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  • Rhonda Keagy, FNTP

Look out "Betty"


I have had a “love/hate” relationship with Betty Crocker recipes. We all had that cute little red and white checked cookbook at some point in time and, while the recipes are staples and timeless, what they are not, is correct for the proper nutrient density that we all need in our daily meals. Many of the recipes include refined processed ingredients.

So, I have taken to writing directly in my cookbook the ingredients and methods of preparation that I would change from what “Betty” published and what is correct for proper nutrient sustainability in our food. All that said, here is a recipe that I have revamped and why:


You can see the actual Betty recipe here….

My changes to make this a better recipe in bold below (you may see a common theme throughout J)….


8 slices Organic smoked bacon, chopped (half of a 12-oz package)

1 1/2 lb boneless Grass-fed, Organic pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 teaspoon Sea or Himalayan Pink salt (DON’T use regular white table salt – it is a chemically derived salt that is not meant to be in the human body)

1/2 teaspoon Organic pepper

1 1/2 cups chopped Organic onions

2 cups chopped Organic carrots

5 cloves Organic garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons dried Organic oregano leaves

1/2 cup Organic, Grass-fed Chicken Broth

1 can (28 oz) Muir Glen™ organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained (yay! Betty got this ingredient right!)

6 cups cooked rigatoni pasta (about 4 1/2 cups uncooked)*

Shredded Organic Parmesan cheese, if desired

Chopped fresh Organic oregano leaves, basil or Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, if desired

*Here is where Betty loses on this count, in my opinion, as a heart healthy meal. 6 cups of cooked rigatoni will provide 234 net grams of carbs to the meal! And the rigatoni is a refined processed product that does not belong in the human body. Consuming that many carbs at a meal will create long term health problems – especially for the heart! A better substitute here, and to really enjoy the sauce as it was meant to be eaten (who doesn’t love the sauce – the pasta is just a “sauce vehicle”), substitute this ingredient with a nice cooked spaghetti squash. Squash needs to be roasted in the oven just about 30 minutes before serving. Cut the squash in half lengthwise (score it with a sharp knife all the way around before cutting into it to break it open more easily), brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Place squash, open-face down on a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. When a fork sticks into the hide easily, it’s done. Let it sit to cool just a little, then scrap the squash out in “noodle” like strands. A good sized squash should yield 3 cups of “noodles”. At 7 net grams of carbs per cup here, you are at 21 grams for the entire recipe! A much better “heart healthy” ingredient than the rigatoni.

**NOTE: Where Organic and Grass-fed product can be expensive to come by, do your best to make sure the recipe has a few of these main ingredients (specifically the meats and cheeses). We do what we can, with what we have (and what we can afford) and just preparing a “home cooked” meal is a huge part of the battle. So don’t sweat the small details here.


1 Spray 5-quart slow cooker with organic olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray.

2 In 5-quart Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. With slotted spoon, remove bacon to small bowl.

3 Season pork with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add half of the pork to bacon drippings in Dutch oven, and cook 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned. With slotted spoon, remove pork from Dutch oven to slow cooker. Repeat with remaining pork.

4 Add onions, carrots, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to Dutch oven; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Stir in garlic and oregano; cook 30 seconds. Add broth; heat to simmering, stirring to remove brown bits on bottom. Transfer mixture to slow cooker with pork. Stir in tomatoes and bacon.

5 Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours or until pork is tender and easily falls apart. Before serving, shred pork with two forks. Serve over cooked spaghetti squash “noodles”. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh herbs.

If you use this recipe and have feedback, please let me know and I will make a note in the margin of my “Betty” book.

If you have any questions about why specific ingredients are more important to eat organic/grass-fed than others, please let me know.


Love, “Betty’s” Worst Enemy J

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