Category Archives: Entree

Wiener Casserole

This dish is much like the Frankfurter Bake; they are both pasta and wiener dishes.  When I took this casserole out of the oven, the first aroma that met my nose was the cooked bell pepper.  I like that smell, and love stuffed peppers. I think this dish is milder than the frankfurter dish; it is probably due to the mustard and brown sugar used in the frankfurter dish. In my mind, either dish is a simple, easy-to-make casserole that you will enjoy. And because they have both your meat and pasta, they are a good base for your meal.

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Wiener Casserole

  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb. wieners
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon dried, minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook macaroni as package directs. Cut wieners into 1″ chunks. Chop bell pepper into 1/2″ dice. Mix together well the cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion, and mustard; Mix in the macaroni, wieners, and bell pepper. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake 30 minutes.

If I have any hints for this casserole, it would do with the mixing of the sauce. The cream cheese is difficult to break up, and I was getting a sore arm using the whisk, so I took out the hand-held mixer and used electricity to do the mixing in just a few minutes.

The other place I would watch is if your cooking of the macaroni gets ahead of your other preparations. I noticed on the macaroni package that it suggests tossing the drained macaroni with a small amount of oil if it isn’t to be used immediately. I should have done that. Mine sat in the colander while I was working on the sauce, and it stuck together; it broke up easy enough when I incorporated it with the rest of the ingredients, so it isn’t really a problem, just an alert.

The recipe is remiss in that it doesn’t state a baking dish size; I chose my 9 x 13 inch dish, and it seems to be correct. I also sprayed the cooking dish with cooking spray; I don’t know if that is really necessary but I chose to use some of the information from the Frankfurter Bake casserole dish as hints for this dish.

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When I served this casserole, it did not stick together tightly as the frankfurter dish did, and so required spooning out a serving rather than cutting and lifting the serving. I suspect part of that is the macaroni is smaller than the noodles in the frankfurter dish, and the noodles then stick together better. But of course, the gluten in the flour and the butter would tend to make a tighter dish also. However, later as I was preparing the left-overs for the freezer/refrigerator, the pasta had stuck together and I was able to cut the casserole and lift the servings into my storage pieces.

Frankfurter Bake

The taste of brown sugar, mustard and cheese coming together is enjoyable. I think this simple pasta entrée is quite tasty and so simple to make. I found the hardest part was getting the water to boil for the pasta. Once I cooked the pasta, the rest came together quickly and easily.

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Frankfurter Bake

  • 8 oz medium egg noodles
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 oz. package weiners, sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large kettle, cook noodles as label directs. Drain and return to kettle. Stir in Parmesan cheese, milk, butter, flour and salt. Mix well and then pour into greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

In a bowl, combine weiners, brown sugar, mayo and mustard. Spoon evenly over the noodle mixture.

Bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. (If made ahead and refrigerated, bake 45 minutes)

My comments on the ingredients and method are very few. First, I think the butter should be cut into small pieces so it melts easier when it hits the hot noodles. In fact, I would change the order of adding ingredients to the hot noodles to make the milk – which is cold- the last ingredient after the butter has melted.

To grease the baking dish, I used a heavy coating of the cooking spray, and not a hard fat like shortening or butter.

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Because the recipe is so simple, there is not much to discuss about making it. I think there are only a couple places where you could change things up and make your own version of Frankfurter Bake. One would be the cheese; rather than just the same old Parmesan that comes in the plastic bottle, you might try a fresher cheese to strengthen the flavor- maybe something like an Asiago cheese. The other place I see an option is with the mustard; I have several kinds in the refrigerator, and chose to use the “zesty brown” variety; maybe the “hot and sweet” mustard would give the dish more zing. Or maybe even the Grey Poupon would be interesting.

