Last week left me without much time to cook. Due to Hurricane Matthew most meals were eaten at friends houses or out. Then the end of the week was so busy with obligations that dinner was out once again. Now the evenings are longer and cooking is something I want to fill our home as well as our stomachs.
NCF carries pork osso bucco for $4.50 lb. Osso bucco comes in all sizes, from small to large. Personally I prefer the smaller more delicate cuts.They take less time to cook and are very flavorful. Fortunately we carry all sizes in the store. The tomatoes, potatoes and sage came from the NCF garden making this a fairly inexpensive dinner for our family. Ragout is a french stew of vegetables usually served with meat. I served the Ragout on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes although rice polenta or noodles would serve wonderfully.
Pork Osso Bucco Ragout
3 lbs Pork Osso Bucco
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tsp + 2 Tbsp kosher salt
1Tsp + 1 TBSP (divided) fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp Dried Sage Leaves (Not Rubbed)
1 cup Sherry
1 cup unsalted Beef Broth
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups diced tomatoes – I used frozen tomatoes from our summer garden it was about 1/2 cherry tomatoes and 1/2 beefsteak tomatoes.
1 large yellow onion sliced
5 crushed cloves of garlic
Preheat oven to 280 degrees
In a 6 qt dutch oven heat EVOO on med heat till glistening
Add Onion, Garlic, 1 Tsp salt, and 1 tsp black pepper cook until onions start browning .
Remove onion & garlic to a spare bowl
Turn burner up to med-hi
Salt & Pepper pork with remaining S&P
Brown Pork on each side about 3 min just until it releases from pan.
Remove pork to spare plate
Deglaze pan with Sherry
Add in broth & Apple Cider Vinegar
Now we are going to stack our ingredients
Into the liquid place the onions and garlic
Place the Pork Chops
Cover with dried Sage leaves
Cover with tomatoes
Place lid on dutch oven and place in stove for 2 hours
On a med lo burner place the dutch oven on it uncovered let simmer and reducing until reduce by 1/2
Fall has finally arrived here in North Carolina, the past few days I have been at the NC Choices Women in Meat Conference. The Conference was held at a camp over in Efland, NC. There the leaves were beginning to change slightly. I came back with many new ideas full of inspirations from the talented women I was surrounded by.
With cool mornings and crisp sunsets it is time for some heavier flavored dishes. Lamb can be a finicky creature but the shanks are a great part to start with as a beginner. They can take a bit of abuse with cooking times and still turn out melting in your mouth. Lamb Shanks are a cool weather treat when braised with Carrots & Prunes. My braising liquid will be Red Wine. The wine lifts the flavor of the lamb and the prunes add a sweetness without leaving the savory realm.
In the NCF Store we carry Pasture Raised Lamb from High Rock Farm and Thistle Down Farm. The shanks are priced at $10 lb. The dish I am making with the shanks pairs well with Rice, Quinoa or Roasted Potatoes. Each Shank should yield about 1 1/2 servings and are packaged in twos. Dinner for 4 will run about $25 making it a great alternative to a leg of lamb if you have a small family. And at this cost you don’t need an occasion to make it. Lamb warms your soul with its depth of flavor.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Red Wine
4 Lamb Shanks
2 TBSP EVOO
2 6″ sprigs of Rosemary
2 cups red wine (for cooking I rely on Rex Goliath Pinot Noir)
1 cup diced prunes
1/2 cup diced carrots
4 crushed garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350
In a Dutch Oven heat EVOO on med hi heat
Season shank with salt & pepper
Working in batches of 2 shanks brown shanks on all sides
Remove shanks to cutting board
Reduce heat to medium add in prunes, carrots & garlic, brown about 3 minutes
Pour in red wine deglazing the pan ( run a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon along the bottom of the pan to get up the crispies)
Add in the lamb shanks
Rest Rosemary on lamb shank cover and place in oven
Cook for 60-90 min. Lamb shanks size are dependent on the lamb if smaller they will cook faster. You want the meat to pull away gently with a fork. If it is not place back in stove and check in another 15 minutes. Lamb shanks take abuse of heat easily so do not fret if you are new to this.
School is back in session full swing & while we homeschool year round this means our school year activities are keeping us busy.
Monday – Friday afternoons we race from horse back riding, girl scouts and art lessons. That mean we need dishes we can prepare ahead of time then throw in the oven while the little one takes a bath & we do evening chores. It’s a farm ya’ll, there are always chores.
Tonight’s dinner is one to make ahead. Usually on Sunday afternoons I like to chop my veggies for the week so I can toss and go when I’m cooking. Potatoes won’t brown if placed in cold water in the fridge. That trick is only good for about 24 hours though so I still cut mine fresh.
