free chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth too if you wish)

1 can (15-16 oz.) white beans (cannellini or great northern)

1 can (15-16 oz.) black beans

1 cup cooked brown rice

3-4 leaves of basil chopped/sliced

1 cup dried kale (you can use it fresh also)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon dried cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a 3 quart nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the pork and cook for 3-5 minutes until it starts getting a little browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the onions, chili and garlic and stir well. Cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to become translucent.
  3. Add about 4 cups of the broth, beans, and kale. (I added another cup or so of the broth after I added other ingredients as it needed more liquid. It’s your choice) Heat to boiling and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or so.
  4. Add the rice, basil, thyme and cilantro. Stir well and heat through. 

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Veal Scaloppine

The next time you see veal cutlets on sale buy some and try this recipe. You can also make this recipe using pork cutlets which are much cheaper or if you are weird about eating veal. My husband loves veal and is always upset when we eat at an Italian restaurant and they don’t offer it! The nerve! I guess you can also make this with chicken cutlets as well but veal or pork is best. This is a very simple recipe and isn’t loaded with fat. A taste treat for everyone! It is sort of like a veal Marsala really but you can call it whatever you want as long as you make it!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound veal or pork cutlets

flour

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

pepper to taste

½ cup sherry or dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

8-12 mushrooms, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

1. If veal or pork is thick slice in half, carefully and place pieces between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Pound thin with a mallet or meat pounder to about ¼ inch. If you can get the cutlets that thin to begin with even better! Cover lightly with the flour.

2. Add oil to a large skillet and sauté the veal and garlic for 3-4 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with pepper. Add the sherry or wine, parsley and mushrooms. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Serve with any side you want. Potatoes, rice, pasta, broccoli, or any vegetable.

Serves 4

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The Italian Kitchen (Part 2)

Today’s  post on The Italian Kitchen is going to be a glossary of some basic Italian kitchen ingredients. Most of them will be familiar to everyone but this will give a little information about each of them.

Arborio Rice: Risotto is usually made with this Italian rice, though other rice can be used. Risotto is Arborio rice that is browned first in margarine, butter, or oil, then cooked in broth. The finished rice has a creamy consistency and a tender, but slightly firm, texture.

Artichokes: You should look for firm, compact globes that are heavy for their size. They should yield slightly to pressure and have large, tightly closed leaves. Sometimes you’ll see leaf edges that are darkened. This is because the plant got too cold but it does not affect the quality. To store, keep fresh artichokes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. To prepare an artichoke, cut off the bottom stem so it sits flat. Cut off about 1 inch from the top. Remove loose outer leaves. With a pair of kitchen shears, snip ½ inch from tips of leaves. Brush cut surfaces with lemon juice to prevent browning.

Balsamic Vinegar: This sweet, dark brown vinegar is made from the boiled-down juice of a white grape. According to Italian law, balsamic vinegar labeled as “aceto balsamico tradizionale” cannot contain any wine vinegar and must be aged at least 12 years. These vinegars can sell from $40-$350 per 4 ounces!! Less expensive balsamics blend wine vinegar with the grape juice. This is what most of us buy at the supermarket. If you can afford the expensive stuff go ahead and splurge.

Basil: My favorite Italian herb by a long shot! Love how this smells! The aroma and flavor of this herb range from peppery and robust to sweet and spicy. It’s leaves can be various shades of green or purple. The leaves can be used in dried or fresh form. The fresh form is amazing but always keep the dried on hand!

Garlic: The ultimate Italian ingredient! As I’ve said before, you can never have too much garlic! The plant  of this strong-scented, pungent bulb is related to the onion. Besides fresh garlic bulbs, you can also use dried. Some people use jarred minced garlic. I don’t recommend this. Garlic comes in the form of garlic powder, garlic salt, and garlic paste. Leave the bulbs whole, once you separate them they tend to dry out. Garlic should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place and used within 6 months. I planted garlic cloves once and they really grew! Pretty cool!

Italian Parsley: Italian parsley has flat, dark leaves and a milder flavor than the more familiar curly leaf parsley.

Mushrooms: Porcini– the most prized wild mushrooms in Italy, have large, meaty, slightly rounded caps that may be white or reddish-brown. The stems are fleshy and wider at the bottom. Another mushroom in Italy is the Crimini/Portobello (Italian brown or Roman), which has the same shape as a regular button mushroom but is light tan to dark brown with a deeper, earthier flavor. When the mushrooms are small they are Crimini. Once the Crimini is fully matured it is a Portobello. To clean, brush mushrooms with a soft brush or damp paper towel. Store them in a paper bag until ready to use. Serve within a couple of days. If you can’t find the fresh version of what you want, look for the dried form. You can add fresh or rehydrated mushrooms to soups, sauces, salads, appetizers, pasta dishes, and entrees.

