It Started with Pork Chops

Feast your eyes on this delicious soup!  It is split peas, barley, and lentils in a wonderful broth from pork bones simmered overnight in the small Crock-Pot.  I added a sofrito of sautéed onions/celery/carrots just before serving, and it was super delicious.

But let me tell you about the time before the broth.  Safeway had very nice pork chops on sale for $.88 a pound.  I got a package of six large ones for $4.65.  When I got home from the grocery store, I trotted out the six-quart Nesco roaster and plopped all of them right into the pan.  No need to find room in the refrigerator or freezer for them.

They sizzled for a few hours, and at dinnertime I took most of the meat off the bones of two of them, and put it in a pan with some watered-down BBQ sauce.  We like the essence of BBQ sauce, but not the harshness of having it straight on meat. I let the pieces stew in that liquid for about half an hour, and they nicely absorbed the ambience without becoming strong and sticky – just the way we like them.

I served them forth with potato medallions with cheese and roasted red peppers, and some spinach on the side.  This was a delightful dinner.  To further ease the work and cleanup involved, I took the bones and put them in the small Crock-Pot with about a quart of water and let it simmer on low all night long, and far into the next morning.

This little exercise produced a nice amount of really fabulous broth and an additional pile of meat, which went into the soup.  The finished soup was then available for a fabulous and super easy lunch, but cried out for cornbread.  So I made these five muffins filled with dried cranberries, and a regular cornbread with pepper jack cheese bits scattered on top.  I thought the batter would have enveloped the cheese more, but it did just what you see.

I baked the muffins in the muffin tin that was provided with the Cuisinart Oven Central, and then baked the regular cornbread in the square pan provided.  They baked rather quickly, and  came right out of the pan on the first try.

A bonus is that I have a container of the BBQ’d pork that is enough to make another lunch of pulled pork sandwiches for us!


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Moros y Christianos

Or Black Beans and Rice.

I’m getting a lot of use from my new InstantPot.  I made a big batch of black beans and froze half.  Yesterday a big pile of rice fluffed its way to our plates, topped with the saved portion of beans, which had been supplemented with the ubiquitous sausage morsels.

The red pepper ratatouille really set off the dish, both with the splash of color and the very nice flavor addition.

Mr. Bean Boy overindulged, but that, and a good nap, made him a happy man.

My rice cooker is looking very sad these days.

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Crêpes and Broccoli



We had had a late and large lunch, so a light supper seemed in order.  I hadn’t made crêpes in many years, but was inspired by an efriend’s post –

Whole Wheat Crepes With Spinach & Mushrooms

into giving it a whirl.

When last I made them, decades ago, I had a growing teen-aged boy who could eat them as fast as I could produce them with an eight-inch frying pan on each of four burners!  I always doubled the recipe to have any left for dinner!  I recall that at the time, I made a crab filling with a Swiss Cheese topping that required Vermouth.

Using whole wheat pastry flour, I made up four of the little darlings in a ten-inch pan and we enjoyed them as you see above.  The filling was a thick version of Chicken Pot Pie, or Chicken a la King.  Lots of veggies (leftovers, of course!), and big hunks of white meat cut from a leftover piece of breast.

On top is the jarred pepper ratatouille that we are so fond of.  This quick supper went together very easily, and we had one unfilled crêpe leftover.  This provided the base for a quick snack the next day.  We put a bit of Seville Orange Marmalade on it and shared it.  Ah – just right!

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Sprouted Onion

I keep my onions in the utility room on vinyl-coated open shelving, but this one had been plopped on the shelf head down, it appears.  It took that opportunity to grow an interesting hairpiece down through the openings.

Does anything come to mind?

I discovered it this afternoon and harvested the sprouts to top DH’s luncheon cheeseburger.  He said they were quite potent.  The remainder of them that he did not eat went into the stuffed peppers that I made for dinner tonight.  I forgot to take a picture, but the peppers were really colorful in red, yellow, and gold.

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Tender Is The Pork




I have recently purchased an InstantPot, but it is the Nesco slow cooker that is cooking my dinner at the moment!  This would work as well in the InstantPot using the slow cooker feature, I presume, but there was such a small amount of ingredients, that I thought it would do better in a smaller unit.

