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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Slammin' Oven-Barbecued Pork Ribs

How to Make the Best Pork Ribs


Everyone needs a good barbecued ribs recipe in their repertoire. We have been making these oven-barbecued pork ribs at my house for more than ten years.  It's a winner recipe.  The two-step process for the ribs, using a dry rub and a sauce, takes a little time, but the result is well worth the effort.  You will also appreciate that these ribs are prepared 100% in your kitchen. That makes this a year round recipe perfect for Labor Day and a Super Bowl party.  This oven technique makes these ribs relatively easy to make for a large group of people.  No barbecue grill is required and no one will notice that the ribs were not cooked on your grill.  Your praises will be sung.  I promise.
Oven barbecued pork ribs
Oven-Barbecued Pork Ribs

Oven Barbecued Ribs

Slammin' Pork Ribs

Printer Friendly Recipe

This recipe is for two racks of ribs.
These Slammin' Pork Ribs require both a dry rub and a braising liquid.  First, you need to prepare the dry rub.  The dry rub recipe will make more than enough for two slabs of ribs.

Pat the Rub over the Ribs
Dry Rub Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions
Combine all of the dry rub ingredients together in a bowl. Double or triple the recipe based on your needs but be sure to maintain the original ratio.

Place each slab of ribs on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Sprinkle each side of the slab generously with the dry rub, patting the rub into the meat.  Carefully make a packet around the ribs so that the bones from the meat don't tear the foil.  Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.  We usually prepare this step the night before.

A prepared foil packet of ribs.
Make a Foil Packet

About four hours before you plan to serve the ribs, make the braising liquid.

Braising Liquid Ingredients
Braising liquid ingredients
Braising Liquid Ingredients
  • 1 cup white wine, we use Pinot Grigio
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped 

Directions
Combine all the ingredients either in a microwaveable dish or in a saucepan.  Heat on high one minute in your microwave oven or until warmed and well combined on your stove.

To Make the Ribs
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Place the rib packets on a rimmed baking sheet in case there is any leaking.  Open one end of each foil packet and pour in half of the braising liquid. Tilt the baking sheet back and forth to make sure the liquid is well distributed.  Cook the ribs for 2-1/2 hours.

Pour off the braising liquid
Reduce the Braising Liquid into a Sauce

Making the Sauce

(You can save time by skipping this step and using your favorite bottled barbecue sauce.)  After 2-1/2 hours, open each packet and pour the braising liquid into a saucepan.  Return the ribs to the oven. Bring the braising liquid to a boil, then reduce to simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and looks like a thick syrup. It is going to take at least 30 minutes to reduce the liquid.  To reduce the time, you may want to use two saucepans with half of the sauce in each.

When the sauce is ready, preheat your broiler.  Open the rib packets, brush the sauce over each slab of ribs and place them under the broiler until the sauce caramelizes slightly.   Watch the ribs carefully for two to three minutes.  You'll want to see the sauce bubble and caramelize, but not burn.  Cut the slabs into two rib portions for serving.  You can then either toss the ribs in the remaining glaze or serve the glaze on the side as a dipping sauce.

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Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Perfect Freezer Dinner

A Make Ahead Chicken Parmesan for Busy Families

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house.  It's also a favorite restaurant selection.  I like to keep Chicken Parmesan prepared in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  That way, we'll have a delicious dinner all ready to go into the oven, and save money to boot.  What's not to like about that?

Chicken Parmesan for Dinner
Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner

This Chicken Parmesan recipe is made with readily accessible ingredients in the spirit of semi-homemade. You may already have the ingredients you need in your pantry.  That makes this an easy recipe for any mom or dad to prepare in advance for those busy weeknight dinners.  Make a double batch and you'll have a baked Chicken Parmesan dinner for tonight and another one for the freezer.
Quick and Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan Ingredients
Chicken Parmesan Ingredients
Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded 1/4 inch thin
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs 
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar prepared Italian tomato sauce, or your favorite homemade sauce

Directions
Pound the chicken breasts between double pieces of plastic wrap.  Pound using the flat side of a metal meat mallet.  Cut each breast in half and set aside.

