Category Archives: Pork

Homemade Baked Beans

Baked Beans are a wonderful thing. They’re easy to make. They’re delicious. They travel well so you can bring them to parties, picnics, or events. Kids and adults alike will eat them as a side. And, my favorite part, the crock pot does almost all of the cooking work.


Homemade Baked Beans

2 cups Navy Beans
1/2 lb Bacon
3 TBSP Molasses
2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Dry Mustard
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1. Soak your beans overnight in water, covered.
2. Drain the beans and transfer into a pot and fill with enough fresh water to cover the beans. Simmer until tender – approximately an hour and a half to two hours. Drain the beans and **reserve the water**.
3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees if you are planning to bake the beans in the oven. If you are using your crock pot instead, you can just pull out your crock.  😉
4. In a sauce pan, combine the molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire, and brown sugar. Mix to combine and bring to a boil.
5. While that is heating, pour your beans into either a 1/2 sized casserole dish or into your crock pot – whichever you will be using. Chop up your raw bacon into small bites and mix into the beans.
6. Once your sauce pan mixture reaches its boil, pour over the beans and bacon mixture and add just enough of the reserved bean juices to cover the beans.
7. If you’re baking in the oven, cover the casserole dish with foil and bake 3-4 hours until tender and add a little more of the reserved bean liquid half way through cooking if needed. I
If you’re using your crock pot, put the lid on your crock and cook for 6-7 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low. You might need to add some of the reserved bean water mid-way through the cooking.


Tags: , , , , ,

Easy Peasy Slow Cooker Pork Chops

I’m a stay-at-home-mom. My days are filled with toddlers running around screaming, crying, laughing, and playing. While this is absolutely the single best job in the world, it is also often overwhelming – I mean, these kids – they EAT! You have to feed them several times a day, every single day! And it better be tasty – but you get extra credit bonus points if it’s also (at least mostly) nutritious as well. In case you didn’t already know this, the job of being a mom can greatly conflict with the job of needing to provide good food that kids are willing to eat.


Here’s an easy meal that I turn to often. Maybe it can help you too.
You pretty much just dump four or five items into a crock pot during a spare moment in the morning, and at dinner time you have a meal. Pretty nice huh!


Easy Peasy Crock Pot Pork Chops
Pork Chops  (I used a package of 5 chops on the bone, but any type of pork chop will do
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (any “cream of” soup will work – celery, chicken, etc)
1/4 cup Ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
– – – – there is room to improvise here too. I sliced a few mushrooms and added them to the pot, feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand.

1. Put your pork chops into the crock pot.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the cream soup, ketchup, and Worcestershire (and any extra ingredient you might want to add). Mix them all together and then pour the mixture over the chops in the crock.
3. Cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
4. Enjoy!  I like to serve mine on a bed of mashed potatoes or rice and use the resulting juices in the crock as a gravy.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Crock Pot, Dinner, Easy, Entree, Pork


Tags: , , , , ,

Barbeque Pork Butt

Let the grilling season begin!!

It snowed yesterday morning.  Today we had a high of 72!  What’s a gal to do with such crazy weather??  IGNORE IT and grill anyways.

Simple and delicious, this is the easiest, tastiest, pork you will ever grill.

A few years back I was sitting at the dinning table and eating some leftover pork the Hubs had made the night before. It struck me that if a man had made me this dish on a date – served it up for dinner and then proposed right there and then, I would have had no choice but to say yes (after I finished chewing my bite of delicious pork of course). How else would I have been able to guarantee I would be able to eat this amazing dish again!? :-D
….though of course I had no idea how simple this dish was to make at the time. Now I know I could simply have made it myself.


This dish is so delicious you will eat too much of it the first night. You will be full and try to put the rest away as leftovers but you will still be sneaking pieces out and eating while you do it. If you are fortunate enough to manage to save some leftovers, you are in for a pleasant surprise. This is one of those dishes that reheats soo well, it’s even better the next day! The time in the fridge just gives the meat longer to soak in all the BBQ sauce. MMMmmm!


I do want to mention that it has to be Open Pit BBQ Sauce, even if you do not like Open Pit. Trust me, it makes all the difference. I personally do not (well, did not) care for Open Pit at all, but this dish simply isn’t the same any other way. No, I’m not sponsored by Open Pit and I don’t receive any compensation from them – though I wouldn’t turn it down if they offered!

Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder
Open Pit BBQ Sauce
Aluminum tin or other pan
…..that’s all folks!

1. Heat up your charcoal grill, using a sufficient amount of coal to keep it running for a few hours.
2. Push all coals to one side of your grill. Fill an aluminum pan with water and place it on the grate over the coal side of the grill.
3. Place meat on the cool side of the grill and put the lid on the grill. Make sure your vents are open on the grill lid. Set a timer for 30 minutes and walk away.
4. When your timer goes off, open your grill and flip the pork over and make sure your pan still has water (if it doesn’t….add some). Set your timer for another 30 minutes.
5. Repeat this cycle until your pork reads 165 to 170 degrees with a meat thermometer. Roughly two to three hours depending on how thick your meat is.
6. When your pork has cooked through, remove from the grill and set it aside on a cutting board. Get a casserole dish or other similar sized dish and pour enough Open Pit BBQ Sauce to thoroughly cover all of your pork. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and put the whole thing into your microwave and warm it through. Heat it for one or two minutes at a time, stirring occasionally, until it is steaming hot.
7. Slice your pork into thin pieces and place into hot BBQ Sauce. Make sure to really dredge it in there. Don’t be shy, let the stuff swim in it.
8. That’s it. Serve as it is and let your happy eaters fish out their own pork, slathered in sauce, and don’t hold back.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 14, 2013 in Dinner, Easy, Entree, Pork


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Crockpot Ham

Yesterday Hubby came home with a ham. Yup. Randomly. Just like that, he came home from work and with a sly grin he handed over a six and a half pound ham. We have no occasion coming up and no party to cook for, but he had a coupon that enabled him to get the ham for only two dollars and he assumed I would be able to figure out something to do with it.

Little secret? I have never cooked a ham before! A ham-steak, yeah sure, but an actual massive ham? Nope. No clue. Google is a wonderful little invention, isn’t it?


Did you know you can cook a ham in a crock pot? Did you know that as odd as that may sound, the ham comes out tasting absolutely amazing – soo tender and juicy!? Best part is, it’s practically fool-proof too! AND I can see major benefits of cooking the holiday ham in the crock pot and freeing up much needed oven space for large family parties and holiday occasions too. This recipe from Tammilee Tips was clearly the way to go.

1 large Ham – mine was 6.5lbs and it just fit into my crock pot
2 cups Pineapple Juice
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff, not the pancake syrup)

Directions:1. Place ham into your crock pot and give it a good rub down with the brown sugar on all sides.
2. Pour your pineapple juice and maple syrup over the ham.
3. Cover and cook on low for 4 – 5 hours.
4. About three quarters of the way through cooking, baste the ham with some of the juices in the bottom of the crock.
5. Let the ham rest for about 10 minutes before carving.


Tags: , , , ,


This recipe was a life saver for me tonight. My day starting taking a sharp nosedive around lunchtime and just kept plummeting. The house was a wreck, things were breaking, kids were crabby and difficult and soo NOT interested in letting Mommy go in the kitchen to cook dinner (even though they assured me they were soo desperately hungry for snacks *sigh*). Just as I thought things had just about reached the peak of chaos, I get an email from the hubby that he’s working really late and won’t be home until after the kids are in bed, dinner’s over, and I’m so far past stressed out that I’m already halfway back to sanity again.

Luckily I made my Mega Meatloaf last night. No, that’s not a total non sequitur and random plug for another one of my recipes, it is why I had meatballs already made and rolled and ready to go today!


Both my recipe for meatballs and my recipe for my Mega Meatloaf call for a 50/50 mixture of ground beef and ground pork. Because both are sold in 1lb packages – I would have to either make a two pound meatloaf or two pounds of meatballs. Either way, it would be way too much for my family to eat and as it is we have quite a bit of leftovers from each dish when we split them! I buy my ground meats, mix them together with the ingredients listed below, and then divide the mixture in half and make half of it into a meatloaf and the other half becomes my meatballs! AND I was lucky enough yesterday to have made the meatloaf half so all I had to do today was retrieve my plate of mixed, rolled, and prepared meatballs out of the fridge, toss it in the oven, and then serve it to my ever-so-charming children!


1/2 lb Ground Beef
1/2 lb Ground Pork1 Egg
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3/4 TBSP Parsley
salt/pepper to taste
1 cup Bread Crumbs
3/4 cup lukewarm Water
Optional: Marinara Sauce, grated Mozzarella Cheese, Bread for meatball sandwiches or spaghetti for pasta

1. Combine the meat, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add about half of the breadcrumbs and mix it in, then half of the water and mix it in fully. Repeat with the remainder of the bread crumbs and water – though you have to make a judgement call on the water. You might need a little more or a little less, depending on how moist your ground meats were. You want the meat mixture to be firm enough to hold its shape. Too dry and it will break apart, too wet and it will just be a sloppy mess.
2. Once your meat is mixed together, you get to start rolling your balls. I like mine to be roughly a TBSP each as a general rule of thumb for sizing. Any size works though, just remember that you want them to be as uniform as possible and that bigger meatballs will take longer to cook, smaller ones will cook quicker.

(Up to this point, the meat mixture is the exact same as the mixture for my Mega Meatloaf mix. This is where the recipes start to split apart so if you want to use half your meat for the meatloaf, divide it now and save some for later. Check the tabs above in the meat/pork drop down for my Mega Meatloaf recipe!)

3. At this point in the recipe you can make a choice. You can fry up your meatballs in some olive oil and then toss them in a pot of marinara to finish cooking and absorb the saucey flavor – OR – you can put them on a greased cookie sheet in the oven at 350 for about half an hour. Either way they come out delicious and ready-to-eat!
4. Enjoy!


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mega Meatloaf

I start a lot of posts off by talking about how I’m a picky eater and never liked eating food XX until I tried making it this way and blah blah blah. I promise you it’s all true too – and it seems this is another one of those recipes. It’s actually probably one of my first recipes that I created all on my own by experimenting with different ideas from different sources and combining them all together in order to “fix” a dish that I just didn’t really like eating.

You see, meatloaf in my family and in my friends families was typically just ground beef mixed with a packet of dry onion soup mix and sometimes a little ketchup for flavor. It was often served very well cooked (dry) with a huge dollop of ketchup on the side (for flavor and moisture), and there you have it – icky meatloaf. I am not a big onion fan. I don’t know why, I just don’t like them. So as you can imagine this was one of those dishes that I spent my childhood dreading and I spent many dinners at friend’s houses taking large bites and trying to swallow them whole with a nice tall glass of water…

…and then it happened….

One day I decided that I could do this better. I was maybe 19 or 20 years old, living on my own, and watching the Food Network Channel. My meals were largely Ramen Soup and some other cheap foods since I was putting myself through college and was ridiculously broke. That day though, I saw Rachel Ray make some hamburgers by “stuffing” them with provolone cheese and a slice of prosciutto. Now, I don’t remember why this got me thinking about meatloaf, but I remember that the concept of stuffing a meat really stuck with me. A few days later I was at a friend’s house and his mom had made meatballs for dinner. Delicious meatballs. Meatballs soo delicious that it would have been amazing to just have one really huge meatball that you could really dig into…..and then it hit me! I would make a meatloaf that is really just a large, jumbo meatball! AND THEN, I would take this really large, jumbo meatball – and I would stuff it with the provolone and prosciutto from the hamburger idea for even more delicious yumminess!


I actually had to wait a while to make my first attempt. It’s funny to look back on it now, it sounds soo ridiculous, but I actually had to wait to make this meal until I got my income tax return to try cooking this the first time. Ground beef and ground pork weren’t in my price range at the time, let alone provolone and prosciutto! It was well worth the wait though, and I have tweaked it over the years until I got it just right. The best part is, I like to split the meat mixture in half and make meatballs out of the other half! You do a bit of work one day, and get TWO dishes out of it! I’ll type up the meatball directions in a few days for you to see how to do it!

Mega Meatloaf

Ok, so now after my longest recipe intro ever….bring on the Mega Meatloaf!!

1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb Ground Pork
2 Eggs
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Romano Cheese
1.5 TBSP Parsley
salt/pepper to taste
2 cups Bread Crumbs
1 1/2 cup warm water
12 slices Prosciutto
12 slices Provolone Cheese

The first thing you need to do is combine the meat, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add about a third of the breadcrumbs and mix it in, then about a third of the water and mix it in fully. Do this two more times until all of the breadcrumbs are incorporated – though you have to make a judgement call on the water. You might need a little more or a little less, depending on how moist your ground meats were. You want the meat mixture to be firm enough to hold its shape. Too dry and it will break apart, too wet and it will just be a sloppy mess.

