Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Easy One Pot Family Meals

I love to cook, but I always tell people if a recipe is more than a half of a page long it's too much work. There are a few exceptions to my rule, but not many! Today I have two "one pot" meals that can be adjusted for your family's tastes.

If you watch the stores you can pick up pork loins for under $2.00 a pound, and they are very easy to cook. Here is my version of One Pan Pork Loin with Vegetables:

3-4 pound pork loin
5-6 potatoes, peeled or unpeeled (I left the skin on)
1 sweet dumpling squash, halved, seeded
fresh herbs: sprigs of marjoram, basil
garlic pepper
kosher salt
olive oil

Place the pork loin in a roaster pan. Sprinkle liberally with garlic pepper OR you can use black pepper and garlic powder or granules. Add a couple of pinches of kosher salt. Cut sprigs of marjoram and basil (see note below), wash and lay on top of the pork. Place the roaster uncovered in a 325 degree oven that has been preheated. Roast for 30 minutes.

While you are roasting the pork, quarter the potatoes and place them in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes, sprinkle with the garlic pepper and salt. When the roast has been in 30 minutes, add the potatoes to the pan, surrounding the roast. Place in the two squash halves, seasoned if you wish. Or you can add butter and seasoning to it at the end. See the picture below for how I arranged the vegetables and roast.

Place the lid on the roaster, and cook for about an hour and 1/2 more. It should register 155 degrees F. or more, taking the temperature in the thickest part of the meat.

Once it's done, remove from the oven and uncover, then let it sit for about 15 minutes before slicing. It cools and sucks up some of the juices in the pan.

NOTES: If you have fresh thyme, sage, oregano, onions, chives, tarragon, or rosemary you can use those too. If you don't have fresh, then sprinkle with some dried herbs.

Cooking at our house is no easy task. With an 9 year old, a 15 and 16 year old and a husband who works long hours. I love beef stew, but finding the ingredients they all will eat is tricky. I finally adjusted a stew recipe, and after a few times hit on one that they all loved.

Slow Roasted Beef Stew

3-4 pounds stew meat, or cut up beef roast
a handful or two of baby carrots
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
a quarter of a sweet yellow onion, chopped
olive oil
seasoning salt, black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
About 2 tbsp. herb or wine vinegar
about 2 cups water
1/2 cup salsa, mine was not chunky

Brown the stew meat in a large skillet and season with seasoning salt and black pepper. Add this to a crock pot with the carrots, and potatoes, stirring them together. Add the water to the empty skillet, swish it around, then pour into the crock pot. In this same skillet, add a little olive oil and heat it on medium heat. Cook the onion until lightly browned and soft. Add to the crock pot. Lastly, pour in the salsa, and the herb vinegar to the meat mixture. Season with more salt and pepper, place on the lid and cook on high for 5-6 hours. Stir occasionally, checking the meat for tenderness. Depending on the meat, you may need to go a little longer.

This is a super easy recipe and it's so good. You can use tomato sauce instead of salsa too. Change the vegetables to what your family likes.

You can find easy and inexpensive bean soup recipes on OFL: