Category Archives: Pork Dishes

Tasty Tailgating Treats

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One of my favorite seasons is fall.  That hasn’t always been the case.  However, when my husband and I first started dating, I quickly learned that he enthusiastically waits all year for fall (and Christmas as well), and his passion quickly converted me to a fall-lover.  It might be that first bite into the crisp, tart Granny Smith while navigating between neat rows of an apple orchard set against the backdrop of a valley of auburns and golds, crimsons and ochres.  It might be the steaming mug of hot cocoa embraced by cool fingers, warming the body as much as a loved one sharing a quilt by the fireplace.  It could even be the pleasant tinkling of glasses and laughter ringing through an open window as friends exchange stories and tease each other over apple pie.  Whatever form fall takes each year, I’ve always enjoyed it.  One of life’s great joys is to find mystery and pleasure in even the smallest of things: a friend’s shining smile, the leaves turning colors, a warm touch, a nostalgia-inducing scent.  All of these gifts come at no cost, yet they are indeed gifts, and we must learn to appreciate them.

So, it was with great excitement that I joined my husband in anticipating fall, looking for small ways to appreciate the gifts we were given with the season.  We made apple pie and watched scary movies and went for walks around our village on crisp evenings.  To compliment all of the activities we had planned, I looked up some comfort food recipes, and I would like to share a few here that are perfect for tailgating.  In fact, I made the chili for my husband, my dad, and their friends when they all went to a college football game at West Point.  It got rave reviews and was counted as the “best chili” they ever had.  It’s so easy to make; I just put it in the slow cooker the night before, let it cook all night, and then transport it in a large bowl in a thermal bag to hold in the warmth.  Don’t forget the plastic spoons, styrofoam bowls, and napkins!

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Debdoozie's Blue Ribbon Chili*

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 pound Johnsonville® ground sausage
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1 (14oz) jar tomato sauce
    • 1 (8 ounce) jar chunky medium salsa
    • 4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix*
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
    • 1 (10oz) can diced tomatoes w/ diced jalapeños
    • 1 (15oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained
    • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
    • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
    • 1 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
    • 1 (8oz) package shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
    • 1 pint sour cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef, sausage, minced garlic, and onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired and spoon into slow cooker.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except cheese and sour cream). Mix well and heat on low for 3-10 hours.
  3. Top with cheddar cheese and sour cream and serve with cornbread.

*Adapted from this chili recipe and this chili seasoning recipe. 

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

 

 

 

 

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Another Look at Easy Meals…

This past month, I decided to take on Johnsonville’s challenge to substitute their sausage for any recipe that has six ingredients or less.  The recipe I found was so spectacular, I can’t believe it hasn’t been reviewed yet.  My husband said it was one of the best dinners he’s ever had, and I just had to agree!  Here it is:

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Apple and Sausage Grilled Cheese

Apple & Sausage Grilled Cheese*

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 slices rustic whole wheat bread
    • 2 thin slices aged Cheddar cheese
    • 2 thin slices Honeycrisp apple, or more to taste
    • 1/2 cup Johnsonville ground sausage, crumbled & cooked

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat a sandwich/panini press according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Set one slice of bread on a work surface. Top bread with 1 slice cheese, apple slices, sausage, and remaining 1 slice cheese. Place remaining bread slice on top.
  3. Cook sandwich in the preheated panini press until bread is lightly toasted and cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes.

My Review: We loved this! I used this recipe for Johnsonville’s “6 Ingredients or Less” challenge. I used a rustic boule of whole wheat bread and replaced the bacon with crumbled, cooked sausage meat. I also served it with a honey mustard dipping sauce. So good! The flavors are perfect! If you don’t have a panini press, just heat a skillet on medium and when it’s hot, put your sandwich down with another, smaller pan on top of it to press it down. Then, just put a heavy can on it to hold it. Flip the sandwich after 2-3 minutes (after it’s toasted nicely).

*Adapted from this recipe

If you can’t find the ground sausage in stores, you can easily make it from regular sausage links.  Just slice the sausage link lengthwise and remove the skin.  Then, crumble the meat.  Easy peasy.  See the picture below for a visual…

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Another great recipe is the sausage muffin cups which I’ve listed below.  It’s tasty and simple.  We enjoyed them for dinner, but they obviously can be eaten for breakfast too.

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Amazing Muffin Cups*

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

    • 12 links Johnsonville Original breakfast sausage
    • 3 cups frozen country style shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
    • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • chopped fresh chives or green onion

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare sausage according to package directions. cool slightly and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine hash browns, butter, salt and pepper; divide evenly into 12 greased muffin cups. Press mixture onto sides and bottom of muffin cups.
  3. Bake at 400F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, divide sausage pieces into muffin cups.
  4. In a bowl, combine eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with chives or onion. Return to oven, bake 13-15 minutes or until set. Serve.

My Review: These were delicious and very easy to make. The only change I made was to grate my own potatoes for the hashbrowns. They just need to be rinsed and wrung out once or twice, so that there isn’t too much moisture.

