The Recipes

I didn’t get any pictures of these recipes. They simple got eaten up too quickly. When I make again, I will try to think ahead , take pictures, then update this page.

Brasher Pork
Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut up 3 pounds pork stew meat into small bite sized pieces. Dust generously with Cajun seasoning blend. Set aside. Dice 2 large yellow onions,. In a 1/3×4″ deep steam table pan, saute the onions in coconut oil for 20 minutes. Spread one third of the meat over the onions. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir to mix the steamed meat, onions and juices together. Spread another third of the meat over the cooked meat-onion mixture, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, mix together and spread the remaining third of the meat over the mixture, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Once all the meat is cooked, add 1 teaspoon garlic powder and then stir well to mix up. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, dissolve 3 tablespoons cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold water. Add to the meat-onion mixture to thicken the sauce up. Served on sub rolls with a couple sliced of Muenster cheese. Also tasted good with the sliced Gouda cheese.

Notes on the Leftovers: This froze well for me. I thawed it over night in the refrigerator. I heated up the pork mixture and served it over rice with steamed broccoli florets.

Town & Country Brussels Sprouts
Trim and clean 2 pounds fresh Brussels spouts. Split sprouts in half. If large sprouts, then quarter them. Set aside. Dissolve 1 teaspoon chicken base (Better Than Bouillon or similar chicken base) in 1/2 cup hot water. Coarsely chop 1 large yellow onion and add to a 1/3×4″ deep steam table pan. Slice 1 pound smoked sausage into bite sized slices. Add to the onions and cook, stirring often, over medium high heat until the sausage releases fat and the onions are lightly golden. Add the Brussels sprouts over the sausage mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup dried cranberries (Craisens) over the sprouts. Add the water and cover. Steam over medium to medium high heat, stirring often to prevent burning, until sprouts are tender. Remove lid and continue cooking off the liquid in the pan until reduced. Stir before serving to mix the pan juices with the mixture. Could serve over rice or egg noodles.

Notes: We ate this with no rice or noodles. Just ladled it onto a plate and sucked it down. It was tasty. And filling. And mostly gone. We were stuffed and happy. The dried cranberries added a nice touch to the dish. They did soften a little but still had that nice chew to them. Dried cranberries seem to pair up well with Brussels sprouts.

Pressure Cooked Apricot Pork
Cut 1-1/2 lbs boneless pork stew into bite sized pieces . Salt and pepper to taste. Brown in olive oil in pressure cooker. Remove meat from pan. Pour off drippings and excess fat. Do not remove fond (browned bits) on bottom of the pan. Deglaze with 1/4 cup white wine. Stir in 1/4 cup my homemade low sugar ketchup, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup faux Soy Vey teriyaki sauce, 1/4 cup apricot puree (Simply Fruit). Return meat to pot. Stir to coat with the sauce. Close cover securely; place pressure regulator on vent pipe. Bring cooker to full pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 15 minutes. The pressure regulator should maintain a slow steady low hissing sound or a rocking motion, depending on the style of weight used; adjust heat if needed to maintain pressure.

Notes: We had this over steamed broccoli. Would be good with brown rice and the steamed broccoli. The Simply Fruit was a tad too sweet for our taste. I think I need to try making my own puree with no additional sugar added. I think dried apricots are plenty sweet on their own. Below is the apricot puree recipe I will try for the next batch.

Apricot Puree – No Sugar Added
1 1/4 cups apricot nectar
1 6-ounce package dried apricots
Stir all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until mixture simmers. Cover and cook until apricots soften, about 6 minutes; cool. Transfer mixture to processor and puree until almost smooth (some apricot bits will remain). Refrigerate. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead.)

 Oven Baked Bacon

Baking and then freezing the cooked bacon is an easy and convenient way of freezing bacon. It’s already cooked before freezing, so it is convenient to use. I cut two strips in half and package them in a single package. This makes them convenient for sandwiches and for my favourite, Bacon Cheeseburgers. Wrapping them in foil means I can toss the foil pack on the grill rack to warm up.

I buy the 4lb packages of sliced bacon at Sam’s Club. This tends to be a very meaty bacon. I have two wire cooling racks that fit into my quarter sheet rimmed baking pans. Two pounds fill two sheets. I pre-heat the oven to 400F. While the oven is pre-heating, I line the baking sheets with parchment paper and place the wire racks on the paper. I separate two pounds of bacon and lay the strips out on the wire rack, being careful to not overlap them as they will stick together while cooking. Once the oven has heated up and the pans filled with bacon, I place the pans in the oven and bake them for 20-30 minutes. The wire rack allows the bacon dripping to collect in the bottom of the pan. Partway thru cooking, the pans need to be swapped (move top pan down to the bottom pan’s place and the bottom pan gets put in the top pan’s place). Once the bacon is cooked, I remove the pans and let the bacon cool until I can handle them. I fold each strip in half and cut them with a pair of kitchen shears. Then the two bacon strips (or four half strips) are placed on a foil sheet and wrapped up tightly. The foil packets are stored in a gallon sized ziplock freezer bag that has been dated and labeled. This is a bit messy so I wear a pair of nitrile gloves to prep the bacon and another pair for packaging. I collect the bacon drippings in a small canning jar with a labeled and dated lid. The packets of bacon and the bacon grease are stored in the freezer until needed. I end up with about 24 little packets of cooked ready-to-use bacon and about  1-1/3 cups of bacon grease. Cooked bacon can be frozen for up to 3 months. The parchment paper means I don’t have to spend a lot of time scrubbing the pans.

