Asian-Paste Pork Loin with Two Onions

Have you ever noticed that there are times in your life when you are staring down a pork loin (or a “beefy” 5 1/2 pound half pork loin) and your slow cooker, and you simply cannot stick it in there with a little salt and pepper, some onion, carrots, and potatoes, and call it a fix-it-and-forget-it day?

And, at the same time, been on an Asian (especially Chinese-ish) food craving binge?

No?

Me neither.

Whistles oh-so-innocently.

Today found me in such a predicament.  I wanted to squeal over aromatic slow cooker pork with an Asian zing that didn’t taste completely processed.  Get it, squeal, pork?

I also wanted to challenge myself to use a Chinese hot mustard packet Josh picked up when he got Chinese a week or so ago.  Did I mention that this Chinese food craving binge has been going on for over a month?

At the same time, I felt the need to use up the remainder of green onions I purchased at Aldi yesterday.  I only needed two for Tuesday’s menu, and that left 10 or 12 more that would languish and eventually become oozy goo (trust me; it is not pretty!) in the fridge until is tossed after a week or so.

The solution?

Something I will only call “Asian-Paste Pork Loin with Two Onions.”

What do you do?

Wash out your new trusty slow cooker (or your old trusty).  Peel, cut in half long-ways, and slice into rings the quantity of one onion.  Separate the rings and scatter in the bottom of said slow cooker.

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Trim, clean, and chop 10-15 green onions into 2-inch lengths (greens and whites).

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Do you call them green onions, spring onions, or scallions?  To me, they are always green onions.  Scatter said green onions over the onion rings in the slow cooker.

Mix together the yummy paste ingredients with a plastic fork.

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Go all slasher flick on the pork loin, gouging it repeatedly with your sharpest knife.

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It’s very stress relieving and anger managing to do so.

With a pastry brush (or a barbecue brush), slather paste on the fatty side of the loin, making sure to fill the gouge-wounds with paste.  Place the loin fatty-side-down in the slow cooker atop the onions.  Pour the remaining paste over the pork loin, using the brush to smooth and spread the paste evenly.

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Cover with the lid and cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve with rice and a veg.

The verdict?

It was so aromatically awesomesauce.  And, yes, that is the technical description.

Asian-Paste Pork Loin With Two Onions

Source:  My Brain

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(It tastes so much better than it looks!)

half pork loin (mine was 5.5 pounds, but it can definitely be smaller)

1 onion, cut from pole-to-pole and sliced into half rings

10-15 green onions, trimmed and chopped into 2-inch lengths

1 cup brown sugar

sprinkle of cayenne or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flake

2-3 tablespoons ground ginger

twenty grinds of freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

one lone packet of Chinese hot mustard

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

soy sauce to thin the mixture to a paste

Scatter first the white onion, then the green onions, on the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker.  Perforate the pork loin in several places with either a skewer or a sharp knife.  Mix paste ingredients (stirring together dry ingredients first before adding the mustard packet and then the vinegar).  Thin paste to thick pancake batter consistency with soy sauce.

Using a silicone brush, brush the paste on the side of the pork loin (the fatty side).  Place the pork loin, fatty side down, in the slow cooker.  Pour and spread the remaining paste over the top of the pork loin.

Cook on low for six hours.  Serve with rice and appropriate veg.

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A New Use for Beer: Beer Macaroni and Cheese

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Yes.  That’s bacon.  And cheese.  And the easiest macaroni and cheese sauce I will ever make in my life.  Counting the bacon (and yes, I wimped out and did the fully cooked real bacon bits), there are five ingredients.

No, it’s not really a recipe to make when the outside mercury soars into the hundreds, but, due to storms south of us, we won’t see temps above 90 this week.

And…Muffin likes the macaroni and cheese.  So much so that when we ate it for supper last Saturday night, he had the macaroni for breakfast Sunday morning.

Seriously, though, what made it so popular with me was its ease of making it.  Basically boiling the macaroni and shredding the cheese are the hardest parts.

I found this recipe again as I looked through my Dropbox recipe files that I had “printed as a PDF” and saved it to my Dropbox.

And this is one of the gems that I rediscovered.

Beer Mac and Cheese (with Bacon!)

Source:  A Spicy Perspective

1 pound macaroni noodles (would love to try it with shells next time), boiled and drained according to package directions

12 ounce bottle beer (I used a lager)

8 ounces cream cheese

1 pound shredded cheddar (as sharp as you can get it), off the block (not pre-shredded)

1 cup crumbled bacon

Pour a bottle of beer into a large pot.  Place it over medium heat, add the cream cheese and swirl it around with a whisk until it starts to melt.  Once it is about half melted start slowly and carefully whisking it into the beer until creamy and smooth.  Add the cheddar cheese a few handfuls at a time, whisking until smooth.

Pour the pasta into the cheese sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, then stir and cook another three minutes to thicken.  Salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, sprinkle the bacon over each serving.

