Oven Baked Spare Ribs

My sous chef is here visiting and he is a total spare ribs freak.  I don’t make a lot of ribs:  too messy to eat and they get stuck in my teeth.  Yes, I’m that girl.  We did an online search and came up with this recipe.  It was originally posted by Fifteenspatulas.  I’d never heard of that blog before, but you can’t go wrong with a 4.9 out of 5 rating.  I’m going to look for more of their recipes because these turned out fabulously.

4 to 5 pounds of St. Louis-Style Pork Spare Ribs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

18 ounces barbecue sauce, 1.75 cups, either store bought or homemade

 

Season two racks of St. Louis Style Spare Ribs with 2 teaspoons if salt, concentrating it on the meaty side if the rubs,

Cut the rack into individual ribs, cutting in between the bones

Place the ribs on a rimmed half sheet pan and drizzle with about 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce.  I used Sweet Baby Rays because my sous chef was here and that’s his favorite.  Toss the ribs in the sauce until evenly coated.

Arrange the ribs on the pan, placing them meaty side up.

Cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil.  You really want to create a tight seal here.

Bake the spare ribs for 1 hour and 45 minutes, then remove the foil.  They will look fairly unglazed at this point.

Take half the remaining barbecue sauce and baste the ribs.

Bake the ribs uncovered for another 30 minutes.  They should be starting to get some caramelization on the edges, but they need another basting.  So baste the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce, about 1/3 cup.

Bake the ribs another 20 to 30 minutes in the oven.  They should look wonderfully glazed by now.

 * From the Recipe Box:

Remember to remove the silverskin from the ribs.  You don’t want to eat it and it’s very hard to even bite through.

These were amazing.  Yes, you heard me, the non-meat eater, say that.  Next I’m going to find good Asian sauce recipe to make for the ribs.  I actually can’t wait.  I’ll keep you posted.

and remember what Albert Einstein said:  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.    Big kiss, Lynn

 

Chicken Parmesan Cutlets

I think this might be SJ’s favorite thing I make.  I was in the mood for it the other night.  They are super easy and you can have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.  I prefer making them with chicken breasts rather than thighs.

We butterfly 3 chicken pieces and pound them out to about 3/8 inches.  I set up a lovely dredging station.  I put approximately 1 cup of flour and S & P on the first plate.  Two beaten eggs on the second plate and 1 cup of Panko on the third plate.  Once the chicken pieces are pounded out, we begin the dredge.  Pat off the chicken, dip both sides in the flour.  Give them a quick dip in the beaten eggs.  Now a quick trip through the panko.  See the first picture.  The crust is really thin, as is the chicken itself.

I put about a quarter inch of canola oil in either a non-stick pan or a cast iron pan.  Cook the chicken on both sides until golden brown.   I usually cover it up with my trusty pizza pan.  Heaven forbid I buy a pan with a lid.  This only takes about 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and place them in a pre-heated 200 degree oven to keep warm while cooking the rest.  Add more oil, let come back to temp and fry more.  For 3 large breasts butterflied, plan on feeding 3 to 4 people.

I like serving them on a bed of arugula, but I didn’t have any tonight.  And, you know the rule, no trips to the grocery for one item.  I drizzle the greens, in this case romaine, with olive oil and balsamic reduction.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

 * From the Recipe Box:

This is such an easy dinner yet so very tasty.  The chicken stays so tender.

Even if it’s just G and I, I will cook up 3 breasts because this makes a great salad protein.  I try and make salads for dinner every other day so we get our greens.

and remember what Padma Lakshmi shared in her Instagram:  Germany doesn’t have Nazi monuments to “remind” citizens of their history.  Instead, they have memorials for the 6 million Jews and others who were murdered.  The U.S. doesn’t need statues of confederate generals to “remind” us.  The confederacy was created solely for the purpose of subjugating and controlling Black people through enslavement.   We need monuments for Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, people who fought the good fight.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

Impossible Chicken Pie

This is the third of the “Impossible” recipes.  They were so trendy once upon a time.  The whole ‘new’ thing is a big deal for a lot of people, but it doesn’t really ring my bell, I’m more of a tried and true type.  There were so many picky eaters in my family, I didn’t have the time or the money to be very creative.  Now that I have both, I’ve lost my desire.

This could be the last of the impossible dishes.  Mom’s Betty Crocker Cookbook featuring Bisquick yielded a ton of memories.  You kids know how I hate being redundant though.  Ha-ha.  So, why do you suppose these recipes fell out of favor?

Due to my love of chicken pot pie, my mom would make this every so often for me.  Do you see a trend here?  The old broad loved making things she knew her family would love.  I do think I inherited this quality.

2 cups thawed mixed vegetables

1 cup chopped chicken

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup Bisquick

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

Combine veggies, chicken and soup in a 9 or 10 inch pie pan.

