This dish is always a big hit when I take it to a potluck dinner.
3-26-ounce containers chopped Italian tomatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef
1 pound meatloaf mix( pork, veal, beef)
1 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
To prepare the meat sauce
Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Make a little room in the center of the pot, add in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, meatloaf mix and pork sausage and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat until the meat changes color and the water it gives off is boiled away, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking until the meat is brown, about 5 minutes. Add the seasonings and bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pot. Pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the tomato paste until it is dissolved. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and takes on a deep, brick-red color, about 3 hours.
The sauce can be prepared entirely in advance and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Meat Sauce (recipe above)
12 uncooked fresh lasagna noodles
2 containers (15 oz each) ricotta cheese
1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb sliced mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg.
Oil a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread about 2 cups of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Place 4 fresh noodles on top of the sauce. Layer half of the mozzarella slices on top of the noodles. Spread half of the ricotta filling over the mozzarella. Add 4 more noodles. Spread with some of the meat sauce. Add remaining mozzarella slices, remaining ricotta filling and cover with 4 more noodles. Cover the noodles with a good amount of sauce. You may not need all of the sauce from the recipe above.
Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and place it face down on the lasagna and seal tightly. Heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the lasagna for45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top of the lasagna with Parmesan cheese. Return the baking dish to the oven and cook for 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
To bring to a potluck-cover the dish again and place it in a thermal carrier.
When broccoli rabe shows up in my supermarket, I know spring is not far behind in my area.
Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli Rabe Pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Half of a large sweet onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 container (26-28 ounces) chopped Italian tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
8 ounces short pasta
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into two-inch lengths
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large skillet or saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions and add the broccoli rabe to the pot with the pasta. Cook for the remaining time. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to the pot. Stir in tomato sausage sauce.
Transfer to an oiled 3-quart baking dish Top with diced mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling about 15 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 – 4 oz carton unsweetened applesauce
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 – 1/2-inch-thick center-cut boneless pork loin chops, (about 1 pound), trimmed of all fat
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
⅓ cup flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Set a wire rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add applesauce, cabbage, onion and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in maple syrup. Reduce heat to low and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, place each pork chop between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy saucepan until 1/4 inch thick. Season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour on a large plate. Whisk egg and mustard in a shallow dish. Mix panko and 1 tablespoon oil in another shallow dish. Dredge the pork in the flour, dip in the egg mixture, then dredge in the panko. Place on the wire rack. Coat both sides with cooking spray.
Bake until the pork is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Season the cabbage mixture with pepper and serve with the cutlets.
Seasoned Baked Rutabaga Wedges
1 rutabaga, peeled and sliced into wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 450 °F. Soak the rutabaga wedges in cold water for several hours. Drain and dry on paper towels.
Cover a sheet pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. In a large ziplock bag, mix the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper and shake to combine. Place the rutabaga wedges in the bag and shake to evenly coat them. Add the oil and shake again.
Arrange the wedges on the prepared sheet pan so they are not touching.
Bake about 20 min and turn the wedges over. Bake another15-20 minutes or until they are brown and crispy
2 pork tenderloin filets about 12 oz each, trimmed of fat and silver skin
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 oz container unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Slice tenderloins lengthwise, cutting to, but not through the other side. Open halves, laying the tenderloins flat. Place plastic wrap over the tenderloins; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Overlap the two tenderloins by about an inch or so to create one piece of meat. Press together.
Combine onion, applesauce, parsley, sage, lemon zest, and garlic in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the pork. Spread the applesauce mixture over the tenderloins, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the outside edges. Roll up the tenderloin jelly-roll fashion, starting with the long sides. Secure at 2-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the roulade. Place the tenderloin in a large zip-top plastic bag, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roulade; cook 5 minutes, turning until browned on all sides. Add broth, apple cider, and mustard. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Remove the roulade from the pan; keep warm. Cook broth mixture until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Stir in lemon juice. Remove twine from the roulade. Slice crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place a serving of the potato carrot puree on each serving plate. Place a serving of pork over the puree and drizzle with sauce.
Carrot Sweet Potato Puree
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
Put the carrots and the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Process until a chunky mixture forms. Add the buttermilk and garlic salt and process until smooth and creamy.
Roasted Asparagus With Creamy Lemon Sauce
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoon butter, diced
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Trim the bottom 2-inches from the asparagus, and if desired, peel the lower 2 inches of the stalks. Place the asparagus in a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with the butter
Roast the asparagus for 15-20 minutes,
For the sauce:
Grate 1 teaspoon peel from the lemon and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice into a small bowl. Whisk in sour cream, heavy cream, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Spoon sauce over asparagus and garnish with chives.
This method I learned for cooking thick pork chops and put into practice makes delicious tender and juicy thick cut pork chops.
