Hawaiian Sweet Rolls with Pineapple Pulled Pork: Recipe #178

We were missing Hawaii recently, so this recipe was a kid request to bring some island flavor to our home. I bought the pulled pork already made, but we made the Hawaiian sweet rolls and pineapple relish from scratch. It’s a tangy and satisfying meal. Aloha!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($17.50 total)

1 16 oz package Jack Daniel’s pulled pork – $10.39

Pineapple relish:
1/2 can pineapple chunks (save the juice for the rolls) – $1.99
5 leaves fresh mint, chopped – $0.50
1 tsp ginger – $0.28
1/2 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1 tbsp honey – $0.14
1/4 red onion, minced – $0.15
Salt and pepper to taste

Hawaiian sweet rolls:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.05
1/3 cup hottest tap water – free
1/4 cup pineapple juice from the can of pineapple chunks – included above
2 eggs – $0.58
1/4 cup soy milk – $0.09
1/4 cup brown sugar – $0.13
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted – $1.65
3 1/2 cups flour – $0.64
1 tsp salt – $0.05
2 tbsp melted margarine to brush on top – $0.40

Directions for Hawaiian Sweet Rolls with Pineapple Pulled Pork

1. Make the Hawaiian sweet rolls: Mix the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and hottest tap water in a small plastic bowl. Stir briefly and let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast and form a thick foam. Then mix in the pineapple juice, eggs, soy milk, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and coconut oil, stirring gently until well combined.

Add the salt and flour, one cup at a time, and stir well with each cup. Knead it with your hands for at least 10 minutes, and if the dough is too sticky instead of smooth and elastic, add a bit more flour. To knead, use the heel of your hand to push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself, turn it a quarter turn, and repeat. After 10 minutes, form it into a ball, put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place, until it has doubled in size.

After it has risen, knead the dough for a couple of minutes with a little bit more flour. Cut the risen dough into 16 equal pieces, roll them into balls, and arrange in an oiled glass 9×13″ baking dish. Let the buns rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size again.

Brush the tops of the risen buns with melted margarine or a beaten egg. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes until golden brown. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed bag or container in the freezer.

2. Make the pineapple relish: add all the pineapple relish ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

Heat up the pulled pork according to package directions.

3. Assemble your amazing sandwich, with a fresh Hawaiian sweet roll sliced in half, pulled pork and pineapple relish inside, and any other sandwich fixings you like. We had some farm-fresh lettuce to add to our creations. Yummy!

P.S. If you have leftover sweet rolls, you can make them into strawberry shortcakes by adding cut up strawberries and vanilla soy yogurt. Megan’s invention!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours including the bread
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (pork)
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 12/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Swedish Meatballs with Gravy: #96 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Inspired by a fun DisneyWorld vacation this past summer, we wanted to re-create a meal we ate at the Norway pavilion of Epcot Center: swedish meatballs, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and lingonberry sauce (or cranberry works too). This dinner is very comforting and delicious for all ages!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($11 total)

1 cup breadcrumbs – I used leftover bread from the freezer, ground up in the blender
1/2 cup milk – $0.19
1/2 cup whipping cream – $0.75
1 egg – $0.29
1/2 tsp each garlic powder and salt – $0.28
1/4 tsp each onion powder, paprika, ginger, cumin, black pepper, and oregano – $0.42
1 lb ground beef – $5.99
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
5 tbsp butter – $0.78
3 tbsp flour – $0.03
2 cups chicken stock – I used leftover chicken stock from the freezer
1 cup whipping cream – $1.50
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.20
1 tsp dijon mustard – $0.08
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, milk and 1/2 cup cream, and let it sit for 10 minutes to softten. Add the egg and spices, then mix thoroughly. Finally, add the ground beef. Stir it all together well.

Use freshly washed hands to roll out about 20 smallish meatballs. Cover and put in the fridge if you’re making these ahead of time, otherwise proceed to step 2. 

2. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning continuously until they’re cooked inside and each side is browned. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Once all the meatballs are cooked, make the gravy: add 4 tbsp butter and the flour to the pan with all the meatball juices, then whisk until it comes together and turns brown. Slowly stir in the chicken stock and 1 cup cream, followed by the Worchestershire sauce and dijon mustard. Simmer until the gravy starts to thicken, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the meatballs back to the pan and simmer for another 2-3 minutes to reheat them. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper as needed. 