Zucchini Hash and Eggs

My neighbor Jill Swain gave me the idea for this recipe; she stopped over the other day and I gave her a zucchini and asked if she had any recipes for it. She first mentioned Zucchini Bread which we already have. Then she suggested zucchini with eggs; she said “Breakfast for supper is also good”.

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I talked it over with daughter Mindy and decided that we should keep the eggs separate from the hash until after we have cooked them. That way, you can fix your eggs however you like them. We also started calling the fixings a “hash”; I had to look that word up, and it originally meant any combination of chopped foods The idea of a hash has changed over time. More modernly, the idea of a hash has come to imply an inclusion of chopped meat with the other ingredients. This recipe is right on the edge of those definitions since it allows you to include bacon, or ham- any of the breakfast meats. But to be a zucchini hash, it has to include chopped zucchini.

The reason we decided to separate the eggs from the hash while cooking is so people that like runny eggs can still have those on top of the hash, and let them ooze down through the hash. Also the separation allows you to make an omelet with the hash inside. If you want to stir scrambled eggs into the hash, you can also do that.

That all said, it is difficult to write a recipe for the hash; if you are adding meat into your hash, it has to be sauted first. However if you are not using bacon, you might need to add a Tablespoon of oil in which to saute the ingredients. I will give you ideas, but you must feel free to do everything your own way. Add ingredients, delete ingredients, just have fun.

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Zucchini Hash with Eggs

Jill Swain, Mindy Crary

Per Serving:

  • 1 Tablespoon of oil unless you are using bacon or sausage
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped breakfast meat e.g. bacon or ham or sausage
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green pepper – Japapeno or Bell or …
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 or 2 cooked eggs – cooked as you like them

Saute the meat and vegetable ingredients; combine with the cooked eggs.

I used jalapeno pepper for one ingredient, and I like my eggs with runny yolks. To cook my eggs, I break them into the fry pan, add a little water to make steam, and put a lid on the pan. I have a clear lid, and I let the eggs cook until the glair around the yolk has turned white; at this point, the covering over the yolks has also started to turn white. Perfect eggs for me; the whites are not tough, and the yolks are still runny.

Viva la Difference Zucchini Casserole

We have had this recipe a long time, and it is one to which we go back quite often. It is good, and has all the ingredients for a meal. And it only takes about an hour from start to serving.
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As you can see from the credit line, it was originally published by the San Diego power utility way back in 1975. I am beginning to think that some food ideas do happen at specific times; it seems like some of the older recipes did use the Minute Rice more than we see now days.

Viva la Difference Zucchini Casserole

(San Diego Gas and Electric, 1975)

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
  • 1 1/2 lbs. zucchini, cut into 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 10 oz. can cream of celery or cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2″ casserole, or two 8 x 8 x 2″ casseroles.

Saute together until browned the beef and onion. Remove from heat and add rice, garlic salt, and oregano.

Prepare and have ready each separately so they can be layered, the zucchini, cottage cheese, soup and cheddar cheese.

In the greased casserole, layer the ingredients as follows:

  • Place half the zucchini mixture in bottom
  • Cover with beef mixture
  • Spoon over the cottage cheese
  • Place the remaining zucchini over the top evenly
  • Spread the soup over all
  • Sprinkle with the cheese

Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbling hot.


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I chose to use the to 8 x 8 casseroles so that I could freeze one to have later.

I was surprised that although it seemed like a lot of zucchini after I had sliced it all, I seemed to be short zucchini for making two layers. I think the hint I have is that you don’t want to work to fit the zucchini tightly like a mosaic. Since the pieces are different sizes, it is hard to judge how much is half of the total.
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While the recipe calls for either cream of celery or cream of chicken soup, that might be a modification that Marlys made for me; I think you could use cream of mushroom soup. I have trouble digesting mushrooms, and so Marlys has modified a lot of recipes to eliminate the mushrooms in favor of something more neutral.

