The Mother-in-Law’s Rib Recipe

I read this story with my grade 12 French students about a woman who tries (and changes) a mother-in-laws recipe.  It’s a cute love story but in the story the changed recipe ends up breaking up the couple.  Even still, I attempted (and changed) my mother-in-law’s rib recipe, because hey, I’ve tried her cooking and it’s just that good!  Don’t worry — the husband and I are still happily married 🙂

Being the lazy and sometimes picky cook that I am, I changed her recipe to avoid buying things that I won’t use again.  To be honest, actually, I was also cooking these ribs for my parents and my dad is the kind of dad that washes off food if he detects any kind of spiciness (so I decided to omit the chili powder to save him a trip to the kitchen sink.)

Ribs PhotodinnersThe ribs still turned out fabulous, so here’s the recipe I ended up using:

4 pound slabs pork ribs
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1tsp salt
1tsp paprika
1tsp cumin
Cut the ribs in half, sprinkle with seasoning (above), and wrap each half in tinfoil.  Bake at 300 for 2.5 hours.
Ribs photodinners
Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 cup  onion in a saucepan. Cook onion through.  Add
2 cups water
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
5  tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 teaspoons whiskey
4 teaspoons garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoon dark molasses
Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and leave it there for one hour.  Sauce will thicken.  When it’s done, just put it aside until the ribs are done.
Ribs photodinners
To crisp up the ribs, BBQ for three minutes on each side.  Then slather in some sauce  and grill for another minute on either side (the leftover sauce can just be put on the table for extra for those extra saucy people)
Et voila!
Sorry not a lot of pictures of the cooked meat, I realized as everyone was half done their ribs that I hadn’t taken any ‘after’ photos — so I quickly snapped one of the leftover as everyone was happily finishing their dinner.
Posted in Dinner, Pork | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Chicken: Operation Stuff That

I’ve been on a stuffing fix.  Not the “it’s Thanksgiving, pass the stuffing” kind of thing, more like, “what amazing food can I stuff into this meat?”  Tonight’s dinner was inspired by my five slices of uncooked bacon sitting in the fridge, which was a leftover from my breakfast-for-dinner fiasco of yesterday.  With just four ingredients, this meal is up there in my top ten it-tastes-like-I-spent-hours-but-I-just-spend-10-minutes meals.

Stuffed Chicken Photodinners

Here’s how I did it:

Take four chicken breasts, slit the side for an opening and make a pouch inside the chicken.

Stuffed Chicken Photodinners

Stuff with sliced fresh spinach and cream cheese (I used reduced calorie herb and garlic — yum!)

Stuffed Chicken Photodinners

wrap with bacon

Stuffed Chicken PhotodinnersCook at 350 until temp of breast is 165 F (I try to use a meat thermometer to tell me when meat is done — thanks to mom and her food safe fanaticism.)

I meant to serve this meal with baked potatoes and beats as I was using the oven anyway. However, beats take a heck of a long time to cook. So the beats went half cooked back into the fridge (when am I going to get to that?) and the spinach got another role in the dinner play as the vegetable accompaniment.

Stuffed Chicken Photodinners

Have you stuffed something lately (other than your mouth 🙂 ?  Do tell!

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Pork, Apple and Cranberry (Can You Think of a More Awesome Combination?!)

We do a potluck every Monday night, which is a great time to get rid of some ingredients not used the week(s) before.  I had an abundance of apples and onions to use up, so I made this:

Apple, Pork and Craisins Photodinners

How, you ask?  Well, sit back and let me tell you a little recipe story.

Preheat oven to 350.  Pound down four pork chops (no bone).  Meanwhile, saute an onion and slice two apples.  Add about 1/4 cup of craisins to the apples and the onion when it is cooked.  Put a couple Tbsp of the apple, onion and craisin mixture on the pork chop.

Apple, Pork and Craisins Photodinners

Roll up, starting from the longest end and meeting the other end.  Keep in place with toothpicks and string (we didn’t have string, so I had to go to town with the toothpicks).

Apple, Pork and Craisins Photodinners

Brown pork chops and put in a baking dish.

Apple, Pork and Craisins Photodinners

Add remainder of the apple mixture on top.  Add 1/2 cup water.  Bake for about an hour.

Apple, Pork and Craisins Photodinners

Take out of the oven and drain liquid into saucepan and heat on medium.  To make the gravy: Put 1Tbsp flour and 1Tbsp corn starch into a glass.  Add and really mix in 2 Tbsp of water.  Slowly add 1Tbsp of hot liquid apple mixture to cup and stir.  Add flour mixture to drippings and stir.  This should thicken the drippings in a couple of minutes.  I added some cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and fennel to taste.  Just keep tasting and adding until your sauce is perfect.

Et voila!

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Pork Stir-Fry with Cashews, Lime, and Mint

It was date night the other night, which is a weekly event for us.  My wonderful husband wanted to cook me something Thai inspired by one of our many new bargain cookbooks from Winners, Thai Cooking School.  I thought I should post his recipe as it was unbelievably good and (although he might not want to admit it) easy to make.

Pork Stir-Fry Photodinners

Here’s how he did it (I know because my wine and I supervised)

  • Slice about 400 grams of pork tenderloin very thin
  • Rub the meat with a mixture of 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1  &  1/4 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp white pepper, grated rind of one lime.  Let meat stand 15 minutes
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a wok, fry meat (2-3 minutes)
  • Add 6 sliced green onions, 1 garlic clove, 1tsp grated ginger.  Fry 2 minutes
  • Add chopped cashews, 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 Tbsp chicken stalk, juice of one lime, and my husband added 2 chillies (which I would advise against unless you are into REALLY hot food)
  • Add to noodles and garnish with 2 Tbsp of fresh mint.

Et voila!

Pork Stir-Fry PhotodinnersPork Stir-Fry Photodinners

Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Dinner, Pork | 2 Comments

Think ‘Quick Pasta’ Means ‘Boring Pasta’?

My husband and I had about 15 minutes to cook dinner the other night as we were running late (as usual!) In the fridge was some extra-lean hamburger thawing from the evening before.  Now, most people know what hamburger + time crunch equals.  But, neither of us felt like we wanted that bland spaghetti dinner we remembered having many, many times during university.  Luckily, there are some quick fixes which you can do while your meat is frying and your pasta is boiling that won’t add any time to your “I need this done in 15 minutes!” statement.

Eight quick fixes for boring pasta:

  • Mix up the meat: sausage, ground turkey, chicken, tuna, bacon, shrimp, or a combination
  • Get those veggies: mushrooms, peppers, onion, spinach, or other tasty veggie
  • Spice it up (my favorites to add: oregano, red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, parsley, basil, and/or pepper)
  • Cheese: put some grated cheddar cheese, Parmesan, or Romano cheese on the table or sprinkled through the dish.
  • Use something other than plain white spaghetti: go whole wheat and try different shapes, for example fusilli, penne, or farfalle.
  • Try canned beans or chick peas (both drained and rinsed)
  • Open a bottle of pesto or Alfredo instead of spaghetti sauce and choose accompanying veggies and meat accordingly.
  • Uncork that wine bottle.

Our 15 minute meal:

Quick fix for pasta photodinners

Any tips to add to my eight?  We would love to hear them!

Posted in 20 Minutes or Less, Beef, Chicken, Dinner, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moroccan Chicken: Sweet and Spicy!

Here’s another great recipe to add to your “I can make a couple batches and freeze them” repertoire!

Moroccan Chicken Photodinners

Just make some a couple batches of this sauce, use some tonight, and freeze the leftovers.

Here’s what you’ll need to make enough sauce for 4-6 chicken breasts:

  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 halves of lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp hot sauce — or more . . .
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Just take the the sauce and dump it on the chicken breasts.  Add the following:

  • 1/4 cup Almond slivers
  • 1/3 cup Dried apricots  (these two items are also freezable, in separate bags)

Put it in the oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Serve over couscous.  Delicious!

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Ever Ask Yourself: What to Do With Filo?

Filo pastry is basically wonderful.  It is SO easy to use and almost everything tastes great with it — savory or sweet.  A couple of nights ago, my friend Jenny and I made a quick dessert using fruit, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and multiple sheets of filo.

Filo Pastry Photodinners

  • Take a couple kinds of frozen/fresh fruit and drain.  Reserve liquid.
  • Layer filo pastry about three or four sheets deep, alternating direction and leaving some space on the side to fold back after fruit is added
  • add 1/3 of fruit.   Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Layer more filo.  Brush with butter

Continue these steps until all fruit is gone.

  • Fold in side of filo
  • Brush with fruit juice
  • Sprinkle sugar on top
  • Bake 350 until fruit is tender and filo is golden brown (about 15 minutes)


Filo Pastry Photodinners

What do Filo Pastry Photodinnersyou do with your filo?

Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment