Skillet Ziti with Ground Pork

First, I’ve finally created a page on Facebook for my blog. I know what’s taken me forever and what was I waiting for. I’m not really sure since I spend so much time on social media both personally and for work. Make sure you like my page! www.facebook.com/joinuspullupachair

I bought a pound of ground pork from a local butcher and it was the most delicious pork I’ve ever eaten. It was really lean and I was surprised how great it tasted in this recipe. You could easily swap out the pork for another ground meat – beef, turkey or chicken. It’s a really versatile recipe. We all enjoyed it and I liked that it took less than 30 minutes to make – a great meal for busy night! It makes great leftovers too!

1 lb ground pork
8 oz penne
jar of tomato-basil sauce
3/4 cup lowfat ricotta cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water. While the pasta is cooking, brown the pork in a large skillet. Drain and add in 1 cup of the sauce. Simmer the pork in the sauce for 5 minutes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the skillet. Add in the remaining sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the ricotta cheese and cover to heat through.

Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

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The Secret Recipe Club: Pretzel Crusted Pork Chops

It’s time for March’s Secret Recipe Club! I was excited for my assignment this month – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks! Heather Lynne is a teacher by day, but an award-winning chef by night. She’s originally from PA, but from the Western part of state – much different than the Eastern side where I live.
 
I had a hard time narrowing now my choice for this month but settled on a recipe for pretzel crusted pork chops. I had just bought a big pack of them from BJ’s and was having my mom over for dinner, so it was perfect timing. I skipped the cheddar cheese that Heather Lynne used but I don’t think they needed it. I made these the weekend I received my assignment and I’ve already made them again. They were perfect and we loved the pretzel crust and how moist the pork chops are. I’ve been known to overcook pork chops so they’re dry…whoops.


4 thin cut pork chops
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
5 oz pretzels, finely crushed
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small dish, mix the melted butter and mustard. In another dish, place the crusted pretzels and mix in the pepper. Dip each pork chop in the mustard-butter mixture and then dredge in the pretzels.

Line each crusted chop on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping half way through baking.

Remove from oven and let rest before slicing.

Want to be part of the SRC? Join here!

Fig-Orange Glazed Ham

I rarely cook large pieces of meats since most of our holiday dinners are either at my mom’s or my in-law’s house. Over Christmas, there was a great sale on ham and I picked one up figuring I could cook it up and then freeze part of it for another meal. It worked out perfectly. I wanted to make a glaze but different than the traditional brown sugar/mustard one and tried a fig-orange glaze instead. It was so tasty and I loved how both the orange and fig highlighted the ham. I’ll definitely be making this glaze again for the next ham I make! 
 
 
1 cup fig jam
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
grated zest of one orange
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
 
Following the instructions on the ham, bake the ham. 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the ham from the oven.
 
To prepare the glaze, combine the jam, mustard, zest and juice in a small saucepan over low heat. While stirring, cook until the jam melts but do not boil. Spoon half of the glaze over the ham and bake for the remaining 30 minutes.
 
Remove the ham from the oven and spoon on the remaining glaze. Transfer to a cutting board and carve.


Source: Food Network

Pomegranate-Glazed Pork Chops

I had bought thin sliced pork chops last week and didn’t get a chance to make them, so they were bumped to this week. I didn’t want just boring old plain pork chops, so off to searching I went. This is definitely becoming a chore that I love doing!

The pomegranate juice and ketchup makes a simple glaze for the pork and has a sweet and tangy taste. I opted to use pomegranate-blueberry juice (it was on sale) and it was so tasy!

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 bonless pork loin chops (6 ozs each)

In a large saucepan, combine the pomegranate juice, ketchup, vinegar, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil ant cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Measure out 1/4 cup and set aside.

I made my pork chops on the indoor grill, but the original recipe calls for using a broiler. Preheat the broiler. Brush the pork with half of the barbecue sauce and broil 6 inches from the heat for 4 minutes. Turn the pork over, brush with remaining sauce and broil for an additional 4 minutes or until the pork is cooked through but still juicy.

Serve with the reserved sauce on the side.

