Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Boneless pork loins frequently go on sale and can be used for many dishes including:  pulled pork, cut pork steaks, cubed for oriental dishes, or  baked whole, stuffed or not.  

For a "fancy" presentation for guests or a buffet table, I adapted a stuffed beef recipe for a stuffed pork roast.  

Some cooks butterfly a boneless loin, flatten, then spread a stuffing, roll up and tie it together.  I cut a slit down the length of the loin, stuff and bake. 


Stuffed Pork Loin
1 boneless pork roast,  2 pounds or more
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach drained
1/3 to 1/2 cup diced onion
2 to 3 tsps. minced garlic
1/2 to 3/4  cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 to 2/3  cups finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste and/or a commercial rub mix

Drain and squeeze spinach and place in a bowl, add parmesan and sun dried tomatoes.  Saute garlic and onion in oil or butter until soft then combine with spinach mixture; add salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.

Oil the outside of loin and season with a rub or salt and pepper, or commercial rub mix,  and quickly sear the outside to lightly brown then cool. Depending on size of roast, cut a 2 to 3 inch wide slit down the middle and length of the roast.  If a large roast begin at one end and cut to the middle, then cut from the other end to the middle.  This will leave a long wide tunnel to fill with spinach mixture.

Using a spoon, keep inserting spoonfuls of mixture to stuff the roast, packing firmly as you add more. Place a cap of foil on each end to hold in stuffing.

In a baking pan uncovered, bake at 375 for 1 to 1 -1/2 hours, or until browned on outside and internal temperature reaches 135.  Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into slices.  Use pan drippings to make gravy.

I've also prepared this my pressure cooker, first browning, then stuffing and wrapping the entire roast in foil.  The roast in done in about a half hour or less by this method.

The spinach stuffing works well for stuffing thick pork chops, too. Each slice will have stuffing in the center.  Serve with dumplings and sauerkraut, spaetzels, or a potato dish.  Serves 6-8.

Estimated cost: $6.00 or less; $1.00 per serving or less.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Soft Chewy Caramels

Caramels photo null_zpsddf4b0f2.jpgCandy making is fun especially during the holiday season coming up.  These would be good for Halloween or in a gift basket or jar at Christmas time. 

Next to fudge, caramels happen to be one of husband's favorite candy treats, so I make a batch from time to time and keep extras in the freezer.

He likes them soft and chewy. The softness and chewiness of the caramels depends on the amount of cream used. This recipe makes firm, but chewy caramels. For even softer caramels, try adding an extra 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of cream.

Be careful while making as candy becomes very hot and must be watched while making.  For safety, do not become distracted in the process.

Soft Chewy Caramels
1 cup heavy cream4 Tabs. butter
1/4 tsp.salt
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
Makes 50-60
Line an 8x8 or similar rectangular pan or baking dish so that excess paper hangs over edges. Spray paper and the sides of the pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Over medium heat, warm cream, butter, and salt in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Remove from heat.
Caramels photo null_zps34606ab6.jpg In larger 4-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until the sugar is moistened and becomes a grainy paste. Wipe down sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush so there's no sugar crystals on the surface. 

Clip an instant-read thermometer to the side of the pan so that the sensor is immersed in the sugar. Do not stir after this point. The mixture will bubble up and expand when cream is added, so make sure you use a 4-quart pan.
Place pan over medium to medium-high heat. Let sugar syrup come to a boil without stirring. Around 250 degrees, the syrup will turn clear and boil rapidly. Around 320 degrees, it will darken slightly. Between 250 degrees but before it reaches 325 degrees, proceed to next step.
Caramels photo null_zpsaec07d3c.jpgTurn off heat under sugar syrup. Slowly pour warm cream and butter mixture into the sugar syrup while whisking gently. The sugar syrup will bubble up and expand. Stop whisking once all has been added.
Return pan to medium to medium-high heat. Let mixture come to a boil without stirring. It will slowly change to a caramel color. Remove from heat when it reaches 245 to 250 degrees. Quickly whisk in vanilla.
Caramels photo null_zps26b843a7.jpg Immediately pour into prepared mold. Knock the mold against the counter a few times to ease out any air bubbles. Set out of the way for at least two hours.
When set, lift mixture out by the paper flaps and onto a cutting board. Cut caramels into candies with a very sharp knife. Spray knife with nonstick cooking spray if sticks while cutting.
Cut squares of wax paper a little longer than your caramels. Wrap each caramel in wax paper and twist the ends closed. Caramels will keep at room temperature for about two weeks. Or store in refrigerator or freezer in plastic bags. Use as needed. Makes approximately 50 to 60 caramels.

Estimated cost. $2.50 or less.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Breakfast Quiche Cups

Breakfast Quiche photo 6C7AD81A-FE31-4C11-BD30-5165062872E2-2078-0000012E20EF7E13_zpse19f5469.jpg
Thanks to Michelle's Tasty Creations for this idea.  Quiche offers a delicious taste for breakfast, brunch or light supper. 

Making this in individual servings versus a pie or casserole dish, allows for making ahead an freezing to have on hand for a quick breakfast or snack -- or serving at a buffet table.

While the recipe calls for sausage, other possibilities can include: chopped cooked bacon, ham or shrimp. I sometimes add chopped onion and/or green pepper as I like to "tweak" a recipe.


Breakfast Quiche Cups
1 pound bulk sausage, cooked and crumbled
6 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup half & half, or milk at room temperature
1-1/2 cups frozen hash browns, or rehydrated hash browns
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, or cheese of choice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Breakfast Quiche photo B4A8C24D-B95A-4409-B3A4-3D4A687E0C2A-2078-0000012DFA0738D8_zpsc56551c0.jpgCook sausage on medium high heat, breaking apart into small pieces. Let cool down.  While sausage is cooking, in a bowl mix together eggs, half & half, salt, pepper and baking powder. Add potatoes, cheese and sausage and mix well to combine.
Breakfast Quiche photo 1512DFAF-B116-479C-9388-29977B1A9DA8-2078-0000012E35B8FFA6_zps21ee9fbf.jpg
In a large 6 cup or smaller 12 cup sprayed muffin pan, pour mixture evenly to fill cups. 

Large cups will hold about a half cup of mixture and 12 cups pan, 1/4 cup of mixture.

Breakfast Quiche photo 29968759-4F3E-40CC-BEE0-2D05B994FA7C-2078-0000012E0B3B475D_zpsc761dd4b.jpg
Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Test for done with a tooth pick which should come out clean.  Serve warm, or cool down and freeze in storage bags.  To reheat, microwave for one minute.

Estimated cost $5.00 or less; large cups, .83 cents or less; small cups .42 cents or less per serving.