Weekday Brunch: Simple Sausage Strata

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What’s a strata? Well, a breakfast strata is a casserole made of egg, cheese, bread, and breakfast meat. Ron Swanson’s dream (other than a heaping pile of bacon on top of an additional pile of bacon, on top of sausage). Anyway, at work, our gracious overlord bought the staff breakfast, but we were also asked to bring a casserole of our choosing. …or juice. Well I wasn’t going to be the ass face that brought juice, so I went to one of my favorite brunch items that was also one of the easiest – Sausage Breakfast Strata. Why? Because I’m an awesome team player with a culinary hand that will blow your face off by surprise. Bitches.

What could go wrong? You have breakfast in one dish. Bread, cheese, sausage, and egg. That’s a 2-2-2 deal in diners across this nation. A staple that one shan’t take away. So I made it the night before, let it sit in the fridge, and woke up early to pop this in the oven. I brought it into work, and BINGO-BANGO – it was destroyed by all. “Oh, I didn’t know you were a good cook!” “YOU made that?!” “Hey, everyone loved that breakfast casserole you brought in.” Faces. Blown. Off. And you can too…here’s how.

Simple Sausage Strata
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Ingredients

6 Eggs

2 cups Milk

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of mustard (yellow or dijon)

1 loaf of bread (your favorite – something crusty)

1 – 2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Sleeve of Sausage (1 lb crumbled sausage)

Salt & Pepper

Recipe

Cook the sausage to brown

Whisk together eggs and milk with salt & pepper

Cube your bread (I had a nice crusty loaf of Puerto Rican bread)

Grease an oven-safe baking dish (about 13 x 9)

Cover the bottom of the dish with cubed bread (use crust parts first). Eat the extra.

Sprinkle sausage on top of the bread – throughout entire dish. Use all sausage.

Sprinkle about half of the cheese on top of the sausage.

Cover with egg mixture

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top

Cover with foil and let sit in the fridge overnight. You don’t HAVE to do this, but it tastes better this way.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the dish (uncovered) for at least 35 minutes. Depending on your oven – it may be longer. To check, put a knife in the center and it should come out clean. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Farro Pilaf with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

Farro with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

Farro is one of my favorite fall/winter grains to cook with, and in my opinion it is vastly underused. It’s hearty, nutty, toothsome, and is packed with fiber and iron, and boasts a good serving of protein as well. Way better than rice, as far as I’m concerned! And because it’s so hearty, it’s the perfect grain to stand up to robust cold-weather flavors and textures. Nuts, meats, gourds, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens… oh and let’s not forget cheese. Mmm.

Awhile back, I had some leftover pork ragu from my tasty Pork and Mushroom Ragu over Polenta recipe, and I obviously wasn’t going to let it go to waste. Wanting to mix it up from my polenta, I grabbed a bag of quick-cooking farro and got to work. The ragu, made from Smithfield Slow Roasted Golden Rotisserie Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin, was so flavorful thanks to the pre-marinated pork and worked beautifully with my farro. All I had to do was toss the ragu with the warm grain and some roasted butternut squash, wilt in some kale and shaved parmesan, and dinner was served! And if you don’t have leftover ragu? It was so easy to make it in the crock pot, just set it in the morning and it will be ready for this recipe by the time you’re ready to prep dinner.

Looking for a quick yet deeeelicious meal to get you through the holiday hustle and bustle? This simple farro pilaf has you covered, my friend.

Farro with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

Farro Pilaf with Pork Ragu and Butternut Squash

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Roasted Pork Loin over Pumpkin Risotto

Pork Tenderloin over Risotto
Tis the season to impress your friends with your culinary prowess at a holiday dinner party. Enter… Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork! I kid you not, I made the BEST meal the other night and all my guests raved about it, but it was secretly was easier than it looked, thanks to this pork tenderloin.

I’d been craving risotto (which is truly way easier to make from scratch than it sounds, don’t be scared!) but I wanted some protein to round out the meal. This bacon-encrusted pork tenderloin was the perfect companion to the slightly sweet, rich risotto – and because it was preseasoned all I had to do was put the tenderloin in the oven, then take it out and slice it when it was done, throw it on top of the homemade risotto, and enjoy my masterpiece. Talk about elevated comfort food at its finest!

The other star of the show? That gorgeous purple cauliflower, which added such a beautiful pop of color alongside the pink pork, green beans, and orange risotto. But if you can’t find rainbow cauliflower at your local grocery store, of course regular ol’ white cauliflower will taste just as good.

Roasted Pork Loin over Pumpkin Risotto

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Pork and Mushroom Ragu over Polenta

Pork tenderloin ragu over polenta

I think we can all agree that November = prime fall comfort food time. It’s also starting to turn into prime busy time with holiday prep, days that are shorter and darker (ugh), and trying to wrap up all sorts of projects before the end of the year. You know what this means: it’s slow cooker time. Aw yeah!