Recipe from: The Rodae Whole Foods Cookbook

Ham and Spinach Couscous

If you’re looking for a quick, one pot meal – this is it! It was perfect meal for the one night I was running late coming home from work and Madeline attacked me as I opened the door because she was SO HUNGARY! Well, 10 minutes later, her requests were answered and dinner was done! She gobbled it up and asked for it for lunch the next day. I’d say that’s a success!

2 cups water
1 cup chopped fully cooked ham
1.5 – 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
½ tsp garlic salt
1 cup uncooked couscous
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, combine the water, ham, spinach and garlic salt. Bring to a boil and stir in couscous.

Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with cheese.

See I told you it was quick!

Source: Taste of Home Healthy Cooking, Dec 2009/Jan 2010

Pork & Sauerkraut

It’s my family’s tradition to have pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Eating pork and sauerkraut is an old Pennsylvania Dutch tradition and symbolizes prosperity in the new year. We’re big fans of this meal and it’s usually served with mashed potatoes and applesauce. My husband and I disagree on how to eat it though! I like to mix my sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and he likes to just eat the sauerkraut plain – either way, it’s so good!

What are your New Year’s Day traditions?

3-4 lb boneless pork loin
1 large can Silver Floss sauerkraut (this is our favorite brand)

In a crock pot, add the pork loin. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sauerkraut and juice. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Maple-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

I’m not a huge fan of pork chops, because I always overcook them. I can never figure out the correct timing when I’m cooking them. BUT….using this method of broiling them, they were juicy and so good. I was a little concerned that the glaze would be a little spicy with the whole-grain mustard, but it wasn’t too spicy and added the right amount of flavor and a change from the boring and bland way I usually make them.

4 boneless pork chops (3/4 to 1 inch thick)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 tsp garlic paste

Heat an oiled broiler pan 6 inches from the broiler element. In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, mustards and garlic paste to make a glaze.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Place them on the pan and broil for 8-9 minutes on each side, turning once. Spread the maple-mustard mixture on top of the chops and continue to broil until glaze is bubbly, about 2 minutes. Remove from broiler and serve.

Recipe from Redbook Magazine

Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Now that it’s feeling more like fall, I’m ready to start using my oven for more than just baking. We haven’t had pork in a long time and I couldn’t pass up the sale at Giant last week. Buy one pack, get one free – I mean really, who can’t pass that up! I usually just pan saute pork tenderloin but wanted to find a new recipe and found this one from allrecipes.com. I change the recipe slightly and it turned out great.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1.25 lb pork tenderloin
Salt
fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 granny smith apples, diced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup apple jelly
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over mediume heat. Brown the pork tenderloin on all sides. Remove from pan and place in baking dish. Season all sides with salt, pepper and dried parsley.

In the same skillet, saute onions and apples for 5 minutes until onions soften and become translucent. Add the apple juice and deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil and then add around the pork in the baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix the apple jelly and balsamic vinegar until there are no lumps. Spread over pork.

Bake for 30-45 minutes until pork is cooked. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork

I didn’t do much cooking last week and wanted to get back into the swing of things and also back to meal planning. My friend Katie shared this recipe on our mom’s board recipe swap and it was so good. My husband was a little skeptical about the ingredients but it was so good! It would be a perfect alternative for a christmas ham.

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup french/catalina dressing
1 medium onion, sliced

In a medium bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, dressing and onions. Mix well. In a slow cooker, add the pork. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the pork and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Enjoy!

Recipe originally from Allrecipes.com

Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin

This a great recipe for a Sunday when there’s not much going on. Quick and easy and makes a ton for leftovers. From Robin Miller’s book “Quick Fix Meals.”

Two 2 lb pork tenderloin (trimmed of silverskin if necessary)
Salt & fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the pork in the prepared pan and season the top and sides with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Spoon the mixture all over the pork, then roast until an instant-read therometer inserted into the thickest part reads at least 160 degrees, about 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes if possible.

Let the pork stand 10 minutes before slicing.

This meal can easily be cut in half cooking only one pork tenderloin.