Roasted Pork with Red Pepper Sauce & Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Pork with Red Pepper Sauce & Roasted Potatoes

I read cookbooks like novels. Is anyone else like me? But I tend NOT to follow recipes! Can anyone else relate?

I was flipping through an Emeril Lagasse cookbook Essential Emeril and saw a recipe for Roasted Pork and Roasted Potatoes. It reminded me of how my Mother In Law makes her Roasted Chicken with Potatoes. It has the same reddish color. Then I thought back to a family cookbook that I picked up from the Dollar Tree. I do not have it anymore, but I remembered a recipe for roasted chicken pieces with a red pepper sauce that was amazing.

So, thinking back to how I made the original chicken/red pepper sauce recipe (totally relying on memory…always a precarious situation!) and the new recipe which called for hot peppers, I constructed a new recipe or adapted recipe. My family does not like hot peppers, so that was totally out. And, being that I am a thrifty cook, I used what I had on hand. A leftover red pepper from testing another recipe and a Pork Roast that I had in the freezer when our local Price Rite had them on sale for $.99/lb. Yup, $.99/lb. So, this was going to be a “Use It Up and Use What You Have” recipe.

Throwing ingredients into my Manual Food Processor, I got to work making a marinade. The red pepper, fresh garlic cloves, white balsamic vinegar (just because I like it), olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper. I pureed it into a nice thick marinade. My 2 lb (more or less) pork loin was in a freezer bag and slightly still frozen (just a little). I added my peppery concoction to the freezer bag and marinated that (hopefully) delicious roast for about 4 hours while the roast finished defrosting.

When cooking time came before my hangry hungry family arrived home, I quartered some skin-on washed potatoes, nestled the pork loin into the center of my Rectangular Baker and tossed the potatoes with some of the dripping marinade. In the oven it went on 425 degrees for about 20 minutes then down to 350 for the remaining 30-40 minutes until the meat thermometer read 140 degrees. Rested for 15 minutes and then sliced up. So delicious!

I served it on my Wooded Cutting Board because I love to carve the meat on a carving board and I think it looks so beautiful. Plus, why put it on a platter and dirty another plate!

Yes, I will make this recipe again. So here is my new concocted recipe!

Roast Pork Loin with Red Pepper Sauce & Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients
2 lb pork loin roast
1 red pepper
3 garlic cloves
2 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
6 medium potatoes

Cut diagonal lines into the fat of the pork loin roast.

In the food processor, puree the red pepper, garlic, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. If it is a little too dry, add a little more vinegar or oil to taste. Pour marinate over pork. Marinate the pork loin for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Quarter potatoes and put into a 9 x 13 Rectangular Baker. Place pork loin into the center of the pan. Pour remaining marinade over the potatoes and mix them up so the potatoes are also covered with the marinade. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Then, reduce temperature to 350 and bake for about 30-40 more minutes until the internal temperature of the pork reads 140 degrees. Take the pork out of the oven, cover and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. If the potatoes need longer to cook, while the pork is resting, continue to cook the potatoes until the pork has rested and sliced. Serve and enjoy!!!!

California Wraps & Southwestern Salad

Let’s just say, I am a mess when I cook! And I wonder why no one tells me before I go on camera that my black top has cooking stains on it from cooking for 30 people before the camera starts rolling! Yes, that’s me for the world to see (well, maybe 2 people who actually watch)! Maybe, just maybe, I need to start wearing an apron. I have about 20 aprons from my 21+ years and counting with Pampered Chef. Well, I can’t do anything about it now…it’s on ORCTV, Vimeo and Youtube. Still an embarrassment to my daughters…you’re welcome, girls!

This month, I made something super easy at my cooking class for the Council on Aging because I had just come back from a week long family cruise to the Western Caribbean. We had a wonderful time but I got home and to bed around 2 am the morning of my class. So super easy and super fast menu this month was a must. Plus, I set the menu 2 weeks before. I normally have an idea of what I am making basing it on the sales and time of year. But, I had to set this menu somewhat blind because I needed to know what I was cooking further in advance.