Olive Oil: No Italian kitchen is complete without a bottle of olive oil. I remember my mother always had one of those gallon type cans in the kitchen when we were growing up. Too expensive now to buy that huge can! The quality of olive oil is classified by the level of acidity, taste, and aroma. Olive oils higher in acidity can be rectified or treated with chemicals to lower the acidity, but are called refined, not virgin.  Olive oil has the same amount of calories that other oils contain–120 calories per tablespoon. But olive oil is highly unsaturated and has been suggested as a healthier alternative to more saturated fat or oils. Additionally, olive oil is a highly flavored oil, so you can use much less than oils with lighter flavors.

Types of Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is the best grade of olive oil; it meets Italy’s highest standards for rich and fruity olive taste with very lowe acidity (less than 1%)

Virgin olive oil has an acidity between 1 and 3 percent and a lighter taste and aroma. It is considered to be slightly inferior in quality to extra-virgin olive oil.

Pure olive oil is filtered twice after a single cold-pressing to lighten the oil’s color and aroma and lessen the acidity. It has a delicate flavor and a low acidity.

Cold-pressed olive oil is obtained by pressing the fruit. No heat or solvents are used, therefore it is called “cold-pressed.”

Extra-light olive oil refers only to the oil’s flavor, not to the calories it contains compared to the other olive oils.

Olives: Italians prefer to use ripe olives rather than the unripe green variety. Although ripe olives in America are usually black, the color of Italian ripe olives can vary from purplish red and brown to jet-black. They are packed in oil or brine, which may be flavored with herbs or citrus pee. Taste olives before serving. If they’re too salty, rinse them under cold running water. They can become bitter if overcooked, so allow them just enough time to heat through when adding to a cooked dish.

Pancetta (pan-CHEH-tuh): Pancetta is the Italian version of bacon. It’s made from the belly or pancia of a hog. Pancetta has deep pink stripes of flesh similar to bacon. Pancetta is seasoned with pepper and other spices, and is cured with salt, but it’s not smoked. It comes in a sausage-like roll or flat and is used to flavor sauces, vegetables, or meats.

Pesto (PES-toh): I love pesto. It’s so easy to make yourself too. Much better than those jarred ones in the store. It’s a pasty sauce of olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese. It is usually served with pasta.

Pignoli Nuts (Pine Nuts): This is a unique and tasty little “nut”. They can be really expensive too but I’ve found it at a few places that won’t break the bank. The pignoli is a small seed from one of the several pine tree varieties. The pine nut, which has a sweet, faint pine flavor, is commonly known as pignoli or pinon. The small, creamy white nut can be slender and pellet-shaped or more triangular. Pine nuts turn rancid quickly, so keep them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two months or freeze them for up to six months.

Polenta (poh-LEN-tuh): This is an Italian-style cornmeal mush (as I used to call it as a kid). It’s made by boiling a mixture of cornmeal or farina and water. Polenta usually is served with tomato sauce as a side dish, or it can be served without sauce as a bread substitute. It’s eaten as a thick porridge or can be molded, sliced, fried, or boiled.

Prosciutto (proh-SHOO-toh): I love prosciutto. Maybe it’s the salty flavor. (I am the Salt Monster after all, so my husband says!) Like ham, it’s from the hog’s leg. Salt curing draws out the moisture, a process called prosciugare in Italian. But unlike ham, the cured pork is air-dried, not smoked. (Probably another reason I like it so much). The result is a somewhat sweetly spiced, rose-colored meat that has a slight sheen. Parma ham is the authentic prosciutto of Italy. They are designated as prosciutto cotto (cooked) or prosciutto crudo (raw). The raw is cured, however, so it’s ready to eat. Use small amounts in pasta, sauces, and meat dishes. Add it to cooked dishes at the last-minute so it doesn’t get too tough. I love it around melon. Like most Italian weddings, prosciutto is served wrapped around a slice of cantaloupe or honeydew melon. Delicious!

Risotto (ree-ZHOT-toh): This rice dish consists of broth-cooked rice, butter, cheese and other bits of meat and/or vegetables. Risotto Milanese (from Milan) are always also flavored with a little saffron. I love risotto also. But it’s a treat for me because it’s so high in calories.