Papa McBryde Chili

Marlys loved to make her Chili Beans. I looked at that recipe, and felt it was a bit much for the first time, especially when she also had Papa McBryde’s Chili recipe. I found this recipe to be simple, easy to make, and it is scalable to half size without much work.

Papa McBryde was Marlys’s paternal grandfather.
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Papa McBryde Chili

  • 2 lb. hamburger, coarse ground
  • 2 package chili mix envelopes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 32 oz. diced tomatoes (canned)
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 32 oz. pinto beans (optional)

Brown hamburger and onion. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer at least an hour.

In researching this recipe, it becomes apparent that it is scalable. The recipe calls for 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 packages of Chili mix powder, etc. – about two of everything except the onion and bell pepper, and those can easily be cut in half.

I used red bell pepper to try to add some visual appeal to the chili. Perhaps next time, I would use half red and half green; I think the visual component would be enhanced with a bit of green showing through.

There are a multitude of different chili powder mixes in the stores now; I chose to use the McCormick Original figuring this was probably historically the one that was available way back when. I was surprised to find that there was not much heat in the final chili product using the “original”; I would like things with just a bit more spice, and would look at the “hot” chili powder mixes next time. I am not ready to add fresh jalapenos to the recipe although that seems like an interesting option.

Although the recipe isn’t explicit about stirring the pot while it is simmering, my intuition says that anytime we simmer for an hour or more, we should stir the pot about every 10 minutes to ensure nothing has sunk to the bottom and is burning. Marlys taught me to do that when we were simmering the Mexican Soup.

While the pinto beans are shown as an option, I did include the beans in the batch of chili I made.
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And as usual, we find inflation changing the weight of the canned goods, and I found it hard to get the exact measure of hamburger. My hamburger came in packages that were more like 1 1/4 pounds, and the tomatoes were 14.5 ounces per can, and the pinto beans were 15 ounces per can. So we don’t exactly duplicate the recipe, but we do the best we can without being foolish.

Foil Fowl

There is more to Foil Fowl than will first be apparent. To start, it is a simple, easy way to bake a chicken breast and have it moist. And while it is designed for the person cooking as one, the ideas and concepts easily expand to cooking for a family.
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The concept is that you make a sealed package of ingredients, bake it, and when it is done, you open the package and serve the cooked ingredients. It is a very simple matter to make multiple packages if you are cooking for more than yourself. And, if there are quite a few people eating, you can make the whole recipe in a covered casserole dish and then divide it up at the table.

Foil Fowl

  • chicken breast meat (raw, skinned and boned)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushroom slices (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoon finely minced onion (or dried onion flakes)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced celery
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter dotted on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare one foil piece for each serving (12″ x 18″ heavy duty foil).
Place a chicken breast in middle of foil. Splash each breast with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Place vegetables on top. Finally, dot the top with butter.
(To reduce calories, we use spray butter; in that case, butter goes on the breast just after the lemon juice).

Fold the opposite ends of the foil over the food so that the ends meet. Turn up the edges, forming a 1/2″ fold. Double fold and press the edges together tightly to seal, allowing some space for heat circulation and expansion. Seal each end, using the same technique. Place the foil packets on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, prepare noodles (about 3 oz. per serving) or rice.

Remove chicken packets from oven; cut an X in top of each packet. Fold the foil back. Place a chicken piece over each serving of noodles/rice and spoon the accumulated juices and vegetables over the top.

A variation on this is to cook all the chicken breasts in a covered baking dish; use foil as a cover if the dish doesn’t have a tight fitting cover.
Bake for about 1 hour.

The recipe uses a mirepoix; that is the French term for a combination of the basic aromatic vegetables – onion, celery and carrot- usually in the ratio of 2:1:1. You could as easily use the Italian version which is a soffritto consisting of onion, garlic and celery, or even the Cajon / Creole “holy trinity” which is onion, celery and bell pepper.
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The mirepoix is just the starting point of flavoring the meat. The recipe adds mushrooms, and you could add wine, or any other flavor you would like. One of the good reasons for using the individual packages is that Marlys loved mushrooms, and I have a problem digesting them. So I avoid mushrooms. With the individual packages Marlys could add the mushrooms to her package and omit them from mine. I tend to add extra carrots to replace the mushrooms – what we call Errol’s orange mushrooms.

