Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's for dinner?

Tonight in the Perkins house it's: Thyme-Scented Honey-Glazed Pork Roast with Cider-Stewed Parsnips, Potatoes and Pears

This is one of mine...but I'm sure others have made this, or a version of it.

1 5lb boneless pork roast
3 Anjou pears, quartered, cores removed, and cut into 1inch chunks
3 medium parsnips, quartered and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
olive oil
salt, pepper, and dried thyme
1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* In a 9x13 casserole dish, place your piggy roast, fat side up. Arrange parsnips, potatoes and pears around, but don't cover the roast.
* Drizzle veggies with olive oil; sprinkle meat and veggies with salt, pepper and dried thyme. (I'm of the opinion that when it comes to thyme, more is always better, but that's just me.)
* Use a spoon to gently toss veggies to coat with the oil and seasonings.
* Pour cider into bottom of casserole dish.
* Drizzle honey over veggies and roast (generously over roast); don't stir veggies this time.
* Cover with foil and roast at 350 degrees for 40 minutes; test for doneness (a meat thermometer will read 165 degrees) --if it needs more time, check every ten minutes. The cider will keep everything moist, but there's still the risk of a dried out piggy roast. Ick.
* Let the roast stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

I have also made this in a slow cooker:
* Place veggies (and pear) in the bottom of a slow cooker, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with seasonings and toss to coat.
* Place roast, fat side up, on top of veggies, sprinkle with seasonings and drizzle with honey (generously)
*Pour cider into cooker, cover, and cook on low heat 6 hours. This is simply lovely to come home to at the end of the day: your house smells soooooo good, and dinner's waiting for you and your family, instead of the other way around.

(And if I could get Blogger to load my photos, I would have given you step by step images. I'm going to have my tech-guy husband try to sort this out, because a blog without pictures is just no fun. And because I have an adorable tea tray that I made ALL BY MYSELF that I want to share...and I can't. Gr. Anyway, enjoy your dinner!!!! Oh, and the apple chips from Hello Natural? They were FABULOUS! My five year old LOVED them. He was even nice enough to share.)

A bonus recipe from Hello Natural....which I am in the process of making as I type.


Baked Apple Chips with Cinnamon and Ginger | Ingredients needed
Makes 4 to 5 servings
  • 4 apples
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups cold water
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of ground ginger
Set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit while preparing your apples. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and set to the side. Wash and slice your apples as thin as you can, core and all. Add apple slices in the cold water and lemon juice mixture for a few seconds as this will prevent browning. Remove apple slices from the water, and place in a single layer on your lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the chips with cinnamon and ginger powder.
Bake the apple slices for 1 hour, then flip to the other side. Bake for another hour. If the slices are not dry enough, you can bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Once the apple slices are done to your liking, remove from heat and set to the side to cool. Once the apple slices are cool, place them in a air-tight container for storage.


12 Healthy, Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Freezer Meals....

from the genius Lindsey at Hello Natural!!
The lentil-butternut squash curry sounds AMAZING!!!

12 easy slow cooker meals to make ahead and freeze

12 Easy Slow Cooker Freezer Bag Meals | 1. Meatballs + Tomato Sauce

One bag frozen meatballs (homemade are great too!), one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
Cook time: 3-4 hours on HIGH
Serve with: cooked pasta, green salad, garlic bread

2. Ginger Peach Chicken

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 12-ounce bag of frozen peach slices, 1 sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, 2 teaspoons ground coriander
Cook time: 4-5 hours on HIGH
Serve with: cooked white or brown rice, steamed veggies

3. Vegetable Beef Stew

2 pounds stew meat, 1 diced onion, 2 sliced carrots, 1 sliced parsnip, 1 large rutabaga (peeled and cut into cubes), 1/2 cup red wine, 2 tablespoons beef stock base or 3 bouillon cubes
Extra instructions: add 1 1/2 cups water to slow cooker
Cook time: 8-10 hours on LOW
Serve with: mashed potatoes or rice

4. Teriyaki Chicken

2 pounds chicken thighs, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 can pineapple chunks
Cook time: 8 hours on LOW
Serve with: cooked white or brown rice, green veggies