Pounded chicken breasts for chicken Parmesan
Pound the Chicken Breasts
Break the egg into a pie plate.  Add the water, salt and pepper and mix to combine.  Place the chicken breasts in the egg mixture to coat.

Egg and water mixture.
Mix an Egg with Water
On a plate, mix together the Italian seasoned bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and the grated cheeses.  I like a 50/50 mix of bread crumbs and cheese.  You may want to adjust the mixture.  Using one hand, coat both sides of each piece of chicken in the bread crumb mixture.

How to coat a chicken breast with bread crumbs.
Coat the Chicken with Breading
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan, over medium-high heat.  Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the breaded chicken breasts.  Cook until one side is browned.  Turn the chicken and continue cooking until golden brown.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

Browning the chicken breasts for chicken Parmesan
Brown the Chicken in Oil
Coat the bottom of a baking dish with the prepared tomato sauce.  Add the breaded chicken breasts.

Breaded chicken cutlets.
Place Chicken in Baking Dish

Top each breast with additional sauce and the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Cover first with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.

Chicken Parmesan
Top with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  You don't need to remove the plastic wrap.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, until bubbly and heated through.  Serve with your favorite pasta and a green salad.

Chicken Parmesan in the baking dish.
Baked Chicken Parmesan Ready to Serve
Shared on Meal Plan Monday.

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Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pretty Pintastic Party #119


It's Friday's weekly Pretty Pintastic Party, a weekend blog-share and link up where you'll find great weekend reading from many bloggers.


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Welcome to the Pretty Pintastic Party, where every post is pinned & features are pinned by everyone! 

PPPhosts-July2016 
  
First, let's meet the hosts:
Jamie, Kerry, & Lucy from Coffee With Us 3 Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter 
  
Here's what your hosts have been up to this week!

Now on to the Party!!
This is a super relaxed party!
You show up with your fabulous posts and we pin every single one! We only ask one thing from you!

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  This week's Features:

     PPP119 Features 

Asparagus Smoked Salmon Sushi from Sumptuous Spoonfuls 
DIY Tree Stump Tables from The Learner Observer 
Reusable Snack Bag Tutorial from Creative Homemaking 
Nutter Butter Icebox Cake from I Thee Cook 

If you were featured, grab a featured button!!              
Pretty Pintastic Party

       
Everyone else, grab a button and help us spread the word about our party!!  Thanks!  
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By linking up, you give coffeewithus3.com, divasrunforbling.com, julieiscocoandcocoa.com, anallievent.com, anniesnoms.com, thewholeserving.com, mybigfathappylife.com, momssmallvictories.com, mommalew.com, thetiptoefairy.com, countrywifecitylife.com, thankyouhoneyblog.com, justonedonna.com, suburbanwifecitylife.com, karylskulinarykrusade.com, thetakeactionwahm.com or any co-host permission to feature your post on social media and our blogs using a photo, title, and link to your site. Proper credit and links will be given to you.  

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Robust Italian Meat Sauce

How to Make a Flavorful Italian Meat Sauce

Do you say sauce or gravy?  Depending on where you are from you may have a strong preference for calling the tomato based concoction served over spaghetti either sauce or gravy.  Some say when meat is cooked with the sauce it is called "gravy" and when there is no meat, it is called "sauce".  If that is true, then today's recipe is really "gravy", but in my neck of the woods, we refer to all tomato-based sauces as "sauce".


Italian Meat Sauce

I make tomato sauces often.  Sometimes the sauce is quick and easy, and other times the sauce cooks for several hours to develop depth of flavor.  When you want a robustly flavored sauce you generally must let it simmer for a bit to get the richness and depth of flavors you desire.  That is the case with today's recipe.  The first layer of flavor in this sauce comes from the combination of sweet Italian sausage and ground beef, cooked together until very well browned.  You do not want to hurry the browning of the meat.  Browned meat means delicious flavor.
A Delicious Italian meat sauce

The next layer of flavor comes from the addition of simple seasonings and some secret ingredients.  My sons used to ask me what made my sauce taste so yummy and I would tell them it was "the love" that only their momma could add.  Well, that is true when Momma adds a little bit of this and a little bit of that to get the flavors just right.  In this dish "the love" comes from a little bit of red wine, a tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a couple of tablespoons of Parmesan cheese simmered with the sauce.