Generally, I figure that a chicken breast is about 8 ounces; I like to use about 4 ounces of meat in a serving so we would normally cut the chicken breast into two pieces, giving us each a 4 ounce serving.
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And while the packages are cooking, there is plenty of time to make a side dish of rice or pasta. I prepared 3 ounces of farfalle – bow tie noodles and then put the content of the foil fowl package right on top of the pasta. I always have a problem with deciding how much rice to make; I know the expansion factor is about 3- 1 cup of raw rice makes 3 cups of cooked rice. I probably need to cook a couple tablespoons of raw rice in about 1/3 cup of water. I guess an easier solution is what my sister does, which is to make a lot of rice, and freeze it then take out however much you desire.

Lasagna

If you like lasagna, you will like this recipe. Actually, it is the Italian Sauce that is the key, and you can even use it on spaghetti as a sauce. But, this is about the lasagna. It is good. This is one recipe Marlys collected that has been requested the most by others.
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One of the good things about lasagna is that it is a good leftover meal. Recently, when I was visiting my daughter, I made the recipe and took the lasagna with me. Then, each night, we would cut ourselves pieces, heat them in the microwave, and enjoy our supper. One friend that makes this recipe complains that she never has leftovers.

Jackie worked with Marlys in San Diego, and was her matron-of-honor at our wedding.
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Lasagna

(Jackie Bataitis 1963

  • 1 recipe Italian Sauce -see below
  • 9 lasagne noodles, cooked as package directs and rinsed with cold water
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese

In a deep 9 x 13″ pan, layer the ingredients as follows:

  • 1/4 the sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • 1/2 the mozzarella
  • 1/2 the ricotta
  • 1/2 the parmesan
  • 1/4 the sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • 1/2 the mozzarella
  • 1/2 the ricotta
  • 1/2 the parmesan
  • 1/4 the sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • rest of sauce
  • extra parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes
(1 hour if it has been made ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
Remove from oven. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Italian Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lb. ground beef (or 1/2 lb. pork sausage + 1 1/2 lb. ground beef)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 18 oz. tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 bay leaves or sweet basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoons chopped parsley, fresh or dried

Brown meat in hot oil. Add rest of ingredients, stirring well to blend.

Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 2 hours (3 hours if doubling recipe).

Remove bay leaves before using or freezing.


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Marlys bought a special pan in which to make the lasagna; it is deeper than most 9×13 pans.

The problem I have when I make the lasagna is that I never can determine when I have used 1/4 of the sauce, and I always feel I run out of sauce before I finish the top layer. I was told to not worry, the whole package comes together and cooks – bubbling up through the noodles. All I can say is to put a minimum of sauce on the bottom of the pan, and don’t be too generous when you sauce the layers.

One of the tricks I remember from watching Marlys make the recipe is in getting the cheese into the lasagna. You can’t spread riccota in the pan; it just doesn’t work. So, what you do instead is to butter the mozzarella slices, and let the cooking move the cheeses around. Slice the mozzarella thin; you will probably need 18 to 20 slices.

And for the parmesan cheese, we just use the everyday type like in plastic bottles put out by Kraft.
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Some of my nerdiness shows up in the noodles; 9 noodles means you have 3 noodles per layer, and they fit fairly nicely. but they are just a hair short, so I cook a 10th noodle, and cut it to fill the small space at the end of the whole noodle. Again, everyone tells me that care isn’t necessary.

