Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sausage Stuffed Pork Loin

T was asking for "pork, pork, pork" for dinner. So, I bought a pork loin, stuffed it with sausage, and wrapped it in bacon. I think that fit the bill. This was so good and totally paleo.

Stuffed Pork Loin
1 pork loin
a package of hot Italian sausage
1/2 an onion chopped
1 red or orange bell pepper chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of chopped pecans
cinnamon, cumin, coriander, red pepper, salt and pepper. (I didn't measure these just sprinkled them on top until they had an even color across the top)
3 tbs coconut flour
1/2 stick of butter
about 2 tsp xanthan as a thickener (add a little, mix, and see how it goes)

Cook the sausage, onion, pepper, and garlic until the sausage is mostly cooked through. Set to the side to cool a bit.

Cut the pork loin down the center being careful not to slice all the way through. Core out the center to make room for the stuffing. To do this cut a well down the length of the loin being careful not to cut all the way through. I say be careful again! Mainly because I'm such a clutz that I managed to drop the large knife I was using and it bounced back into my shin. Yes, I am capable of cutting my shin while cooking! Luckily it wasn't bad an I was able to clean it up and move on to more delicious endeavors. Like stuffing the loin with the sausage and adding the pecans.

Fold the loin over the stuffing being careful to keep it in.
On a large cutting board lay some twine down perpendicular to your loin. Place strips of bacon in same direction. Put loin on top of bacon. Wrap the bacon around the loin and then tie it into place with twine.
Season the top evenly with above seasonings or one of your choosing. (I'm always partial to spicy ones)

In a covered baking dish cook the loin at 200 for 4 hours or 350 for 2 (low and slow people, low and slow).

In the last 20 minutes pour out drippings into a bowl and set aside.
Melt butter and add flour to make a roux for gravy.
When the roux is a nice brown color add the drippings. The coconut flour will not thicken your gravy which is why you will need xanthan.
Slice your loin and pour on gravy.
Try not to drool.

Friday, March 4, 2011

T the Athlete

T made it to featured athlete on the Crossfit Beaumont page. I'm so proud of him. Go read his story and check out that awesome beard!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome baby Will!

My friends Mere and Dustin just recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy into their family. I made some lasagna in hopes that the new parents can spend more time with their son instead of cooking.

I used the sauce recipe from the meatballs for this.

Traditional Lasagna
2 boxes of no cook lasagna noodles
spaghetti sauce
2lbs ground beef
1lb ground sausage
32 oz ricotta
32 grated jack cheese
pinch of nutmeg
15 slices of provolone

Cook the meat with about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and some salt and pepper.

Mix the meat and sauce in a bowl.

In another bowl mix all the ricotta and most of the jack (reserve about 1.5 cups for the top) with a little pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

In a large baking dish layer the noodles, meat and cheese until it is full.

On top sprinkle more cheese and lay the slices down.
Bake for 45-60 minutes covered at 350.
Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.
Let it rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

My mom told me that to get your house to smell like you've been cooking all day saute some garlic and onions in olive oil. This smell still brings to mind home. I have an Italian grandmother that I think may be the root of all my cooking desires who passed down cooking to my mom than me. This recipe for spaghetti squash and meatballs tastes just like home cooked comfort food.

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
1 spaghetti squash cut lengthwise and seeded
1-2 pounds of ground beef
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 red/orange bell pepper diced
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp of thyme
1/2 tsp of rosemary
1 tsp of garlic powder
1tsp of black pepper
salt to taste

Place the squash cut side down on a baking pan with some coconut oil. Bake at 350 while you prep everything else.
In a pot open all cans of tomatoes and paste and heat over medium heat.
Add all seasonings.
Form golf ball sized balls of ground beef. I added salt and pepper, plus a little more Italian seasoning, and some almond meal to make these have the right consistency and taste.

In a large frying pan brown the meat balls. Then remove and set to the side (They won't be cooked through yet but don't worry.)

While the tomato mixture heats dice the veggies and saute them in the same pan you just cooked the meatballs in. (Here is where your house starts to smell amazing)

When the onions are beginning to get soft and translucent add them to your tomatoes.

Heat the sauce mixture until bubbling. Let it bubble for about 5 minutes. With a lid over it. (unless your a glutton for punishment and like cleaning tomato splatter)
Remove the sauce from the heat and place in a food processor.
Blend it a few times in the processor. (If you prefer chunky sauce only blend half of your tomato mixture)
Return the blended sauce to the pot and add the meatballs back in. Cook the meatballs in the sauce for about 10 minutes.

By now your squash should be soft.

Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool a bit before you attempt to scrape it out.
When you scrape it out of the shell it comes out in strands that resemble spaghetti. Hence the name.
Add the squash straight to the sauce.

This tasted just like my mom used to make (love you).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vegetable How To

So you just bought a houseful of vegetables. Now what? Vegetables can go bad quickly if you don't store them the right way. I also find that having my vegetables ready to go for when I need them is a huge time saver. I eat more of them if I don't have to wash and cut veggies each time I want some. These are a few tips on how to store your foods so that they last longer or are ready for when you want them.

Lettuce, fresh herbs, and green onions- lettuce can go bad very quickly because of moisture. When I buy a head of lettuce I separate and wash all the leaves. I let them dry a bit in my dish rack. Then in a large plastic container I lay down a few paper towels. Lay all the leaves on top then one more paper towel on that. You can keep all of these veggies together in the same container to help save space.

You can buy larger containers or recycle the ones you get with pre-made salad mixes. Don't chop up your leaves unless you plan on using them in a day. They will get slimy faster if they are cut.

If you have a lot of lettuce like I did in this trip only wash what you will use in a couple of days. the rest wrap in a paper towel and put back into the plastic bag you took it home in. All these paper towels keep the lettuce from staying too moist and rotting. When your lettuce is finished use them to wipe up the counter after dinner. They are only wet and there is no reason to waste them.
Fruit and squash - can be kept out of the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. (thicker skinned only). We keep ours in a basket so that it can get proper air flow around it. Do not leave your fruit or squash in a plastic bag. The moisture they give off will collect and rot them pretty quick.

Onions, garlic, and ginger (potatoes if you eat them)-These need to be stored in a cool, dark, dry, place. This is my dark basket in my cabinet. I keep ginger, garlic, and onions here until I'm ready to use them. The ginger can go right back here after you break a piece off. I always keep one onion in the fridge. The reason being that the chemical in the onion that makes you cry is less potent cold.

Celery, asparagus, and other long stemmed vegetable or herbs- All vegetables are, are plants. Treat them like you would a bouquet of flowers. Cut off the bottom inch (or more to make it fit in your fridge) and place them in a cup of water. Wilted celery and asparagus can be revived very quickly this way.
Any other vegetable I may have missed usually just need to be kept cool and dry. Mold happens in warm and wet places. Make sure to allow enough room for the air to circulate around your produce.

I also recommend taking the time after a shopping trip to pre-cut things like celery, carrots, and cucumbers. These things, once cut, make for easy snacks. If it is cut up and ready to go you are more likely to eat it.

Do you have any Produce tips on storing or making it easier to grab?