Tomatoes: Italian cooks mainly use two kinds of tomatoes. The long plum or Roma tomatoes are usually used for cooking because they have fewer seeds, firmer flesh and thicker juice. I use them is salsa also. The round eating tomatoes are best in salads, appetizers, or anywhere fresh tomatoes are needed. To ripen, store firm tomatoes at room temperature in a bowl or even in a brown paper bag. DO NOT PUT TOMATOES IN THE REFRIGERATOR!!!! This takes away most of the flavor and removes the helpful antioxidants. I only refrigerate when I cut them and have some left over. Though this doesn’t happen often!

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    Italian Sausage & Peppers

    This is a dish that I actually don’t really eat. I love the sausage part but if you remember I don’t like peppers. I know, what kind of Italian am I if I don’t like peppers. I’m trying to like them but it’s not working. Anyway, this is a very popular dish at our family gatherings. My brother-in-law Carl makes an incredible version of this. Nice and spicy, just how my Dad likes as well as my husband. Carl and my husband say it can never be too hot! They both have asbestos mouths so we can’t let them judge how hot things are! The hotness in this recipe will be decided on the type of sausage used. Hot sausage or sweet sausage, that is the question. I prefer sweet but those of you who love to sweat when you eat go for the hot!

    Italian Sausage & Peppers

    INGREDIENTS:

    1½ pounds Italian sausage (sweet or hot, or both!)

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    3 large onions, slivered

    3 sweet red peppers, seeded and cut into strips

    3 sweet green peppers, seeded and cut into strips

    ½ teaspoon oregano

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Pierce each sausage in several places with a fork and place in a heavy frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, over medium-low heat. Turn sausage occasionally and cook until well browned on all sides.

    2. While the sausages are cooking, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the garlic and onion. Mix in the peppers and oregano. Don’t cover the pan or the peppers and onions will get steamed.

    3. Cook until the onions are lightly brown and the peppers are tender. Cut the cooked sausage into bite size pieces and add to the onion and pepper mixture. Mix well. Place on a warm platter to serve.

    Serves 4-6

    This dish is great with a nice loaf  of crusty Italian bread and a glass of Chianti!

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    Swedish Meatballs

    This is definitely a recipe I do not make enough. Swedish meatballs are one of my favorite dishes. This recipe was given to my sister Michele at her bridal shower by Barbara Cavallo, who is her husband’s aunt. She was born an Olson, so yes there is Swedish blood in her. I think the recipe came from another relative, either grandmother or mother. Either way they are delicious. Serve over egg noodles or rice or just eat them by themselves. Remember when making swedish meatballs you need to make them smaller than regular Italian meatballs. They do take some time to make but they are worth it. It’s a nice hearty meal for any time of year.

    Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles

    INGREDIENTS:

    2 cups bread crumbs

    2/3 cups  milk

    ½ cup chopped onion

    2 pounds ground beef of your choice (You can mix ground pork and beef also)

    2 eggs, beaten

    2 teaspoons salt

    1/8 teaspoon pepper

    1 teaspoon nutmeg

    4 tablespoons butter

    4 teaspoons flour

    2 cups hot water

    1 cup milk

    1 cup light cream

    2 cubes MBT beef broth

    Gravy Master

    Fresh Parsley for garnish

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. In a large bowl soak bread crumbs in the milk. Add the onion, beef/pork, salt, pepper and eggs and mix together with hands. Be careful not to overmix.

    2. Roll meat into walnut size meatballs and brown in large skillet in the butter. Cook until brown on all sides. When browned remove meatballs from pan and set aside.

    3. In the same skillet put a little hot water with the flour. Stir until smooth. Add rest of hot water, light cream, beef broth, nutmeg and milk. Stir until smooth.

    4. Place meatballs back into skillet and mix well. Cover skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. Brown with Gravy Master to color. Garnish with parsley.

    Serve with egg noodles, rice or pasta of choice.

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    Basic Meat Filling

    This is the basic meat filling to use with the stuffed plantains. It can also be used with stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage etc. The recipe calls for ground beef but you can also add ground sausage to the mix if you wish.

    Ripe Plantain

    INGREDIENTS:

    1 pound lean ground beef (or ground pork)

    3 chili peppers, finely chopped and seeded (any type of pepper you want is fine)

    1 green pepper, finely chopped and seeded

    1 medium onion, finely chopped

    2 cloves garlic, chopped

    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    1 teaspoon salt

    ¼ teaspoon wine vinegar

    6 green olives stuffed with pimentos

    1 teaspoon capers

    1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

    hot sauce to taste

    Stuffed Pepper

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. In a heavy pot, add 1 tablespoon oil and saute chili peppers, onion, green pepper and garlic for 10 minutes.

