Herbed Pork Penne with white wine cheese sauce

I had some pork chops that needed to be cooked, but I really wanted mac and cheese. So I decided to make an adult mac and cheese style pasta dish with pork and herbs. My family loved it! I hope you will, too. 🙂

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz box penne, cooked to package directions and reserved in pasta pot
  • 1 lb boneless pork loin (I used a 6 pack of boneless chops), cubed
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 Tbs chopped Rosemary leaves
  • 2 Tbs chopped Sage leaves
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mozzerella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup shredded Applewood Smoked Gouda
  • 1/4 to 1/8 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix the salt and pepper in a small container. Pour over cubed meat and massage with fingers to coat.

Melt half the butter in a large skillet. Add herbs and garlic. Stir until fragrant.

Add the pork. Arrange in pan so that all the cubes touch the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn pork over and cook another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir until white on all sides and firm. Spoon out pork, leaving as much liquid in pan as possible.

Add rest of butter. When melted, add the flour and whisk smooth. Add wine and pasta water to pan. Whisk until combined. Add the milk and whisk until heated through. Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Stir until melted, and adjust seasoning as needed.

To the pasta pot, add the pork and all the cheese sauce. Stir until well combined. Pour pasta into a large baking dish. Sprinkle more mozzarella and grated parmesan over top. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Remove cover and cook 5 more minutes, until the cheese sauce starts to bubble.

Remove from oven and let sit 5 or 10 minutes, then serve.

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Stuffed Mushrooms

It’s a New Year, and I usually ring those in much like I did this year; by laying out a nice spread of horderves and a cold bottle of sparkling wine. Most of them are premade from a box (because kids) but I like to make my own stuffed mushrooms. My mother went vegetarian for several years (she still ate cheese) and during that time I created this recipe because so many include sausage. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz capped mushrooms
  • 8 to 12 cloves of garlic, minced (depends on clove size. Mine were small, so I used 12)
  • Wedge of Parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 cups Good, plain breadcrumbs
  • 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 pepper)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A large glass roasting pan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. After cleaning mushrooms, separate caps from the stems. I twist the stems off and clean out the cavity of the mushrooms with clean fingers. Place the caps into the large glass roaster and flip curved side up. Drizzle a small amount of oil over the caps and rub to coat, then sprinkle with a little salt. Flip caps over fill side.

Dice stem pieces and reserve. Mince garlic and place both into a large frying pan with 1 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes. Add bread crumbs and stir to coat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until toasted and well combined. Add cream cheese and combine over low heat until everything is mixed well. Grate Parmesan cheese over top and stir to combine. I use about 1/4 a cup.

Remove from heat and allow to cook until you can handle the mix with clean hands. Using a small spoon, scoop mix and fill all mushroom cavities. With remaining mix, distribute evenly over mushrooms, and use your hands to shape mix into small mounds. Grate more Parmesan cheese over top and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast mushrooms for 30 minutes (caps will look moist and soft when done and the filling will be golden brown). Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Jacket Potatoes with Chili

I love chili. And when I lived in Warwickshire, one of my favorite things was walking into town to hit the Jacket Potato truck for lunch. A nice walk, great lunch, and some time to myself.

Now that I’m back home in the States, I miss that potato truck.

Anyway, here are the recipes:

Jacket Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 6 Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and poked with a fork
  • Aluminum foil
  • A little salt
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil potatoes and sprinkle all sides with salt. Wrap in foil and roast for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes.

Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool slightly.

Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Half a sweet Vidallia Onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef (I use ground round)
  • Olive or vegetable oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pot
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 Tbs Chili powder
  • 4 Tbs AP flour
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprkia
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Black ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 bottle Boston Lager
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Instructions:

Heat oil in a large pot and saute the garlic and onions. Add ground beef and cook on med high heat until all pink is gone from the meat. Add seasonings and stir, then add beans and mix well. Add beer and broth and stir.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 2 hours in lidded pot.

(This can also be served over rice or mashed potatoes. I usually make the chili with rice and then use the leftovers to make these potatoes!)

Assembly:

Open the foil and split the potatoes lengthwise, leaving bottom skin intact. Use a for to fluff out the potato. Add a little butter, salt and pepper, then top with cheese. Ladle some chili over the potatoes and add a dollop of sour cream and a little sprinkle of cheese. Serve.

Mozzerella Sticks!

It was kinda late at night. My husband got off work late again. And he was snacky. So was I…so I cut up this block of mozzerella cheese I had in the fridge and tried making fresh cheese sticks for us.

I really liked how they came out. I didnt bother trying to freeze before I fried… I’d bet they’d be even better if I freeze them an hour or two next time!

Here’s the recipe:

Mozzerella Sticks

  • 16 oz block of mozzerella cheese, sliced into fat sticks
  • 1 1/2 cups ap flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 to 4 eggs and a little milk
  • Enough oil to fry sticks in a small pot

Instructions:

Mix flour, salt, pepper and garlic in a pie plate.

Beat eggs and milk in a small bowl.

Combine bread crumbs. Parsley and cheese in another pie plate.

Heat oil in pot. As oil comes gets hot, coat mozzarella in flour. Three at a time, dip sticks into egg wash and then coat in crumbs. Repeat with egg wash and crumbs, then set aside on a plate. You want the mozzarella sticks to be completely coated in breadcrumbs with no gaps. Fry 2 to 3 sticks at a time until golden, and remove to a clean plate with paper towels to drain.