Meat Loaf

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Meat Loaf is a classic way to serve meat, whether it is for a sandwich or for an entree. This simple recipe gives you a lot of choices as to how big your loaf will be, allowing you to freeze some of the meat loaf for another day. While the pictures show the meat loaf as a sandwich or a warm entree, I love to pick at cold meat loaf without making it into anything except a snack.

Meat Loaf

This recipe can be cooked as a single loaf, or as multiple smaller loafs. We have
successfully cooked it as 3 smaller loafs in 2 ½ x 3 ¾ x 7 ½ inch loaf pans
and as 3 logs in a 9 x 13’ baking pan..
For a single larger loaf, use a standard bread pan.

  • 1 lb. Hamburger or so; packages seem to be 1.25 lbs now days. We use (85/15)
  • ½ lb sausage- not flavored; just good old country sausage (Ground Pork)
  • 1 pkg Onion Soup mix (see Lipton’s)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz. size)
  • ½ cup Quaker Oats (quick 1-minute type) make it a generous ½ cup
  • 1 egg.
  • Salt and Pepper;

Mix everything together, make it into log(s) and put into pan(s) that have been sprayed.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

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As I said, the recipe is fairly simple; there are only a few ingredients and there are only a couple issues you need to consider. The first is whether you get your hands dirty doing the mixing, or whether like Marlys, you dump everything into a gallon freezer baggie and mix it there. The second decision is how many logs of meat loaf you want to make.
In this case, I am making three smaller loafs; I will freeze two by just putting them in gallon freezer bags.
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Marlys didn’t know how much salt and pepper to use! As a Nerd who needs explicit directions, that was a problem. I have made Meat Loaf several times now, and think a pinch of each is enough. You don’t want to get it too salty, and people can add salt when they eat it if they feel it needs more salt.
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Meat Loaf is like any meat; once you remove it from the heat, it needs a few minutes to solidify its juices. If you cut it too soon after removing it from the oven, it will tend to crumble. For the logs that I have frozen, I like to slice them while they are still quite cold, and then reheat the slices if I am having Meat Loaf as an entry. And while I show the Meat Loaf with a baked potato, you could also serve it with mashed potatoes made from potato buds.

Don’t ignore this tasty meat, and enjoy it both as a simple sandwich, and as an entree.

Pork-Pecan Tacos with Guacamole

Pork-Pecan TacosWhile this recipe appears to be complex, I encourage you to break it down into several distinct pieces that can each be accomplished separately and almost with no relationship to other steps. I will be guiding you through the steps with hints and suggestions as you will find below.

Pork Pecan Tacos with Guacamole

  • 2 lb. marinated center-cut pork loin filet (onion and garlic flavor)

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup reserved broth from the cooked pork loin

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste (divided)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped or miniprocessed
  • 1 pasilla or poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

  • 8 – 10 flour tortillas
  • Guacamole (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1) Place pork in shallow pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and continue baking for another hour. During the last hour of cooking, check to make sure there is liquid surrounding the pork. If it begins to dry, add water, 1/4 cup at a time. This broth will be used later on.

2) Let the meat stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove meat from pan, reserving
3/4 cup of the liquid. Cut the meat into 4 to 6 pieces; with clean hands or 2 forks shred the meat into a large bowl.

3) In a heavy skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the pork with the garlic briefly, about 1 minute. Add the reserved broth and simmer about 10 minutes. Taste and season as desired with additional salt.

4) In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat and stir in the pecans and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and saute for 1 minute; add the chilies and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir half this pecan mixture into the pork mixture. The rest should be sprinkled over the top when serving. (optional). Instead of green jalapeno peppers, red jalapenos could be used to add color to the meat.

To serve, heat the flour tortillas. (stack in pie pan, cover with foil and put in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.) Spread guacamole on each tortilla and fill with the shredded pork.

