Category: Pork


Bacon Weaving

Bacon Weaving

I am once again needing to take a pass on this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie.

Here’s how brilliant I am: We have a small dry-erase board on the fridge so that everyone can write down the things that they need, or if something has run out, etc.

I went grocery shopping last week. I always bring a detailed list of what I’ll need for two weeks’ worth of food and meals, but then I walked out the door without even looking at the dry erase board and briefly wondered how it was that my shopping trip was so much shorter than usual. Well, I’d left half of what I needed still scrawled on the fridge door.

Anyway, I haven’t made it back out for Shopping Trip Round 2 yet, so I don’t have the pumpkin or cranberries for the Dorie bread. But I will definitely be doing the next one in two weeks because I just discovered that I get to host it! I’m very excited.

So to make up for my lack of participation, I’m going to share with you a new trick I learned last week.

Bacon weaving.

One of our dinners last week was BLTs. However, instead of just frying up bacon in the pan, I came across the idea to kind of weave it together and bake it in the oven. This way, you get bacon in every bite of sandwich, and you’re not pulling out entire strips of bacon in one bite, either.

I cut the package of bacon in half first.


Lay three of the strips side by side on a baking sheet (preferably a pan with edges so the bacon grease doesn’t run off into the oven). Weave three more strips into the first strips. Put in a cold oven and then heat the oven to 400°.

Bacon Weaving

My one package of bacon gave me five woven squares, which was perfect for the five of us. It took about 20-25 minutes for them to all be perfectly cooked, and I kept a close eye on them and took out the ones that looked like they were finished cooking before the others.

I can understand not wanting to go through trouble of doing this, but honestly, it only took a few extra minutes and the rest of the prep was so easy that I didn’t mind at all. The bacon cooks nice and flat, and you don’t get splatters all over your stove top, either.

The only drawback is having to turn on the oven in the first place and heat up the kitchen, but I think it was worth it!


Bratwurst Stew

Bratwurst Stew

Yes, it’s another crockpot meal. Sorry! But not really because this is delicious.

Unfortunately I don’t remember where I got this one, since it’s just a text printout in my binder. I know I made several changes to it and didn’t want to print out the original just to have scribbles and edits all over it, so if I do find it again I’ll be sure to link it.

Anyway, this Bratwurst Stew is one of my top favorite crockpot meals. I realize I say that about most of them, but honestly, I’m just really not that hard to please.

Bratwurst Stew

Bratwurst Stew

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed (large cubes, about 1″ each)
1 cup chopped baby carrots
1 small onion, chopped
1 package raw bratwurst links
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil

1 pint half-and-half
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water

In order, place the cubed potatoes, cut carrots, and onion in a crockpot. Remove the raw bratwurst from their casings, and tear off chunks and place over the vegetables. Pour in the chicken stock, and sprinkle the salt, pepper and basil over top. Do not mix.

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until vegetables are tender and bratwurst is cooked through.

Stir in the half-and-half. Combine the cornstarch and water until smooth and stir into stew. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Bratwurst Stew

Placing the ingredients in order lets the vegetables all cook until tender, and allows the bratwurst, which is not submerged in the liquid, to brown and not fall apart.

Bratwurst Stew

Once you add the half-and-half and mix everything around (make sure you separate the chunks of bratwurst), the seasonings will get into the rest of the stew, so don’t worry about them only being on the meat.

Bratwurst Stew

This makes six generous servings, and is delicious re-heated the next day.


Crockpot Ham and White Beans

Crockpot Ham and White Beans

One thing I really love about big holiday dinners are the leftovers I get to play with for the next several days! I love that I can spend just one day with the main dish, and then use it for several different ones over the course of the next few days (or months if you freeze it!) without having to buy any more.

For Easter this year I made a nice big ham with all the sides, and after dinner was over we spent some time portioning out containers of ham to use for sandwiches and other meals like split pea soup, red beans and rice, and the ham and white bean recipe below.

I like to use this one throughout the year (using a package of diced ham from the store is just fine if you crave it post- or pre-Easter) and the family loves it — even the kid who hates beans asks for seconds!

I get six good servings from this, and you can easily adjust it if you need more.

Crockpot Ham and White Beans

1 lb dried northern beans, sorted and rinsed (do not pre-soak)
1 lb ham (ham bone, diced ham, leftover ham, etc)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1-2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
6 cups chicken broth

Put the rinsed beans, ham, and broth in the crockpot. Add onion powder, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper and stir gently just to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until beans are tender. Remove ham bone and pull off meat, put meat back in the crockpot and discard ham bone.

For a thicker soup, remove 1-2 cups of beans and stock and combine in a blender. Add back to the crockpot and stir. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.