I love sandwiches and hearty salads. No just lettuce and dressing for me. I want some goodies in my salad…like beans, avocado, corn, peas, croutons, cheese, carrots, eggs, olives… When I was on Weight Watchers with my friends, their lunch salads were always 0 or 2 points…mine were always 8+. This Southwestern Salad appeals to me because of the extra stuff (corn, olives, avocado and a very creamy doctored up ranch dressing.

I adapted the recipes a little because there were no ripe avocados in the stores where I shop. So, I just used prepared guacamole. It made it simpler and faster to make but I like the flavor of my own guac better.

If you want to see the video, here it is on Youtube Southwestern Salad & California Wraps.  You can also see it on Vimeo.

Links to the recipes are: Southwestern Salad and California Wraps. I hope you enjoy these recipes. Our guests at the Council on Aging loved them and went back for seconds. There was nothing left!

Linguica Cacciatore-So yummy!!

I’m in love with linguica! And pasta, of course but let’s talk about linguica.  If you don’t know anything about linguica, where have you been?  And where do you live?  I’m fortunate to live in an area with a huge Portuguese population…my husband and kids are from Portuguese descent. So, yes, I cook some Portuguese meals and the cuisine has had a huge influence in my cooking.  I often substitute linguica for Italian sausage in many recipes.  Cacciatore is one of those recipes where linguica shines when substituted for Italian sausage or chicken.

Luckily when I present my cooking classes for the Council on Aging, the audience shares my appreciation for linguica (and most of what I cook, especially since they are eating it for lunch)! This recipe with a simple salad is easy and delicious!  I hope you make and enjoy this meal.  You can view my complete What’s Linda Cooking show for Linguica Cacciatore by clicking on the link.  Enjoy!

Linguica Cacciatore

1 lb linguica
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
8 ounces mushrooms sliced
4 garlic cloves minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato puree
1 cup beef stock
1 can tomato paste
Sweet basil to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Sugar if needed
2 bay leaves
1 lb pasta – penne is best, I think
Parmesan cheese for serving
In large skillet saute onions, peppers and mushrooms and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Slice linguine into 1 inch pieces and add to pan.  Add tomatoes, puree, stock, paste and seasonings.  Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Boil pasta in water until al dente.  Drain.. Add cacciatore mixture over pasta and serve with parmesan cheese.
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Appetizers for Any Gathering

Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season has begun.  You may be like me, you get invited to a few parties and host your own parties or holiday gatherings at your house. I host Thanksgiving and Christmas at my house along with a few other get togethers thrown in…just because!

Appetizers are my favorite part of any gathering.  In fact, I like to host just cocktail/appetizer/pickings parties.  Last Christmas, I hosted…again, and I decided that only appetizers would be served.  Nothing that required a fork and/or knife.  I even used paper plates…say it ain’t so!!!  Oh my goodness, did I just put ain’t down in writing?!  I never say that non-word, let alone write it!  My kids would be shocked!  But they won’t read this!

Anyway, here are a few very easy appetizers to help you make your gatherings easy and yummy!  And here is the video of What’s Linda Cooking for ORCTV.  The staff loved all the appetizers and they were gone…very quickly!  Enjoy!

What’s Linda Cooking Easy Appetizers for ORCTV

Debbie’s Cheese Ball

1/4 lb Smoked ham
8 ounces Cream cheese
3 Green onions, chopped
Chopped pecans
Chop ham, green onions and mix with cream cheese.  Make into balls with scoop. Roll in chopped pecans.  Refrigerate until serving.

Herb & Parmesan Pinwheels

1 roll Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 (8 ounce) container whipped cream cheese
1⁄3 cup  fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
4 teaspoons fresh rosemary sprigs 
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375°F
Do not separate dough into triangles. Gently press or roll seams to seal, but do not flatten.
In small bowl, mix cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and rosemary.
Spread mixture over dough.
Roll up dough from the long side. Slice into 1/2 inch rolls.
Please pinwheels flat onto cookie sheet or baking stone.
Bake 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm.

Stuffed Mushrooms

8 ounces mushrooms
2 pieces bread
1/2 small onion
2 garlic cloves
Butter
Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
Parsley
Salt & pepper
Take stems out of mushrooms.  Chop mushroom stems and onions.  Sauté until soft with minced garlic and butter.  Add bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange mushroom caps on baking sheet.  With small scoop, fill mushroom caps with bread crumb mixture.
Bake at about 400 for about 15-20 minutes.