GUACAMOLE:

  • 2 ripe avacados
  • 1 medium-size ripe tomato
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • lemon juice
  • garlic salt

Mash avacados in a small bowl. Stir in chopped tomato and onion. Season with lemon juice and garlic salt.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Those are the recipes; as you can see, I have broken the ingredient list down into subsets that go with the directions. Now I am going to discuss each step that might use a enlarged explanation.

  • Buying the meat: It once was that we could buy a 2 pound pork loin in a package with a garlic-onion marinade. I haven’t seen it in the marketplace recently. They are doing many other marinades. You can try one of those, and I doubt if it will make a big difference. I also note that inflation has hit on the pork loin in marinade; they use to be 2 pounds but now seem to be only 1 to 1 ½ pounds.If you need to buy a non-marinade pork loin, then I would recommend talking to the butcher. There is something called silver skin on pork that needs to be cut off; it is tough. It might not make any difference since we will be shredding the meat, but what the heck- let the butcher with his expertise take it off. I did one such pork loin, and learning about the silver skin is not worth the effort. You have to first identify it, then slip a sharp, flexible knife (boning knife) under it and peel it away from the muscle/meat.
  • Marinade: If you need to make a marinade, then here is a pointer to a very simple one on Cooks.com.
    Garlic-Onion Marinade
    It has soy sauce, fresh onion, fresh garlic, sugar, ground ginger, and oil. I have used this marinade a couple times and it seems to be easy and straight- forward. My only hint would be to be certain the sugar gets dissolved in the soy sauce. You need to plan ahead if you need to do the marinade; it needs to soak for a day or two. I put the pork loin and marinade in a large freezer bag and put it in the refrigerator to do its thing.
  • Roasting the pork: The package will probably say to roast for 45 -60 minutes. Forget it. Marlys says to roast for 2 ½ hours, and explicitly to tent it after 1 ½ hours, and to continually add liquid. If you don’t roast the meat long enough, it is difficult to shred, so please follow Marlys’s directions, and remember to add the liquid so there is minimal burning.
    No matter how hard you try, the bottom of the roasting pan is going to get some burned sugar on it. I recommend that you use a glass or ceramic pan to ease clean-up. And, a secret my sister Rachael taught me is to get a scouring powder called Bar Keeper’s Friend to help with the clean-up.
  • Caramelizing the Pecans: Although the directions don’t say to do this until after you have the shredded meat in the skillet sautéing, I would do this while the meat is roasting so you know you have the time. Of course, everyone is afraid of fresh peppers- don’t be. Wear rubber gloves if you think they will irritate the skin- I don’t need to protect my hands. And the peppers will loss most of their heat between the preparation- removing the seeds and veins- and the cooking. Where I would suggest being careful is getting rid of the seeds, stems, etc. I notice that when I put them down the garbage disposal, there is a back gassing that will cause me to cough and sputter if I catch it in my face, so don’t be over the garbage disposal when you wash the pepper debris down it. And, now that you have the oil of the peppers on your hands and fingers, don’t touch your face! Wash your hands with soap before proceeding.
    If you know that you will want a little more pepper heat in the finished meat, keep a couple tablespoons of the jalapeno aside now, and then sprinkle it on the meat as a final touch.
  • Shredding the pork: This is not a difficult task. What is happening is that with the two forks, you are pulling across the grain of the meat to separate the fibers of the grain. Cutting the roast into pieces that are a couple inches long makes certain that the fibers are not longer than that. Have fun!
  • Guacamole: I like to seed and juice the tomatoes before cutting them up for the guacamole so that the juice doesn’t get into the guacamole. I just think it makes a nicer sauce.

To convert the tacos into a fiesta, you might want to open a can of refried beans and heat them. When you serve them, sprinkle the top with grated cheese. Some people like a little lettuce with their taco, so you might want to shred a small bowl of lettuce as an accompaniment. And if you want even more of the taste of Mexico, you could also set the table with some sliced ripe olives, and maybe some salsa. I would also include on the table some sour cream; if anyone feels the pepper heat is too much, they can use a little sour cream to cool their mouth and reduce the heat. Don’t use water! It spreads the heat.

