"Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

~ Faux California Reuben Sandwich ~

In our home, we eat what tastes good.  We strive to produce healthy meals, without compromising the taste of a dish.   By keeping dishes simple and fresh, meals are bound to satisfy.

When I take the classics and create dishes or desserts, that fit our taste and goals, I usually end up with what I call:  Faux Foods.  Foods that are similar to the 'classics', but with a style of our own.  We like them, and that is what counts.

Here is one such 'Faux Food':  The Faux California Reuben (or Ruben) Sandwich
Nota Bene:  I do not use any secret sauce or Thousand Island Dressing...you can, but then it wouldn't be our Faux California RS.  Don't get me wrong, we like the sauce, too, but this tastes perfect without the sauce (or without the Swiss cheese).  I think the grilled bread keeps better and the pepper-jack cheese flavor is enhanced, without drowning the cheese in sauce.  Besides, I am not a big Swiss cheese fan.  If it has Swiss cheese, bring on the secret sauce.

The Ingredients:

Dark Rye Bread (or Marble if we can find it)
Pastrami from the deli
Hot Pepper Jack Cheese (or Mild Cheddar for one child)

Step One:

Heat sauerkraut in microwave or stove-top.
Meanwhile, butter one side of rye bread.  Place bread, butter side down on hot griddle (350 - 400).

Step Two:
Layer pastrami, cheese & warm sauerkraut on top of bread.  Place second slice of bread on top, buttered side up.

Step Three:
After a minute or two, carefully flip over sandwich and grill until second side is toasted to deliciousness.  It is best to enjoy this sandwich warm, right off the grill.

This grilled FCRS goes well with a side salad of green butter & red leaf with chopped gala apples & a nice vinaigrette drizzled on top.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

~ Tuna Balls ~

This quick & easy recipe was shared by Jennifer over at Catholic Inspired.  I added a few new ingredients to the recipe, to fit our family's taste.  I made both large size servings and smaller ones, to use on a salad or to eat alone.

You will probably find that you have most of the ingredients on hand, in your pantry & refrigerator.  If you are missing an item, you can easily substitute or even omit...as I see it, this recipe is very family friendly in many ways.

2 (24 oz) cans of Tuna, drained (or 6 5 oz cans) (I use tuna in water)
3/4 cup Sour Cream (or ranch dressing, mayonnaise...)
3 Eggs
1 cup Bread Crumbs (or crushed corn flakes, saltine crackers...)
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS that I added to the original recipe:
2 Green Onions, sliced
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
dash of Kosher Salt
dash of Pepper

Step One:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together, making sure the tuna pieces are crushed well. Add salt & pepper to mixture, blend.
Step Two:
Roll the mixture into balls; I found you can vary the sizes to use either in salad or just-pop-them-in-your- mouth-size. It did not effect the cooking time significantly.  Place rolled tuna balls onto well greased cookie sheet.  The original recipe also adds that you can press the mixture into a 13x9 inch greased pan if pressed for time.
Step Three:
Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes.  Tuna balls should be browned and cheese should be bubbling.  The exterior is lightly crisped and the interior is soft.  Serve warm.

Serving Info:
Makes about 50 - 100 balls (depending on the size).  Goes great with ranch dip on the side; over a bed of greens & sprinkled with toasted almond slices, drizzle with a vinaigrette and top with fresh Parmesan cheese...I will bet they taste great with some marinara sauce on some pasta!  These can be refrigerated and served cold, too.

Again, this recipe really leaves room to adjust & substitute ingredients, which I love, because I can make this even if I don't have everything on hand.  But more importantly, my family loves these savory treats.

Co-Hosted by:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

~ Succulent & Savory Pulled Pork ~

I often forget to utilize my slow cooker.  I am sometimes put off when using certain meats because there is usually some searing or pre-cooking prior to placing it into the crock pot...which defeats the purpose. 
I just want to dump everything into the cooker and go.  Well, here is the best, easiest, and tastiest pulled pork recipe, using a slow cooker, that I have ever used.  My children and husband love it! 

I found the recipe through CHOW recipes.  I changed it slightly because I didn't have all the ingredients at the time.

What you will need:
2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced  (I only use one)
4 garlic Cloves, thinly sliced (I omitted, because I didn't have any on hand)
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock/broth
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (packed)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, add more if needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4 1/2 - 5 pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (aka pork butt), remove any twine of netting.

2 cups barbecue sauce (optional - I don't think you need the BBQ sauce at all)

Step One:  Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the chicken broth/stock.

Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon on a plate (or bowl).

Pat the pork dry with paper towels.  Cover the pork, entirely, with the spice mixture.  Now place the spiced pork on top of the onions.  Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours (on high), or 8 to 10 hours (on low).  Depending on your cooker, the time may be significantly less.  It only took about 5 hours to cook my pork (on high for the first 3 hours, then on low for the remaining 2 hours.

Step Two:  Turn off the slow cooker and remove and discard the bone (if your pork has one).  The recipe says to remove the pork to a cutting board and strain the onion mixture from the slow cooker; returning the solids to the slow cooker (setting aside the strained liquids).  But I just keep the pork as is, and use a perforated spoon when serving.  Your choice.

Step Three:   Using 2 large forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.  If you have removed the meat to a cutting board, return the shredding meat to the slow cooker.  You can add BBQ sauce at this point - but I say eat as is, the flavor is AWESOME.  You can spoon any fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened (again, I omitted this step and just left everything in the cooker).  One less thing to wash and the pork is OH SO MOIST.

Finale:  Spoon over steamed rice, wrap in tortillas, create a pulled pork sandwich with a slice of slightly melted cheese on top...or even place on a bed of greens and eat as a main salad.  This is really good pork!

Servings:  This is such a wonderful and EASY meal to throw together in the morning or afternoon and have ready for dinner.  This amount serves our family of five with several variations of meals.  So the meat goes a long way. I have also substituted the pork with beef.  Very good as well.  As I mentioned above, I omitted the garlic and the flavor was delicious, still.