Favorite Breakfast Recipe – Biscuits and Gravy

Favorite Breakfast Recipe – Biscuits and Gravy

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then you better be paying attention, because Claire is about to share the most important recipe of your life! I sing Claire’s praises a lot around here, so it’s about dang time she gives up the recipe for my favorite breakfast of all time – BISCUITS AND GRAVY! She has made these for me every time I’ve gone to visit, and even my picky kid likes them. I have had biscuits and gravy from (at least) a dozen different restaurants, even in a couple in the South, but nobody makes them as good as Claire. Looking over this recipe, I’m a little surprised by how easy this is. I could actually do this, and if I can summon a little of that special Claire Hoenke magic, I bet mine will come out at least half as good (and that would be good enough for me!). Ok, let’s get moving along. Claire, enlighten us, please.

Last year around this time, I made a beautiful and nutritious breakfast for you using beautiful and nutritious spring produce. This is not that post.

This morning I had to take my kids to the doctor. They both needed to have procedures done, and they were going to be under anesthesia so the doctor told me to go home and wait for them to call me. When I got home, I didn’t have to use my purse to block the kids from running out the door. I sat down on the couch, and I didn’t have to worry about my youngest climbing onto my chest and burrowing into my hair. I decided to make breakfast, and I didn’t have to worry about my oldest jumping onto the counter and eating the ingredients. Oh, wait, did I say, “my kids”? I meant my cats, though for real, they are my kids, and it is really weird when they’re not here. I don’t like it.

Breakfast

(His name is Bacon. He is perfect.)

To deal with the discomfort of my weird, empty house, I decided I needed to curl up in the cocoon of some rich, creamy, easy-to-make, unhealthy comfort food. I mean real, serious business comfort food. The thing you always want to order in a breakfast cafe, but maybe you don’t think you should, or you don’t want to be seen eating it in public because you’re already a fat lady eating in public and you already have your own weird food issues and you don’t need that kind of judgement from strangers… ahem… Maybe that last one is just me. Anyway, that forbidden thing for me is biscuits and gravy. Luckily, sausage gravy is so easy to make at home, you never need to order it at a restaurant, which is actually good because it saves you from a lot of disappointing gravies that are really never as good as the recipe I am about to share with you.

Since I’m going for ease and speed, I am going to opt for a simple drop biscuit today. Combine your dry ingredients, cut in the butter, add the milk, drop on the pan, and bake. Bing bang boom. I’m also adding cheese to my biscuits because it’s my party and dammit, I love cheese. I really only make my fancy buttermilk biscuits for company, because they’re always going to play second fiddle to the gravy anyway. Honestly, you could put any bready thing under it and call it a success.

These Biscuits and Gravy make the perfect breakfast – delicious, fulfilling, and surprisingly easy.

Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (one stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup milk or half and half

Gravy

  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1/3 cup flour, divided
  • 4-5 cups milk
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Seasoned salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients, and then use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter. If you want to add in any additional ingredients (cheese, bacon, herbs, etc.), now is the time. Stir in the milk and use two spoons to drop the biscuits in semi-freeform lumps onto the baking sheet. I like mine to be kind of rounded, but with craggy edges so the finished biscuit has a little crunch to it. Bake until they’re golden brown with crunchy bits, about 15 to 20 minutes, and then serve.

Breakfast

While the biscuits are baking, make your gravy. Put the sausage into a heavy pan or skillet and brown it over medium high heat, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage into bits. When it is cooked through, add the flour in two phases, stirring until it is absorbed. Use the spoon to stir the sausage around and cook the flour, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan, for about a minute or two. Add the milk, and stir, stir, stir while the gravy thickens. If it gets too thick, just add a little more milk. When the texture is right, season with hot sauce, black pepper, and seasoned salt, and spoon it over your biscuits.

breakfast

And just like that, you have a lovely, indulgent bowl of comfort right there to pet your tummy and remind you that your cats are just fine and they’ll be home tonight, and they’ll probably be all goofy and extra-snuggly while the anesthesia wears off. In the meantime, you don’t have to worry about Bacon trying to steal a bite of that sweet, sweet gravy. Sausage gravy brings out the truth in us, as evidenced today by my outing myself as a fat cat lady who eats her feelings. So who does the gravy reveal in you?

