Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bean and Broccoli Pasta Casserole

Every now and then it's fun to throw together ingredients and see how it turns out. This is one of those instances where I threw a bunch of "safe" ingredients together. There was really no way to screw this combination up. It's a simple, hearty casserole. It easily becomes vegetarian by leaving out the beef. It's flexible, too. There's nothing stopping you from swapping chicken in for the beef and adding in some hot sauce for a Buffalo style casserole. Anyways, we liked it and that's all that counts.

Bean and Broccoli Pasta Casserole
  • 1 lb. mostaccioli
  • 1 lb. frozen broccoli, defrosted
  • 1 - 15.5 ounce can white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups pasta sauce 
  • 1 cup ground beef, cooked and drained (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, then drain.
  2. Combine all other items besides the reserved cheese with the pasta and mix. Spread evenly in a baking dish. Top with reserved cheese.
  3. 375F for 30 minutes or until cheese on top is golden brown and bubbling.
Good times!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

RC-Tequila Carnitas

     I am a Goddamn genius. I'm just putting it out there right now. This recipe is proof of my towering intellect.  I have created a meal of such unsurpassed deliciousness that even the most accomplished chef would bow before it. I can say without fear of contradiction that this is one of the greatest things I have ever cooked. All bombast aside, this is truly a fantastic dish. It's also super easy to make, though it does take a while. I have always enjoyed the carnitas I would get at Mexican restaurants and wanted to make them at home. Granted, I don't think RC and bottom shelf tequila qualify as authentic Mexican, but such is life. It's good. So good. Change your pants good. Just make it. Then shower me with the praise I no doubt deserve.

RC-Tequila Carnitas
  • 2 pound pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
  • 1 sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 cans cola (we used RC)
  • 1/3 cup tequila (I imagine the tequila you use will slightly effect the flavor. We used Sauza white tequila)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds
  1. Rub meat (*snicker*) with salt, pepper, red pepper and fennel. Set aside.
  2. In a large enameled cast iron dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil at medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown. 
  3. Turn up heat a bit and add roast, searing on each side for a couple minutes or until it starts to brown.
  4. Add the cola and tequila. Liquid should be deep enough that at least half the meat is submerged. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. 
  5. Cover and put in oven preheated to 350F (180C, Gasmark 4) and cook for 3 hours. Check level of liquid, adding more if necessary to keep the roast about halfway in the liquid.
  6. Reduce heat to 250F (130C, Gasmark 1/2) and cook another hour. 
  7. Remove meat from dutch oven and use two forks to pull the meat into chunks (don't fully shred the meat. You want some nice quarter-sized chunks of meat)
  8. Spread the meat on a baking sheet or in a Pyrex dish. Put under the broiler for 5-10 minutes or until the meat starts to crisp a bit on the edges.
  9. Take any remaining liquid and onion from the dutch oven and stir it in with the meat. 
Better than the usual Good Times!