American Lasagna

img_0159American Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 recipe homemade ragu bolognese
  • 8 oz. spinach, cooked, drained, chopped
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a medium skillet on medium low heat, combine ragu bolognese, spinach, tomato paste, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 5 minutes until well combined. Cool to at least room temperature before proceeding.

Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Gently transfer noodles to foil sprayed with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese with egg, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

To assemble, spread a little bit of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, then layer three times as follows:

  • 4 noodles lengthwise
  • one-third of the ricotta mixture spread over the noodles
  • 4 oz. mozzarella
  • 1 oz. parmesan
  • one-third of the remaining meat sauce

Cover with foil.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Top with a bit of grated parmesan and red pepper flake, as desired.

NOTES

I’ve made quite a few lasagnas over the years, but this is my favorite tried and true. And although I absolutely love Italian sausage in lasagna, and certainly you can make a sausage or sausage/beef sauce in place of the ragu here, I almost always have portions of bolognese in the freezer so it makes it even easier to crank this out whenever I’d like. Perfect, repeatable, delicious.

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Hawaiian Pork Burgers

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Hawaiian Pork Burgers
slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/3 cup minced green onion
  • 4 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 large pineapple rings, fresh or canned
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (plus more for serving, if desired, see notes)
  • 4 burger buns
  • 4 large lettuce leaves (use leafy lettuce)
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced ham

Method

Mix the ground pork, green onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper together in a large bowl until just combined. Gently form 4 equal patties, with a slight indentation in the middle.

Prepare your grill for medium high, direct heat. Scrape down the grill grates and coat with vegetable oil. Place the pork patties on the hot grill and paint the top with barbecue sauce. Cover the grill and cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip the burgers and paint with more barbecue sauce.

After you’ve flipped the burgers, lay the pineapple rings down on a hot part of the grill. Cook the burgers for another 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through.

Cook the pineapple rings for 3-5 minutes, or until you have nice grill marks on one side. Flip the pineapple and grill another 1-2 minutes.

Remove the pineapple and burgers from the grill and let them rest 5 minutes.

While the meat is resting, toast the burger buns on the hot grill until the edges brown nicely, about 1-2 minutes.

To construct the burger, lay some lettuce on the bun, add the burger patty and paint with a little more barbecue sauce. Top with the ham, then the pineapple, then the other bun.

Serve immediately.

NOTES

These are phenomenal. The combination of the seasoned pork, ham, pineapple, and barbecue sauce works amazingly well. As for sauce/dipping, Steve prefers more barbecue sauce at the table, but I actually loved the addition of – surprise – sriracha! I lay it on pretty thick, too, and the tangy, zingy heat blends perfectly with the other flavors. You could also add mayo/spicy mayo. Whatever floats your boat!

Hoisin Pork and Cashew Stir Fry

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Hoisin Pork and Cashew Stir Fry
adapted from Belly Full

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 28 ounces pork shoulder (or pork loin), sliced into 1-inch strips
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, julienned (or about a cup of bagged shredded carrots)
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (about 3 oz.) roasted cashews
  • salt and pepper

Method

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 10 ingredients. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil over medium-high in a wok or large nonstick skillet; swirl to coat. Add the pork and saute for 2 minutes. Add in the sauce, carrot, scallions, and cashews. Bring to a simmer to thicken slightly, about 2 minutes. Taste; season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve mixture over rice or noodles.

NOTES

The original of this recipe was outstanding as it was, but the second time, I very slightly adjusted certain ingredient amounts to perfectly suit our tastes. I also used pork shoulder rather than the loin because I almost always have sliced or cubed pork shoulder portioned away in the freezer.

Bottom line: this is our new favorite stir fry. The pork and cashews together make it incredibly meaty and hearty and the spicy, savory, sweet sauce just brings it all together. This one is definitely going into long-term rotation.

Garlic Sriracha Pork Stir Fry

IMG_9046 (1)Garlic Sriracha Pork Stir Fry
adapted from Judy Kim at Delish

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 lb. green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Method

In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, brown ground pork, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a plate, set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, pour in the oil to warm, then add garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add bell pepper and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, and oyster sauce. Add mixture to the skillet along with green beans and pork. Sauté until green beans are bright green and meat is warmed through.

Serve immediately over white or brown rice.

NOTES

This might be one of the simplest stir fries I have ever made, but absolutely one of the best. For my money, you can’t go wrong with ground pork but all the better when the vegetables balance it out perfectly and the simple sauce covers all the right bases: sweet, savory, spicy. Definitely a go-to weeknight meal.

Pork and Green Chile Stew

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Pork and Green Chile Stew
adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds pork shoulder, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 8 ounces Hatch green chiles, chopped small (or sub 7-ounce can diced green chiles)
  • 24-oz jar salsa verde
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, diced
  • Handful of chopped cilantro, for topping

Method

Combine the pork, flour, pepper and garlic powder in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Shake to coat thoroughly and then set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the fresh garlic and onion and sauté until translucent, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Add the dusted pork and cook until browned, approximately 5 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, chiles, salsa verde, stock and salt; stir and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.

Add the potatoes and raise heat to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, approximately 15 minutes. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

NOTES

I’ve been looking for a good weeknight (i.e., using jarred sauce) salsa verde stew for a while, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Mary’s version that I knew I had found the one. Potatoes! Why have I never tried it with potatoes?? I always made these green stews with white beans. But the potatoes work so well here. We absolutely loved this on the very first shot.

Teriyaki Ground Pork Stir Fry

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Teriyaki Ground Pork Stir Fry
courtesy of the book Good Fast Eats from Belly Full

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 6 oz. broccoli slaw
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-1/4 lb ground pork
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (use thick teriyaki sauce, not thin teriyaki marinade)
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Cooked rice, for serving

Method

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, warm half the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add broccoli slaw to the hot pan and saute for about 2-3 minutes until almost tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste; transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining sesame oil to the skillet, followed by the pork, garlic, ginger, and chili garlic sauce. Cook pork, stirring often, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until no pink remains, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drain off excess fat, if desired.

Stir in teriyaki sauce. Add slaw back in, along with the scallions and lime juice; mix to coat.

Serve over hot cooked white or brown rice.

NOTES

Another winner from Good Fast Eats and probably Steve’s favorite thus far. Like everything else from Amy’s book, it’s super fast and delicious. Just doesn’t get any better than that.

Sausage Gravy

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Sausage Gravy
courtesy of Self Proclaimed Foodie

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spicy pork breakfast sausage (store-bought is fine, but I highly recommend you make your own, see below)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Buttermilk biscuits, for serving

Method

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the sausage until brown and crumbly. If excess oil, drain while keeping a solid tablespoon of the sausage oil in the pan. Add the butter and stir well until melted.

Reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle sausage with flour, stir, and allow to cook for several minutes.

Add the milk and stir. Continue stirring occasionally over medium heat until gravy thickens, 5-10 minutes. Add fresh ground black pepper, as desired.

Serve over buttermilk biscuits.

NOTES

HOLY. MOLY. Never did I think I would be able to make sausage gravy and biscuits equivalent to those served in roadside diners in the south, but this was IT. If I had known how easy it was, I would have started making this long ago. Insanely good. Easy easy. And you can cut the recipe right in half or double it with the same result (though the thickening time will be less/more if you do so). Going to keep this one on hand for life.

If you want to make your own sausage, as I did, this is a great recipe:

Spicy Breakfast Sausage

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Method

In a small bowl, mix together all the seasonings until well combined. Add the ground pork and work in the seasonings with your hands or a fork, until evenly distributed.