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Labor Day BBQ Recipes and Tips

Labor Day BBQ Recipes and Tips

Labor Day is just around the corner, bringing with it backyard barbecues and time with friends and family. Are you preparing to host this year’s BBQ? If you want your Labor Day BBQ to be a smashing success, check out this round-up of some of our best BBQ posts!

Before you get your grill going, read up on our tips for making delicious BBQ plus the coolest new grill tool, the Scrapesation.

Labor Day BBQ

While watermelon is still in season, try these unique Watermelon Ricotta Starters as an appetizer.

Let your guests create their own masterpieces by setting up a Build-Your-Own Kabob station. It’s a great way to keep your Labor Day guests entertained and satisfied while they’re waiting for your perfectly smoked ribs to finish up!

Don’t forget to pick up a good selection of local brews to go with all your BBQ delights. You’ll need something frosty if you’re going to be standing over a hot grill all day, after all!

To finish off your feast, surprise your Labor Day crowd with a tart dessert that will help cut through all that smoky, meaty goodness. Key Lime Pie is the perfect way to end your Labor Day party and say farewell to the summer.

Key Lime Pie

Friends Luncheon – Feeding Friendships One Dish at a Time

Friends Luncheon – Feeding Friendships One Dish at a Time

Leading up to my visit to Claire’s, I was so excited for all the delicious food, but I had no idea our little friends luncheon was going to be so grand! Working on a fabulous meal together was the perfect way to catch up with out-of-town friends. I can’t wait for our next get-together! If you are thinking of planning a friends luncheon of your own, read on for some fabulous recipes and tips from Claire.

At this point, I think my love for hosting has been fairly well established, so for me, nothing beats having friends over for a weekend stay. I enjoy all parts of the process, from the planning stages up. I gleefully plot out a menu and a rough list of possible activities, carefully tailoring each visit to my guests’ particular tastes, and being sure to plan for several hours of doing nothing at all in order to establish a truly vacation-y vibe. Also, depending on the previous night’s activities, sometimes sitting around doing nothing is exactly what we need.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting several friends at once. Andrew and Meredith drove down from San Jose, and Candi made the trek up from Phoenix with her 9-year-old son. I made the long haul to several grocery stores.

For a get-together like this one, I like to keep the fare simple, but impressive. I planned the weekend menu around dishes that wouldn’t take too many ingredients, and that wouldn’t clash with each other on my cooking surfaces. My guests rolled in late Friday evening, so I threw together a basic cheese board with fresh bread, and we sat around it munching while we caught up. Saturday morning, I made buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, and since we had such a heavy breakfast, we decided to make our next meal a late luncheon.

For the next several hours, we sat around laughing and digesting, and remembering why we all had so much love for each other, while planning out our friends luncheon.

I settled on making a roasted pork tenderloin, because it can be easily sliced into small servings, and it’s a fairly simple cooking process. We also had a trio of artichokes, another cheese board (because there’s no such thing as too much cheese), and one of my favorite crowd-pleaser recipes, tomato pie. For a dinner party, I usually like to have everything basically ready by the time my guests arrive. In a sleepover scenario like this, though, it’s much more fun when everyone hangs around the kitchen and helps, so I planned around each of my friends’ kitchen strengths. Andrew quickly got to mixing cocktails while I pulled ingredients out of the fridge. Candi, who, incidentally, is a fire wizard, went out to the patio to get the grill going while I started prep on the artichokes. Mer tested the cocktails and cheeses for quality control.

Friends Luncheon

For the artichokes, I squeezed a couple of lemons into a big pot of boiling water and dropped them in, then threw in the halved artichokes. After about 15 minutes, I checked them to make sure they were done, and then gave them to Candi. She slathered them in a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and pepper, and finished them on the grill to char up the edges a bit. We put them on a platter with bowls of butter and mayo for dipping.

Our friends luncheon was coming together nicely, but surveying our progress, I realized that we were missing a key ingredient: dessert! Luckily, I had just bought a giant box of strawberries, so I put Candi to work hulling those while I threw together a shortcake. My recipe of choice comes from my grandma’s copy of Cross Creek Cookery, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and it is pure perfection.

While the shortcake cooled and the oven was still hot, Andrew took a break from mixing cocktails to work on the pork tenderloin. He put together a mixture of dried herbs and spices from my pantry, rubbed down the tenderloin, and threw it in a hot skillet. After he got a good sear on all sides, he put the skillet into the 450° oven and let it roast for about 18 minutes. Then he covered the pan in foil to let the meat rest while we prepped the tomato pie.

