The Toad in the Hole that I grew up with was an egg fried inside a slice of bread with a circle cut out of the center. This is different. Classic English Toad-in-the-Hole is chewy, eggy, slightly sweet batter surrounding sausages, traditionally English bangers. If you’ve ever had a popover, the taste and texture is similar. We have a favorite neighborhood butcher who makes their own sausages as our source for the bangers. You can really use whatever kind of sausage you like and that is readily available to you. My kids don’t care for the bangers, so we usually throw in some traditional breakfast sausage as well. We just have to remember where we put which kind of sausage in the pan. For lazy weekends at home, or brunches with company, this is a recipe that I intend to use forever.
Chocolate Pudding is one of those recipes that make me wonder at the existence of mixes. The ingredients are everything I have on hand anyway, and it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes from start to finish. I usually make this dairy-free, using vanilla almond milk, but you could totally just use regular milk if that’s what you prefer. It does call for a bit of margarine or butter, but if you are eating dairy-free, chances are you have some dairy-free margarine already on hand. The pudding just needs an extra bit of fat to make it creamy. For vanilla pudding, just leave out the cocoa and add an extra teaspoon of vanilla.
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C cocoa powder
4 C milk (vanilla almond milk works well)
4 Tbs margarine or butter
2 tsp vanilla
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the milk as one continuous stream. Place over medium heat, continue whisking and cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the margarine and vanilla.
Chill before serving. Makes 8 servings.
Avocado Mango Chicken is a recipe that doesn’t seem like it should work. With Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce in the marinade, you wouldn’t think that it would go well with an avocado mango salsa, but it is delicious. Rather than serving a corn tortilla on the side, like the recipe suggests, I like to serve the cooked chicken chopped, on the tortillas like tacos, with the salsa on top. We use slightly more salt than is called for, but otherwise we do this as written. I also like to use just the salsa by itself on No Waste Tacos de Carnitas. Unfortunately, the salsa doesn’t keep well, so we try not to make more than we think we can consume in a single meal.
Introducing an avocado into any meal can make meal planning challenging, since the avocado has a fairly narrow window of perfect eating. One trick we have learned, is that uncut avocados can be placed in the refrigerator when they are ready to eat. This will slow the ripening process and give you a couple more days’ worth of potential perfect eating. When you buy groceries exactly once a week like I do, this is a bonus. I can grocery shop on Sunday or Monday and I can still plan this recipe on a Friday and not have to worry that the avocado will be brown and yucky by the time I need it.
When I find an on-line recipe that I want to use, I print a hard copy, put the copy into a page protector and file it in a 3″ binder. I now have 11 binders, all full of recipes. This recipe is a perfect example of why I do this. No Waste Tacos de Carnitas has changed since I originally printed it and put it in my recipe binder. The author has added a salsa verde to the recipe, but the ingredient list and the directions are now mixed together, just assuming that you are going to want to do both. However, any number of accompaniments are appropriate, such as a mango salsa like the one from Avocado Mango Chicken. All that said, this recipe is a great weekend or holiday dish. It calls for boneless pork butt, which tends to be a pretty affordable cut of meat, to say nothing of tasty! We have also done this method with boneless skinless chicken thighs for friends of ours who don’t eat pork, and it worked really well.
Because the recipe has changed from how I know it, I am going to reprint the recipe that I use here. I have linked to the page of the original author. Everything that follows were the author’s original words. If you are interested in a salsa verde, by all means, click on the link. Based on how much I like this recipe, I’m betting the salsa verde is delicious as well.
No Waste Tacos de Carnitas
by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
Carnitas can be prepared through step 3 up to three days in advance. Pork can be crisped up straight from the refrigerator.
Serves 4 – 6, active time 45 minutes, total time 4 1/2 hours.
1 small onion, quartered
3 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder), rind removed, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 medium orange (or a lime)
4 cloves garlic, split in half
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
1/4 C vegetable oil
24 corn tortillas
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season pork chunks with salt and place in a 9 by 13 glass casserole or large Corning Ware dish. The pork should fill the dish with no spaces. Split orange into quarters and squeeze juice over pork. Nestle squeezed orange pieces into casserole. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick to casserole. Nestle everything into an even layer. Pour vegetable oil over surface. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook until pork is pull-apart tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
Set a large fine-meshed strainer over a bowl. Using tongs, remove orange peel, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves from pork and discard. Transfer pork and liquid to strainer. Let drain for 10 minutes. Transfer pork back to casserole. Using a flat spoon or de-fatter, skim fat from surface. You should end up with about 1/2 cup of fat. Shred pork into large chunks with fingers or two forks. Add fat back to the pork, and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Liquid can be reserved for another purpose.
To serve, place casserole dish with pork 4-inches under a high broiler and broil until brown and crisp on surface, about 6 minutes. Remove pork, stir with a spoon to expose new bits to heat, and broil again for 6 more minutes until crisp. Tent with foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat tortillas. Preheat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working with one tortilla at a time, dip tortilla in a bowl filled with water. Transfer to hot skillet and cook until water evaporates from first side and tortilla is browned in spots, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook until dry, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer tortilla to a tortilla warmer, or wrap in a clean dish towel. Repeat with remaining tortillas
Chicken and Bean Stuffed Burritos originally had black beans in the title, but since as a family we’re not crazy about black beans, we use pinto beans instead. Either way, this simple recipe is a handy one to have around. It uses “rotisserie chicken breast,” which at my house just means leftover roast chicken. I have one child who doesn’t like beans, but because the beans are added separately from the chicken, it’s easy enough to leave them off. The method, finishing the assembled burritos in a large skillet, with another skillet on top, takes practice. It’s easy to burn the burritos so you have to watch them carefully. Once you have mastered the technique, however, it works for any kind of burrito you want, producing a crispy outside crust reminiscent of fast-food deep-fried burritos, just homemade. The recipe says it makes just four burritos, but with the size of flour tortillas we buy, and my desire for them to fold up neatly, we consistently get eight.
Massaged Kale Salad works best, in our opinion, with a lighter, less hearty variety of kale. We grow our own in our garden. Our favorite variety for salads is called Red Winter. If you are buying your kale in a grocery store or farmer’s market, look for delicate, tender leaves. The salad has mango in it, which gives it a sweet note. As a result, it pairs especially well with something a bit spicy, such as Seared Chipotle Shrimp.
Seared Chipotle Shrimp is actually a part of a larger recipe, called Chilled Avocado Soup with Seared Chipotle Shrimp. The soup really didn’t appeal to us, so we’ve never tried it, but the shrimp sounded really good. It is just on the edge of being too spicy for the kids, but they do like this shrimp. The shrimp gets sauteed with fresh corn cut off the cob, which the kids are less crazy about. Leftover sauteed corn goes nicely in a breakfast burrito with eggs for breakfast the next day. Since we don’t do the soup that the shrimp is supposed to go on top of, we like to eat it with a nice salad; something with a sweet note pairs nicely with the spice of the shrimp, such as Massaged Kale Salad.