 

 

Make, Bake and Freeze Meatloaf

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup old fashioned oats,  1 finely chopped medium sized onion, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup milk. 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; stir to combine. The oatmeal will absorb some of the moisture from the mixture and start breaking down. Add 2lbs lean (90/10) ground beef and mix well with your hands. I find using nitrile gloves makes clean up easier. Shape into 3 equal loaves. Place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet if using 90/10. If using a fattier grind, use a greased broiler pan. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. If freezing, let cool , wrap and label. Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Reheat in microwave or oven.

Large Batch Make, Bake and Freeze Meatloaf

This is how I normally make meatloaf. I shape the loaves using a 2″ deep Ninth steam table pan. After baking the loaves, I freeze them on the same sheets that I cooked them on. Once firm, I place each loaf on a small piece of parchment paper and use my FoodSaver to vac seal them into plastic bags. To reheat, I tend to put the meatloaf, still in the vac sealed bag, into a pan of water and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling good, I turn the heat down to a simmer and I fix the rest of the meal. By the time the rest of the meal is ready, the loaf is hot and I open the bag up and tip out the loaf.

In a 10 qt Half steam table pan, combine 3 cups (280 grams) old fashioned oats,  2 cups (340 grams) finely chopped onion, 1-1/2 cup (385 grams) ketchup, 3/4 cup water, 1/3 cup dry milk powder, 6 lightly beaten eggs, 3 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper; stir to combine well. The oatmeal will absorb some of the moisture from the mixture and start breaking down. Add 6lbs lean (90/10) ground beef and mix well with your hands (gloved preferably). Once it is fully mixed, use scales to weigh out 1 pound of the meat mixture. You will end up with a little left over. Place loaves on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I tend to get 14 or so  1lb loaves out of this recipe. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. If freezing, let cool , wrap and label. I tend to save one loaf for supper and freeze the rest.

 

 

PIC_5023

Sausage & Cabbage Casserole

Make a roux by melting 1 tablespoon butter in a small pan (I used a 1/6 steam table pan). Stir in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Set aside. Pour 1 cup heavy cream into a small saucepan. As cream begins to boil, use a whisk to stir the roux into the cream. Continue stirring until sauce comes to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pour 2 cups water into a pan (I used a 1/3 x 2″ deep steam table pan that I also baked the casserole in). Add a bit of salt and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Bring to a boil. Add 1 pound coleslaw mix and cook for 4 or 5 minutes. Don’t overcook the cabbage. When you over cook cabbage, it releases sulphur compounds which makes the cabbage smell bad. The vinegar keeps the red cabbage in the slaw mix from bleeding and turning everything else pink. The cabbage will be a bit crisp still. Drain the water off. Return to the pan or pour into a ovenproof dish. Stir the white sauce and 1/2 pound cooked sausage (sliced up bratwurst links or crumbled bulk), mixing well. Smooth the mixture out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle 1 cup (4 oz) shredded Colby Jack cheese over the top. Cook at 300F for 20 minutes. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. This made two large servings.

 

Peach Cobbler in Mason Jars

Peach Cobbler in Mason Jars

Canned Peach Cobbler

This uses ingredients that I tend to always have on hand. The topping is more like a soft cookie than a crisp or a cake type cobbler. It makes about 10 (4 oz) mason jars that I can stick in the freezer. I thaw overnight and warm back up in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Grease 10 (4 oz) canning jars with butter or coconut oil. Place on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

Drain 3 (16 oz) cans of sliced peaches. Cut the slices into bite sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine 30g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour, 102g (1/2 c packed) brown sugar and 3g (1 tsp) ground cinnamon. Mix the dry ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Add the peaches and mix together until all the peaches are evenly coated. Scoop the peach mixture into the jars, filling them all evenly. Add any of the juices left in the bowl to the jars as well. A jar filler funnel works great to keep the rim clean. I just fill to the bottom of the funnel.

In a small bowl, combine 82g (1/2 cup) all purpose flour, (60 g) 1/2 cup granola cereal, 33g (3 Tbsp packed) brown sugar and stir to mix well. Add 1 stick melted butter. Stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon the topping over the peaches in the jars, dividing evenly amongst the jars. Smooth the topping out a little if needed.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the topping is done and slightly browned. Let cool. Wipe rims and either eat while warm or place lids on to store in freezer.