3. Serve over mashed potatoes with a side of green beans and cranberry sauce. They would be good served over pasta too.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Mennonite Seven Layer Dinner: #90 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I learned to make this after enjoying it at my husband’s grandmother’s house. The seven layers are potatoes, onions, carrots, rice, peas, sausages, and tomato soup, with some salt and pepper for seasoning. It smells amazing in the oven and is a very comforting winter casserole for all ages.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total for 10 servings)

3-5 medium potatoes, thinly sliced – $0.90
1 onion, thinly sliced – $0.50
2-3 carrots, thinly sliced – $0.46
1/2 cup uncooked white rice – $0.18
2 cups peas, frozen – $1.00
1 pound chicken breakfast sausage – $3.99
1 32 oz. carton creamy tomato soup – $2.69
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Rub some olive oil around a deep casserole dish. Layer the potatoes, onions and carrots in the dish with a bit of salt and pepper. Add a layer of rice and then peas, then a bit more salt and pepper.

2. Arrange the sausages over top. Pour the tomato soup evenly over the casserole.

3. Cover and bake at 350°F for 1 hour, then turn the sausages over and bake for 1 more hour, until vegetables are tender and rice is cooked. Scoop all the way down to grab all the layers when serving!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Green Peas and Ham Risotto: #87 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Instead of green eggs and ham (that’s another recipe to come for avocado scrambled eggs), how about green peas and ham? This risotto uses a mix of blended and whole peas to create the vibrant color and luxurious taste. I hope you try this for lunch or dinner sometime, it’s a treat!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($13.50 total)

3 tbsp + 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp butter – $1.24
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 cup Calrose rice – $0.35
1 cup bourbon or white wine – $4.80
4 cups chicken stock – we used some of our homemade stock 
2 cups frozen peas – $1.00
1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped – $1.00
1 cup rosemary ham, chopped – $2.47
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated – $2.00
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pan, melt 3 tbsp of butter over medium high heat, then cook the onion and garlic in the melted butter for 5 minutes until soft. Add the rice, stirring to coat each rice grain with the butter and onion mix. Cook for 2 more minutes, then add the bourbon or white wine and stir until most of the alcohol has evaporated. Start adding the stock 1 cup at a time, cooking over low heat and stirring frequently until each cup of liquid has been absorbed. This will take about 15 minutes, so be patient and try not to walk away from the stove. Once the rice is just cooked but not crunchy, it’s ready for the peas.

2. While the rice is cooking, you can get the peas ready. Warm the frozen peas in the microwave or small pot on the stove until they’re defrosted, then set aside 1/2 cup of them to leave whole. Pour the rest of the peas in a blender with 2 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup cooking water, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth (add a bit more water if needed for blending). Also, chop up the snap peas and ham into bite sized pieces.

3. Once the rice is ready, mix in the snap peas and ham, followed by the blended and whole peas. Warm just until heated but don’t overcook this, or the green color will fade. Finally, rapidly stir in the remaining 3 tbsp butter until melted and thoroughly combined. You can also mix in the cheese at this point, but we prefer to keep it on the side since not everyone here likes cheese. Serve in bowls and eat it hot and fresh. Enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Australian Pie Floaters: #83 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

When I first heard about this recipe, I thought it was strange to put a meat pie in a puddle of pea soup. But it actually turns out to be fantastic, like adding a healthy gravy to moisten your pie. I prototyped this recipe with store-bought pies and soup, but of course you could make your own too.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total)

2 steak and stout pies (or other pot pies) – $6.99
1 package split pea soup – $1.99
6 oz sugar snap peas – $1.25

Directions

1. Heat the meat pies in the oven according to package directions (or get fancy and make your own homemade pies.)

2. Near the end of the pie baking time, heat the split pea soup in a small pot and add the sugar snap peas (or make your own split pea soup). 

3. Serve in individual bowls with the soup on the bottom and the pie placed gently on top. A nourishing winter dinner to warm hearts and bellies.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  1 = <4 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (beef)
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 12/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff: #82 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Stroganoff is one of our regular rotation meals, thanks to my husband’s German-Russian roots. It’s great for a quick weeknight meal that pleases a crowd of hungry stomachs, and the leftovers are delicious too. Feel free to substitute another kind of meat or tofu for the beef if you prefer.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($22 total)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1/2 onion, chopped – $0.25
1 lb organic ground beef – $5.99
1 container cream of mushroom soup – $1.99
1 pint sour cream – $2.99
2 cups frozen peas – $1.00
1 lb spaghetti or egg noodles – $2.99
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 8 oz package crimini mushrooms, sliced – $2.49
1 8 oz package baby broccoli, chopped up – $2.79
Pecorino romano cheese to sprinkle on top – $1.00
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat, then add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent and soft. Add the ground beef and stir until it’s all broken up and there’s no pink left. In a separate pan, heat the other 1 tbsp olive oil and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown, then add in the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the baby broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the broccoli is a bright green.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. It’s usually about 10 minutes but check the package directions. Add the mushroom soup and sour cream to the beef mixture, along with the frozen peas, and mix well. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Drain the pasta and pour the stroganoff sauce over the noodles, mixing to combine thoroughly.

