The Pork is More Than Just Brine…With Butternut Squash Risotto

I don’t end up cooking much meat so I’ve never brined meat before but there’s a first time for everything. I was excited for a new technique.
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I set the country style boneless pork ribs set up in brine for the workday. The pork should absorb a lot of liquid and when this cooks off, the meat will be more tender. True story.

Ingredients

2 cups ice cubes
1 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbs peppercorns

Directions

Boil cider vinegar.
Add salt and sugar stirring until dissolved.
Add ice cubes and peppercorns.
Put pork into the brine and let sit for 8 hours.
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To cook, remove from brine, smother with bbq sauce and bake for 1 hour, covered.
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The pork came out smelling amazing! It was uber tender. Fork tender…no knives required. It would have been really special with homemade barbecue sauce but was so good and I was really happy with it.

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I made butternut squash risotto to go with it. I love risotto and don’t make it nearly enough. It is creamy and delicious with so many variations! I’ve made a weight watchers one with tomato juice and zucchini. The tomato juice makes it red, flavorful, and creamy without being overly acidic. Enough about that, onto today’s risotto.

Ingredients

1 cup aborio rice
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups butternut squash
½ cup white wine
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

Toast aborio, stirring consistently until golden.
Heat broth and wine on medium low.
Steam butternut squash and add to rice.
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Add ½ cup broth until absorbed and repeat until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Serve with plenty of Parmesan.
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The risotto was sticky and delightful. The squash was a perfect addition. What a great orange color! Needless to say, I ate leftovers for days. I thought making a ½ cup of rice might be weird to have strange quantities but we definitely had more than enough. Maybe arancini will be a fun use of these leftovers.

Dinner from the Depths of the Fridge

Every now and then meals should be easy to whip together or comforting…or both!! They can’t all be amazing, sometimes the goal is simply dinner.

I was digging around looking for inspiration in the fridge when I realized there are a few items in my fridge I couldn’t recall buying. Totally uninspiring. Cleaning out the fridge went onto my to do list but dinner was still a necessity.
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Anywho. I found some fresh spinach, some chicken sausage, a too-small-for-pizza-dough-ball. Time for a little experiment!I decided to try wrapping the chicken sausage in some dough and balancing the weight with a side of wilted spinach.

Ingredients:

2 bamboo skewers
2 chicken sausage links
pizza dough (size of a tennis ball)
salt, pepper, garlic powder mix (also known as Jane’s Krazy Salt)
3 cups fresh spinach
½ cup roasted red peppers, sliced
2 tbs lime juice

Directions:

Skor the sausage and insert a bamboo skewer in each to keep the shape.
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Stretch the dough out and wrap around the sausage. Secure each of dough on the skewer. Lightly roll in olive oil and season generously.
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Gently wilt spinach and roasted red peppers.
Flavor with lime juice.
veg_limedress_290_200Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees, turning to ensure even cooking. The chicken sausage is fully cooked so only the dough needs to cook through.

I used my fav lime salad dressing. It goes with everything! This dressing is great for a touch of citric acid or Mexican salad. It makes a great marinade too.

The dough was ok, but puff pastry or crescent rolls would have worked better. I didn’t want to encase the sausage because I thought it wouldn’t stay perfect and the look of this was half the interest. I was going for a pigs-in-a-blanket appearance.

Maybe this isn’t my signature dish but it was yummy and was ready in 30-minutes. Serve with some mustard and call it dinner.

Pattypan, You’re So Darn Cute

The cutest vegetable in the WORLD is pattypan. Veggies aren’t always chosen by their endearing appearance but it’s such an easy one to cook and just so darn adorable. I can’t ever believe how cheap it is too. I bought 3 for $1 at a farmers market. After stuffing and baking it, refrigerate for a few days until you devourer all of them! I’ve had it as a whole meal but it would make a good side dish for 2 to share.

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Ingredients

-2 pattypan squash
-6 slices bacon, chopped
-1/2 cup onion, diced
-1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
-1/4 cup chopped spinach
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese & another sprinkle
-dash garlic powder
-salt & pepper


Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In a saucepan with one inch of boiling water add squash and cook for 10 minutes. Prick with a fork to ensure it is el dente.

3) Cook bacon until crispy adding onion partway through

4) Slice the top off of the pattypan, and scoop out most of the inside. (be sure to leave a 1/8 to 1/4 inch all the way around). Chop squash.

5) combine squash, onion, bacon, parmasan cheese, bread crumbs, chopped spinach, garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste and stuff into each pattypan.

6) Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan to serve.

Why not skip the spinach and add in mushrooms? Or tomato? There are so many variations to stuff these guys with.