It’s All About the Sides

I don’t know about you but the side dishes for many holiday or everyday dinners are my favorites. There is nothing like homemade apples sauce, broccoli au gratin, mashed potato casserole (just one of my favorites), homemade cranberry sauce and so much more.  When eating my  holiday diner, I have very little of the “main” dish meat on my plate but a lot of the sides. Frequently, I put a little bit of every side on my plate and then go in for seconds of my favorites.  We have some tried and true sides that we always must have for our holidays.  It seems mashed potatoes (I think there would be a revolt if we did not serve some sort of potato), always make an appearance at holidays but also many times at our family dinner table.  But, why not have some of these special sides for your everyday dinners? Isn’t every night/day you sit down to a meal with your family special?  No matter how many times I serve roasted pork, homemade apples sauce is always a favorite accompaniment.  And don’t even think about jarred aka non-homemade apple sauce!!  It just does not compare.

This month at the Council on Aging, I concentrated on side dishes.  With the upcoming holidays, I thought it would be a welcomed segment.  So, I hope you enjoy these side dishes.  I know my family will this Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Here is the link to the What’s Linda Cooking episode.  I hope enjoy watching it as much as I did filming it and the seniors had enjoying this feast!!!  YUM!!!

Mashed Potato Casserole
6 large all purpose potatoes
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup or so of chicken stock
1/4 cup or so of butter
salt to taste
4 ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese
Place peeled and cubed potatoes into a large pot with water to cover.  Add salt.  Boil until tender.  Drain.
Meanwhile, sauté onion in butter or olive oil. When onion is almost done, add minced garlic.  Sauté for another minute.  Add to potatoes and mash.  Add chicken stock, butter and shredded cheese.
Put into a large baking dish.  If desired, add more cheese on top or buttered bread crumbs.  Bake at 400 for about 20 -30 minutes.
Broccoli & Cheese Casserole
20 ounces broccoli florets (can be frozen)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 butter
3/4 cups milk
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 sleeve Ritz type crackers
¼ cup butter, melted
Steam broccoli until just tender.  Put into a large baking dish.
In a sauce pan, add butter until melted.  Add  flour and cook for about 1 minute.  Slowly add about 1 cup of milk,  whisking to incorporate.  It will thicken.  If too thick, add a little more milk.  Take off the heat and add about half the shredded cheese.  Stir until melted.  Add cheese sauce to broccoli and mix until broccoli is coated.
Melt about 1/4 cup of butter.  Mix with a sleeve of crushed Ritz type crackers.  Top broccoli with the cracker mixer and remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Apple Sauce
About 4 lbs Tart apples
1/4 cup sugar or to taste
1 lemon juiced
Cinnamon, to taste (optional)
1/2 cup or so of Water
Peel, core and dice apples and add to a large sauce pan.  Add a little bit of water, lemon juice and sugar..  Cook for about 20 minutes until apples are soft.  Mash to desired consistency.  Add cinnamon to taste.

One Pot Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta

As many of you know, for the past 10 years (+/-) I have been volunteering at the Council on Aging presenting a cooking class once every month.  I try not to repeat recipes…especially now since for the past 5 years, ORCTV has been filming them.  I can’t have my fans (LOL) seeing the same recipes!!!

This month, I have been thinking about Buffalo Chicken Dip.  We’ve had a few pool parties and it seems like I have been making this dip a lot. I mean a lot!!!  I thought it would be great as a pasta dish but not so much with the buffalo sauce for the Council on Aging (Flashback to a sale on Hot Italian Sausage and eyes watering because it was too hot)!

