Leftover Pork Ragu and Orzo

It is another snowy night here in Atlanta! Tonight we had some leftover Pork Ragu that I pulled out of the freezer a few days ago. I added it on top of some buttery orzo. It was very comforting! Stay warm and safe out there! Tomorrow afternoon it is supposed to finally over freezing, so hopefully the ice will melt!

https://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/12/27/pork-ragu-and-cheesy-polenta/

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French Onion Soup

It is a pretty cold and snowy day in Georgia. We don’t get snow every year, so when we do, we kinda freak out! Traffic sucks, school isn’t sure whether to close at the sign of cold or wait until it is too late and everyone is iced and snowed in. Lots is going on here, but everyone is cold and wants some comfort food. The girls ate some oatmeal with cinnamon sugar, honey, and milk. They gobbled it up! I had a taste and it was pretty yummy. Quick cooked plain oats plus a combo of cinnamon sugar that I had already made, a drizzle of honey, and a splash of milk. Easy!

I wanted something different. I spied 2 onions and half of a container of beef broth in the fridge. Eureka! French Onion Soup!!!

French Onion Soup- this serves about 4 small cups or 2 large bowls

Ingredients

2 onions plus a sprinkle of sugar and salt
1/2 container of beef broth (could use chicken or veggie broth)
1ish cup red wine (could use white wine with chicken/veggie broth)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
cut up and toasted bread of choice- I used French
sliced or shredded cheese of choice- I used Swiss

Directions

Thinly slice the onions. Cook in a combo of a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and butter for at least 45 minutes. The onions are what make this soup. Cook as long as you can to get them super soft and caramelized. I also add the sugar and salt to help the cooking process and bring out the onions natural sweet flavor. 006

Add the wine. Cook for about 8 minutes until the wine reduces. Then add your stock and Worcestershire Sauce . Stir and cook through about 10 more minutes.



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Ladle your soup in a ramekin or oven safe dish. Add some toasted bread. Top with your cheese.
Broil on high until cheese is nice and brown and bubbly! (so sorry, I thought I took a picture of this part!!!)

Enjoy with your favorite glass of wine. HEAVEN on a cold winter’s night!

Weekly Meal Plan 1/26/14

Hey guys! I took a little break from the bloggie and barely lifted a finger in the kitchen last week! It was so nice to take a vacation from cooking, but I have to admit, I did miss cooking dinner for the family! I did NOT miss doing the dishes! I have been taking stock of my freezer, and I found a ton of leftovers that need to be used up. Well, here are just a few things that were lurking in the deep freeze that will most likely be on the menu this week. Gotta run to the store to stock up on some staples. Can’t wait to see what I come up with this week!!!

Pork Ragu- https://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/12/27/pork-ragu-and-cheesy-polenta/005
Baked Skillet Pasta- https://funfoodiefamily.com/2013/12/09/baked-skillet-pasta/
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Lots of packages of ground meat
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Four Course Meal: Crab Cakes, Vegetable Gratin, Poached Salmon with Pesto, and Chocolate

Tonight I had a date night with myself. My husband went to hockey, and I made the girls Sloppy Joe’s at 5:00. I wasn’t ready to eat yet, so I just made their food and prepped my food while they ate. I made myself a 4 course meal… 1- Crab Cake with a smear of my pistachio arugula avocado pesto 2- Veggie Gratin 3- Poached Salmon with more of my pesto 4- Chocolate

1- Crab cakes- I got one of those already assembled in the seafood case. I knew it was just me eating, and I only wanted one. I cooked it on both sides for about 3 minutes. Then I added my pesto… Swoon!!!!
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Normally pesto is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. Instead, I used arugula, garlic, pistachios, and olive oil. DIVINE!!!! I actually saw Alton Brown make a pesto today with pistachios, but he kept the basil. I wanted to try the arugula, and I am glad I did. So delicious! Don’t be afraid to experiment! I have plenty of leftovers for later!!!
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2- Veggie Gratin
I had a yellow squash, a zucchini, a container of mushrooms, and 2 small tomatoes. I sliced them pretty thin, covered with olive oil, parm./romano mix, mozzarella, and italian breadcrumbs. So very tasty!006

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3- Salmon poached in Seafood Stock, Lemons, and Dill
If you read my blog last night, you know I made seafood stock. https://funfoodiefamily.com/2014/01/19/seafood-stock-2/
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I used it tonight to poach my beautiful salmon. I added some lemon and dill for freshness and acidity. YUM!!!! I cooked each side about 5-6 minutes. I put it on a bed of arugula and topped with my pesto. You could add a side of some healthy grain like orzo, risotto, or quinoa. This would be amazing. But since I already ate the crab cake and veggie gratin, a grain would be overkill. Even though salmon is a healthy light meal, it is very rich and fatty (good fats). Same for the pesto. A little bit goes a long way. 011

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4- As for the chocolate- It was a square of dark chocolate, and it was glorious!

Steak and Eggs Brunch

I thought of this meal last night when I was making dinner. I knew that there would be a bit of steak leftover from those 2 humongous Porterhouse steaks. I knew I had a couple of avocados that I needed to use up. I knew I had some leftover pita that was on its last leg. Oh, and I had a few farm fresh eggs left over in the fridge. PERFECT! I thought about adding some salsa or hot sauce, but I wasn’t really in the mood for spicy this morning. One pita held everything perfectly, and one leaked out a bit. I have no problem getting a little dirty while I eat. This is a great way to repurpose your leftovers. Have a great day! See ya back at dinner! Got a yummy seafood dish coming up…

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Seafood Stock

I have been kind of obsessed with making my own stock lately. Mostly it has been chicken stock. Tons of chicken carcases have make their way into my stock pot with loads of fresh and almost goner veggies and herbs. I have also made lots of pork stock…bones from chops, butts, ribs, etc. I have also been squirreling away seafood shells; Lobster shells, clamshells, mussel shells, and shrimp shells, but have not made a seafood stock until tonight. I brought the clamshells home from dinner a while back; the waitress was somewhat mystified and intrigued why I needed a take out container for just leftover shells. When I explained it to her, she had this look on her face and almost did a facepalm like, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I saw an episode of Top Chef the other night and got inspired to make my own seafood stock. I saw some salmon today at the store, so I decided I was going to poach it in some seafood stock, white while, and lemon juice with dill. Tonight I made the stock. Tomorrow I will make the salmon and report back.

Seafood Stock- Use whatever leftover seafood and shells that you have or can buy/get. I also used 2 onions, 3 stalks celery, 3 carrots, 1/2 head of garlic, leftover broccoli stalks, mushrooms, leftover parmesan cheese rind, 1 cup white wine, 2 bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Feel free to add whatever leftover veggies or herbs that you have in the fridge.

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Porterhouse Steak, Slow Cooked Mushrooms and Onions, and Steak Butter Mashed Potatoes

Good evening guys! Publix had a sale on steak, so you know I’m going to buy that! We got 2, so naturally we have a bit leftover. Hmmmm… I am already thinking of tomorrow’s breakfast…
But on to tonight first!

Slow Cooked Mushroom and Onions
I took an onion and thinly sliced it. I smashed and chopped 3 cloves of garlic. Lastly, I took whole white mushrooms that were on sale and quartered them. I cooked on medium heat in 3 tablespoons of butter in my dutch oven for 15 minutes. Then I added about a cup or more of red wine and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.
***when I say about, that means I don’t use measuring spoons/cups
I cook it for at least 1 1/2 hours. To die for!!!!

Steak
The main star was the Porterhouse. For the perfect med.rare you need to follow these instructions. Get your cast iron pan to screaming hot smokiness. Then salt and pepper your steak on both sides. Cook until the first side is nice and crusty, about 6 minutes. Then turn and cook 5 minutes. Take off the heat and tent in aluminum foil for at least 10 minutes. YUM!

Steak Buttered Mashed Potatoes
Once you take you steak out of the pan, melt 2 sticks of butter (yes- 2) in your pan. Add that to your cooked potatoes (peeled and boiled or microwaved and peeled) in your mixer. Add in your milk until desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Steak butter is LIFE CHANGING!!!

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Chicken with tomato and green chili sauce

Happy Monday! Want a quick dinner that comes together in less than an hour? If so, then here is a great dish for you! I had a package of chicken thighs defrosted. I browned them in my dutch oven. Then I took them out and added 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves of smashed chopped garlic. I cooked down for about 10 minutes. Then I added diced green chilies, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 can of diced tomatoes, and 1 can of crushed tomatoes. If you had any kind of cans of tomatoes, they would work…diced, peeled, crushed, sauce, etc. Always keep a few kinds in your pantry as a staple. You could add any kind of veggies you have in your fridge for this; mushrooms, carrots, peppers, etc. Anything goes! I added about a cup or more of red wine and my browned chicken. I let it cook for about 30 minutes. I served on top of pasta and had a side of kale chips (oven roasted at 200 for 30-45 minutes in olive oil and a bit of salt) and creamed corn (from a package- it is not corn season!) Don’t forget your crusty bread!
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Bacon Jam

There is one thing that makes this former vegan shout out about the yumminess of meat; “Bacon is awesome!” There is no way in hell that I would ever be a vegan again. First of all, vegan cheese sucks ass. There. I said it. So gross! Don’t even get me started on rice milk. Vegetarian dishes have come a long way in the 6 years I have become a meat eater again. I still love tofu, beans, and a yummy bean pattie. Don’t call it a burger; A burger is made of meat. Anyways, vegetarian food can be good.

Enter Bacon Jam. Not just any old bacon jam. Martha Stewart’s bacon jam. I am sure her many food servants came up with this recipe. It is glorious! How can I get on her team? Here is her recipe, and I bow down to her and her team. Do this and be happy. I might only give this to you as a gift from now on…present for your birthday, house warming, host/hostess gift, holiday gift, etc.
Eat it on toast, with eggs, strait on a spoon, etc. This is total food porn, so I won’t judge you with your bacon jam choices. =)

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http://www.marthastewart.com/326881/slow-cooker-bacon-jam

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, diced small
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup brewed coffee

DIRECTIONS

STEP 1
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet (reserve for another use); add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Add bacon and stir to combine.

STEP 2
Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks.

White Bean and Ham Soup

I am 16 again with itty bitty pink shorts, bare feet, and my purple tank top with little hearts and butterflies. I have recently declared myself to be a vegetarian. It doesn’t matter, she tells me, beans are vegetarian- even though she made it with a ham bone and there are lots of pieces of ham in it. I still eat it because she is my Nanny, and she would have her feelings hurt otherwise. She smiles at me, and her sparkling blue eyes set me in a trance. I hug her and tell her I love her. Then I wake up feeling a kiss on my cheek and smelling her lingering perfume.

Recently I have had this recurring dream when my Nanny makes this amazing white bean soup with ham. I had to try to make it in her honor. I do not have a recipe, but I tried to make it the way I think it should taste. I had almost forgotten this meal, because I have not eaten this in a VERY long time. Thanks to my dream, it is not going to be lost every again. Next time, I am going to make my Nanny’s Porcupine Meatballs- meatballs made with a different meats and rice. Delish!

White Beans and Ham Soup

Ingredients-
1 bag Great White Northern Beans
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of crushed and sliced garlic
1 container of low sodium chicken stock (or homemade stock)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Ham Hock. Ham bone, or cut up pieces of ham
Pepper to taste

Directions-

1. Soak your beans overnight and rinse before cooking.
2. Using a nice size pan- I used my sturdy dutch oven- Cook your onion and garlic for about 10 minutes or so on med. heat.
3. Add your beans and mix together with the onion and garlic.
4. Add your chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce. This should cover your beans. If not, add some water.
5. Add your ham hock/bone. If you are adding cooked ham, wait 1 hour or so before adding it.
6. Pepper to taste. I didn’t add salt. Between the ham hock and chicken broth, I didn’t find that it needed any. I would wait to the end to add salt, if you choose to do so.
7. Cook at least 2-3 hours.

I served mine with cornbread and a mixed salad. I will have many great dreams about this meal!
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