Wine, Cheese and Seasonings
The "Love"


Finally, the flavor is taken over the top with a couple of hours of gentle simmering on the stovetop.  You can actually see the flavor cooking into your sauce as the color changes to a deep, rich red.  It will call out to you to break off a chunk of crusty bread and dip it into the sauce after simmering there on your stove.  I like to bake up a tasty focaccia bread while the sauce is cooking for just this purpose.

Lasagna made with a robust tomato sauce.
Make a Lasagna with Your Robust Tomato Sauce


This is a perfect sauce to make on the weekend.  You can serve it on top of your favorite pasta, like I am doing today, use it to make a delicious lasagna for later in the week, or freeze it in meal-sized portions for meals later in the month.

Robust Italian Meat Sauce

Printer Friendly Recipe

Ingredients

Italian Meat Sauce Ingredients
The Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2-28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dried basil
  • 1/2 cup red wine, your favorite
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Begin by heating a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.  I don't add any oil to the pan because the sausage and ground beef will render enough.  Add the sausage and ground beef to the pan, breaking up any chunks of the ground beef.  Season well with salt and pepper, starting with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Cook until the sausage and beef are well-browned and there are lots of browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the red wine, stirring to release the browned bits from the pan.  You may need to add a little water as well if there are still lots of bits on the pan.  Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the meat with the tomato paste.  Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, sugar, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and basil, crushing the basil between the palms of your hands before adding.

Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.  Simmer on the stovetop for two hours; stirring occasionally to be sure the sauce at the bottom of the pan doesn't burn.  After two hours, taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. This is where you make the flavors in this sauce your own.  Add what you like. Stir in the chopped parsley just before serving.

Cool completely before refrigerating (using an ice bath) or freezing.  Serve with your favorite pasta.

Check out my recipe for Classic Italian Lasagna.
Don't miss this Vegetable Lasagna recipe.

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Enjoy!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Best Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The Only Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe You Will Ever Need

This recipe for red velvet cupcakes has been my favorite cupcake recipe for years.   Red velvet cupcakes are my go-to cupcakes for parties and potlucks because everyone seems to love them.  I love this recipe because it produces a classic red velvet cake that is moist and tender with a not too red cake color.  Of course, the cream cheese frosting is the must-have frosting.  In my mind, you can’t have a red velvet cupcake without cream cheese frosting.

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes
These cupcakes are made with oil instead of butter, resulting in a moister cake texture.  Buttermilk adds the dairy flavor balance that might be missed without butter in the mix.  I played around with the amount of red food coloring until I achieved the color I wanted for these cupcakes.  If you prefer a redder red velvet cupcake, add a little more coloring.

The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

This recipe freezes well, so if you are in make-ahead mode for a party this is a great recipe to choose.  I’ve frozen the unfrosted cupcakes and frosted them just before serving and I’ve frozen the cupcakes frosted, too.  If you choose to freeze the frosted cupcakes, place the pan of cupcakes in the freezer to let the frosting set up before wrapping in plastic wrap for storage.

Red velvet cupcakes are a festive dessert option for so many occasions.  They work for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and all of the patriotic holidays.  I've even served them in a mini version at a bridal tea. 

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes
Frosting red velvet cupcakes
Use a Pastry Bag with a Star Tip

  • 15-1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 13 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup water

The Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 pound confectioners' sugar (3 1/2 cups)


Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer (with a paddle attachment), mix the oil, sugar, and buttermilk.  Add the eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla, and water.  Mix well.  Add half the dry ingredients, stir and add the rest, scraping down the sides and mixing just to combine.  Don't over mix to avoid making a tough cupcake. 

Scoop the batter into the paper liners. I love using a scoop for my cupcakes.  It cuts down on drips and ensures all the cupcakes will be the same size.  Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean. I baked mine for 20 minutes.

To make the cream cheese frosting, I weighed the sugar using my kitchen scale, but volume measurement will work as well. Set aside.  Cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla using your electric mixer and the paddle attachment. Sift the sugar into the cream cheese and butter mixture, mix on medium speed until well combined. Spread a generous amount of the frosting on each cupcake.
 