Make a simple brine:
I adapted a recipe from The Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells.
The recipe makes enough for 4 regular pork chops or 2 thick ribeye chops.
4 cups ice-cold water
1/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Stir together the water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Place pork chops in a zipper-lock bag. Pour in the brine and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl in case it leaks and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness of the chops. Remove the chops, discard the brine, and pat the chops dry. Proceed with the recipe, or wrap the chops in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 2 days.
Ribeye Pork Chops
4 servings: One 16 oz chop was enough for my husband and me for one dinner. I made both with the recipe below and saved the other for a second dinner. See below.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 thick bone-in pork ribeye chops (2 ribs on each chop; 16 oz ounces each), brined
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground pepper
8 sprigs sage
2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high. Season pork chops all over (including the fat cap) with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until the bottom sides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the other side about 1 minute before turning again. Don’t forget the sides of the chops.
Repeat this process, turning every minute until chops are deep golden brown on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 138°F, about 8–10 minutes (total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chops).
Remove the pan from the heat and add the sage, garlic, and butter, smashing garlic into butter. Return pan to the heat, tilt skillet and spoon foaming butter and drippings over the pork chops several rimes, making sure to baste the fat cap as well as the rib. Transfer pork chops to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes (or until the pork registers 145°F).
Thinly slice the meat and transfer to a serving platter or cut the pork between the ribs and serve whole with any juices from the cutting board spooned over the top.
Serve with your favorite sides. The first night I cut one pork rib in half and served Eggplant Parmesan and Sauteed Spinach with the chop. I wrapped the second chop in foil and refrigerated it for later in the week.
Later in the week, I cut the second rib chop in half and brushed it with Chili-Ginger Sauce/Marinade. I placed the cut chop under the broiler to glaze the pork on both sides. Use storebought of my recipe below:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce or hot pepper sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, stirring, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
I served the glazed pork over my recipe for Asian Stir Fry Vegetables and Noodles. See recipe.
Baby Back Ribs
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 rack pork baby back ribs
Plum Sauce reserved from the skirt steak dinner: link to the recipe
For the ribs:
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, and paprika. Place the ribs in a baking dish large enough for the ribs to lay flat. Rub the ribs evenly on all sides with the sugar mixture. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Bake the ribs covered with foil until tender for 2 ½ hours.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of Sriracha (depending on how spicy you like your food) to the sauce and stir well. Remove the foil from the baking dish and spoon one-third of the sauce all over the ribs. Return the pan to the oven uncovered and bake for 20 minutes. Repeat the process another 2 times, until the coating on the ribs is thick and sticky.
Preheat the broiler to high heat or heat an outdoor grill. Broil or grill the ribs for 5 minutes to crisp the ribs.
Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 cups chopped fresh bok choy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy and soy sauce cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season to taste, with salt and black pepper and serve with the ribs.
Historians divide Polish American immigration into three “waves”, the largest from 1870 to 1914, a second after World War II, and a third after Poland’s independence in 1989 when Poland was freed from Communist rule. Most Polish Americans are descended from the first wave, when millions of Poles fled Polish districts of Germany, Russia, and Austria. This group is often called the za chlebem (for bread) immigrants because most were peasants in Poland who did not own land and lacked basic needs. Substantial research and sociological works such as The Polish Peasant found that many Polish immigrants shared a common objective of someday owning land. U.S. Legislation cut Polish immigration from 1921 to World War II but opened up after World War II to include many displaced persons from the Holocaust.
Immigrants in all three waves were attracted by the high wages and ample job opportunities for unskilled manual labor in the United States and found jobs in American mining, meatpacking, construction, steelwork, and heavy industry—in many cases dominating these fields until the mid-20th century. Over 90% of Poles arrived and settled in communities with other Polish immigrants and the largest such community historically was in Chicago, Illinois.
The first emigrants from Poland were Silesians from the Prussian partition of Poland. They settled in Texas in 1854, creating an agricultural community that carried their native traditions, customs, and language. The land they chose was bare, unpopulated countryside where they created communities. The first home built by a Pole is the John Gawlik House, constructed in 1858. The building still stands and displays a high-pitched roof common in Eastern European architecture.
Poles also settled a farming community in Parisville, Michigan, in 1857. Historians debate whether the community was established earlier, and claims that the community originated in 1848 still exist. The community was started by five or six Polish families who came from Poland by ship in the 1850s and lived in Detroit, Michigan in 1855 before deciding to initiate a farming community in Parisville, where they created prosperous farms and raised cattle and horses. The lands were originally dark black swamps, and the settlers succeeded in draining the land for use as fruit orchards. As per the Swamplands Act of 1850, the lands were legally conferred to pioneering settlers who could make use of these territories. Individual Polish farmers and their families took advantage of this new law, and other immigrants settled disparate areas in interior Michigan independently. The Parisville community was surrounded by Native American Indians who continued to live in teepees during this time. The Poles and the Indians enjoyed good relations and historical anecdotes of gift-giving and resource sharing are documented. Polish farmers were dispersed throughout Michigan, and by 1903 roughly 50,000 Poles were said to live in Detroit.
