amy fischer pork and beans

Serve up a dinner plate with savory slices of roasted pork and seasoned Roman beans.

Recipes that take a little more time may not work for a busy, hectic weeknight meal but may be perfect for weekends or when you have time to do some preparation before heading out the door for the day. Slow cookers or crock-pots are a perfect choice for slow roasting or simmering food when you can’t stand at the stove all day with spoon in hand. A quicker way to get your dinner menu onto the table is to build in a few time-saving options, such as easy to prepare side dishes. Although the pork roast and beans will require a bit more time, while they are cooking you can get the rest of the meal put together. For simple side dishes, the corn casserole and glazed carrots can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.

Sear-Roasted Pork Roast

1 (3 ½ lbs.) pork roast (shoulder, sirloin tip, or picnic)

2 TBSP. olive oil

1 TBSP. salted butter

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

¾ cup chicken stock

½ tsp. thyme

1 tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 ½ tsp. browning and seasoning sauce (I use Kitchen Bouquet)

Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

In a Dutch oven or iron skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Season the pork roast with the salt and pepper. Sear for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove the roast and set aside. Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pan; sauté until tender. Add the chicken stock, thyme, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, and browning and seasoning sauce. Bring to a boil. Return meat to the same pan (or place in a roasting pan) and pour the liquid over the meat. Cover and cook for 1 ½ hours at 350 degrees; remove the lid/foil, baste with the liquid in the pan, and return to the oven uncovered for an additional 30-40 minutes or until done. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Roman Beans

2 cups dried Roman beans, rinsed and drained

2 TBSP. dried minced onion

2 TBSP. olive oil

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

½ tsp. salt

Dash or two of cumin

Freshly cracked pepper to taste

Place the beans in a slow cooker. Add water to cover the beans with at least one inch of water above the beans, 6 cups or so. Cook on low for 8 hours or until tender. Drain the beans; return beans to the slow cooker and add the minced onion, olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and cumin. Cook for an additional hour. Optional stir-n additions: ¼ tsp. fresh parsley, ¼ tsp. minced garlic, ¼ tsp. fresh lemon juice, or a sprig of rosemary.

Easy Corn Casserole

1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn

1 (15 oz.) can cream style corn

1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream

1 stick salted butter, melted

1 (8.5 oz.) Jiffy corn muffin mix

Black pepper, a dash

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Stir together the two cans of corn, sour cream, melted butter, Jiffy mix, and a dash of black pepper. Pour into a lightly greased casserole dish or 7x11 inch dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees; then add the cheese on top and return to oven until melted, about 5-10 minutes.

Glazed Carrots

1 (16 oz.) package ready-to-eat baby carrots

¼ cup salted butter

¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 packet (1 oz.) Ranch Dressing Mix

Add the carrots and a cup of water into a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and then cover with a lid until carrots are slightly tender, about 7-8 minutes. Melt the butter and sugar in a large skillet. Add the carrots and dressing mix; stir well. Cook over medium heat until hot and glazed; about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

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