Take out the buffalo sauce and add bacon.  Change the ranch dressing to ranch seasoning and we suddenly have Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta.  I tested it out on my weary wonderful family!  I received a definite thumbs up from my daughter.  My husband was not as impressed but he doesn’t like any type of dip, so I didn’t really take his opinion into account.  (he would say, I never listen to him, but that’s another story and another post and maybe some counseling???!!!). Anyway, I cooked it for the Council and it was a big hit.  Disclaimer…this is NOT a diet recipe!!!  Yes, it is rich and delicious.  It’s not something I would make every week.  But it’s sooooo good.  Try it and let me know what you think!  Here’s the link to the video: One Pot Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta with Spinach

One Pot Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta with Spinach

2 cups chicken stock or water (chicken stock is better)
1/2 packet of ranch seasoning mix or about 2 tbs
1 lb boneless skinless chicken
2 cups uncooked penne pasta (6 oz)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
8 ounces fresh spinach

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, brown cut up bacon.  Add cut up chicken sprinkled with ranch seasoning and sauté.
Once browned, add cream cheese cubed and melt.  Add 2 cups of water and pasta.  Bring to a boil.
Add spinach.  Cover; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes or until pasta is tender. Remove from heat.
Add 1/2 of the cheddar cheese and mix.   Add the remaining cheddar on top.  Let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Wowie Cake, Cocoa Vinegar Cake, Depression Cake…Whatever You Call It, It’s Yummy!

 

My mother used to make what she called a Wowie Cake…we loved it! My kids also loved it because it has no eggs.  Translation…no eggs = kids can lick the bowl and spoon without Mom worrying about salmonella.

It’s one of those cakes that is so easy to make because it just has a few ingredients.  Super moist and I have not met anyone who did not love this cake.  My Uncle Johnny loved, loved, loved this cake!  My mom would make it for him when he would visit.  I make it for my father in law because he loves it just plan with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on top.  My daughter loves it with chocolate or vanilla frosting.  My niece just loves it because it’s vegan and she can eat it!  I really have not met anyone who tried it and didn’t love it.

I have also used it instead of the devil’s food cake mix in the Pampered Chef’s Turtle Fudge Skillet Cake.  YUM!!!  Just double the recipe for the cake and it works out perfectly.  Plus, I like that it doesn’t come from a box.  You can really say, “Yes, I made it from scratch!”

Here’s the recipe for an 8 X 8 size.  I love that size because in the summer, why, yes, I can make a cake in the toaster oven and not heat up the house.  Just double the recipe for the 9 x 13 size or 2 layer cake.  Enjoy!!!

My Mom’s Wowie Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp oil
1 tbs vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cold water
Whisk dry ingredients together.  Add oil, vinegar, vanilla and water.  Whisk well.  Pour into a 8 “ square pan, Brownie Pan, CupCake pan or mini cup cake muffins.  Bake at 350 for 15 – 35 minutes depending upon the size pan you use.  Once cooled, dust with confectionary sugar.

 

Pan Roasted Chicken with Zucchini

This is the no recipe, recipe!  Although this recipe can be adapted for different meats and veggies, I ended up with chicken and zucchini in this dish because zucchini is plentiful this time of year and it’s plain yummy. There is no secret, I love chicken.  It’s such a versatile ingredient and it’s inexpensive compared to other types of meat.

Believe it or not, the day I cooked this recipe, I had a hard time finding boneless/skinless chicken thighs at a good price.  I ended up going to 3 different stores…1 did not have any chicken thighs, 1 had bone-in thighs at a ridiculously high price and the 3rd had them with bone-in at $.89/lb.  I went with the 3rd option and deboned the thighs. All the skin and bones went into my Quick Cooker for a chicken stock.  I could have made this recipe with the bone in but at the Council on Aging, I need to be able to make the main meal in about 30 minutes, so boneless was the way to go.  At home, I would have just gone with the bone in.

As I mentioned in the video, I normally serve this with mashed potatoes which are my favorite (yum!!!) but I was feeling a little lazy and did not want to peel potatoes for 30 people (I know, I know…stop being so lazy!!!). So opted for rice.  It did come out great with the rice but really would have been better with the potatoes.

Well, here’s the recipe I adapted.  By the way, if you do want one of my cool…amazing Non Stick Stainless Skillets which helps make an amazing pan sauce with easy cleanup, just click the link.