At this point, our friends Jess and Ian showed up. My husband and Ian loaded Candi’s son into the car and headed out to play some disc golf, and not a moment too soon, because Andrew’s cocktails were starting to catch up with us. Our 90’s hip hop dance party heated up while we waited for timers to ring.

When the tomato pie finally came out of the oven, we were ready to get to the grub. We put everything out buffet style, set out plates and silverware, and sat around the table inhaling the fruits of all our hard work. In our case, the tomato pie was maybe a little darker around the edges and the pork just a little more done than planned. That’s just what happens when you ignore the kitchen timer because you’re in the middle of a dance-off. Anyway, the best foods are flavored with laugh-attacks.

Friends Luncheon

Tomato Pie

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 or 5 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to desired size; I like to fit mine to a stoneware baking tray, but any cookie sheet or pizza stone will work. Bake the pastry for about 15 minutes, until it is golden brown, but not quite done. Spread the mustard evenly over the pastry, then layer on the cheese, basil, and tomatoes. Pop back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melty and the tomatoes are cooked, about 10 more minutes.

Friends Luncheon

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 quart strawberries
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Half pint of heavy whipping cream
  • Dash of vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Butter a round cake pan and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 400°. Mix the first five ingredients together and sift. Cut the butter into pieces and quickly work it into the flour mixture with your fingers. Add the egg, and then milk. Mix quickly and turn the dough into the cake pan and pat it into shape with the flat of your hand. Bake the shortcake for 20 minutes and then turn it onto a cooling rack.

Set aside a few of the largest strawberries to top the finished cake, and cut the rest into pieces. An hour before you’re ready to eat, add the brown sugar. Let the berries sit in the bowl for about an hour in a warm place, stirring occasionally to make sure they are macerating evenly. Cut the shortcake into two layers and butter each cut side. Pour the cream, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of sugar into a tall bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. To assemble, stack the cake layers together with strawberries and juice between and on top. Top with whipped cream and decorate with reserved berries.

Friends Luncheon

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Holiday Recipes – Time to Party!

Holiday Recipes – Time to Party!

The holiday season is in full swing and that means it’s time for parties! We’ve got you covered with some great holiday recipes that will leave your guests merry and bright!

Whether you are planning a small cocktail affair or a full-fledged feast, we have holiday recipes to meet your needs.

Looking for a signature cocktail for your soiree? How about Pancake Shots or Boozy Apple Cider? Check out these and more here. holiday recipes

Did someone volunteer you to bring the cookies this year? Here is a customizable cookie dough recipe plus a special holiday recipe from Chef J’s family.

If you’re hosting the whole family for a special fancy dinner, try this amazing Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mac and Cheese.

holiday recipe

And stay tuned for next week’s post for more holiday recipes!

Labor Day BBQ – Perfect Beer Pairings

Labor Day BBQ – Perfect Beer Pairings

Labor Day is next Monday — are you ready to say goodbye to Summer? WE ARE! There’s no better way to bid adieu to this nasty heat than with a nice, frosty brew. As you can see in the photo, Chef J inspired me to try a few new brews myself (I even found a few treats from nearby states!). Chef J has some pairing tips for your Labor Day fest featuring some AZ local brews. We’ve got some spectacular breweries around town and I bet you do, too. Even if you can’t get these exact ones, this is a great jumping off point to try something new in your locale!  Beer me, Chef J!

It’s time to get the crew together for one of the last excuses to fire up the BBQ this season. Labor Day is upon us once again! So mow the yard, skim the pool, and scrape down the ol’ grill. I usually go into some long-winded rant about how barbequing is a great way to waste the day away with friends and family, eat too much, and drink some delicious beer; since we have covered the ins and outs of grilling and smoking, it’s time to turn our attentions toward the sweet, sweet nectar that washes it all down. Though the suds market is still almost entirely controlled by cheap, bland, mass-produced swill, there are more and more craft breweries popping up all the time. Take a look around your town and chances are you’ll find a cold, refreshing gem or two.

So get your burgers pressed, your ribs rubbed, and your chickens ready to fly — but don’t forget about the main ingredient of the classic back yard party! Here are some of my local favorites for Labor Day. They aren’t all available everywhere, but wherever you are, there is probably a tasty brew not too far away.