Someone asked about using the freezer in conjunction with a slow cooker . . . BINGO! That’s my favorite way of using it.  If I find a good sale on some sort of meats, I get as much as I can afford and brown ‘em up in the Nesco Roaster or on the stove – depending on what they are.  Then into the freezer in meal-sized quantities.  They can come out to be the star of a meal with little effort – just whip up a starch and a veggie, if that is how you eat, et voilá, dinner is served.

Right at this very minute, there are two beautifully browned pork chops in the 1.5 qt. model Nesco, with a variety of bits of different sauces and other juices/veggies that I had acquired over the last few days.   I took out a package of pork chops, thawed it in the microwave, and put them into the 1.5 qt. Nesco slow cooker – the pretty red one.  I put in some broth, a bit of pasta sauce, and some leftover veggies and let it bubble away for about three hours.  For the last hour or so, I plopped in a bit of cabbage.

Oh, I defrosted the meat first before putting it into the Crock-Pot and preheated the unit itself so the food did not sit at an unhealthy temperature for a long time before it came up to 160 degrees.  The meat totally fell off the bones, and was sooooo tender.  The red things are half a beet, and on top of the bulgur is some of the jarred red pepper ratatouille that I found recently at Big Lots.  That stuff is WON-derful!  The white pitcher had the juices that had collected in the Crock-Pot.

I’ll serve it over bulgur that is made without cooking by using a vacuum bottle. Bulgur cooks quickly, so tossing it into my Nissan three-cup vacuum bottle with some boiling water produces a delicious side dish with the veggies from the pork “stew” on top in almost no time at all, and it will stay hot and delicious as long as you need it to.  No fussing around with a starch or grain at the last minute.

If you like tabbouleh salad, the leftover bulgur can quickly be made into that sort of side dish almost instantly.  Here is a recipe from the net.

tabbouleh salad recipe

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Impulse Biscuits



I was watching a YouTube video of someone making “Cowboy Biscuits” by using newspaper as a mixing place instead of a bowl.  This seemed unappealing to me, albeit easy to fold up and throw away.  I reckoned that washing out a bowl couldn’t be that much more difficult, and more sanitary than adding newsprint to the finished product, so I decided to just give it a go.

In about half an hour, the plate you see above was covered in little biscuits.  They took about five minutes to mix up and about 20 minutes to bake in the Cuisinart Oven Central.  Clean up was very quick.

As usual, I didn’t have a recipe to go by, but here is what I did:

Measured one cup of flour, 1-1/2 t. baking powder, 1/4 t. baking soda, 1/4 t. salt, and 1 T. (scant) sugar into a bowl.  That’s the end of the measuring.  I whisked all those ingredients together, and pulled out my bucket of sour cream and a quart of heavy cream that I was sure had gone sour (but it hadn’t).

I put in a scoop of sour cream and poured in some of the heavy cream, and stirred with a Granny Fork until it made a crumbly mass.  I put it out onto a floured surface, folded it together as best I could, and then rolled it a bit with my rolling pin to about a half-inch thickness.

Meanwhile the Cuisinart Oven Central was heating to its highest level (450°).

To get the small-shaped biscuits, I used the spare top to a bottle of half and half as a biscuit cutter.  I have a whole bunch of various sizes of biscuit cutters, but their location is unknown to me!  That’s how long it has been since I made biscuits.

At the end of the baking time, these little guys were irresistible.  Three disappeared immediately, and two more went to a neighbor, along with some blueberry/cranberry muffins, which I will write about later.

The output was a dozen biscuits, so the calorie count is not too heavy for one biscuit.

Hmmm – there seems to be a basket of strawberries in the fridge . . . do I detect nascent strawberry shortcake?

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Leftover Leftovers


Just after New Year’s Day, our local grocery store decided to rid themselves of their premium frozen turkeys for $.79 a pound.  A 21-pounder somehow managed to come home with me, and thus we have had myriad meals on hand quite easily.

It’s getting down to the end of it now, but there are still several quarts of the most fabulous bone broth available for soups.  There was some angel hair left from a previous meal, so I chopped up some veggies (celery, onions, mushrooms, green and red peppers, and carrots) and quickly sautéed them, added the broth and some big chunks of turkey.  No seasonings were required, but we each sprinkled on a little Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper at the table.  I thickened it just slightly so it had a bit of body.  Half of it disappeared in a trice with the sourdough bread and the veggie plate shown.

Anticipation is high for the devouring of the rest of it tomorrow!  ;->

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