Muffin Approved

Meatball Sub Casserole

As I posted on Facebook earlier, I guess I needed to cook an actual dinner.  Josh managed to eke an hour for dinner out of his work schedule, and he gave me VERY.  LITTLE.  NOTICE.  Luckily, I pulled out what I had originally planned for yesterday:  the meatball sub casserole from Big Oven and a kale-and-brussel-sprouts salad kit (from Sam’s for only $1.29…not a reduced produce item price).

I didn’t realize this, but this casserole goes together to go into the oven in just under 10 minutes (It probably would have been fewer if I hadn’t gotten frustrated in the rush to have everything ready) and then into the oven for 30 minutes (27 at 350 degress and 3 at an open-door broil).

Muffin loved this…he loves anything with meatballs.

There was one small problem:  we had spaghetti and meatballs not too long ago, so we didn’t have quite a full pound of meatballs.  I added a few cut up bits of breakfast sausage from breakfast this morning.  I thought it was great, but Josh thought that maple sausage didn’t really go with the mix.  He thought a not-maple variety would have worked, however.

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By the way…guess who didn’t follow the recipe exactly?  Me.

Meatball Sub Casserole

5 slices Texas toast, toasted (I used Kroger brand, but Sunbeam would also be great)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon each salt, pepper (freshly ground), basil, oregano, and parsley

1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (I used Classico’s Cheesy Spinach Florentine…it was yummy!)

1 cup water

1 pound frozen precooked meatballs, thawed (or zapped in the microwave for a minute from frozen…you may add chunks of sausage, too)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In an ungreased 9×13 pan, arrange slices of toast.  I had to cut up a few of the pieces to make them fit.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and the seasonings.  Spread the mixture over the bread.  Cover with 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella.

In a larger bowl, combine the meatballs (and sausage, if using), spaghetti sauce, and water.  I poured the water into the spaghetti sauce jar when I emptied it, lidded the jar, shook it, and was able to get out most of the tomatoey bits.

Slather the sauce and the meat over the layers in the pan.  Cover with remaining shredded mozza.

Bake, uncovered, for 27 minutes.  In the last three minutes, turn the heat up to broil to brown the cheese a bit.

Serve with something green to feel wholesome.

This recipe, if the ingredients are in-house, goes from start to oven in fewer than ten minutes.  That’s a very important recipe to have in your arsenal.  If you make homemade meatballs and freeze them, the good-for-you factor is upped by a lot.

Muffin Approved

What is a quick, go-to recipe for you?

The Pinteresting Blogosphere: I Love Fall; I Promise

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m obsessed with the Pinteresting Blogosphere.

But recently I thought of taking a hiatus…going on strike…from the Pinteresting Blogosphere.

Now, don’t get me wrong:  I love fall, autumn, the autumnal equinox.  I love sweater weather, October (my birth month), Thanksgiving (both the Canadian and the American varieties), shorter days, jack o’lanterns, apple recipes, and soups.

However, there is one thing about autumn I most definitely DO NOT like.

Pumpkin.

I have a feeling you are scratching your head now.  Wait a sec…she said she likes jack o’lanterns, and those are made from pumpkins.  Please, let me clarify.  I hate pumpkin recipes.

I’m very happy when my Pinterest feed is clogged with casserole recipes, chocolate delights, red velvet anything, and salted caramel everything.  Yet, right now, my Pinterest feed is infested…absolutely overrun…with…PUMPKIN.

I think I have a can of pumpkin mush somewhere in the house.  I think it may be out of date by a few years or so.

Now, I realize there are those (quite obviously, if my Pinterest feed is to be believed) that actually seem to like pumpkin.  I don’t have anything against you personally; I promise.

But my stomach does this really weird caving in on itself in fear (a pucker) when I view those pumpkinny “delights.”  Cakes.  No.  Pies.  Well, I don’t eat it, but it is tradition at Thanksgiving, so my husband and dad eat it.  French toast.  No.  Ravioli or pasta of any kind with pumpkin in it.  Revolting.  Cookies.  Please.  Just.  No.  Granola.  Whyyyyyyyyy?  Cinnamon rolls?  Really?  What did the poor cinnamon roll do to you?????  Cheesecake cupcakes sound yummy…until I glance to the word in front of cheesecake.  Pumpkin.  And this insidious “Got pumpkin?  10 delicious pumpkin recipes for fall!”  Uh.  No.

Dear Pinteresting Board of Directors:

Please, please, puhleeze, give us the option to screen certain items with let’s say the keyword of pumpkin out of our Pinterest feed.  Thank you very much.  Sincerely, A Pinterest-obsessed person.

I do, however, really enjoy sweet potato recipes.  I live in the south, after all.  I love sweet potato pie.  I love sweet potato bread and rolls and muffins.  I love sweet potatoes baked in their (slightly leathery) jackets until their syrup oozes out of the fork holes so made to allow steam to escape.  I love them with butter…with cream…with mushrooms…with cinnamon…and with brown sugar.  I love them mashed.  I love them with pecans.  I love them, Sam-I-am.

I do NOT, however, like sweet potatoes in savory dishes.  That’s where it crosses the line into pumpkin insanity.  A sweet potato should never debut in pasta…or swim in soups or chilis…or nap in savory casseroles.  Yes, I realize they are a superfood and people believe all superfoods should be in everything, but give the sweet tater it’s due…and leave it out of things that make some people go ew!

In the coming week, I will be sharing with you several recipes that make Canadian Thanksgiving happen in our house.  I hope you enjoy.  And…to bring it all back to pumpkin:  Yes, as I mentioned above, pumpkin pie will make an appearance on the table, but it will not be made by me.  That is one thing I do not do homemade.

Roast Beef Debris

As I posted in this week’s Meal Plan Monday, I have fallen in love with a new recipe…a sandwich.  Now, for those of you who know me, know that I’m not the biggest sammie fanatic.  I will eat sandwiches when forced to…or when there is nothing else left in the house.  I would prefer a casserole…salads…properly prepared fries…anything pretty much.  I don’t count burgers and hot dogs in that category.  Those are okay at pretty much any time.  I guess I chalk it all up to mushy bread syndrome.  I dunno.

But, I am a Louisiana girl.  I can appreciate the po-boy.  In any fashion.  I am not a fan of oysters, but I can deal with them in a po-boy.  Ditto for shrimp.  I like shrimp, don’t get me wrong, but, for some reason, I don’t think fried is their intended destination…unless on a po-boy.  I also am not a fan of lettuce on a sandwich.  It goes back to Subway and that seems to be their inexpensive filler.  And not in a good way.  But, again…on a po-boy…it’s different.

I have honestly never tried a Roast Beef Debris sandwich (Is that redundant?).  Recently, I spent a few days pulling down lots of Food Network recipes that I had never looked at and wanted to keep.  Actually, I was looking for Ten Dollar Dinners recipes and went down the rabbit hole, which usually happens when I get on the Internet.  Seriously.  I would like to open my laptop and not digress when looking for something.  From what I understand, that is a family (or maybe even universal) trait.

It usually results in some great results, so I don’t knock it too much.  This recipe, for example.  I am not really a fan of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, but I found myself looking through EVERY RECIPE LISTED for the show.  And this recipe…which has changed my outlook on sammies…came from the show.

I already had the roast made, so it was just a matter of locating the other ingredients.  That is why I am not listing the roast ingredients.

I made this to take on a poolside (sort of) picnic last night and wrapped each portion in foil to be served with veggies and dip and chips.  We didn’t open the chips.

Roast Beef Debris

From:  Food Network

Note:  For structural integrity, I found it best to come as close to shaving of the “debris” or vegetables as possible.

For three servings:

1/2 loaf French bread, split in half lengthwise (I used one studded in sesame seeds)

2 tablespoons softened butter, give or take

mayonnaise, as needed (I used reduced fat because I had purchased some on clearance at Target.)

Creole mustard, as needed (I used some from a small Zatarain’s jar)

Roma tomato, sliced as paper thin as you can make it

iceberg lettuce, shredded as thinly as you can…think what would happen if you put it through a paper shredder…that’s the look I was going for

red onion, again shaved wafer thin

shredded roast beef in juices (After serving the beef the previous night, I shredded up the rest and stirred them in the juices), warmed

Slather the cut sides of the loaf with butter.  Place on a lipped cookie sheet and broil it in the oven until the top is charred to your liking.  While broiling the bread, reheat the meat, if necessary, and prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Once the bread is ready, I prepped mine this way.  On the bottom portion, I slathered on the mayo.  On the top, spread the mustard.  On the bottom (on top of the mayo…as it were), make a thin bed of red onion.  I cut the onion in half and made the slices from one half.  On top of that make a gala red carpet of tomato slices.  Place a judicious and juicy layer of roast beef on top of that.  I took it one step further and drizzled some more roast juices on top of that.  Then, sprinkle (or, if you are not me, pack) on the lettuce shreds.  Top with the cap of the bread, pressing down slightly.  Cut into three portions.  If serving immediately, serve on a plate with chips and/or veg and dip.  If traveling with the po-boy, wrap each portion tightly in foil to make it to go.

I wonder how this would be with pickles on the side.

What are your feelings about sammies, sandwiches, hoagies, subs, po-boys, and wraps?

A Brief Break in the Meal Plan: Leftovers for Dinner

Clean Out the Refrigerator Leftovers for Dinner

 

It appears that Muffin and I aren’t doing a fast enough job eating the leftovers (which was a concern of mine for this week).  So, to make up for it, I removed pushed back the Chicken Parmigiana Meatloaf, and we had a leftover smorg/buffet instead.  I ate:

And Muffin ate…

Josh wasn’t hungry as a result of a big breakfast and lunch.

The sad thing was…we barely made a dent in the leftovers.  Help!  I think next week when I plan, I’m going to plan a leftover night for Wednesday and Saturday (I’ll plan other meals if we by chance have caught up on the leftovers, but I’m not holding out much hope).  I’m formulating that lovely meal plan right now, so I hope to have it all yummified for you on Monday.

This dinner was Muffin Approved since he really loves the “pasta.”

Muffin Approved
I get the cutest fonts from Free Scrapbook Fonts! kevinandamanda.com/fontsWhat is your favorite leftover combination for supper?