Category Archives: recipes

Spicy Ground Pork

Add spicy ground pork to any italian dish or marinara sauce to give it zing!

1 pound ground pork
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1-2 tsp. cayenne powder (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 tsp. dried pepper flakes
ground pepper to taste

Mix together all of the ingredients. Fry up a small sample to taste how spicy it is. Add more cayenne if you want it spicier.

Lasagna with Spicy Pork, Spinach and Mushrooms

I call this lasagna “Babysitter Lasagna” because I went to babysit a couple of boys once and the mother had made this ahead of time for me to pop in the oven. The use of cottage cheese instead of ricotta makes the lasagna less watery and more creamy. I love fresh, authentic ricotta, but it’s not available where I live and the grocery store kind just isn’t my style. Hiding spinach in the recipe adds a little more nutrients. I used to use fresh mozzerella, but after making this so many times, fresh mozz just becomes really chewy and watery. I find the storebought pre-grated stuff works better.

This recipe will be followed by two more recipes. One on how to prepare spicy ground pork at home and the other is my homemade marinara. Both of these you can sub storebought, but I love to make it all myself.

Serves 9-15

1 pound of spicy ground pork (storebought it fine)
1/2 package of frozen chopped spinach
1 box of no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla works)
1 2-cup container of 2% milkfat cottage cheese
1 egg
3 cups marinara sauce (about 1.5 jars of storebought)
6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbs. butter
dash of dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper
2 cups pre-grated mozzerella and asiago blend cheeses
1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Preheat oven according to the lasagna noodles’ packaging. Usually 350-375 degrees.
In a microwave-safe bowl, add the spinach and a splash of water. Cover bowl with saran wrap, leaving a space for air to get out, and microwave for about 5 minutes. Let cool.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese, egg, oregano, basil and salt and pepper to taste.
In a frying pan, brown the pork. Set aside. Drain some of the fat, but leave a little in the pan. Add the butter and the mushrooms and saute till mushrooms are soft and slightly browned. Set aside.
Transfer the spinach to the center of a clean dishtowel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Usually I refer to the lasagna noodles’ box for layering instructions.
In a 13x9x2 baking dish, add about 3/4 cups of sauce and 1/3 of the meat. Add three noodles. Add 1/3 of the cottage cheese mix, some spinach, and sprinkle with some of the cheeses. Top with more sauce. Add some meat and mushrooms. Place 3 more noodles on top. Add some cottage cheese, some spinach and cheese. Do this layering one more time, top with the last 3 noodles, sauce, meat, mushrooms, or any other ingredient that’s left. The last thing you add is cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or according to noodles’ packaging. Take off the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes or until it’s all bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Orange Garlic Shrimp

This recipe is based on one from The Pioneer Woman Web site with a few alterations.

There are still a few shrimp left in this photo! They were so good, I forgot about blogging altogether.

Appetizer for 2

1/2-3/4 pounds of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
A small carton or jar of orange juice
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
dash of cayenne pepper
several shakes of Old Bay seasoning
olive oil
1 tbs. honey
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter


With a large Ziplock bag propped up in a bowl, pour in about a cup of orange juice and three sliced cloves of garlic. Add a glug of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and a shake of cayenne powder. Add the shrimp, seal up the bag and marinate for a couple of hours.

This dish only takes a few minutes to prepare, so when you’re ready, take out the shrimp and dry them on a couple of paper towels. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 3/4 cups of orange juice, a few sliced garlic cloves, some cayenne and the Old Bay. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat up a large non-stick skillet on high. Add the butter. When it’s melted, add the shrimp. Cook for about one minute, flip shrimp and cook another minute. Set aside. With the pan still on the heat, add the orange juice mixture and the honey. Let it bubble and thicken for about five minutes. Take care not to let it burn by stirring often. When it’s a little thicker, add the shrimp and toss thoroughly. Transfer to a shallow bowl. The leftover glaze is phenomenal when sopped up with rustic bread.

South Beach Morning Scramble

Eggs eggs egggggggggs! That’s the central part of our morning diets on this South Beach Thing. Here’s what I came up with this morning:

Serves 2
3-4 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs water
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 bell pepper, color of your choice, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
4 crimini mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup chopped frozen spinach
1/4 cup feta cheese
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet. Meanwhile, place spinach in a bowl, add about 1 Tbs water, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 2 minutes. Drain out the water as best you can. When oil is hot, add the pepper, onion and mushroom and cook till onions are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 more seconds. Remove garlic if you don’t like to chomp down on it while eating your eggs.  Turn the heat to med-low and add the eggs. Don’t stir for about 20 seconds, then mix it up. Add the spinach and mix it up again. When eggs have just become firm, turn off the heat, transfer to plates and top with feta. Don’t forget the Cholula!

Meatballs and special sauce

Back in high school, my boyfriend’s mother used to serve at her parties Hillshire Farms Lit’l Smokies with this delicious sauce.  I loved her recipe and when I asked for the ingredients, she told me it’s their official recipe. I loved it so much that she brought it as a dish to our wedding upon my request.

For our work Christmas party this year, I combined my meatballs recipe with this delicious Hillshire Farms sauce. Super easy. Enjoy!

Meatballs and Special Sauce
Makes about 60 small meatballs

For the balls:
Two slices of white bread put through the food processor into coarse crumbs. Soak these in milk for a few minutes and squeeze out milk.
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 onion, chopped finely
1 tsp. porcini powder (optional)
1 TBS dried basil
1 TBS dried parsley
1 TBS tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
a couple of dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
splash of red wine
salt and pepper
a couple of shakes of pepper flakes (that rhymes!)

For the sauce:
1 jar of Chili Sauce (looks like ketchup)
1 jar of Concord Grape Jelly (NO JOKE)

Mix all the meatball ingredients together thoroughly and form into balls smaller than a golf ball. Place in a 375-degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile, empty the chili sauce and grape jelly into a casserole dish or crock pot and heat until melted and combined. When meatballs are done, place them in the casserole dish and toss till balls are coated with the sauce. Serve with toothpicks at an ugly sweater party.