Skillet Baked Ziti

It’s been a pretty crazy past few days around here. Baby #3 (we’ve decided to call him Nathan from here on out!) ended up being a week overdue before he finally arrived late Thursday afternoon. He is a big boy, born at 9 lbs 11 ounces and a whopping 21 inches!

nathan

We didn’t home until Saturday night, and are using this week to really get into our new routines and the general “swing of things” with a new baby around. The boys are adjusting just fine, very interested and inquisitive about every detail of Nathan’s life. I feel so lucky to have all these boys to take care of!

Back to this pasta – a cheesy “baked” pasta that’s ready in just a few minutes and only uses one pan – is pretty much a gift sent from the Gods for the crazy nights we have coming up in our future. It was so darned good too, I found myself picking off pieces of pasta for “one more bite” before we packed the leftovers away!

The pasta sauce is easy to bring together, using pantry staples. It gets a heavy dose of flavor from the addition of pork sausage, and richness from the addition of a bit of heavy cream. And I’d imagine that any pasta shape would be fine – although I happen to be partial to the tubular pastas like ziti and penne for these kinds of applications. The pasta is cooked in the sauce on the stove, then when it’s al-dente it’s topped with a good amount of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese that gets melted and browned with a quick trip to the hot oven.

Served with a quick salad and a crunchy piece of garlic bread, it’s too good to be such a delicious and easy weeknight meal. Make this one soon, guys!

Source: ATK’s Pasta Revolution, via Pink Parsley

Peppered Pork Tenderloin

A month or so ago I treated myself to a cookbook that I’ve wanted for quite sometime – the “other” Sopranos cookbook. It’s full of great recipes, stories, tips and tricks from my favorite Italian mafioso family. I really love the first one, and figured the second rendition had to be just as good.

The first recipe I tried was this peppered pork tenderloin, and I was completely blown away. If you’ve been visiting the site regularly, you know that I make many different versions of pork tenderloin. But, the simplicity of this one is just wonderful. A quick marinade made up of basic ingredients, then it’s tossed on the grill to cook. It doesn’t have a sauce, or anything like that – which really allows the grilled pork flavor to shine. This was the first meal we enjoyed outside this year, so it made it all the more special.

Between the two tenderloins I cooked that night, there was just enough leftover for Cuban paninis the following night. The pork was perfect for the sandwiches, as it doesn’t have any other overpowering flavors. I love the meals that I can turn into something completely different the next night!

So, if you’re looking for something quick and easy…as well as delicious, add this one to the menu soon. We all loved it, and I’ve already made it twice since then!

Source: adapted from Entertaining with the Sopranos

Country Fried Pork Chops

Pork chops are one of the things that Jon always gives me gruff that I don’t cook enough. I prefer to cook something like one of my many favorite versions of a pork tenderloin, but once in a while I give in and make him one of his favorite meals of all time – these fried pork chops. It’s one of those manly, stick-to-your-ribs meals that all guys love…

Basically a pork chop is coated with a mixture of egg wash and seasoned flour, much like fried chicken is. Then pan fried. Afterwards, a milk gravy is made from the pan drippings and served over the pork chops. While it’s not the most figure-friendly thing on the planet, it really is delicious and totally worth a splurge every now and again.

I always serve with mashed potatoes, because they are equally as good topped with the gravy. This time around I also served roasted Brussels sprouts on the side, and they were really delicious with them too. If you’ve not had the pleasure of trying these, you should – as it’s “country cooking” to the core!

Souvlaki Gyros

Chicken gyros have long been one of my favorite meals to make at home – not to mention one of my most popular posts here on the site. Last summer, at a friend’s cookout, our good friend Pete (who happens to be Greek) make some delicious soulvaki kabobs to throw on the grill and share with everyone. I was completely blown away with the flavor, and couldn’t wait to try them out for myself in place of the chicken in my gyro recipe.

I used a boneless pork butt that I trimmed and cut down into bite-sized pieces, but a tenderloin would be fine as well – if you wanted a little less prep work. It’s a very basic marinade of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, plenty of garlic and oregano, and olive oil. It requires a longer soak time than the chicken, but the tenderness of the meat and flavor you get in the end product are well worth it in the long run!

It’s skewered then thrown on the grill. Once the meat was cooked we piled it into warm homemade pita bread, topped with a cool and creamy tzatziki sauce, and topped with lots of fresh veggies. We all agreed that we liked it as much, if not more, than the chicken version. It’s something fun and different for cookouts this summer, and one that I know we’ll be making again and again. Opa!