Pan Roasted Chicken with Zucchini

1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1   small onion
  • 1 pkg-8 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup white wine or chicken broth

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F . Heat the oil in a Stainless Steel Skillet or Stainless Non Stick Stainless Skillet over medium-high heat for 3–5 minutes.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt & pepper. Place the chicken in the pan and sear for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over and sear for 1 additional minute. Remove the chicken from the pan.
  3. Meanwhile, slice onion & mushrooms. Cut the tomatoes in half. Cut the zucchini into 1″.
  4. Add the onions, mushrooms, minced or pressed garlic and salt to the pan. Saute for 2–3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the fond or little brown bits.
  5. Add the wine or chicken stock and dijon mustard. Simmer, uncovered, for 3–5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
  6. Add the tomatoes and zucchini to the pan and stir to combine. Place the chicken on top of the mixture and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the chicken in cooked. If you use bone in chicken, increase the baking time to about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

What’s Linda Cooking???-Chicken Cranberry Salad and Broccoli Pasta Salad

Chicken Cranberry Salad and Broccoli Pasta Salad

As many of you know, each month I teach a cooking class at the Rochester Council on Aging.  I have been doing this for the past 10 years.  Of course, my mother has yet to attend, but that’s another story!!!  When I am a senior, I think I will hang out at the Council on Aging because these seniors never seem to get old…I think it has something to do with their activity level and that they are around people all the time…ahem, MOM!!!!  Anyway, she will be angry when she reads this…this month because it’s July and I did not want to grill out in the scorching heat, I made Chicken Salad with Cranberries and a Broccoli Pasta Salad.  Fabulous recipes!  I do not like getting chicken salad from the deli because it has too much mayo (and I love mayo) and other stuff that I don’t like.  So try this recipe and I think you’ll love it!!!

 

 

 

Chicken Salad Recipe
2 lbs cooked chicken ideally pouched with parsley, onion, seasoned salt and bouillon cubes
1/2 cup bottled Italian salad dressing or homemade (olive oil, wine vinegar, shallot, garlic)
A good dollop of mayonnaise, approximately 1/2 cup
1/8 tsp. salt
dash paprika
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup-1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1 small onion chopped
Poach chicken in water to cover, parsley, onion, seasoned salt and bouillon cubes.  Take chicken out, cool and shred.  If doing the night before, store in refrigerator.
In separate bowl, combine olive oil, wine vinegar, chopped shallot and minced garlic.  Whisk to combine.  Add mayo, salt, paprika, honey and mix.
Add mayo mix, chicken, cranberries, chopped onion and any other mix ins.  Mix.  Serve on rolls, croissants or on top of salad greens.
BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD

2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked medium shell pasta
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup golden raisins
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled
1/3 cup sunflower seed kernels

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse under cold running water.
  2. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar in large bowl; mix well. Add pasta, broccoli, onion, raisins, bacon and sunflower seeds; mix gently. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.

Menu Plan Week of June 17th!!!

I am trying to stay away from a lot of processed carbs…very tough for me since I have not met a carb that I didn’t love!!  But, I need to lose some weight and eat a little healthier.  So, my menu plan reflect my new eating style.  Yes, you will see there are some potatoes on the menu but my family loves them and I will try to not eat them!!!  Wish me luck!!

I make my menu plans based on what I have on hand and what’s on sale…mostly at Market Basket…and what I may find at Friendly Fruit.  So here it is.  There are links to the recipes from the websites where I found the recipes.

Day 1

From I Breath I’m Hungry and All Recipes:  Salsbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Cauliflower

Day 2

From All Recipes:   Roasted Chicken with Roasted Potatoes, Carrots & Onions

Day 3

From Kasey Trenum:   Creamy Parmesan Garlic Pork Chops with Roasted Broccoli

Day 4 From Cooking With Mamma C:  Lemon Parmesan Cod with Garlic Butter and Salad

And here is the Grocery List:

Dairy
8 tbs butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1 small wedge Parmesan cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
Pantry (Items you probably have but may need to replenish)
Worcestershire sauce
garlic powder
dried onion flakes
kosher salt
black pepper
olive oil
onion powder
Italian seasoning
paprika
Dry Goods
3/4 cup almond flour
1 can beef broth
1 can chicken broth
Produce
1 small bunch parsley
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
4 yellow onions
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 head garlic
1 stalk celery
4 medium potatoes
1 lb carrots
1 lemon
Meats
2 lbs ground chuck (80/20)
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
1.5 lb center cut boneless pork chops
1 1/2 pounds fresh cod