12 Easy Slow Cooker Freezer Bag Meals | 5. Pork Country Ribs + BBQ Sauce

2 pounds boneless country ribs, one bottle BBQ sauce (your favorite kind)
Cook time: 8-10 hours on LOW
Serve with: mashed potatoes, veggies, and salad

6. Salsa Chicken

2 1/2 to 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs), 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
Cook time: 6-7 hours on LOW
Serving suggestions: rice bowls, tacos, enchilada filling, nachos, burritos

7. Mushroom Barley Stew

1 pound mushrooms, 2 sliced carrots, 1 sliced celery rib, 1 diced onion, 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 cup uncooked barley
Extra instructions: add 2 quarts vegetable stock to the slow cooker before cooking
Cook time: 8 hours on LOW
Serve with: hot, crusty bread or rolls

8. Lentil-Butternut Squash Curry

1 diced onion, 2 cups red or brown lentils, 2 cups diced butternut squash, 14-ounce can coconut milk, 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt
Special instructions: Add 8 cups water to the slow cooker before cooking
Cook time: 6-8 hours on LOW
Serve with: hot, cooked rice, flatbread, raita

12 Easy Slow Cooker Freezer Bag Meals | 9. Sausage Lentil Soup

12 to 14 ounces sliced kielbasa sausage, 2 cups brown lentils, 2 carrots (diced), 1 celery rib (diced), 1 diced onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Extra instructions: For best flavor, brown kielbasa and diced onion, let cool completely before adding to bag (optional, but results in a better flavor and texture), add 2 quarts of water or stock to the slow cooker before cooking
Cook time: 4-5 hours on HIGH
Serve with: fresh bread and/or rice

10. Sloppy Joes

One pound ground meat (pork, turkey, chicken, or beef), 1 diced onion, 1 diced green bell pepper, 15-ounce can tomato sauce (or 1 6-ounce can tomato paste mixed with 1 cup water), one Sloppy Joes seasoning mix packet
Cook time: 3-4 hours on HIGH
Serve with: buns, veggie fries

11. Cranberry-Mustard Pork

One (3-4 pound) pork roast (loin, shoulder, butt), 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon brown or Dijon mustard, 1 diced onion, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, zest and juice of 1 orange
Cook time: 8-10 hours on LOW
Serve with: mashed potatoes or rice, steamed broccoli

12. Beef Stroganoff

2 pounds stew meat, 1 pound sliced mushrooms, 1 diced onion, 1/2 cup red wine, 1 tablespoon beef stock paste (or 2 bouillon cubes)
Extra directions: Add 1 cup water to slow cooker before cooking. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream before serving (do not add freeze with other ingredients or add at beginning of cooking time or it will curdle)
Cook time: 8 hours on LOW
Serve with: rice or noodles

Slow Cooker Freezer Bag Tips + Hints

  • LABEL THE BAGS. Label them with the name of the recipe, cooking time, and any special instructions (adding liquid, etc.)
  • Bags can be thawed out in the fridge overnight before popping the contents into the slow cooker the next day, though it’s really not necessary.
  • The bags can be frozen flat, but I prefer to freeze the bags upright to make them easier to pop into the slow cooker. If you plan on thawing the bags overnight (totally fine), then it doesn’t matter how you freeze them.
  • I don’t like to freeze potatoes. I also don’t like broccoli or cauliflower cooked in a slow cooker (totally my preference!). If you prefer to add these veggies, by all means do. I recommend buying the already frozen bags and adding those instead of freezing your own. (Again, preference.)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cookbook Mania Redux

I am sad to say Susie Middleton's Fresh From the Farm was a surprising disappointment. I didn't find any new recipes; many were from The Fresh and Green Table, and more surprisingly, the format was just bizarre: the pages were too busy, as the stories she included in the cookbook were printed in the margins. It was hard to focus on the reading when there was so much happening on the page: photos, recipes, back story... If you're a Middleton fan it's worth buying, I suppose, but I'm not adding it to my collection.

Giada De Laurentiis' Weeknights With Giada is a bigger success; I've got my eye on a few of the recipes for dinner next week. Updates will follow!