New Year’s Resolution

26 Jan

I’m usually not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions, for more reasons than one. Half of the time they’re just broken promises to yourself – and the other half of the time, you can’t remember what your resolutions were. This year, however, in attempts to keep things interesting for the palette, Pat (my husband) and I decided we would try to cook at least one new recipe each week this year. That’s like 52 new recipes?! Lucky for me, I have gotten a new Italian cookbook nearly every year since I moved away to college from my grandma. She’s too sweet. I sure hope Pat likes Italian food though – otherwise he’s kind of S.O.L. I feel like we all get stuck in a rut of making the same few dishes every week – and if you’re anything like me, you need a flavor change-up every once in a while.

The first recipe we took from one of the random Family Circle magazines that keep coming to our mailbox unexpectedly (they always say “thank you for being such a loyal subscriber” – little do they know I never signed up) – we certainly welcome the recipes and home decorating ideas though! I figured we could take a break from the Italian cookbooks before we even start with them, but naturally I’d find a recipe with pasta in it…

Pork Ragu & Bowtie Pasta

Fill and start slow cooker in the morning before you head out the door – shred the ribs into the sauce before serving.

Makes: 6 servings (plus 4 cups sauce for a second meal), Prep: 15 minutes, Slow Cook: on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) Italian seasoned diced tomatoes

1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon salf

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds country-style pork ribs

1/2 pound zucchini, diced — (we left this one out because neither one of us are big fans of zucchini)

1 pound whole-wheat bowtie pasta, cooked

1 cup reduced-fat Italian 4-cheese blend

Coat slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Add tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add ribs and cover with sauce (scatter zucchini over the top, if you choose to keep them in the recipe).

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Remove ribs and shred meat. Discard bones and stir shredded meat back into the sauce; stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.

Stir half of the sauce (about 4 cups) into pasta, adding some of the cooking liquid, if desired. Stir in cheese and serve. Freeze extra for future.

This makes a GREAT meal for those of us on the go (let’s be honest, who isn’t?) – because it cooks while you’re gone and/or busy all day! I’m going to try to take pictures of each dish so you know what they should supposedly look like – and decide from the picture if it’s worth trying yourself. Unless Pat and Max get to the food presentation plates before I can snap a picture….

Bon appetit!

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