Whatever you decide to grill up for Labor Day, there is a perfect beer to go along!

Four Peaks Peach Ale

Last time around I went on and on about my love for peaches. Unfortunately, more often than not, fruity beers come off as overly sweet and overpowering next to anything they are served with. Four Peaks Brewing Company has managed to capture the essence of a Labor Day perfectly ripe peach without it being too strong. This golden ale is incredibly refreshing and easy to drink. It goes great with a warm day and pairs nicely with lighter foods like fruits and cheeses, though it can be a cleansing addition to a plate of spicy ribs. [Pardon the interruption, but if you are anywhere near Arizona, get thee to a Four Peaks retailer immediately and try this ale. It is fantastic! -Candice]

San Tan Devil’s Ale

San Tan Brewery has a number of great beers, ranging from everyday staples to unique special occasion brews. This is my favorite of their offerings. Devil’s Ale has a golden red color with a rich citrus flavor. It has a strong body and a hoppy taste but doesn’t overwhelm; the flavors are delicately balanced. The gentle caramel makes it a good match for either grilled pork chops for a casual dinner or a big, fat cheeseburger on a hot afternoon.

Lumberyard Red Ale

Lumberyard Brewing Company has been supplying northern Arizona with a variety of their lovingly crafted beers for 20 years now, but their Special Bitter Red Ale is their most popular — and for good reason. It is incredibly balanced and gets along nicely with a wide variety of foods; from lightly buttered shrimp to spicy brisket to picant Gorgonzola. Using crystal and caramel malts along with a tempered serving of hops, Lumberyard has managed to create a full flavored beer that won’t get in the way on a hot day.

Nimbus Pale Ale

For those who like a strong PA (and there’s at least one at every party), Nimbus has crafted a Northwestern style pale ale that is almost out of control. While this beer is very clean and refreshing, it might not be the best introduction for novices looking at pale ales for the first time. The beer is hopped four times during the brewing process and five malts are packed into each batch, making this PA very intense. While the flavor packs a punch, the bitterness can stand up to fatty, spicy meats cooked over wood or charcoal. Not for the weak of palate, but definitely recommended for those looking for something bold.

Papago Coconut Joe

For years Papago Brewing Company has been a favorite watering hole of locals because of their huge selection of bottled and tap beers from their own stash and around the world. One of my favorites is their Coconut Joe stout. Even on the warmer days, this thick coconut and coffee beer hits the spot. Though it is very dark and tastes rich, it is an easily approachable stout for those who may not usually go for dark beers. The slightly sweet coconut and roasted coffee flavors can fit in with either grilled shrimp, barbequed beef, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a grown-up summer float!

What are your plans for Labor Day? Do you have a favorite brew to go with your favorite BBQ? Let us know in the comments!

Christmas Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, Brussels Sprouts, Mac & Cheese

Christmas Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, Brussels Sprouts, Mac & Cheese

It’s time once again for Christmas dinner. How super excited are you for another big, fat ham?! Maybe with some pineapple slices stapled around it? Wow! My mouth is watering just thinking about another greasy, syrupy slice! You know what would go well with that? Some store bought, boxed stuffing! Oh sweet culinary delight! Is my sarcasm coming across? I can never tell. How about this: this year we’re going to make a Christmas dinner that is equal in comfort to the classics that we’re used to, but this time we’ll make it quicker, easier, healthier, deliciouser, and all around betterer. Here are a few recipes that will please your table without overwhelming you with grocery shopping, dishes, and grey-hair-making time management.

All of these dishes can be drastically modified to accommodate your taste and the ingredients you have on hand…creating your own perfect Christmas Dinner.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Spice Rub:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp chopped, fresh rosemary
  • ½ tsp allspice

Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Pork Tenderloin and Filling:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1/3 cup Feta cheese
  • ½ a sweet apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp spice rub

Combine all ingredients except tenderloin and set aside.