 

Make Ahead Lasagna
This is my favourite method of making lasagna. It’s great for traveling. I just make it the night before we leave and stick it in the refrigerator. When we get to where we are stopping for the night, I just pop it in the oven. After about an hour, we have a nice hot meal.

Cook and crumble 1 pound lean sausage or ground beef; drain well and set aside. Combine 2 eggs, 2 cups ricotta cheese (or large curd cottage cheese)
, and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning; set aside. Combine 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste and 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes; set aside. Shred 1 pound mozzarella cheese; set aside. Grease a 13X9X2 inch pan or casserole dish that will hold 3.5 litres (use glass or silicone as the acid in the tomatoes can discolour metal pans and may cause the sauce to taste metallic). Pour enough of the sauce in the bottom of the pan to cover the bottom. Place in order:

1 layer uncooked regular lasagna noodles  (you will use about 8 oz or so of noodles for the whole recipe… you can break the dry noodles to fit into the pan)
1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture
1/2 of the shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 of the meat
enough of the tomato sauce to cover

Repeat the layers in the same order one more time. Top with 1 layer of the uncooked noodles, the remaining meat and sauce to cover. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes.

Notes:
> Reheat leftover lasagna in 2 cup portions at 350F for 20 minutes.
> This can also be made in 2 loaf pans for small toaster ovens. When using loaf pans, double the amount of sauce made and divide between the two pans.

 

Make Ahead Sausage & Tortellini Casserole
This makes 8 servings. I buy refrigerated tortellini from Sam’s Club and keep it in the freezer. If you use the refrigerated kind, make sure you freeze it for a few days as this recipe requires it to be FROZEN.
Either make 3 cups of marinara sauce or use a jarred sauce; set aside. Shred 10 oz (2 1/2 cups shredded) mozzarella cheese. Place 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella in an airtight container and place in refrigerator. Set aside the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella. Remove casings from 1 1/4 pounds fresh Italian sausage. Slice and cook in a 10″ skillet until no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of an ungreased 3.5 litre casserole or 13X9X2″ pan. In the pan, arrange a single layer of frozen tortellini (from a 2 pound bag of cheese tortellini) over the sauce. Evenly pour another 1 cup of sauce over the tortellini. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the sausage over the sauce and then sprinkle the 1 cup mozzarella over the meat. Repeat the layers with the remaining tortellini, sauce and sausage. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours.When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake , uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with the reserved 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Manicotti
This makes about 6 servings. This is the easiest way I have found to make manicotti. I can never seem to fill the cooked tubes without tearing them into pieces. But with the uncooked noodles, I just put the filling into a pastry bag and pipe it into the hard shells. Please note that this takes a total of 4 1/2 cups marinara sauce. you can also use the big seashell shaped pasta but you may need more sauce to cover them completely.
Remove casings from 1 pound fresh Italian sausage; cook, breaking the meat up into pieces, until done; drain and set aside. Stir together 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta cheese and 2 eggs until blended. Stir the sausage into the cheese mixture  with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stuff into 12 uncooked manicotti shells. A pastry bag with a large tip makes this very easy, just pipe filling in from both ends of the shell. You can also put the filling into a plastic bag, snip one of the bottom corners off and pipe it in (be careful that you don’t cut too big of a hole in the bag). Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased 11X7X2″ baking dish. Arrange the stuffed shells in a single layer over the sauce. Pour 3 1/2 cups marinara sauce over the shells, covering shells completely. Cover dish with foil and chill at least 8 hours. Bake, uncovered, at 400F for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and bake 15 minutes more.

Mariner’s Delight
This is another dish that is made ahead. It’s a nice light meal that is great for the summer. You can make it the same day but it does taste much better when made the day before. Makes 4 servings.
Cook 1 pound rotini or shell shaped pasta according to directions on the package. Drain and return to pot; set aside. In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1/4 cup Italian style salad dressing. Add 1/4 cup finely minced onion and 2 teaspoon minced garlic; saute until tender. Add 2 pounds small, uncooked peeled-&-deveined shrimp, cooking just until pink. Add to the hot pasta. In the same skillet, heat 3 cups marinara sauce, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to boiling over medium high heat; reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Pour sauce over pasta and shrimp mixture. Add 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley. Toss until pasta is well-coated with sauced. Serve at room temperature with grated Parmesan cheese.
Marinara Sauce

Our favourite marinara sauce. This recipe is simple, fast and can easily be doubled. It can be thinned down a bit with water of broth. Makes 3 cups.In a 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, in 2 tablespoons olive oil, cook 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 small chopped onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 (14.5 oz) can undrained diced tomatoes, 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste, 2 teaspoons dried basil and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat to low, cover, cook 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
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