In a separate bowl, mix the Bisquick, milk and egg. Pour batter on the veggie mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

If you don’t usually have Bisquick, use Jiffy Baking Mix or anything else you might have on hand.  I’ve always loved Jiffy.

* From the Recipe Box:

Today I broke one of my cardinal rules.  I sent G to the store for 1 item.  I only did it so I could make the recipe as written.  Big mistake.  There was no Bisquick, there was no Jiffy, there was no anything on the shelves.  He came home feeling like a failure.  That’s the problem when you have been the most complete caregiver.  So we did what anyone would do, we went on-line and got a recipe to make our own Bisquick.  This is the recipe we used:

6 cups white flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup shortening

Combine the dry ingredients and sift them 2 to 3 times.  We used a fine mesh strainer, but anything that will sift flour will work.  Cut the shortening into the sifted flour until the mixture resembles corn meal.  I’m going to store my leftover ‘Bisquick’ in the refrigerator.

Keep this recipe handy if you use a lot of Bisquick.  This works for pancakes and waffles too.  Thank goodness for the Internet.

and remember:  If you think education is costly, try ignorance.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

G’s Smoked Beef Brisket

G loves to smoke salmon.  I love his smoked salmon.  For years and years, that’s all he smoked.  And then, we saw a show about Franklin Bar-B-Que in Austin, Texas and he became possessed to smoke the best pork and beef.  We bought new smokers, cookbooks for days, spices neither one of us had ever used before.  And then came the experimentation.  While there are recipes for the different types of meat, how you do it to your taste buds is the ultimate quest.

G buys a big brisket and puts it in the freezer.  When he’s ready to start smoking, he pulls it out and cuts off a chunk.  If you don’t have a band saw, this could be difficult and I would recommend cutting before freezing.  Next you will need to thaw the brisket for a day or 2.   G trims the fat to approximately 1/4 inch and removes the silver skin.  He brings it to room temperature.  He mixes salt and pepper in equal parts and rubs it into the brisket on all sides.  He marinates the meat for approximately 1 to 2 hours before smoking.  He uses a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker and smokes the meat for 4 to 6 hours at 225 to 250 degrees.

When it reaches the desired color, he wraps it in butcher paper.  He returns it to the smoker and places it fat side on top and smokes it for an additional six plus hours until the internal temperature reaches 200 to 205 degrees.  This should take an additional 6 to 9 hours.

G and the boys love smoked meat.  I can’t in all honesty agree with them.  Even though he’s not smoking it quite as intensely now, it still tastes way too acrid for me.  One thing I will say, it makes a good French Dip sandwich.

 

* From the Recipe Box:

I would suggest reading Sean Brock’s book on smoked meat or the Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto.  G has gotten incredible lessons from both sources.

and remember:   This is what Stephen Chbosky said in The Perks of Being a Wallflower:  Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.  Keep the faith out there and be strong. Big Kiss, Lynn

Impossible Quiche

Can you tell I’ve reached the 70’s in mom’s recipe notebooks?  I think I told you about mom’s love of the small cookbooks sold at the checkout stand at every grocery store.  This one happened to be all Bisquick related recipes.  And my poor mother was cursed with a daughter who had a July birthday and a love of hot foods for her birthday dinner.

It started out, I wanted beef stew every year, but then I discovered quiche.  Num!  I have no idea how I even came to find quiche.  Mom probably made it for one of her dinner parties.  She did love the frou-frou and back then, quiche was really uptown.  The smell of frying bacon and onions is too, too fine.  I did not happen to have Swiss cheese in the refrigerator, but I did have a white cheese combo pack that worked quite well.  Like I say, you use what you have.

  • 12 slices of bacon cooked, drained, and crumbled
  • 1 Cup Swiss cheese shredded (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/3 Cup onion diced
  • 2 Cups milk
  • 1 Cup Bisquick
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 °F.
  2. Lightly grease a 10-inch pie plate.
  3. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and diced onion evenly over the bottom of the pie plate.
  4. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper, then stir in the milk.
  5. Add in the Bisquick and beat until smooth – it must be smooth to work!
  6. Pour the liquid mix over the ingredients in the pie plate.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve!

 * From the Recipe Box:

This was surprisingly good and amazingly similar to mom’s.  I love quiche.

Both G and I thought it needed a little more seasoning.  Don’t tell the Italian D-I-L, but next time I think I will add the nutmeg just to see if it makes a difference.

