Thursday, December 20, 2012

Warm Spell

Spicy Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Shredded Pork Soup
Inching towards Christmas and it's cold outside!  We're in the midst of a long stretch of long, rainy days and cold, frosty nights up here in the Northwest. The best remedy is a big pot of hot soup, of course! I was looking to cook up something with a bit of a soul-warming kick that made good use of the ample supply of Kahlua Pig in the freezer. (Also a great way to use up leftover rice.) This was just what we were looking for after a long day of holiday shopping!

- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 c. chicken broth
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
- juice from one lime
- 1 jar red salsa
- 4 chili peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp. ground cumin, divided
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cardamom
- 2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 c. shredded Kahlua Pig 
- 1 c. cooked white rice
- 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
- avocado, shredded cheese, and sour cream for serving

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes until fragrant and translucent, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth, salsa, sweet potatoes, black beans, chili peppers in adobo sauce, lime juice, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. garlic powder, chili powder, and 1 tsp. ground cumin. Bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.

While the soup is simmering, toss the shredded pork with remaining cumin and garlic powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the soup is finished simmering add the cooked rice, shredded pork, and minced cilantro. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes until the meat and rice are heated through. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with avocado slices, a pinch of shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with hot bread or tortilla chips! Yum!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On a Roll

Turkey Artichoke Lasagne Rolls
What should be on the dinner menu for a cold December night? Stews, soups, and hearty meat dishes are frequent stars of my winter meal rotation. I also have a soft spot for lasagne. It's a fabulous one-dish meal full of veggies and lots of melted cheese - the kind of cold-weather meal that warms you from the inside out. The problem with lasagne when cooking for two, however, is the leftovers. I have no problem with some leftovers, but eating increasingly old pasta for days on end is not an appetizing prospect. Lasagne rolls are the perfect solution to an over-production of this delicious Italian staple . . . make a couple dozen or make just a few! This is a great and flexible recipe to make for a large family or a cozy winter couple.

- 1/2 lb. ground turkey
- 3 c. simple marinara sauce 
- 1 lb. ricotta cheese
- 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, minced
- 6 green onions, trimmed and diced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 7 oz. canned artichoke hearts (drained and diced)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 10 dried lasagne noodles

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and heat oven to 400˚F. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare ground turkey and ricotta cheese filling for lasagne.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add turkey, sprinkle with poultry seasoning, garlic powder, dried thyme, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook the turkey until it turns brown, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon. When the turkey was cooked through, remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, half the grated mozzarella, half the grated Parmesan, diced onions, egg, nutmeg, minced parsley, artichoke hearts, and dried basil. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the water is brought to a rolling boil, cook the lasagne noodles for 10-12 minutes until they are soft, but slightly al dente in the middle. Drain completely. Line baking sheets with wax paper and carefully arrange the lasagne noodles in a single layer on the wax paper. (Carefully as they will be hot - it might help to handle them with small silicon tongs.)

Prepare a 13" oval baking dish with a spritz of cooking spray and then spread the bottom with 1/4 c. of marinara sauce. 

To prepare the lasagne rolls, spread 1 Tbsp. of marinara sauce across each lasagne noodle. On one end, spread a dollop of the cheese mixture over half the length of the noodle, sprinkle over with cooked ground turkey. (Divide the fillings up equally between each lasagne roll.)

Carefully roll each lasagne noodle up starting with the filled side. Gently transfer to the prepared baking dish with the open side down. Lay the lasagne rolls snugly side by side into the baking dish.

When the lasagne rolls are all placed in the dish, cover with the remaining marinara sauce and then sprinkle and cover thoroughly with the remaining grated cheeses. 

Place the baking dish on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet before placing in the oven. Bake in the heated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly on top.

Allow lasagne rolls to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. I suggest serving alongside a good quality bread and a big ol' glass of wine! Yum.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wet and Wild!

Wet Burritos with Pulled Pork
Remember that delicious ton of Kahlua Pig I whipped up a couple of days ago? Well, let's call this Pork Part II. Slow cooked pork shoulder is a fantastic building block recipe - use some for now, freeze the rest for later. What could be better for busy cooks with mouths to feed? My sweetie and I picked out our Christmas tree last night, but before we had time to decorate, I had to run off back to work to administer an evening final exam. The only thing that made the wait for dinner and holiday fun was knowing that the smoky meat was ready and the burritos were a snap to put together! Truth be told . . . decorating was delayed for another night as we dove into dinner and a rousing round of Borderlands 2! The tree can wait . . . we have plenty of leftovers to sustain us!

- 3 c. cooked shredded Kahlua Pig   
- 10 burrito-sized flour tortillas
- 2 c. cooked white rice
- 1 14 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed
- 1 jar salsa verde
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1/2 c. chopped pickled jalapenos
- 2. c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp. cumin, divided
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper
- 3 c. shredded pepper jack cheese
- guacamole and salsa for serving

Spritz a 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray, set aside and heat oven to 350˚F. Toss together rice with jalapeno peppers, 1 Tbsp. cumin, chili powder, chopped cilantro, and cardamom. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Make sure rice is well coated.

In a separate bowl, toss together shredded pork with remaining cumin so that is evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

One at a time, assemble burritos. Sprinkle each with an equal portion of rice, beans, shredded pork, cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. Tuck in edges and roll tightly into a small burrito. Arrange burritos tightly side-by-side in the prepared baking dish.

Pour salsa verde evenly over the burritos then sprinkle with the shredded pepper jack cheese. Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes until the burritos are cooked through and the cheese is gooey and melted on top.

Allow burritos to rest five minutes before serving. Top with extra sour cream, guacamole, and salsa to serve! So delicious!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Island Flair

Pulled Pork Variations (Kahlua Pig Pizza)
One of the reasons I love my job is because I meet so many amazing students from all over the world. Troy, the most laid back guy I've ever met, comes to us from Hawaii. Along with his charmingly chill personality, he has also brought a recipe he calls "Kahlua pig" into my world. This salty, juicy treat is a fantastic building block for a number of recipes. Pork shoulder is a very inexpensive meat and this is one of the easiest recipes I've every made. Added bonus . . . I came home after work greeted by the delicious smells of smoked pork! Yum!

- 5-6 lb. pork shoulder
- 1 c. chicken broth or water
- sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- 1/4 c. barbecue sauce
- 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 lb. refrigerated pizza dough
- 1 c. diced pineapple chunks
- ground pepper
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Pour water or chicken broth into slow cooker. Rub the pork shoulder mean down with sea salt. Be generous - get salt into all the nooks and crannies of the meat. Lay the pork shoulder into the slow cooker with the fatty side down. Pour liquid smoke over the meat.

Turn the slow cooker onto medium heat, cover, and cook for 6-8 hours until the meat is cooked through and extremely tender. Turn heat down and shred meat with forks.

This recipe makes a HUGE amount of meat. Enough for this recipe and several others. Stay tuned for Kahlua pig recipes to come this week.

Set pizza dough out to rest for 20-30 minutes before making pizza.

Heat oven to 425˚ F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Meanwhile, combine cheeses, cilantro, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Toss together until well blended.

Shape pizza dough into a 14-16" round and place on the baking sheet. Top with barbecue sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Toss together 1 c. shredded prepared Kahlua pig with 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Sprinkle pork evenly over the cheese layer on the pizza then top with pineapple chunks.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust begins to turn golden brown around the edges. Allow pizza to rest 5 minutes before slicing! Yum!