    2. Add oregano, salt, vinegar and ground beef. Stir over high heat until meat loses its red color.

    3. Turn heat to low. Add olives, capers and hot sauce. Mix and cook 30 minutes for beef or 1 hour for pork.

    4. Let cool slightly so it won’t be too hot to handle when stuffing the plantains or other item.

    Stuffed Cabbage

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    Spicy Garlic Barbecued Pork Ribs

    Who doesn’t love barbecued ribs? Nobody that I know of! But when it comes to barbecuing them everyone tends to shy away because they “take so long”! No they don’t! Not how I do them anyway! For my recipe you do have to think ahead and marinate them overnight for the best results. You can also marinate them a few hours ahead of time, but overnight is best. I’ve searched and searched and watched and watched all the ways to have great barbecued ribs. The one recipe I found to be the best so far was from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. I tweaked her recipe to make it more Genua! These are also made to be cooked on a grill with charcoal. I’m sure they’ll be fine with a gas grill but we have charcoal. I also use either pork loin ribs or St. Louis Style ribs as we love to have meaty ribs! Don’t be scared by the amount of ingredients either. It’s not so bad. I am the first one to skip making a recipe because of the amount of ingredients! Remember it’s all for the marinade/sauce!

    Spicy Garlic Barbecued Pork Ribs

    INGREDIENTS:

    3 racks of pork loin ribs or St. Louis Style ribs (6-8 lbs)

    1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil

    1 small red onion, diced (about 1 cup)

    6 cloves garlic, minced (you can add less if too much garlic for you)

    1 tablespoon chili powder (you can add less if too spicy)

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (you can add less if too spicy)

    1 teaspoon lime zest

    1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (or you can use 1 tsp powder)

    1/3 cup cider vinegar

    ½ cup tomato paste

    ½ cup honey

    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

    1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

    ¼ cup orange juice

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Heat the vegetable or olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Saute the onions and garlic for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned.

    2. Add the chili powder, ground cumin and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add the zest and ginger and cook for an extra minute.

    3. Add the vinegar, tomato paste, honey, mustard, soy sauce and orange juice and simmer uncovered on low heat for 15 minutes, until thick. Stirring occasionally.

    4. Marinate the ribs in 2/3 of the sauce for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

    5. When you are ready to grill prepare the grill with a single layer of hot coals and then add a few more coals 5 minutes before cooking, which will keep the fire going longer. Place the ribs on the grill and cook for about 25-30 minutes, turning once or twice to cook evenly on both sides. Brush with marinade as needed.

    6. Check the ribs after 30 minutes. If they are still not ready (thicker ribs may take longer) just cook for another 5-10 minutes. Check to make sure they are to your liking. EAT!!

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    Juicy Soy & Garlic Infused Pork Chops

    Yes there is such a thing as juicy pork chops. If you cook them the right way that is! My recipe is simple and takes only about 12 minutes to cook. I marinate them in the ingredients listed below a few hours or more before cooking. The longer the better. I make these quite a lot especially since I can get them at such a great price at BJ’s Wholesale Club. Using boneless pork loin chops also makes them juicier as they have a little fat on them.

    Soy & Garlic Infused Pork Chops w/Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles

    INGREDIENTS:

    4 boneless pork loin chops (I usually get the ones that are about 1½-2 inches thick)

    garlic powder

    soy sauce (I use the light version)

    paprika

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Place pork chops in a container with a lid so they can be put in fridge to marinate. Poke  the pork chops with fork several times on both sides. This is so the soy sauce is infused better into the chops.

    2. Sprinkle the pork chops liberally with the garlic powder and paprika on both sides.

    3. Shake the soy sauce onto both sides of the pork chops until they are well coated and you have soy sauce in the bottom of container. Make sure they are all well coated.

    4. Put in refrigerator for 2 hours or more. You can turn them once if you like to make sure the soy sauce gets all over.

    5. Spray a broiling pan with cooking spray. Place pork chops on broiling pan and broil on high about 4 inches from the heat. Broil for 6 minutes and turn. Broil for another 6 minutes. Check the chops to make sure they are cooked through. You can use a meat thermometer also. I usually just cut them in the middle a little. If they need more cooking just cook for another minute. You don’t want to over cook!

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