Polish cuisine is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef, in addition to a wide range of vegetables, spices, and herbs. It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles as well as cereals and grains. In general, Polish cuisine is hearty and heavy in its use of butter, cream, eggs, and extensive seasoning. Among the well-known Polish national dishes are bigos [ˈbiɡɔs]; pierogi [pʲɛˈrɔɡʲi]; kiełbasa; pork loin kotlet schabowy breaded cutlet [ˈkɔtlɛt sxaˈbɔvɨ]; gołąbki cabbage roll [ɡɔˈwɔ̃pkʲi]; zrazy roulade [ˈzrazɨ]; sour cucumber soup (zupa ogórkowa) [ˈzupa ɔɡurˈkɔva]; mushroom soup, (zupa grzybowa) [ˈzupa ɡʐɨˈbɔva]; tomato soup (zupa pomidorowa) [ˈzupa pɔmidɔˈrɔva]; rosół meat broth [ˈrɔsuw]; żurek sour rye soup [ˈʐurɛk]; flaki tripe soup [ˈflakʲi]; and red beetroot barszcz [barʂt͡ʂ].
A traditional Polish dinner is composed of three courses, beginning with a soup like the popular rosół broth or tomato soup. The soups are followed by an appetizer such as herring (prepared in either cream, oil, or in aspic); or other cured meats and vegetable salads. The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast, breaded pork cutlet, or chicken, with a surówka [suˈrufka], shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrots, celeriac, seared beetroot) or sauerkraut. The side dishes are usually boiled potatoes, rice or less commonly kasza. Meals often conclude with a dessert including makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, napoleonka cream pie or sernik cheesecake.
These authentic recipes make very generous servings, so for my family, I cut the recipes in half.
Kotlet Schabowy (Polish Pork Chops)
4-6 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup flour
3 egg whites or 2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/3 vegetable cup oil, more if needed
4-6 pats of butter
Place pork chops between 2 sheets of heavy plastic on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet, turning occasionally, until ¼-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour flour onto a large plate. Whisk eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Place breadcrumbs and marjoram in a separate shallow bowl.
Dredge chops with flour. Dip in the whisked egg. Coat with bread crumbs on both sides. Shake off excess coating. Place chops on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or until ready to cook.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add breaded chops; cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Place in oven 300 degrees, on a heatproof platter with a pat of butter on top and place a sheet of foil on top while the rest of the dinner is prepared.
16 oz bag sauerkraut
4 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
⅓ cup of water
2 tablespoons flour
Rinse the sauerkraut under running water. Squeeze out excess water and chop it.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter. Add onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes until they are golden brown. Add the mushrooms. Saute mushrooms and onion for 3 minutes. Add sauerkraut, sugar and bay leaf to the mushrooms; cook and stir for 10 minutes.
Blend the water into the flour. Mix with the sauerkraut mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Garnish with parsley and serve as a side dish.
Pierogies are filled dumplings that are served as a side dish.
1 box Classic Onion or your favorite variety of pierogies ( I used Mrs. T’s® Pierogies)
¼ cup butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh thyme leaves
Place frozen pierogies on a plate in the refrigerator early in the day that they will be cooked.
Polish Walnut Bread
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 large egg
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for a few turns to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the butter cut into cubes and the egg, water, and cream. Mix until combined and the dough begins to stick together. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for about 7 minutes. It should be smooth and soft.
Put the dough in a large buttered bowl and cover it with a towel. Let it rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled.
While the dough is rising, prepare the walnut filling:
10 ounces walnuts
4 ounces (1 stick unsalted butter)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
To make the walnut filling:
Put the walnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground.
By hand or in a mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in one egg, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Add the ground walnuts and mix until incorporated. Set aside.
To make the pastry:
Place the risen dough on a lightly floured board and roll it into a 20- by 15-inch rectangle.
Spread the walnut filling evenly over the dough. From the long end, roll up the dough, pinching the ends to the sides to seal it. Pull the dough to a length of 25 inches and twist the roll into a circle. Place it on a large parchment-lined baking sheet.
Let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush it on the dough. Bake the walnut roll for 40 to 45 minutes, until it is a dark golden brown color and registers 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
Let the walnut roll cool for 15 minutes and then slice it yo serve it warm. The pastry can also be reheated in a 350 degree F oven.