Pork Loin Rosemary Roast with Creamy Rosemary Gravy

So, I was freaking out today. Is anyone else out there a control freak? Growing up I had no idea I was a control freak. I was always the one just “going with the flow”, whatever, sounds good. I am a typical middle child, book nerd, peace maker, introvert.

Now, my birthday is approaching and I’m afraid that what other people plan won’t live up to what I was thinking we’d do. Like, I just gave my husband a DETAILED list of EXACTLY what I want to do on my birthday. Is that too much? I don’t know. At least I know what will happen, and that I won’t be disappointed that my husband didn’t pick up on my “hints”. Heh. Well…. bad or not, now I’m excited because he said he was really happy to see, in detail, what I wanted to do… and that he could make it happen. Whew!

Now, since I love to cook… I, at times, find myself saying… I’d rather just make it at home. Then I can control what ingredients are put into it and it will cost way less. So, I mentioned that to my husband and he said NO. Lol… problems, right? I’ve got a great husband who knows how to deal with my crazy emotions. 🙂

But this was one meal that I was considering making for my birthday since it was a crockpot meal and I wouldn’t have to “cook”. But, since I was appropriately shot down, I made it for dinner tonight!

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Ingredients

  • 3 TB extra virgin olive
  • 2 TB minced garlic
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1/2 onion sliced thick
  • 7-8 potatoes cut into 6-8 pieces each
  • 2 lb. center pork loin (or two 1 lb. pork tenderloins)
  • 1 1/2 cups favorite white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup free range low sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 cup half&half with 2 TB flour (or cornstarch)
  • 2 TB butter

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This is what the roast will look like when it comes out of the crock pot!!!

Instructions

  1. Spray your crock pot with some non-stick olive oil cooking spray.
  2. “Crust” the pork loin by placing and rubbing all dry herbs and garlic all over the pork loin and then place it into the crock pot.
  3. Wash and cut potatoes and onions and place into the crock pot with the pork roast.
  4. Add the white wine and the chicken broth, and then add the 2 TB of butter broken up into smaller pieces of the cop of the meat and potatoes in the crock pot.
  5. Put crock pot on LOW for 6-8 hours for best results, OR on HIGH for 4 hours.
  6. About 20 minutes before you want to eat, remove the pork roast from the crock pot and set aside on a plate and cover with foil to let it rest. Then, remove the potatoes. (At this point, you can do as I did and make mashed potatoes with them, or just eat them roasted.)
  7. Take the juices and onions from the bottom of the crock pot and put into a medium sized sauce pan. Heat up on medium-low. Do NOT boil.
  8. Put the 1 cup of 1/2&1/2 into a measuring cup and whisk in the flour (or corn starch). Then, SLOWLY whisk into the sauce pan with the drippings from the crock pot to make an AMAZING gravy!!! Then, add the FRESH rosemary to the gravy.
  9. Place the resting pork on a cutting board (you can add any accumulated meat juices back to the sauce if you like!). Slice the pork very thinly and place on to a serving platter. Pour the warm gravy over top.
  10. Serve with potatoes, and veggies… or just DIG IN!

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Had to give this shot of the pork loin with the yummy, creamy gravy…

It sounds like a lot, but it was pretty easy because most of the day it was just sitting in the crock pot! Then you just whip up a gravy from the juices and voila! It’s juicy, tender and just comforting really…. perfect for a chilly and windy day!

And now, for the quote of the day: This was my day today.

Funny-Parenting-93

Italian Orecchiette Pasta Bowl with Homemade Meatballs and tomato sauce

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So after John’s recent cravings (not unusual) for spicy and Mexican food… I’ve been craving pasta!!!! And lots of it! I have had low to no carb recipes here lately too, so had to get my craving satisfied for some Italian food! So, I went to Giada on FoodNetwork.com. Where else would you go for a good Italian meal?! I mean, seriously!! Here is her original recipe that I changed up a bit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/orecchiette-with-mini-chicken-meatballs-recipe.html

So, I liked her recipe, but I am not a ground chicken or turkey kind of person. I just cannot do it. So, I made my own usual meatballs that I usually make for Levi. They are dairy and egg free, and one of his absolute FAVORITE meals!! Then, I slightly adapted the rest of her recipe to make it my own, and it was absolutely delicious! This one will go in my book as a “We will make this again!”. I just have to figure out how to boil orecchiette pasta better, because if you’re not careful (like I wasn’t) it all sticks together! UGH! I’ve gotta figure out a trick for it! If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!

So, homemade meatballs first:

Ingredients:

1 lb. 85/15 grass fed organic ground beef (my preference)
3/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
3/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 TB rice milk (or similar… this is just what I use)
1 TB worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Mix all together in a large mixing bowl until well integrated. In the mean time heat 1 TB olive oil (or use cooking spray to coat the pan) in a large skillet. Once all of the meatball ingredients are well mixed and there are no dry breadcrumbs hanging out in the bottom of the bowl, you will start to shape the meatballs. Take a melon baller, or a chefmate cookie scoop and scoop out the meat mixture. Then, roll into 1-2″ balls. Then, place into skillet and start to cook. All of mine fit in to the skillet at once. I cook the top, then the bottom, for about 2-3 min each, and then sear all of the sides to “seal” in the juice. Once this is done to all of the meatballs, you will be adding the chicken broth and the can of diced tomatoes listed below:

homemademeatballs

 

Orecchiette Pasta Bowl

Ingredients:

1 lb. orecchiette pasta
1 1/2 cup low sodium organic chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz.) fire roasted diced organic tomatoes (no salt added)
1 clove garlic minced (I put it into the garlic press)
1/2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
6-8 basil leaves chopped
1 zucchini sliced and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 small ball of fresh mozzarella
2 TB shaved parmesan cheese

Directions:

Now, add the chicken stock and tomatoes to the skillet with the meatballs from above. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. During this time add the minced garlic, basil, rosemary, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the zucchini to the meatball mixture in the skillet and toss until slightly softened and coated with the tomato sauce. Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the basil into the bowl of the pasta. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the chopped basil and a drizzle of pesto.

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This one was GOOD!! Craving Italian food and don’t want to spend the $$ to go out?? Make this one! I have a feeling this one will be crave-able!

Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Date Night!!!! (At home date night… like a staycation.. but a stay…date)

So, my husband and I are kind of “foodies” per say. I LOVE to cook (obviously) and we LOVE to eat!! For our anniversary, we always spend it in Asheville because my parents send us to a marriage retreat up there every year. So, we save $$ to specifically go to a new and FANCY restaurant. Our dates… we love new and nice restaurants. Now, don’t get me wrong, my husband has a strange obsession with Taco Bell, so it’s not like we never eat less expensive food, but we REALLY enjoy eating out where it’s farm to table, or all natural ingredients, and there’s a lot of thought and freshness put into the meal. In Charlotte we went to a restaurant called the Dandelion Market. New and fun things… new flavors. Inspiring for me too!

One of our most favorite dish, that is usually too expensive, is lamb. Last time we ordered it was probably on an anniversary a few years ago. So… I was needing a date night, and $$ was a bit tight due to saving for a couple of upcoming trips… so I made a fancy dinner here at home!!!! And, compared to an approximate $100 tab at an upscale restaurant (including tip and wine), this meal cost around $25. Pretty good huh?! So, here’s the recipe in case you want an at home date evening!!

Rack of Lamb with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus and Quinoa Tabbouleh

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Rack of Lamb Ingredients:

1 half (or full) rack of lamb
8-10 leaves of fresh mint chopped
1 tsp of minced garlic
2 small branches fresh rosemary… remove and mince the leaves.
3-4 TB olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

The rack of lamb needs to be “frenched”. Basically exposing the bones on each rib. You can have the butcher do this. I purchased one that was already done. I then marinated the lamb. I mix the chopped mint, rosemary, garlic, salt and olive oil together with a fork, and then cover the entire half rack of lamb with it. (Most of it on the “fattier” side that is left up. I then put it in a bowl, cover with foil, and put in the fridge for 4 hours.

When done marinating, heat up the cast iron grill pan. (Or grill) Salt the grill pan with sea salt. When hot, place the entire rack fatty side down onto the grill pan to sear. After 6 minutes, flip, and put into the oven and broil for 10 minutes with fatty side up. Take out of the oven , wrap in foil and let sit for 5 minutes. After, remove from foil and cut apart each separate rib. Most people leave it here because people like it on the “rare” side of medium. Since I don’t, I like it on the well side of medium, I put the cast iron pan back onto the stove top, heated it up and seared each side of the meat of each individual lab pieces. About 1 min per side. Then… served!! DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Fingerling Potatoes:

Toss the potatoes in olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary and roast in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. DONE! 🙂

 

Asparagus

Roast in oven w/a light amount of olive oil, and salt. 12 min at 350.

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Tabbouleh: This I threw in because I discovered a fresh cucumber in my garden!! I figured, lamb, asparagus… why not stick with the Mediterranean vibe and make this!! The recipe here is from a previous post: https://dancinandcookininthekitchen.com/2014/06/02/quinoa-tabbouleh/