The other thing I have playing in my favor is the green beans I planted the end of July are now ready to harvest. The NCF whole cut up chicken is a great convenience item at $6.50 lb leaving me a few extra minutes. I go for about a 3.5 lb chicken or as close to it as I can get. The total cost with all of the veggies is about $30 and much healthier than the drive thru calling your name on busy nights.
Lemon Chicken Bake
3.5 lb cut up chicken
3 lemons 1 sliced thin, 2 juiced
1 lb green beans
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 sliced bell pepper (go for color)
1/2 of a red onion thinly sliced
1 lb small red potatoes
5 cloves of minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 425
Place veggies,sliced lemon. onion, garlic, and Olive Oil in a deep baking dish, add salt & pepper then mix well.
Move potatoes to outer edge of pan.
Pat Chicken dry with paper towels
Place chicken on veggies
Drizzle entire dish with lemon juice
Salt & Pepper Chicken
Bake for 1 hr or until golden brown. (If relying on a thermometer the center of the chicken breast should be 165 degrees)
Once again rest for 5 minutes before serving allowing the juices in the chicken to redistribute.
You’re probably going “Lucy knows it’s chicken parmesan, right?”. Yes I do know, when a craving hits & there is a chicken breast shortage hits (now remedied), you substitute. In this case I used Pork Chops from the NCF farm store coming in at $9.50 lb. It makes for a good fall meal on these still cooling off nights.
In my pictures you will notice the bone & extra fat. Don’t do what I did and leave those on. My crew was startled to find they couldn’t cut their meat under layers of sauce and cheese, from now on I will use my noodle a bit better and remove the extra fat as well as the bone.
There is no parmesan cheese in Parmesan dishes. Why?? The dish is named for the area it is from in France. Also I do not add my seasoning to the breading. I season the meat after egging. I’ve found that this adds a bit more flavor to my fried dishes. And please make sure to let the meat come to room temperature before frying. Cold meat in a fryer = burnt breading
4 NCF bone in pork chops
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs whisked
3 tbsp Italian Herbs Seasoning
1 cup Olive Oil
Salt & pepper
8oz jar of Marinara (I prefer Nello’s)
8 Slices Provolone or Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 lb cooked pasta prepared to packages instructions
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Dip Pork Chop in Egg
Season Pork Chops with Salt Pepper and Italian Seasoning
Cover Pork chop in breading (let rest 5 min before frying)
In a heavy bottom pan heat Olive Oil to shimmering state
Cooking 3-4 minutes on each side
In a oven safe casserole add pasta cover lightly with marinara
Lay Pork Chops on pasta, cover lightly with sauce then lay cheese across the top.
A few years ago one of those boxed dinner companies came out with seasoning packets. You were just supposed to throw it in your meat and pasta or rice and poof dinner is served. Upon looking at the ingredient list I was mortified. And then I looked at the nutrition. Whew! Who knew so much sodium could be packed into a couple of tablespoons.
A few months back the NCF Store started carrying flavored Goat Cheeses from Celebrity Goat Dairy. Since then I have been playing around with them and having a blast. The little tubs sell for $5 each and are loaded full of flavor. The flavors are Chocolate(hello adult s’mores anyone), mango, chipotle, garbo (herb), dillamon (dill with lemon pepper), chevre (plain), jalapeno, and curry. Commonly I add goat cheese to dishes, it packs a punch of flavor while low in fat.
The next few meals I present are easy dinner on the run. Currently these 4 weeks are packed to the gills with activity. And if I ever schedule this much at once again… well lets just hope I don’t. The amount of time I have doesn’t allow for dinner out and fast food is being phased out of our house unless we are traveling.
Here we go, the NCF Chicken Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast is $11 lb, Garbo Goat Cheese $5, Peas-$1.69 (broccolli or carrots can be substituted), and Pasta $1.89 16 oz box. Tell me can you feed a family of 4 at a fast food place for under $20? I can’t and keep everyone happy but I can with this and it’s done in 15 minutes.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into bite sized pieces
Garbo Goat Cheese
1 Cup frozen Peas
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 TBSP EVOO
Prepare Pasta to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 of pasta water
Season Chicken with Salt and Pepper
Over Med-Hi heat EVOO.
Once heated brown seasoned chicken
Add Pasta water & Peas cook for 2 minutes
Add Pasta and Garbo Goat Cheese mix thoroughly
There are a few ways to dress this up and down if you have time. Mushrooms & Onions for instance. However on over scheduled nights I recommend this dish to meet the Carb, Veg, & Meat criteria many of us try to have for a meal.
Ruth Reichl is one of my cooking icons. When Epicurious ended I was gutted. Was her career over, would she continue to write? She is incredibly inspirational to my own cooking style. The recipe I made tonight was inspired by her. She would collect ingredients in the street markets on her way home and make a dish. I went walking through our little market at NCF and came up with dinner.