3. Serve in individual bowls with a side of vegetables (or mixed in if you don’t have picky eaters), with pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on the side or over top. Freshly ground pepper is great here too. This recipe usually provides 2 dinners for 5 of us.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (beef)
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Lentils with Sausages: #77 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is a tasty and nutritious Italian peasant dish, which you can serve for lunch or dinner with pasta or fresh bread. I used chicken sausages, fresh chopped spinach, and the secret ingredient to any lentil soup – celery! 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7 total)

4 cloves garlic, chopped – $0.15
2 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed – $1.69
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 carrot, chopped – $0.23
1 celery stick, chopped – $0.10
1 package chicken sausages, garlic and herb, sliced – $3.99
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce – $0.67
1 package baby spinach, chopped – 1.99
Salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste

Directions

1. Put one clove of garlic in a large pot with the lentils. Cover with water, bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 25 minutes until lentils are mostly tender. No need to drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium high heat, put the olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, carrot, celery, and any spices to taste. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the sausages, then the tomato sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Add the lentils and chopped spinach to the pan, taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. Simmer for another 15 minutes, then serve hot with pasta or fresh bread.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Monday Pie: #75 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Monday pie is a simple British weeknight dinner to throw together, and this casserole lasted us for three dinners. You could also freeze leftovers for weekday lunches – we always have extra thermoses handy in case everyone wants to take hot lunch to school. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($11 total for a full 9×13″ casserole)

1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 lb ground beef – $5.99
2 tbsp flour – $0.02
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.20
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce – $0.67
1 (15 oz) can baked beans – $1.49
1 1/2 cups frozen peas – $0.75
2 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced – $0.36
1/2 cup grated gouda or cheddar cheese – $0.97
1 cup water – free
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and cook the onion for about 8 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the ground beef and Worcestershire sauce, and cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer pink. Mix in the flour, tomato sauce, and baked beans, then simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.

2. Stir in the frozen peas and pour into a 9×13″ casserole pan that’s been rubbed all over with a bit of olive oil. Cover with the thinly sliced potatoes, followed by the grated cheese. We have some non-cheese people in our family so we left part of the potatoes cheese-less.

3. Cover with foil and bake at 375F for 1 hour, until the potatoes are tender, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese. Cool for a few minutes, then scoop out portions onto plates and enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (beef)
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Baked Chicken Parmigiana: #57 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

It turns out you can take our homemade chicken tenders recipe and turn it into a fancy adult version, covered with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Delicious! We had it with asparagus-mushroom-pasta and extra pecorino romano cheese sprinkled over the top. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($13 total)

1.25 lb organic chicken breast – $7.37
1 egg – $0.29
1 tbsp mayonnaise – $0.50
2 tbsp flour – $0.02
1 cup breadcrumbs (I ground up some leftover bread in the blender) – $0.25
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated – $2.00
1/2 can crushed tomatoes, blended – $0.80
1 tbsp garlic powder – $0.70
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1/2 ball mozzarella, cut into thick slices – $1.25
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Slice the chicken breasts in half from the side so they’re pretty thin, then coat in the egg, mayo, and flour (plus some salt and pepper) until they’re nicely covered. Next, coat with the mixed breadcrumbs and pecorino to make a crumb coating, and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

2. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, and while this is cooking, blend the tomatoes with the garlic powder and olive oil (and some more salt and pepper). Once the time is up, open the oven to pour some sauce on top of each chicken breast, then put a thick slice of mozzarella on top. Turn the pan around and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese gets all melted and starts to just burn around the edges. Cut into the thickest piece of chicken to make sure it’s not pink, and then remove from the oven.

3. Make your favorite pasta on the side – we cooked up some asparagus and mushrooms in a garlicky olive oil and mixed it with casarecce pasta. Serve hot and melty, with extra pecorino romano and freshly ground pepper on top if you like!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Turkey Chili with Zucchini: #54 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We used to have a game when I was a kid: if you could have one last meal before you died, what would it be? My answer was always a bowl of homemade chili. It’s still one of my favorite dinners on a day that’s either cold outside or needs cheering up inside. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($16.50 total for a very big pot of chili!)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1-2 tbsp chili powder, to taste – $1.40
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb organic ground turkey – $5.69
1 can crushed tomatoes with basil – $1.59
3 large zucchini, sliced – $3.49
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed – $2.97
3 cups cooked rice – $0.36

Directions

1. Gather all your ingredients. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until it begins to turn golden, then mix in the chili powder as well as salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Add the ground turkey and stir to mix well and start to cook the meat, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini next. Blend the can of crushed tomatoes in the blender for extra smoothness, then add to the pot as well as the beans and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (you can simmer longer if you have time, up to 1-2 hours).

3. When it’s all nicely coming together and you’ve checked the taste (add more salt, some sugar, some vinegar, or more chili powder if needed), mix in the cooked rice and serve. This pot lasted us for two dinners, including going back for second helpings.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!