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Monday, October 17, 2016

Recipe Review from 10/10/2016

A busy week!  I put the Husband on a plane for Virginia - he had an all-staff meeting from Tues thru Friday, well, Wednesday/Thursday with two travel days on each side.

And work had me up on The Range for two days, in addition to my usual yoga classes, a run to the vet for booster shots and the usual errands.   Not complaining about the Range runs at all - it was peak color on Tues, and despite some sustained winds Wed and Thurs, the colors were just as enjoyable.  Just less leaves on the trees.

Bean and Bacon Soup  (Taste and Tell Blog by Deborah)  gluten free
Friend Tess found this recipe and passed it along.  Only one significant alteration and that was I used dried beans instead of canned - I had some on hand and it was easy enough to cook them up.  It did require some pre-planning, so if time is of the essence, use canned. 

I really enjoyed this - a combination of creamy bean mixture with whole beans complimented by a background of bacon.  This re-heated very well.  Using 1lb dried beans, this made about 7 servings.  This was great with a crusty bread to sop up the soup.

Serves: 4 servings  (I ended up with about 7 servings)
Photo from Taste and Tell
  • 8 oz. smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 cup diced yellow onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cans (15 oz each) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • (I used 1lb dried white beans, pre-cooked)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  1. Cook the bacon in a soup pot or Dutch oven until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.   
  2. To the hot bacon grease, add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in the chicken broth and beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a bubble then reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Remove half of the soup to a blender or food processor. Using an immersion blender, process until smooth. Return the puree to the soup pot and stir into the remaining soup. Add the tomato sauce and ¾ of the reserved bacon and stir to combine. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer until it is heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with the remaining bacon.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops and Noodles (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)
I know it's Fall when the slow cooker is pulled out and the first hearty pork and noodle dish is created.  This dish was perfect for a beautiful October day.  There is a bit of prep on the front end - chopping veggies and searing the meat, then it's hands off until its time to cook the noodles and thicken the sauce.

My only complaint with this dish is, I found it to be a bit bland, which, given the sherry vinegar and the herbs, was a bit of a surprise.  I will note, that 7 hours might be too long for the pork.  Monitor your slow cooker and adjust timing accordingly.  5-6 hours might be plenty.

Serve with some artisinal crusty bread to sop up the sauce.  

1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
photo from
Cooking spray
3/4 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-in. pieces
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps quartered 
(I used cremini 'shrooms - cheaper to buy
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 thyme sprigs
2 oregano sprigs
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6-oz.) bone-in center-cut pork chops
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 ounces uncooked whole-wheat egg noodles
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1. Combine stock, vinegar, and flour in a 6-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Stir in carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme sprigs, and oregano sprigs.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add pork chops to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side. Place pork chops in slow cooker.

3. Add wine to skillet over medium-high; cook 30 seconds, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Spoon wine mixture over pork chops in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours or until vegetables are tender.

4. Cook egg noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

5. Remove pork chops from slow cooker, and keep warm. Remove and discard herb sprigs. Add heavy cream, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture in slow cooker, stirring to combine. Stir in cooked egg noodles. Divide noodle mixture among 4 plates; top each with 1 pork chop, and drizzle with any remaining sauce in slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with thyme leaves.

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