Back to Basics — Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

As Americans unite and pull together during this time of crisis, we find
ourselves going back to basics in lots of areas, including food! With so many
families housebound, both parents and children, “comfort food” can play a
part in helping relieve the stress and increase relaxation. Meatloaf and
mashed potatoes are a great way to go—hearty, simple and sure to be a hit.

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Back to Basics — Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
55
PREP TIME
15
READY IN
1hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Set oven at 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, panko or bread crumbs, onion, milk, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. With a good sized spoon, mix gently until well combined, without over-handling it, which toughens the meat.
  4. Place the meat mixture in loaf pan.
  5. Combine ketchup, wine vinegar, brown sugar and spread over the top of meatloaf.
  6. Bake uncovered for about 55 minutes or until internal temp reaches 160 degrees.
  7. For those who like the ketchup topping to be a little browned and crispy, put under the broiler, turning it around every few seconds, for about 3-5 minutes
  8. Serve with a scoop of your favorite mashed potatoes!

Springtime Borscht

Recently, another Sister and I shared our borscht recipes and memories! Like any well-loved food, memories play a part in its enjoyment. Our experiences of eating borscht are different but surprisingly parallel. Sr. Monica spent two months living at a Convent in Estonia when it was still part of the USSR. She has vivid memories of being there as the coup occurred when Gorbachev was still in power. I remember it too, because I was in Poland at the time, singing with our choir, Gloriae Dei Cantores. We had no way to communicate with our Sisters in Estonia since cell phones and e-mail were unavailable to us in 1991. We relied on prayer for their safety.  Often, a particular recipe is a vehicle for comfort, even solace. We have had difficult times in the past, but we know God’s love is available to us. We offer this heartwarming recipe to you, along with our prayers for a healthy spring.

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Springtime Borscht
SERVINGS
8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
4.5hours
READY IN
5.5hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Put the meat in a crockpot with 8 cups cold water, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and 1 Tbsp salt. Set on high for 4 hours. Cook until fork tender. Remove meat and strain and reserve the broth. Set aside
  2. While the Beef is cooking, wrap beets in foil and place in a 400 degree oven—roast for 1hr. until fork tender. Cool slightly, but while they are still warm, remove the top, bottom and skin with a pairing knife (skins should come off easily if properly cooked) and either grate or julienne the beets. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large stockpot and add 4 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter and sauté onion for 2 min. Add diced potato and sauté another 5 min or until beginning to soften. Add the grated carrot, cabbage and garlic and 2 Tbsp vinegar and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to med/low and add the beets, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved strained broth and extra 2-3 cups beef broth. (I used' Better than Bouillon' Roasted Beef Base)
  5. Simmer and cover until vegetables are tender. Add the diced, cooked Beef and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill. Remove from heat and leave covered until flavors meld. Add 1/4 tsp pepper (If desired), and salt to taste. Adjust flavors to taste (you may want to add a bit more vinegar or sugar)
  6. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.

Orange Mirepoix Pork Loin

Over the years, both for guest cooking and for meals at the convent and friary, our cooks are always on the lookout for delicious recipes with a unique twist that are easy to prepare. This special orange pork recipe is one of these! While pork loin can be roasted in the oven — a pan-fried preparation is equally as tasty.

We very much enjoyed this lovely meat course and hope that you will too! Juicy and flavorful, this is a keeper! 

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Orange Mirepoix Pork Loin
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
15minutes , plus 1 hour stove time
PREP TIME
15minutes
READY IN
1hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter on stovetop until it bubbles and becomes frothy.
  2. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sautee until tender.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, season pork loin with salt and pepper.
  4. Push aside vegetables in saucepan, leaving a space in the middle. Place pork loin in middle of pan and sear until brown on all sides, rotating as needed.
  5. Once loin has a good crust on all sides, combine with rest of vegetables. Add orange juice and white wine to pan, cover and cook 1 hour on medium-low heat. Deglaze with water as needed.
  6. Once loin is cooked thoroughly, remove from pan. Add vegetables and juices to blender and combine until smooth.
  7. Rest pork and cut into chops. Return sauce to pan on stove to keep warm.
  8. Serve pork warm with sauce over top and garnish with orange slices if desired.

