Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Spicing it up a bit....

On Monday, when I made my Weekly Menu, I looked in the freezer and pulled out a chicken, some bacon and some spare ribs.  Then I made my menu around these items, going through my multitude of cookbooks in an attempt to stick to my goal of cooking at least one recipe from each this year.

For today, I had chosen to make a recipe from my Fix it and Forget it Cookbook, published in 2000. The recipe I chose was Pork SpareRibs with Sauerkraut, submitted by Char Hagner.  Then, as is apt to happen, life got in the way.  I didn't get to the grocery store to pick up any sauerkraut and I had my Little Miss Melody in the morning while her Mom was in class.

So, my little sous chef and I went into the kitchen to see what we could do.  I still wanted to make the spare ribs since they were defrosted.  Then I thought about the package I got in the mail yesterday for the Healthy Solutions Recipe Challenge, and knew for sure I was going to create a meal using the spare ribs and the spice packet I received containing pork/poultry rub.

I had never heard of Healthy Solutions prior to this challenge so I did some research and was very impressed.  Healthy solutions has 16 different spice blends from which to choose and none of them contain any MSG, salt or sugar.  I applied for the challenge and kept my fingers crossed.  Shortly thereafter I was chosen to participate and was asked to choose a spice blend to use.  Easy choice for a person who raises chickens and pigs.  The ingredients listed in my rub are: Dehydrated vegetables, orange peel, spices and cranberries.  That's it besides less than 1% canola oil as a processing aid.

I went into the garage refrigerator and retrieved the last head of cabbage and a couple of apples left from my CSA bounty.  (I cannot wait until spring when I can start getting baskets again!) From the kitchen refrigerator I retrieved the spare ribs, some cranberry juice and half of a sweet onion.  Then Miss Melody and I got to work.

First, slice up the cabbage and onion.

Soften the onions in butter over medium heat.

Add the cabbage and the chopped apples.
Sprinkle with 1 t. of the Healthy Seasons.
Cook and toss until limp and combined.

Put the cabbage mixture in the crockpot.
Sprinkle with brown sugar, stir  and set aside.

Rub the ribs all over with olive oil.
Sprinkle with the Healthy Seasonings and rub again.
Cut into portion size pieces.

In the same pan that you used for the cabbage mixture.
Sear the rib portions in batches.
Once browned on both sides place on top of the cabbage in the crockpot.

Deglaze the pan with Cranberry Juice.
Scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Pour over the ribs and cabbage.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hrs.

When ready to serve nestle the Ribs onto the Cabbage and garnish with Parsley.

The ribs were falling off the bone tender.  The seasoning was great.  There was no salt added to this dish at all and you never missed it.  This would work equally as well with country ribs or pork steaks. All of those cuts that are so flavorful but require a long, slow braise.  

I am looking forward to using the Healthy Solutions seasoning mix in other dishes.  I hope you enjoy this flavorful and economical meal created using their spice packet.  I don't know if this is the recipe I will submit.  It is delicious but not beautiful as is often the case with crockpot meals.  I will have to see how my other creations turn out before deciding which to submit.

Pork Spare Ribs with Cabbage

4 lbs. Pork Spare Ribs
2 T. butter
1 med. head of cabbage, cut into large shred
1/2 of a large sweet onion, sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used McIntosh)
1 t. + 1 T. Healthy Solutions Pork/Poulty Spice Rub
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. olive oil
1 c. cranberry juice

Melt butter in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add the onions and cook for a minute or two until they start to soften.  Add the cabbage and apples to the skillet.  Sprinkle with 1 t. of the spice rub. Toss with tongs until the cabbage is wilted and apples and seasonings are combined.  Place cabbage mixture into the crock of a slow cooker, stir in brown sugar.

Rub the Spare Ribs all over with the olive oil.  Sprinkle on top and underneat with 1 T. of the spice rub.  Massage into the meat.  Cut the ribs into individual serving portions.  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and place over med high heats.  When pan is hot, sear the ribs in batches, until golden and brown on both sides.  Remove from pan and place on the cabbage mixture in the crock.

When all ribs are seared and in the crock, pour the cranberry juice into the hot pan still over med high heat.  Allow to boil and scrape to help up any brown bits that may be stuck to the pan.  Pour over the ribs and cabbage.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hrs.  Print Recipe


  1. :Your Little Miss is really growing. They just don't stay babies for long! Spareribs look amazing. Bet they were delicious

    1. They were very good but we are cabbage fans in this house, many people don't seem to care for cabbage.

    2. I love cabbage. I haven't served it all that much since the kids came so I am not sure how they would feel about it. However they both love bierocks.

    3. a dinner roll stuffed with cooked hamburger, onion, cabbage...yummy! My mom made them when I was growing up and I made them for my kids. I like to use Rhoades rolls. My mom made her rolls from scratch. I think it is a German recipe



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