*Adapted from this recipe

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

Matters of the Heart: A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

I haven’t always been health-conscious with my food choices – after all, my favorite food is bacon! – but I have become increasingly aware of healthier options.  Losing a few pounds and toning up are some motivations for monitoring what goes into my mouth, but having a heart-healthy lifestyle is just as important.  In fact, my husband’s physician originally told him a few years ago that he would definitely need to start medication for his heart (and take it for the rest of his life), because several of his immediate family members have experienced heart issues.  But, we made several changes to our lifestyle, and the next time he went to the doctor, my husband was informed that he wouldn’t need to take the medication now, because his heart was much healthier.

Here are some ways we try to be heart-healthy in my household:

EXERCISE:  Cardio is incredibly important.  My husband runs outside during the warmer months and exercising inside during winter.  I have been running too.  Recently, my mother and I visited a running apparel store in Ridgefield, CT called Kilometers.  They measured my feet and analyzed my run.  (There’s a treadmill in the store.)  After spending a year with pain in my shins, I learned that my feet have high arches and that the pain is caused by my feet underpronating (feet leaning away from my body when my feet make contact with the ground).  The owner at Kilometers explained several ways to stop the pain in my shins from occurring, including exercises to do at my work desk and how to set my treadmill to the optimum speed/incline when I’m not running outside.  Of course having a good pair of running shoes will balance out my running so that I am not putting too much pressure on the outer edge of my foot.  I honestly cannot recommend Kilometers enough.  They were incredibly helpful and seemed to genuinely care about their customers.  Also, the new sneakers make me feel as though I’m running on air!

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FOOD:  Eating the right foods is just as important as exercise.  Portion control is important.  We need to eat until we are satisfied, not until we are full.  Over time, portion control becomes much easier, because regulating portions consistently trains the body to be satisfied with the right amount of food it needs.  In our home, we made additional changes to our diet.  In our main meals, we swapped junk food/sweets for fruits and vegetables, and we now drink water or seltzer with our meals instead of soda.  When we have grains (pasta, bread, etc…), they’re usually 100% whole wheat, and we are careful about the amount of sodium we consume.  Also, we eat more poultry than red meat.  Side note: chicken is one of the most versatile meats.  It can be cooked many different ways!  Some people also choose to take a fish oil pill with each meal, but eating fish once or twice a week is also beneficial.

So, now that I’ve outlined the ways we try to be heart-healthy, here’s a look at two delicious (and healthy) dinner recipes I tried recently (also, they’re perfect for gluten-free eaters!):

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Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Grapefruit Salsa*

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

Sweet and Spicy Rub:

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
    • 1 pound salmon fillet
    • 2 teaspoons Mazola® Corn Oil

Grapefruit Salsa:

    • 2 cups grapefruit sections
    • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
    • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine paprika, onion and garlic powder, salt, oregano, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Cut salmon into 4 portions and brush with oil. Distribute the rub over the salmon generously coating all surfaces. Place salmon on a shallow baking pan with sides.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, until fish flakes easily.
  5. Coarsely chop grapefruit into bite size pieces. Combine all salsa ingredients and serve with salmon. Grapefruit salsa can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.

My Review: My husband and I loved this dish.  The flavors in the rub were fantastic, and I’ll be trying the rub on other meats because it’s just that good!  The salsa was unique and refreshing; it would be perfect for a summer dinner.  The jalapeño gives it a nice kick.  We’ll definitely be trying this meal again.

*Adapted from this recipe

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Pork Carnitas with Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce*

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 pound pork shoulder
    • 2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
    • 1/4 cup chopped onions
    • 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands® Garlic Powder
    • 1 tablespoon Spice Islands® Chili Powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands® Chipotle Chile Powder
    • 2 tomatillos, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 4 corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut pork into 1 inch cubes; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven. Add pork, onions, garlic powder, chili powder and chipotle chile powder; saute 3 to 5 minutes to brown the meat.
  2. Add enough water to barely cover pork. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer an additional 45 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.
  3. Combine chopped tomatillos, jalapeño, tomatoes and cilantro with the lime juice in a small bowl.
  4. Place an equal amount of pork on each tortilla. Top with tomatillo salsa.

My Review: This dish was delicious, though a bit time-consuming if you include the prep work and cooking.  The pork was delicious, and we enjoyed the salsa (which had some heat with the jalapeño).  I served this with Mexican rice, avocado slices, and optional toppings of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.  The pork can also be made in the slow cooker.  Just throw in the pork, spices, and a few cups of beef stock and cook on high for 6 hours.  I made quesadillas with the leftovers (and topped with the salsa, of course.)  Yum!

*Adapted from this recipe

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

Both of these recipes use Mazola® Corn Oil which I received from Mazola®.  Mazola® has started a program, Heart Healthy Mazola®, to inspire women to keep themselves and their families heart healthy with Mazola® cooking oils.  Within their program, they have deemed corn oil the “Cholesterol Lowering Champ,” stating that “corn oil lowered LDL cholesterol by 10.9 percent compared to extra virgin olive oil’s 3.5 percent reduction, making corn oil more effective.”  To learn more about this program, check out their website.

If you like the taste of these recipes (trust me, you will), you can try others in the Mazola®  collection on Allrecipes.

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.