Once your meat is mixed together, you get to start forming your loaf.
(If you want to split this recipe in half and make meatballs too, here is where you divide it – just toss half into a covered bowl in the fridge and roll the meatballs later. Check back here for my recipe on how to cook them up.)

Lay out a few sheets of wax paper on a large surface. I like to use my kitchen tabletop and tape a few sheets of wax paper together to make it wider. Lightly spray your wax paper with Pam spray and then pour your meat mixture on top of it. Flatten it out as best as you can with your hands and then you can put another sheet of wax paper on top of it and use a rolling pin – what you want to do is make it into a large rectangular-ish shape that is as flat and as even as possible.

Roll out meatloaf mix flat

The prosciutto comes next. Layer out all the slices you have across the flattened meat mixture, making sure to leave space around all of the borders for a good seal later.

Lay out layer of prosciutto

And you’re going to do the same exact thing with the provolone too. Layer it on there right on top of the prosciutto.

Spread layer of provolone over prosciutto

Now you need to roll up your meat into your loaf. Just as you would for a pinwheel or a stromboli or a wrap.

Start to roll from one edge, peeling wax paper out as you go

This was really hard to photograph, but what you need to do is, starting from one edge, grab the wax paper underneath the meat and fold the corner of the meat tightly in upon itself. Roll it in and start to work your way across the entire meat spread, gently pulling the wax paper out of the crimped roll as you go.

Continue to roll up meat mixture and pulling out wax along the way

Roll the entire way this way until your roll is a nice long log with some flappy looking edges.

Rolled meatloaf - need to crimp the ends

See the edges? Next step is to get your fingers in there and seal off those edges as best as you can. Start with the inner most layer and seal it off, then pick another layer and close that one off too. Keep going until you have a nicely closed off, rounded edge.

Mega Meatloaf with crimped ends and ready to go!

I like to plastic wrap my loaves at this point and toss it in the fridge for an hour or so. I feel like it helps the flavors combine more, but you can cook this immedietly just as easily. The nice thing is, if you are in a time crunch, you can do this up to a day before the actual cooking and keep it in the fridge. It’s a nice time saver!

Mega Meatloaf plastic wrapped to get happy in fridge until dinner time

From here on out the directions are pretty basic. Bake at 375 for a total of 90 minutes. Bake it covered for the first 60 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for half an hour to let the outside brown up. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into it so the cheese doesn’t ooze out on you too much and dig in!


Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Beef, Dinner, Entree, Homemade, Kids, Pork


Tags: , , , ,

Fresh Polish Sausage

So I married this guy, and he and his family are OBSESSED with sausage. When we first met, we were both in high school and hubby of course still lived with his family at the time. I would be invited over for a meal with the family and it would invariably be sausage of some sort. Italian Sausage, Polish Sausage, Bratwurst, Smoked Sausage, Fresh Sausage – if it was lunch time, it was a sausage type lunch meat – bologna, salami, minced ham – on the rare occasion pizza was ordered in, it was always sausage pizza!

Unfortunately for me, I went through most of my life being an extremely picky eater and I HATED sausage. To be honest, I’m still not a huge fan of a vast majority of the varieties. When we were young, and dating, and I was trying to be polite to his family though, I choked down soo much sausage that I swore when/if I married this guy I would never allow the stuff in my house.

Well, that didn’t last (obviously) and I have found that, properly cooked, Fresh Polish Sausage is actually pretty tasty! It’s got to be one of the easiest dishes to cook – and it’s one of those proteins that you can cook a small amount or a huge batch and it takes the exact same amount of time. I was completely clueless as to how to cook sausage at all the first time hubby really wanted some, so here’s the directions – soo incredibly easy, it’s almost funny to have to write it out, but I know I needed some guidelines to follow in the beginning and maybe you do too!


Fresh Polish Sausage
FRESH POLISH SAUSAGE!!  That’s it folks!

1. Bring a large stock pot full of water up to a boil.
2. Add a pinch of salt to the water and place your sausage links in.
3. Let boil for 30-40 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
5. Remove sausage from water and place on cutting board. Slice on a diagonal into desired sized pieces and then place in a casserole dish and bake at for 10 minutes to firm up the skins a bit.
6. Enjoy!

1 Comment

Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Dinner, Easy, Entree, Kids, Party Foods, Pork


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: