Tag Archives: beans

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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Mediterranean Dip With Toasted Pita Chips

This dip is a little bit Greek and Italian, hence the Mediterranean reference. It’s a much healthier dip than the ones laden with mayonnaise and sour cream. Not that those dips aren’t good, it’s just that we can’t eat them all the time. This dip uses canellini beans which have fiber, a good thing. It can be served with toasted pita chips or crostini, or any sturdy chip. I will also include a recipe to make your own Toasted Pita Chips. It’s so easy! And if you use the low carb pita chips you can save more calories and add more fiber! But if you don’t have to worry about calories or fiber go all the way with the full fat stuff! (I wish I could!)

DIP

INGREDIENTS:

1 can (15oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 ounces feta cheese (I use light Feta)

1 container (6-7 oz.) plain Greek-style yogurt (any brand is fine)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill

1 large clove garlic, minced

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a food processor put the beans, feta cheese, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice. Puree until smooth.

2. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped dill. Season with the salt and pepper as you like.

Serve right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 2 cups


TOASTED PITA CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

8 Pita Rounds

olive oil

dried oregano

garlic powder

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Split the pita rounds horizontally, then cut each piece in half. Or just cut into wedge shapes and separate the pita. Depends on how big you want the chips

2. Brush with olive oil and season with the oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

3. Bake on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet, until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

**UPDATE: 7/12/10** I just made this dip and chips. Delicious! So tasty and the chips came out great! Though I may have put too much salt on them, but then again, I love salt.

The Italian Kitchen (Part 3)

Today’s post is all about what should be in an Italian Pantry.  By stocking your kitchen with a few basic ingredients you’ll be ready to prepare most Italian and Tuscan recipes. Our supermarkets are much better at carrying the ingredients than they used to be. But if there’s still something you can’t find, there’s always the “pork store.” You know the place, it always smells so good when you walk by. Basically any Italian specialty store will have anything you need. Remember, using high-quality ingredients at the best price you can get them at is crucial. The better the olive oil, tomatoes and cheese, the better the simple dishes will taste!

This list is just a basic list of what is found in most good Italian kitchens.

Olive Oil: An essential in Italian cooking. Stick with extra-virgin olive oil for most recipes.

Dried Pasta: Use pasta imported from Italy such as Barilla and DeCecco. For the most part any imported pasta products made from semolina flour are good choices. For egg pasta, stay away from the so-called “fresh” pasta sold in refrigerated cases. They aren’t so “fresh” as they would have you believe. Either use homemade or buy the dried noodles packaged in nests.

Tomatoes: When fresh, ripe tomatoes are not available, use good canned tomatoes (unless recipe specifically calls for fresh). Choose whole, peeled tomatoes rather than chopped or crushed. Imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes are the best if you can find them.

Onions and Garlic: Generally, white or yellow onions for cooking and red onions for salads and dishes that do not need cooking because they are milder. Garlic should not be an overwhelming presence.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese: Expensive but worth it. Excellent grating cheese as well as a table cheese. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil over it and have it with some crusty Italian bread.

Cheeses: Cheeses are very important for Italian dishes. The basics like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone are a good choice to have around.

Legumes (beans): Dried cannelini beans, lentils and ceci (Garbanzo/chick peas) are always good to have on hand. Canned beans work just as well especially if you’re in a rush.

Cornmeal: Use a medium textured cornmeal for polenta. Keep it in a tightly closed container and it will last for months. It’s also good for dusting the pan when making pizza.

Rice: Arborio is the most common in making risotto but others are used as well.

Balsamic Vinegar: There are many different balsamic vinegars. Depending on its age, it can be very expensive. You can use the inexpensive  one for salads as long as the quality is good.

Anchovies: (I love these salty little buggers!)It’s good to keep a jar of these in the fridge to add a special zip to certain dishes. You can also find anchovy paste in a tube, which is milder in taste and very convenient to have. (I use the tube)

Dried Porcini Mushrooms: Look for packages that have slices of whole mushrooms. They can be a little expensive but a little goes a long way. Keep it in an airtight container and they’ll keep for a long time. If you rehydrate them, keep the water, strain it and use it to add some flavor and depth to soups, sauces and stews.

Capers: (My husband’s favorite) You can find two kinds of capers. The smaller ones that are pickled in vinegar, and the larger ones that come packed in salt. The larger ones are very flavorful and need rinsing of the salt before using. They are also harder to find. A few chopped capers can add a nice flavor addition to dishes that seem to need just a little something.

Olives: Both black and green varieties are good. If they are packed in brine and imported from Italy, even better. We like the stuffed ones. Stuffed with bleu cheese, anchovies, garlic, peppers…

Herbs and Seasonings: For the most part fresh herbs are preferred in everyday cooking, but this is hard to do and they are generally more expensive and can go bad quickly if not used. So always keep on hand dried herbs and seasonings. Keep dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage. I also always keep garlic powder on hand. Whole black pepper to be ground at the moment of use, sea salt and red pepper flakes are also important to have in your pantry.

Flour: All-purpose flour is good to use for making pasta and pizza dough. Bread flour for cakes and semolina flour for pasta is also very useful.


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