Fourth of July Cupcakes
4th of July Cupcakes

This recipe has become my go-to recipe for red velvet cupcakes.  I'm confident you will love them, too.

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Enjoy!

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Pretty Pintastic Party #118

Welcome to the Pretty Pintastic Party weekend blog-share and link up.  Great weekend reading!


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Welcome to the Pretty Pintastic Party, where every post is pinned & features are pinned by everyone! 


PPPhosts-July2016 
  First, let's meet the hosts:
Jamie, Kerry, & Lucy from Coffee With Us 3 Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter 
  
Here's what your hosts have been up to this week!


Now on to the Party!!
This is a super relaxed party!  You show up with your fabulous posts and we pin every single one! We only ask one thing from you!
dotten-rule
   


This week's Features:

    pppfeatures118

Free Printable Canning Labels by Home Cooking Memories Chocolate Chip Cookie Coffee Milkshake by Simply Stacie Peaches & Cream Dessert Bars by Delightful E Made US State Map Quilt by Flamingo Toes  


              If you were featured, grab a featured button!!              
Pretty Pintastic Party

       


Everyone else grab a button and help us spread the word about our party!!  Thanks!  

Pretty Pintastic Party


By linking up, you give coffeewithus3.com, divasrunforbling.com, julieiscocoandcocoa.com, anallievent.com, anniesnoms.com, thewholeserving.com, mybigfathappylife.com, momssmallvictories.com, mommalew.com, thetiptoefairy.com, countrywifecitylife.com, thankyouhoneyblog.com, justonedonna.com, suburbanwifecitylife.com, karylskulinarykrusade.com, thetakeactionwahm.com or any co-host permission to feature your post on social media and our blogs using a photo, title, and link to your site. Proper credit and links will be given to you.  

By linking up, you will be added to the mailing list for The Pretty Pintastic Party.  You will only receive emails reminding you when the party goes live. 



Thanks for sharing!
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Easy Roasted Beets and Sautéed Beet Greens

How to Roast Beets and Sautée Beet Greens


Beets have recently become a favorite vegetable in my house. The sweet, earthy flavor is delicious in a salad or as a vegetable side dish.  I've included beets in my backyard vegetable garden and have just started harvesting this year's crop.  My favorite way of cooking beets is roasting them.  It is an easy way to cook them and roasting makes removing the skin from each beet a snap.

A bunch of beets
Beautiful Beets
I also make sure to use all of the parts of the beets.  Start preparing your beets by cutting the washed and drained beets from the greens.  Save the greens and stems to cook later.
Roasted Beets and Sauteed Greens

Beet leaves and stems
Separate the Greens and Stems from the Beets

How to Roast Beets

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Place beets of similar size together on a square of aluminum foil.  Fold the foil into packets.

Roast beets in foil
Beet Foil Packets
Place the foil packets on the center rack of your oven.  Roast the beets until a fork easily pierces the beets, anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on the size of your beets.  Remove the foil packets from the oven and allow the beets to cool slightly.  Holding the beets under cool, running water, rub the skins off with your fingers.  You'll find that the skins rub off very easily to reveal perfect little beet gems.

Roasted beets
Perfect Beet Gems
Slice the beets and set them aside.  Now you can cook up your beet stems and beet greens.

Cooking beet stems
Beet Stems are Colorful While Cooking

Sautéed Beet Greens

  • Beet greens, washed, trimmed and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions
Wash and trim the beet greens to ensure all the dirt has been removed.  Roughly chop the greens. Chop the stems into 1-inch pieces, discarding any that may look tough.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, cooking for about 1 minute to soften and wilt the onion.  Add the stems to the pan and sauté them with the onions until tender, about five minutes. 

Stir together the balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.   Add the chopped greens to pan.  Stir in the vinegar mixture, coating the greens.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the greens are wilted and tender.   Add the sliced beets to the pan to warm them through.  Serve as a side dish with your favorite entree.



beet greens and roasted beets
Beet Greens and Beets
You won't believe how delicious the lowly beet can be!

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Enjoy!
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