Cheesing hardcore...the Claes4.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pork and hominy pozole

Simple, simmered goodness.
I am not a big fan of Sam's Club but they carry a really good deal on a nice, lean pork loin.  It is a huge piece of meat, like as large as a forearm, but if we cut it up and freeze it at home we get about 8-10 packages (minimum) out of it.  

With the just a bit of fall in the air soup, chili and stew all sound good.  With pork loin, hominy and diced tomatoes I knew I had the makings for something good.  I browned up the cubed pork loin (about 3/4 pound), seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder and comino, in a deep skillet until it was very caramelized.  I then added diced onion and cooked it till it was translucent before adding finely diced garlic.  Once that was all cooked up and fragrant I added a can each of yellow and white hominy (strained and rinsed) and then a can of diced tomatoes.  I followed by adding about 3-4 cups of chicken broth but water is fine too.  Realizing I wanted the broth a bit thicker I added 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour, blended into a slurry, and added it to the broth.  If I would have been thinking clearly I would have reserved some hominy and blended it to use as a thickener or I would have used some frozen pumpkin from last year...that is my favorite thing to add to chili and similar items.  You let that all simmer together for about 20 minutes.  Adjust the seasonings to what works for you and your family.  From start to finish it took about 40 minutes but it just depends on how long you simmer it.

We ate it as is, but you can top it with sour cream, salsa, lime juice, cheese...whatever works for you.  I made a 1/2 cheese quesadilla for each of as to use for dipping.  Overall this was great and hit the spot but I keep forgetting that one of my chili powders is very spicy for some reason...too spicy for the kiddos, so they had grilled cheese.

A pozole is a a thick soup chiefly of Mexico and the United States Southwest made with pork, hominy, garlic, and chili.  There are a lot of great pozole recipes out there, I really like the green versions.  Some quick and easy like this and others that are very authentic and take longer to make.  I like pozole because it is an alternative to chili and tortilla soup.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Meatball lettuce cups

Bright and fresh!
We are being very conscious of not going grocery shopping till we have to.  After looking at our bank statement and seeing how much we are spending at HEB has made that a priority.

So end of the month and things get interesting.  What do we have to use that are on the good side of bad?  Carrots and lettuce cups (meal deal gets me every time).  What protein do we have that doesn't need to be defrosted?  Beans...we had lots last week.  Meatballs?  Yeah...I can heat those in the oven.  So Asian style meatball lettuce cups were on the menu.

I had remembered seeing a Bahn mi sandwich a while back that featured meatballs and I thought that sounded interesting.  I kind of had already figured out what I wanted to do but needed help with the amounts.  This Good Housekeeping recipe used most things I had on hand, with a few modifications:

What it calls for:
3 limes (used equivalent in lemon juice)
3 cup(s) shredded carrots
1/2 cup(s) packed fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (used about a 1/4 cup of fresh basil instead)
2 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped (used in carrot salad)
1 teaspoon(s) lower-sodium fish sauce, for carrots (used soy sauce)
1 1/4teaspoon(s) sugar (used honey)
1 pound(s) lean (93-percent) ground turkey (used prepared meatballs)
12 Boston lettuce leaves 

My additions:
ground ginger and toasted sesame seeds

The response was great!  The kids loved them and so did we.  Light, fresh and fairly healthy. Only things I would suggest is to make sure your sesame seeds are good and not really old (slightly rancid sauce hid it well) and make sure to use a light hand with the ginger.  I overdid it a bit and that is a flavor that is hard to mask.  I will make this again and make my own meatballs or use soy crumbles.

Served this with my favorite Alton Brown baked brown rice and prepared egg rolls.