Pork and Lentil Soup

Image1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed basil leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 pound bone-in pork chops
3 cups chicken broth
8 ounces brown lentils, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon red chili flakes

1. Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, basil, salt, black pepper, and cumin and saute until the onions have softened.

2. Stir in the carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, push the mixture to the edges of the pot. Add the pork chops and brown them on each side.

3. Add the broth, lentils and tomato paste and stir to combine.

4. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

5. Remove the pork chops from the pot.  Using two forks, pull the meat from the bones.  Discard the bones.  Lightly shred the meat and return it to the soup.

6. Add the lime juice and chili flakes and stir into the soup, then remove the pot from the heat. Serve hot.

Source: http://www.lafujimama.com/2011/05/pork-and-lentil-soup/

Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

ImageImportant: This is my dream of a baked pasta dish — not too heavy, not to rich or gooey, tons of crunchy edges. As you might see in the photos above, it’s on the firm side. If you’d like a baked pasta with more sauce, which I expect most of you will, you’ll want to use 1 1/2 times the bechamel and cheese below.

Broccoli rabe (also called raab or rapini) is a leafy green vegetable with buds that somewhat resemble broccoli. It’s slightly bitter and holds up well to cooking. If you can’t find it, regular broccoli or broccolini will work here as well; they will only need 3 and 2 minutes respectively of boiling time with the pasta to keep it semi-crisp. If you’d like to make this without meat, the sausage can definitely be omitted. You could add some lightly sauteed chunky brown mushrooms for extra bulk, as well.

The pasta shape I used here is called toscani and it’s from the brand Seggiano. I have found it at Whole Foods and, if you’re in the East Village, Commodities Natural Market on 1st Ave. (plus I’m sure other stores). When I can’t get, it I use Barilla’s similar campanelle or seriously any chunky pasta you like to bake with.

Pasta and assembly
1 pound chunky pasta of your choice (I love bell shapes; see above for details)
1 bundle broccoli rabe (see above for options), stems and leaves cut into 1-inch segments
1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or spicy pork or chicken), casings removed
2/3 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
6 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes

Bechamel
2 cups milk, full fat is ideal
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Few gratings fresh nutmeg

Cook the pasta and rabe: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain the broccoli rabe and pasta together and place in a large bowl.

Cook your sausage: Meanwhile, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, wide saucepan (you will use this for the bechamel in a few minutes; you could also use your pasta pot, once it is drained) over medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula, leaving any fat behind. Eyeball the drippings (pork sausage will leave some; chicken usually does not) — use one tablespoon less butter next if it looks like there’s a tablespoon there. Any less, don’t worry about adjusting the butter.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Make the bechamel: Melt your butter in same saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add your flour and stir it into the butter until smooth. Cook the mixture together for a minute, stirring constantly. Pour in a small drizzle of your milk, whisking constantly into the butter-flour mixture until smooth. Continue to drizzle a very small amount at a time, whisking constantly. Once you’ve added a little over half of your milk, you’ll find that you have more of a thick sauce or batter, and you can start adding the milk in larger splashes, being sure to keep mixing. Once all of the milk is added, add the salt, garlic, nutmeg, and few grinds of black pepper, and bring the mixture to a lower simmer and cook it, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Assemble and bake: Add the sausage and bechamel to the bowl with the pasta and broccoli rabe. Stir in mozzarella and half of grated parmesan or pecorino until combined. Pour into a lasagna pan, deep 9×13-inch baking dish* or 3-quart casserole dish and coat with remaining parmesan or pecorino. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the edges and craggy points are nicely bronzed.

Eat warm. Reheat as needed.

 Source: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/09/baked-pasta-with-broccoli-rabe-and-sausage/

World’s Best Lasagne

ImageINGREDIENTS:

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Source: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Worlds-Best-Lasagna/Detail.aspx?evt19=1

Corn Chowder w/ Bacon, Potatoes, and Chives

ImageIngredients

3 cups corn kernels {I used fresh corn}
8 oz small potatoes, quartered
8 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk {I used 2%}
1/4 cup butter

Directions

Combine the first 8 ingredients in slow cooker, cover and cook high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.  Stir in milk and butter and cook for an additional hour.
Serve with warm rolls or buttered toast.

Source: http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/2012/09/easy-crock-pot-meals-corn-chowder-with-bacon-potatoes-and-chives/

Broccoli, Bacon, and Cheddar Quiche

ImageIngredients

6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 pie crust
5 eggs
1 cup milk {I used 2%}
1 cup cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Place bacon, scallions and broccoli in the bottom of the pie crust.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper.
Pour egg mixture over bacon, broccoli and onions
Bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool slightly, and serve.

Source: http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/2013/03/broccoli-bacon-and-cheddar-quiche/

Bacon Pancakes

ImageIngredients

4 cups prepared pancake mix
12 precooked slices of bacon

Directions

Heat up your griddle or frying pan, add a little butter and pour pancake batter into 12 x 3 inch strips. Carefully lay cooked bacon slices in the batter and wait until the pancake edges are cooked, then flip them over and finish cooking. Add a little butter and syrup and dig in!

Source: http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/2013/02/breakfast-recipes-how-to-make-bacon-pancakes/

Chickpeas with Broccoli Raab & Bacon

ImageIngredients
1 pound broccoli raab, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 {15-ounce} can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Cook broccoli raab in a large pot of boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat {I used a stir fry pan}. Add oil, then bacon; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in onion, fresh oregano, and red pepper; sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chickpeas; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broccoli raab, salt, and black pepper; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, tossing to combine. Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

Source: http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/2013/02/chickpeas-with-broccoli-raab-and-bacon/