You can usually find pork tenderloins packed in brine at your standard supermarket. If you have a nice butcher shop close by you will be treated to a much better product, but you will want to soak the tenderloin in brine overnight, or at least for a few hours, to help it retain moisture. Remove the silver skin by carefully cutting under the thickest part of that connective tissue with a thin sharp knife, such as a filet knife. Hold that end with a paper towel to get a firm grip, gently cut along the length of the silver skin with your knife angled up so that you remove it while leaving as much of the meat as possible. When that is all cleaned up it’s time to butterfly. Simply cut through the tenderloin lengthwise until you can fold it open, leaving a solid, flat piece of pork. Very gently pound it with a meat mallet or empty wine bottle to flatten and thin it out. Again, a real butcher shop is your best bet- they will do all of this for you!

Heat your oven to 350. Pile the filling into the center of the pork tenderloin. Carefully roll the tenderloin up around the filling. Tie the Pork up with butcher’s twine so that the filling cannot spill out. Season the outside of the tenderloin with the remaining spice rub. Heat an oven safe pan to medium. Sear the tenderloin on three sides until just golden brown, when you get to the fourth side throw the pan in the oven and let it go for about 25 minutes. When the center of the roast reaches 160 remove it from the pan and set it aside. Let the roast rest for at least 5 minutes before removing the string and slicing. There will be some tasty dripping left in the pan that can easily be turned into a sauce by whisking together a bit more herbs, a dollop of grain mustard or a sprinkle of flour, and a half a glass of cider, beer, or wine. Simmer to reduce. Season to taste.

christmas dinner pork tenderloin

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Christmas Dinner brussel sprouts

  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 4 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2 TBS finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • Salt & pepper

Heat your oven to 350. Slowly cook the bacon over medium heat to render out the fat in a small frying pan. Save 1 tablespoon of the fat for the mac and cheese you’ll be making. In a roasting pan, toss the bacon with the remaining ingredients and mix up to make sure the sprouts are nicely coated. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. The cooking time will depend on how done you like your sprouts; you can let them go for about 15 minutes for a crunchier, fresher Brussels sprout or cook the heck out of them for about 25 minutes, letting them soak up all of that great bacon fat.

Mac & Cheese

  • 1 lb. macaroni, cooked
  • 1 TBS fat (bacon is best!)
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup of your favorite cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper

Mix the fat and flour together in a large pot over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking continually until it starts to bubble up and take on a golden color. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Slowly mix in the cheese and stir until melted. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to coat. Season to taste.

 

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Labor Day Recipe-Simple BBQ Pork Ribs

Labor Day Recipe-Simple BBQ Pork Ribs

Here comes another holiday! That means another day off work (you need it!), another chance to spend some time with family and friends, and of course, another excuse to barbecue! We’ve gone over brisket; now let’s make a summer BBQ staple: RIBS!   While pork ribs are a bit messier than beef ribs, they are much more popular because they really are tastier .  Plus, it is likely your BBQ party will have other kinds of beef being prepared anyway. So we’ll be dealing with pork ribs today. When shopping for pork ribs keep in mind that there are two different kinds: Back Ribs (Baby Back Ribs if they came from a younger hog) and Spare Ribs.

Most folks agree, pork ribs are tastier than beef ribs!

Back Ribs, sometimes called Loin Ribs, are from the top of the hog between the spine and spare ribs. They are generally meatier than the spare ribs, but have a bit less fat. These are the more popular of the two.

Spare Ribs are found on the belly side of the hog. They are fattier and have more bone than actual meat. They are delicious, and often more tender because of the higher level of fat. St. Louis or Kansas City style pork ribs are spare ribs that have had part of the bone removed and have been trimmed.

Either kind will work for these instructions. It’s also a good idea to talk to your butcher; if they’re worth a darn they will love to help you choose the right cut and answer all of your questions. We’re going to cheat a bit, by using both the oven and the grill. Some BBQ nuts might cry foul but I think it’s better to take the easy option if it means you get to enjoy some nice homemade food rather than ordering out or wasting your time on something that has been pre-sauced and pre-cooked. If you have a spice rub that you love, by all means, use it!  I like to keep things relatively simple:

Spice Rub:

  • 1 TBS ground mustard powder pork rib spice rub
  • 1 TBS kosher or sea salt
  • 1 TBS black pepper
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground chile (optional)

Scale this recipe up if you need to. I usually make a pretty big batch- it’s nice to have a jar lying around for when the mood strikes.