Slow cookers make everything easy, but Smithfield is taking fall cooking simplicity to the next level with their marinated pork. You seriously don’t have to do anything besides cook it, and you have a flavorful main dish ready for anything you want to pair with it! I made this tasty ragu with a marinated fresh pork tenderloin, so it’s a bit leaner than some other cuts of pork, but still packed with protein… it’s still so tender and it’s a great slightly lighter option in these pre-Thanksgiving days.

Pork tenderloin ragu over polenta

This recipe is simple comfort food at its finest, and you’re not going to feel weighed down by the cooking process or the dish itself. Score!

Pork Tenderloin and Mushroom Ragu over Polenta

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Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Sometimes you just want every flavor at once, you know? Late August is so hot and steamy that I can’t get enough fresh, fruity tropical flavors… pineapple, I’m looking at you! But it’s also hatch chile season in the southwest and these smoky, delightful lil peppers are everywhere, and everyone in Texas looooves cooking with them.

I had a beautiful Smithfield Teriyaki Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin and I was craving a Cuban sandwich, so I figured, why not incorporate the teriyaki flavors and give it a slight Hawaiian flair by adding some sweet grilled pineapple into the mix? Then I also realized I had a bunch of the aforementioned hatch chiles to use, and thought about how much I love spicy and sweet together… and decided to give my sandwich a Texas twist by whipping up a swiss & hatch pimento cheese spread instead of your traditional slice of swiss cheese.

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Then I realized that these were going to be HUGE flavor bombs and made them into little sliders instead of giant sandwiches, which was a great choice. (I also realized that making sliders meant I could use my very favorite soft Hawaiian slider rolls, and who doesn’t love that?) These Cuban-Hawaiian-Texan pork tenderloin sliders have so much delightful texture and flavor going on, little bite-size morsels are perfect. And while they might sound a little cray-cray, they don’t take all day-day (ha) to make. Even though they taste complex, they took me under a half hour from start to finish! Serve these alongside a cool, crunchy salad for a summertime dinner, or maybe as an app at your next cookout.

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

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Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

Rib-tato Salad to the Rescue!

Rescuing what, you ask? Rescuing you from getting stuck in a boring recipe rut for your next picnic or BBQ.

Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

I was recently hosting a big birthday cookout for Rob in our backyard and obviously meat was the #1 priority on the menu. Fortunately I had two racks of succulent dry seasoned pork spareribs from Smithfield on hand and I couldn’t wait to show off their deliciousness to all our friends. We smoked ’em on the grill for a couple hours and the smell had everyone at the party drooling.

Smithfield Pork Spareribs

We devoured some of the ribs as-is, straight off the serving board, but I wanted to do something a little more creative with the rest of the meat. I knew these smoky, sweet ribs would be such a great complement to traditional picnic sides…

Rib-tato Salad with Smithfield Pork Spareribs

A thought dawned on me. I was about to throw together a potato salad. What if I just mixed the rib meat into the potato salad itself? A little sweet, a little salty, a little smoky, a little chewy…. yeah, it was basically the best idea ever. To really play up the sweet and smoky, I added some sweet potatoes into the mix and garnished with BBQ sauce. It was a hit and I have an inkling I’ll be making this dish for plenty of upcoming potluck parties.

Smithfield Pork Spareribs

 

Rib-tato (Rib + Potato) Salad

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Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork - Skewers over Ramen Salad

Ultra-Easy Grilled Marinated Pork Skewers over Cold Ramen Salad

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In my world, grillin’ and chillin’ time is in full force. Austin is sunny and beautiful on a regular basis and the nights are getting longer and longer. No time like the present to fire up the ol’ BBQ!

Even though I love grilling on these nice warm evenings, I’m not a fan of marinating meat. I mean, yes, I am in theory, but let’s be real. I often forget until it’s too late and I’m already home from work and ready to start cooking. I don’t want to wait forever for my meat to marinate. Luckily I discovered Smithfield’s line of marinated fresh pork so my days of forgetting to marinate my meat ahead of time are over. They have tons of flavors available and once you bring them home from the store, you can head straight to the oven or grill.

I used some Smithfield marinated fresh pork to grill up some skewers at a dinner party with my friends last weekend and it couldn’t have been easier. It took us about five minutes to prep the skewers, six minutes to grill the skewers, and another five or ten minutes to throw together the salad (depending on if you buy pre-chopped ingredients or not). And the finished product was so good!

Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork - Skewers over Ramen Salad

I’m planning on making this over and over this spring/summer, and I suggest that you and your friends do the same.

Ultra-Easy Grilled Marinated Pork Skewers over Cold Ramen Salad

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