There are at least two ways to make/eat a taco; first is to roll the meat and other ingredients into the tortilla. In this case, fold up the bottom of the tortilla first so the stuffings don’t fall out. The other way is to tear the tortilla into pieces (4?) and then put just a little bit of the various ingredients on the piece and fold it only enough to get it into the mouth.

If you make the guacamole ahead of time, or have some left after the meal, you need to cover it with a piece of plastic wrap pressed down onto its surface so no air can get to it. Air causes the avocado to turn ugly brown, and very unappetizing.

Any left-over meat can be reheated in the microwave; and individual tortillas can also be warmed in the microwave.

Enjoy, Errol

Boiled Dinner

This recipe is for an easy Boiled Dinner that is not like most Irish or New England Boiled Dinners. The recipe shows you how to make a Boiled Dinner without the sauerkraut or cabbage; those seem to turn a lot of people off. I think this is a good recipe for the tyro cook to learn and add to their repertoire.

The recipe in itself has an interesting history. We have had Boiled Dinner fairly often in the past. One day, after she left home for college, daughter Jenn called and wanted to know how to make Boiled Dinner. It was then that I discovered there was no recipe in Marlys’s Recipe Binder. Marlys gave Jenn instructions, and then Jenn wrote up this recipe for me to include in the Recipe Binders. This is the recipe as Jenn gave it to me, but I will comment about it and add my take on preparing it below.
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Boiled Dinner

(Jenn Crary)

  • potatoes, chopped in half or quarters
  • carrots, cut on an angle so pieces are around 2 inches
  • onion, whole pearl onions or one medium onion quartered
  • sausage- like kielbasa

Bring a large pot with about 2 inches of water to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots and onion to boiling water. Bring back to simmer and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add meat and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

An important factor in this meal is that you don’t need to worry about seasoning the food as you cook it. Instead, put a few condiments on the table and let each individual season their own meal. Now I like mild, creamy horseradish with my meat, and I like butter to melt over my potatoes and vegetables. Others might like mustard, or even catsup for the meat, and maybe sour cream for the potato. Just put the condiments on the table and let people do what they like.

This recipe can be made with almost any kind of encased meat- even hot dogs. We happen to like it with the kielbasa sausage. The kielbasa usually come at a weight of just under 1 pound; when Marlys and I got the sausage home, we would immediately cut it in half and freeze it as two meals- about 4 ounces per person per meal.

How much of each ingredient do you need? In general, I would use 3-5 ounces of each ingredient per person that will be eating dinner. Thus, cutting the kielbasa in half for two people allows about 3.5 ounces per person. I used 5 ounces of carrots, 4.5 ounces of new potato (red and Yukon Gold), and 3 ounces of onion per person in this demonstration. I had part of a yellow onion in the refrigerator and so used it instead of pearl onions.

While the recipe does not include green beans, I added 3 ounces per person because they are colorful, and I had them in the freezer. Being frozen, they only need to cook a couple minutes. I think the green beans work best if you cut them in half so they aren’t too long.

While Jenn’s recipe cooks everything at a simmer, I am the type that uses a heavy boil. Then, with things cut into bite-size pieces, it all cooks in about 15 minutes. So, I put everything except the green beans in the pot and boiled it hard for 15 minutes. I used a wok spider to take it all out of the boiling water and place it on the platter. I tented it with foil to keep it warm since I still had the beans to cook. I put the green beans in the boiling water, and as soon as it was boiling again, turned off the burner and let the beans sit in the hot water for 2 minutes. Now they were ready to come out and go onto the platter with everything else. That extra step might be enough to make you want to forget the beans.

If you don’t have a wok spider, you can use a colander in the sink and dump the pot of meat and vegetables into the colander to drain.

I hope you find this recipe easy to prepare and serve, and you enjoy it.
Errol