PREP
Sometimes there will be a tough, white membrane on the concave side of the pork ribs. You can ask your butcher to remove that or do it yourself. Simply pull the membrane up from the smaller end of the ribs, using a paper towel to get a better grip. With a strong pull toward the larger end, you should be able to easily peel it off. pork rib prep

Evenly coat both sides of the ribs with the spice rub. You don’t need a lot. You can do this a day or so in advance and the flavor will be stronger. Wrap the racks tightly in heavy duty plastic wrap, then wrap again in foil.

COOK
Arrange the pork ribs (still wrapped) on a sheet pan and place in a 250 degree oven. Cook for 4 hours.
Before they have finished, get your grill, smoker, or any other BBQ contraption you have access to fired up.  Pre-heat to 325 for this round. You can use charcoal or wood.
When the ribs are done in the oven, CAREFULLY remove them from the wrap. Pour all of the delicious juices into a bowl and set aside.

GRILL

pork ribs grill 300 Back to the grill….We want to use indirect heat for this, so move the coals to one side and place the ribs on the other, meat-side up. Cover the grill and let the pork ribs smoke for a bit.

Sauce:
Get back to the kitchen! Mix together the following ingredients to make your basting sauce:

  • All of those juices
  • ¼ part ketchup
  • ¼ part honey or maple syrup

Use this sauce to baste the ribs every 30 minutes or so for about 2 hours, this will give them a nice sweet, sticky glaze. The longer you cook them the more tender they will be, so you can hang out in the back yard all day if you really want.

If you want to get the mess out of the way before the guests arrive just switch the cooking methods: start with the fire and smoke at 325, then wrap and throw the little piggies in the oven at 250. And make sure you have plenty of napkins!

When your ribs are done, remove to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes. Separate into manageable servings by slicing between the bones, every two-three ribs.
Chef J

chef j

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Ravioli Lasagna Recipe

Ravioli Lasagna Recipe

Recipe Update: To help reduce the moisture that comes from the zucchini, slice it thin, then grill it for 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Let it cool for 10 minutes, then use it to build your layers.

July 29th is National Lasagna Day!  If you love home-made lasagna but find it to be a lot of work, try this wonderful shortcut.  It is called Ravioli Lasagna.  Not only is it easier, but it tastes better than traditional lasagna.  And my added twist….zucchini!

Ravioli Lasagna Ingredients:

  • 2lbs Ground Sweet Italian Pork Sausage Ravioli-lasagna-herb-board
  • 3lbs Frozen, Pre-cooked, Cheese Ravioli (Ricotta filled).  About  40 large Raviolis
  • 32 oz Swiss Cheese Slices
  • 2- 16oz containers of NonFat Cottage Cheese
  • 5 T chopped fresh Oregano. (Another reason to use my wonderful butcher block herb cutting board and mezzaluna knife!)
  • 5 Zucchini
  • 2 – 32oz Jars Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 cup of any Red Table Wine

Sauce:

  • Cook the ground pork sausage in large pot, breaking meat up into small pieces
  • Add marinara sauce.  Rinse out the jar with 1/2 cup Red Table Wine and pour into sauce.
  • Simmer.

Cheese:

  • Fold the chopped oregano into the cottage cheese until uniform.
  • Have sliced swiss cheese handy

Zucchini:

  • Wash and peel zucchini
  • Chop on your favorite chopping block into 1/8 ” round slices
  • Split into two piles

Building your 9 layer Ravioli Lasagna is easy and takes about 15 minutes

Choose a very large baking pan, preferably 15″L x 11″ W x 3.5″ deep:

  • Layer 1 – Sauce, just to cover bottom of pan
  • Layer 2 – Ravioli Noodles.  In my pan, it was 5 rows of 4 ravioli or 20 raviolis
  • Layer 3 – Spread all the cottage cheese/oregano onto the ravioli
  • Layer 4 – Place one layer of zucchini to cover entire layer (half of the total zucchini)
  • Layer 5 – Cover with single layer of sliced swiss cheese
  • Layer 6 – Add remaining sauce on this layer
  • Layer 7 – Add another ravioli layer, 20 raviolis
  • Layer 8 – Place a layer of zucchini to cover
  • Layer 9 – Cover with a single layer of sliced swiss cheese

National-Lasagna-Day-Layers

Cover with non-stick aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.  Uncover.  Then broil for 2 minutes to brown the cheese on top.  Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving to allow it to cool and set.  Serves 12 to 16.

Enjoy your easy Ravioli Lasagna!

Printer Friendly Recipe: Ravioli Lasagna