I’ve done the Impossible Coconut Pie and next it will be the Impossible Chicken Pot Pie and then I promise I’ll be done.

and remember:  Always remember, you’re unique just like everyone else.  Big kiss, Lynn

Risotto in the Oven

The first meal my Italian daughter-in-law made for me was risotto.  I don’t know where it had been my whole life, but I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  It was amazing.  The best part about risotto is how creamy it gets.  I’m never sure if I should use a fork or a spoon.  Yes, of course I use a spoon: I don’t want to miss a single grain.

According to D, it’s the warm broth that makes all the difference.  I decided it was time I learned how to make this fabulous dish.  I don’t understand how something as hard as rice grains can end up so smooth and creamy.  Lots of people use it as a side dish,  but for me it’s the main course all the way.  I don’t need anything else on my plate, but if you want to throw in a little asparagus and a few green peas, I’m happy.

I really enjoyed this recipe, but I will be trying another.  This one needed a little more depth.  Since I am a total lazy butt, I owe it to myself to search out the easiest, I mean the best.  I didn’t have a recipe so I combined several I found on-line, but why wouldn’t I try one that cooks in the oven first.  Hello!

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup frozen peas

1 pound blanched asparagus

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and asparagus, stir until heated through.  Serve hot.

 

*  From the Recipe Box:

We’re back to easy-squeezy.  Why do you have to stand over a burner and stir the rice?  Why not bake it it the oven if you can?

Considering how easy this was, it was so good.

and remember:   The older you get, the earlier it gets late.   Big kiss, Lynn

Tuna Pie

This is such an easy squeezy meal.  The whole family will like it and it’s another pantry friendly recipe.  This recipe originated with the Great Marjorie.  As I’ve told you ever so often, mom was such an adventurous cook, always looking for the next great idea.  The original recipe called for salmon and fresh dill, but I didn’t always have that.  However, I always had tuna.  Even if you didn’t want tuna or salmon, you could still get protein from the biscuit base and the creamed peas.

The other thing I found is how special it can look.  For some reason, pie is classy looking.  Put a cream sauce with peas on top and people feel loved.  I made this for more than one or two birthdays.  Give it a try; I think you will be surprised with how versatile it is.

2 ¼ cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix together.

Cut in:  1/3 cup Crisco until crumbly.

Add:  2 beaten eggs and ½ cup milk

Mix well.  Roll 2/3 dough into a circle and fit into a 9 inch pie pan.  Drain 1 or 2 cans tuna and flake onto dough.  Cover with 7 or 8 slices of American cheese.  Roll out remaining 1/3 of dough and cover, sealing edges.  Bake 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Serve with Creamed Peas

Melt ¼ cup butter, blend in ¼ cup flour and 1 teaspoon dry mustard.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Gradually add 2 cups of milk.  Cook slowly, stirring constantly until thick.   Add ½ teaspoon salt and 2 cups thawed peas.  Continue cooking until peas are warmed through.

 * From the Recipe Box:

A favorite for C the MP and N the Great.  It was even a birthday dinner request on more than one occasion.

Replace tuna with leftover salmon and omit the cheese.

Back when we had little money, one can of tuna did the trick and no one was the wiser.

Great biscuit crust.  I will use this crust when I’m making actual biscuits.

Love the creamed peas.  When my folks used to go out when I was a kid, I would ask for creamed peas on toast for dinner.

and remember:  Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy.  Big kiss, Lynn

7-Layer Tortilla Pie

I love meatless dinners.  If the focus is Mexican, I love it even more.  I don’t remember what I was looking for when I spotted this recipe on the Internet.  I’ve had consistent good luck with the recipes I’ve tried from allrecipes.  I’ve been holding on to it for awhile, waiting for just the right moment.  Cooking from the pantry seemed like the perfect time.

2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup salsa, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

7 (8 inch) flour tortillas

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, mash pinto beans.  Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and the garlic.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.

Place 1 tortilla in a pie plate or tart dish.  Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge.  Top with 1/4 cup cheese, and cover with another tortilla.  Spread 2/3 cup black bean mixture, and top with 1/4 cup cheese.  Repeat layering twice.  Cover with remaining tortilla, and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture and cheese.

Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa and sour cream.

*  From the Recipe Box:

I have many caveats for this recipe.  The only fresh ingredient I had was tomatoes.  That was fine with G, he is not a cilantro fan.  Also, I rarely use fresh garlic.  Yes, I know it’s better, but I’ve been honest about how lazy I am.  I was also tortilla challenged.  We eat more tortillas than bread, so my supply was a bit low.  I did not make the number of layers suggested by the recipe.

As you can tell by the picture, we decided a bit of green was in order.  I think cabbage would have been better for the crunch.  Also, my bean collection is way down.  I used white beans instead of black and kidney beans instead of pinto.  It was all good.