Shakshouka!

On a recent pilgrimage to Israel, I encountered the cultural phenomenon that is the traditional Israeli breakfast: Fresh vegetable salads, an abundance of fruit, creamy bowls of hummus, smoky eggplant baba ghanouj, borekas, and pastries of every description. The pièce de résistance, however, was the warm and savory shakshouka. Featuring delicately poached eggs, spices and vibrant herbs, I knew I needed to make this when I returned home.

Fun to say (shak-SHOO-kah) and even more fun to prepare, this delicious souvenir from the Holy Land warms me from the inside out!

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Shakshouka!
SERVINGS
6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20minutes
PREP TIME
15minutes
READY IN
35minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Warm the oil in an oven-safe skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat. Once oil shimmers, add onion, bell pepper, and salt. Cook until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes with their juices and cilantro. Stir, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make a well near the edge of the pan with the back of a spoon and crack the egg into it. Spoon a bit of the tomato mixture over the whites to contain the egg. Repeat with remaining eggs, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put the skillet to the oven and bake for 8–12 minutes, checking often after 8 minutes. Cook until the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a little but are still soft.
  6. Take the hot skillet out and place on a heat-safe surface. Garnish with fresh cilantro or a crumble of feta and enjoy!

Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup – A Special Autumn Treat

When end-of-summer kale comes in by the armload from the garden, “kale soup” becomes a familiar sounding menu option.  But can’t we make it really different and flavorful for our guests, as the chill of Autumn sets in? And so it develops: browned Italian sausage chunks, lots of fresh thyme, a splash of white wine, potatoes and cannellini beans.  Delicious served with a salad of fresh sliced pears, toasted almonds, and shavings of Parmesan Cheese and a basket of warm dill bread!

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Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup - A Special Autumn Treat
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
30minutes
PREP TIME
45minutes
READY IN
1hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan; add chopped onion, thyme and sausage chunks, browning over medium heat for about 10 minutes, adding a splash of wine for enhanced flavor. Drain off excess fat.
  2. Add chopped kale, potatoes, garlic, cooking for a few minutes before adding chicken broth, bringing soup to a boil, then simmering for about 20 minutes.
  3. To achieve a thicker consistency, strain out some of the cooked potato pieces, thoroughly mash and then add back to the soup.
  4. Add cannellini beans and simmer for another 10 minutes, then serve!

Overnight Slow-Cooker Ribs!

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Overnight Slow-Cooker Ribs!
With the return of warmer weather, we also welcome the return of guests to our community either for retreats, workshops, or events that we host. As hospitality is a hallmark of the Benedictine life, these events offer us an opportunity to put this monastic practice in place! Hosting guests will sometimes limit our time spent in meal preparation, and our solution to providing our sisters with a delicious home-cooked meal and caring for our guests can be found in a vital (and in our case, under-used) kitchen appliance: the crock pot! We made these slow-cooker ribs recently for our main meal, and it was a hit! Even our sisters with restricted diets just had to have a taste. Simple, easy and delicious, this is a recipe that we will be using again this summer.
SERVINGS
4-6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
7-9hrsplus 2hrs
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Brush the bottom of the crockpot with olive oil, just enough to coat
  2. Place the sliced onion in an even layer on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Sprinkle the ribs with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Top with the minced garlic, and place in the crockpot.
  4. Pour the apple juice over the ribs and set the temperature on the crockpot to the lowest temperature setting. Place the lid on the pot and let cook overnight or 7-9 hours.
  5. After 7-9 hours, the ribs should be very tender and falling off the bone. Remove from crockpot and place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Liberally cover the ribs with barbecue sauce and cover the pan with foil.
  6. Cook in a low oven (200 degrees) for another 2 hours and enjoy!