I found the recipe straightforward. It requiring no hands-on, other than rubbing on the spices before cooking, uncovering, basting once, returning it the oven, then taking it out and slicing. So many of my favorite recipes are like that. I can start them cooking and go on to another recipe (or recipes) or focus on non-cooking tasks while the food cooks.
Photo credit: Chef Rachel Albert, Copyright 2010©Cook once, eat thrice
On this particular morning here’s what I did between 7 and 8:15 am before turning on the computer and getting to work (at home):
- Season 3# of ribs and start cooking
- Season 4# chicken thighs, start baking
- Toss with XVOO and roast a head of garlic
- Rinse, halve, oil, and roast 2 artichokes
- Start a pot of Creamy Carrot Soup
- Marinate 2# Salmon Bellies (to cook later)
- Wash, drain, season 1# kale
- Wash dishes
- Make 2 thermos bottles of tea
I planned to cook the salmon for an early supper (and freeze most of it). I would serve Salmon Bellies with a cup of Creamy Carrot Soup, a tossed green salad, a roasted artichoke, and maybe a piece of fruit. Some of the the roasted garlic would go into the salad. The tea I would drink throughout the day. The next day I would have great leftovers. The day after I might only need to make one or two new dishes. The leftover pan juices from the roast would be great for dipping the artichoke pieces into later.
Photo credit: Chef Rachel Albert, Copyright 2010©Spice it up
I keep a well stocked spice cabinet (at 50 or 60 different dried herbs and spices) and I’d just purchased three pounds of pork back ribs, so I had all the necessary ingredients on hand. I made a double batch of the spice blend so I’d have some to try on fish as well. I jotted down my departures from the recipe: replacing sugar with coconut palm sugar, refined salt with unrefined sea salt, and replacing onion and pepper with alternatives (to test this option for anyone with a food allergy panel that might have to avoid these foods temporarily or long term).
True to the instructions, the recipe took only 10 minutes to prep. I preheated the oven while I mixed up the spices and rubbed them on the ribs. I made one and a half times the recipe. I popped it in the oven, and set a timer (if you’re not in the habit of doing this, start now, it can save you a lot of disappointment and wasted food).
Multitask in the kitchen and around the house
You can cook an a lot of foods at once making them ready for multiple meals. Strike while the oven's hot: If you're turning on the oven to bake or roast once dish, why not cook two or three others at the same time? Save energy and save time by cooking in quantity. You can also start foods cooking before you do your laundry, pay bills, clean the house, write letters, check and send emails, or do other work around the home. Be sure to set timers and gear the complexity or simplicity of the recipes to your schedule. Choose recipes that can be left unattended (with a loud enough timer that you’ll hear in another room) if you won’t be in the kitchen.
Photo credits: Chef Rachel Albert, Copyright 2010©Roasted kale?
I wanted to try a recipe for roasted kale (some sites call it Crispy Kale or Kale Chips, but mine never got that crisp all over, still it tasted great). The kale recipe, like the rib recipe, was easy. I rinsed and de-stemmed the kale, spun and patted it dry (a step some recipes failed to mention), tore it into roughly 3-inch pieces, tossed with a measured amount of oil (I used avocado oil), sea salt (pepper optional), then placed it on a sheet pan in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring part way through. My greens took longer because they weren’t as dry as the recipe required, something I made note of when I made the recipe again later in the week. Kale shrinks a lot: 4 cups raw will reduces to 1 cup cooked, concentrating the volume and nutrients.
For kale chip recipes, click here.Cook wisely
After the ribs cooked for 1 1/2 hours and I uncovered them, I turned the heat up to 375˚F and placed the pan of kale in the oven and let it roast with the ribs. I put a leftover sweet potato (from the previous day) in the oven (in a small baking pan, not directly on the racks) to heat. Lunch was ready about 30 to 40 minutes later. Cooking kale that way (in the oven on a shallow baking tray) saved time (I didn’t have to cut it into bite size pieces or stir and sauté). It saved energy (the oven was already on and the greens cooked along with the roast and the sweet potato I was reheating). Best of all, I had leftovers ready for the next day.
Prep: 10 minutes Cooking: 1 1/2 to 2 hours Yield: 10 servings
This recipe from The National Pork Board requires very little hands-on time. It can cook while you do other things in or out of the kitchen. Leftovers reheat well in a toaster oven and also freeze well, for future meals if wrapped in parchment paper, then aluminum foil, and slipped into a zip locking bag. Alternatively, you can wrap in parchment and place in a Pyrex glass container with a lid in the fridge, making it ready to reheat while avoiding plastic containers.
Image right © National Pork Board
- 2 pounds pork back ribs
- 2 tablespoons dried minced onion*
- 4 teaspoons ground thyme
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I used Coconut Secret palm sugar)
- 1 tablespoon onion powder*
- 2 teaspoons salt (I used finely ground unrefined sea salt: Redmond RealSalt)
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (or additional black pepper)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Place all ingredients except ribs in small jar with tight-fitting lid; cover and shake until well blended. Rub dry mixture onto all surfaces of ribs. (You may have some leftover spice rub so don’t add it all at once. Sprinkle it on a little at a time, and rub in with clean, dry hands.)
2. Select your cooking method.
To Grill: Prepare grill with rectangular foil drip pan. Bank briquets on either side of drip pan for indirect cooking. Place ribs on grid over drip pan. Grill, on covered grill, over low coals 1-1/2 hours or until ribs are tender, turning occasionally.
To bake in the oven: place seasoned ribs in an 18x9x2 or 14x9x2 baking pan. Cover pan tightly with foil. Place in a 350˚F oven for 1 1/2 hours, then uncover, baste roast with pan juice, turn the heat up to 375˚F and bake for another 30 minutes, until tender and the meat easily pulls away from the bone when cut (i.e., you can wiggle the bone from the meat).
3. To serve, cut into 1- or 2-rib portions. Cover and refrigerate leftovers and reheat in a toaster oven at 300˚F or 350˚F for 15 to 20 minutes. Save the meat juices in a heat-proof custard cup. Heat in a toaster oven and spoon over the roast or vegetables in a meal. This recipe also freezes well.