We both gave this recipe a thumbs up.

and remember what Alice Longworth said:  I have a simple philosophy:  fill what’s empty, empty what’s full.  Scratch where it itches.  Big kiss, Lynn

Norwegian Meatballs

Don’t even be thinking I got the name wrong.  How many times have I said I was Norwegian?  How many times have I said I was Swedish?  So, what kind of meatballs do you think I make?  Exactly.  I had a bit of an epiphany the other day.  I was reading about Sean Brock, one of the best Southern chefs.  I kind of have a crush on him; he’s all that and more.  I was getting ready to order his book when I thought, Why?  My family is not from the South.  None of my family emigrated to the South.  The few times I was in the South it made me nervous, so WHY?

So, back to the epiphany.  Why am I studying the South when I’ve got my own heritage to study.  So, here we go, it’s time to go Nordic.  Before the libraries were closed, I’d checked out a few books to explore.   The New Nordic:  Recipes from a Scandinavian Kitchen and Sweet Paul Eat and Make were my favorites and I ordered both.  Remember my rule:  Check it out twice before ordering so I don’t have buyers remorse.  So, let’s make Norwegian Meatballs.

2 pounds ground meat

2 cloves minced garlic

2 eggs

1 cup grated Parmesan (this is my non-Norwegian addition)

1 ½ tablespoons chopped parsley (I had no parsley, bummer)

S & P

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

Olive oil if you’re frying

½ cup panko

Combine meat with garlic, parsley, cheese, eggs, S&P.

Blend in panko.

Slowly add water, ½ cup at a time.  The mixture should be very moist but hold its shape.  I use it all.

Form into meatballs.  And the easiest way to do that is to form the meatball mixture into a rectangle and cut it into squares.  You will get the exact number of meatballs you need and they will all be of equal size.  (I know, and you thought I was just another pretty face.)

Fry in olive oil or bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, turning after 10 or 15 minutes.

Next is the Brown Gravy.

2 1/2 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons flour

2 to 3 tablespoons butter

S & P to taste

Make a roux of the butter and flour.  Brown for a few minutes.  Slowly add the beef broth.  Allow to thicken.

I serve this with rice, noodles or mashed potatoes and of course, a spoonful of ligonberry jam.  If you’re feeling really Norwegian, go for mashed rutabagas or cauliflower.

*  From the Recipe Box:

The New Nordic is going to make you hungry for a trip to Norway.

Couple of notes:  I do not go to the store for 1 item.  Currently I can’t go to the store at all, so you’re right, that is raspberry jam not ligonberry jam.  I had no beef broth, so I used au jus.  I didn’t love it, but I’m a firm believer in faking it.

and remember:   Oscar Wilde said it best:  Never love anyone who treats you like you are ordinary.   Big kiss, Lynn

Red Eye Gravy

My dad had very interesting tastes.  He loved boiled beans that he would pour cream over.  He used to tell people it was part of his marriage contract; mom must always have a pot of beans on the back of the stove.  He would cut an avocado in half, remove the seed and combine mayo and ketchup in the hollow and enjoy the heck out of it.  But I think Red Eye gravy might be his favorite.

Red-eye gravy is a Southern favorite comprised of just two ingredients. It’s made from the drippings of fried country ham combined with black coffee. It may sound unusual, but it’s quite tasty and a fun way to spruce up an old-fashioned Southern meal of ham and biscuits, grits, or potatoes.

The name “red-eye gravy” is derived from the fact that a slightly reddish circle of liquid fat forms on the surface of the gravy when it is reduced. This sauce is also known as poor man’s gravy, red ham gravy, bird-eye gravy, cedar gravy, and bottom sop.

  • 1 slice of country ham
  • 1/2 cup boiling strong black coffee
  1. In a skillet, fry the ham slice in its own fat over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides. Once it is cooked, transfer the ham to a warm platter, keeping the drippings in the skillet.
  2. Add the boiling black coffee to the skillet. Deglaze, scraping the bottom and sides of the skillet to dissolve any particles that developed when you cooked the ham.
  3. What is left in the skillet is red-eye gravy, which you can then pour over the ham and serve.

Or

  • grease from frying ham
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 -2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 1⁄cup strong coffee
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat grease, add flour and sugar until dissolved and incorporated with ham grease. Add water, coffee and bullion cube, stir until gravy is well blended. Turn down heat and cook for 1 minute, add butter and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve immediately with hot biscuits or grits.

*  From the Recipe Box:

We had a few problems with these recipes.  The ham slice I remember from my youth did not look like these.  There was no fat ring around the outer edge like I remembered, so we didn’t get any ham grease.

I want to know what makes the “eye” in the gravy when you’re reducing it.  I tried 2 different recipes and it looked the same on both.  Odd.

and remember:  Here’s to the nights that turned into mornings; the friends that turned into family; the dreams that turned into reality; and the likes that turned into loves.  Big kiss, Lynn