London Broil is Flank Steak’s big brother. Have a large crowd to please? Get a London Broil. Tonight’s dinner is an indulgence, the London Broil is $10 lb and then the grits have Skyr Tykke $5 (goat sour cream) & Garbo goat cheese $5. Our goat cheese products come from Celebrity Goat Dairy. With the veggies and stone grits this meal runs around $45. This was our big family dinner of the week. This meal can be broken up or served with other items. The grits are a heavenly meal all on their own. Luckily we have lots of grits left over and I’m eyeing them for breakfast. There are 3 separate recipes in this one blog post. Please be patient with me.
2-3 lb London Broil
1 cup Soy Sauce
1/3 cup Lime juice
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
Combine spices, herbs, lime juice, & soy sauce. Place London Broil in a 1 gallon zip top bag, pour marinade over, close & place in fridge for 8-12 hours.
Pull out 90 minutes prior to cooking. This is a very thick cut of meat that you want at room temp all the way through,
Line a jelly roll pan with foil, place a wire cooling rack on top on the jelly roll pan, place the London Broil in the center of the rack
PreHeat Broiler at 500
Place Broil under the Broil for 12 minutes flip then cook for another 12 minutes ( London Broil is typically served rare to mid rare, my family choose the rare option)
Rest Broil for 7 minutes slice thin and serve over Goaty Grits.
Peppers, Onions & Mushrooms
2 Bell Peppers any color other than green slice thinly
1 medium red onion sliced thinly
12 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBSP Lime Juice
Salt Pepper to taste
In a large heavy bottom skillet heat the EVOO over med heat
Add mushrooms and onions cook for 5 min turning frequently
When onions & mushrooms start browning add in the peppers cook for 2 min
Turn heat to high add lime juice let veggies caramelize getting a bit dark.
Serve immediately with London Broil
1 tub Garbo Goat Cheese
4 ounces Skyr Tykke
1 Cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (In meals like this I prefer to count the loving smiles at my table not the calories)
1 Cup Stone Ground Yellow Grits
2 tsp salt
In a 6 quart pan bring water, milk & heavy cream to a boil
Add salt & grits stirring often you don’t want to scorch you milk
As the grits thicken up about 10 min stir in remaining ingredients stirring often. Cook for another 5 minutes or until grits are tender.
Serve under London broil & Pepper, Mushrooms, & Onions Mixture.
Boston Butt is porks most versatile cut. BBQ, roasted, sliced then grilled, soup parts or stew there are many things to do with a Boston Butt. Pork Buns are labor intensive so grab your children, spouse, neighbor etc for some fun help. Whether tailgating or heading to a picnic this meat is perfect as it is self-contained. This recipe makes about 24 pork buns. Boston butts sell for $7.50lb in the NCF store. You could easily get 2-3 meals out of a single one. We made 16 pork buns with plenty of tasty pork leftover for sandwiches. Pork buns also freeze & reheat well.
My dutch oven is my kitchen workhorse along side my trusty 8 inch santoku knife. Found easily at any store a dutch oven is an essential. Mine came from a big members only warehouse about 5 yrs ago for around $35. It is used at least 3-4 times a week. If you don’t have one get one. You can get a plain cast iron dutch oven, or you can get one that is enameled if maintaining cast iron worries you (it shouldn’t!). If you ever move and can only take one pan, take your dutch oven.
2-3 cans of buttermilk biscuit dough
3 lb Boston Butt
3 inches of fresh ginger root
1 small yellow onion
4 cloves of fresh garlic
PreHeat oven to 280 F
With a microplane, grate ginger, carrots, onion, & garlic. *This can also be done in a food processor or Ninja if you do not have a microplane. Do Not Liquify these ingredients though.
Salt and pepper Boston Butt
Place Boston Butt fat side up in Dutch oven. Cover Butt with grated mixture, place lid on and place in oven for 4 hours. We’re giving the butt an extra hour so that it is shreddable.
After 4 hours remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.
Shred and mix in the grated mixture leaving the juices in the bottom of the pan.
Flatten biscuit dough out
Place 1/4 cup of pork mixture in each bun then seal the dough
Steam for 20 minutes or bake following the biscuit dough instruction. (I prefer steamed)
1 nectarine, peach or plum (truthfully any ripened stone fruit with taste great)
1/4 cup Sweet Chili Sauce
2 tsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar will work)
The pork drippings from the bottom of the dutch oven.
Reusing the dutch oven with the drippings in it remove as much fat as you can.
Peel fruit and chop.
Add in soy sauce, vinegar, & fruit
Heat over med/lo heat until sauce is bubbling then cook until fruit is cooked through about 5 minutes.