Sweet and Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Pork

August 11, 2020

This has become a staple in our house, perfect for Sunday dinners. It doesn’t take long to prep and, once in the oven, requires very little attention. We usually serve it with asparagus and scalloped potatoes.

You will need:

  • 2 T Cajun seasoning (pick your favorite or make your own)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 3 lb pork roast
  • 8 strips thin-cut bacon
  • 3 T apricot jam
  • 2 t Dijon mustard

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a roasting pan with foil, putting the roasting rack above the foil. (You could skip this step, but it makes clean up super easy).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the seasoning and brown sugar.
  3. Rub the pork with the spice mixture.
  4. Wrap with the bacon, slightly overlapping each piece.
  5. Place the bacon on the roasting rack.
  6. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, roughly 20 minutes per pound.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the apricot jam and mustard.
  8. About 15 minutes before finished, brush the roast with the jam mixture to create a glaze.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 10 minutes.
  10. Slice and serve with your favorite sides, like asparagus and potatoes.

Best Ever Scalloped Potatoes

August 6, 2020

I canNOT write enough positive things about this recipe. This has become a staple in our house. The rosemary makes it extra tasty, and it goes well with steak, pork, ham, and chicken. Like other scalloped potato recipes, it is rich though. So be sure to have a crisp salad with a vinaigrette with your meal.

You will need:

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 c stock (suggest: chicken)
  • 2 c milk
  • 4 T fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 lb red-skinned potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 c grated Parmesan, divided

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until starting to soften.
  4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Whisk in the stock and milk until well combined.
  7. Add the rosemary, pepper, and salt.
  8. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken slightly, approximately 6-10 minutes.
  9. Optional: strain the sauce through a mesh sieve.
  10. Spread half of the potatoes in the baking dish.
  11. Top with half of the cream sauce.
  12. Sprinkle with half of the cheddar and of the Parmesan.
  13. Repeat with the potato, sauce, cheddar and Parmesan.
  14. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  15. Remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the edges are starting to turn golden.
  16. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooker Cuban Sandwiches

July 30, 2020

This makes such yummy sandwiches for all ages. They are easy to put together and make enough to serve a group.

You will need:

  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t pepper
  • 1 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 navel orange, zested and juiced
  • 4 lb pork roast
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 t red wine vinegar
  • 1 package of your favorite rolls (we used 8 long sub rolls)
  • Dijon mustard
  • 9 oz thinly sliced ham
  • 6 oz thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  • Sliced pickles (we used Dill because I love them)

Then you will…

  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, lime zest, orange zest.
  2. Lightly score the fatty side of the pork roast.
  3. Rub half of the spice mixture onto the pork roast.
  4. Place the roast in a large resealable plastic bag.
  5. Whisk the remaining spice rub with the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, and vinegar.
  6. Put in the bag with the pork to marinate.
  7. Refrigerate overnight.
  8. Place pork and juices in a slow cooker (no bag please!).
  9. Allow to cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  10. Shred the pork and mix with any juices remaining in the slow cooker.
  11. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
  12. Open the rolls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  13. Spread Dijon mustard on the rolls.
  14. Put a thin layer of ham on the mustard.
  15. Add some of the shredded pork and top with swiss cheese.
  16. Bake until toasty and melty, about 5-7 minutes.
  17. Top with pickle slices and serve immediately with your favorite side dishes.

Summer Berry and White Chocolate Trifle

July 2, 2020

This is a light and cool dessert perfect for sunny summer days. It also makes some nice red, white and blue layers — if you are looking for a patriotic treat for the Fourth of July!

There are a lot of different layers, so this recipe involves a whole bunch of prep. This will give you smooth white chocolate mousse, compotes of various berries, and a soft marshmallow layer.

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 c heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 1/2 c white chocolate chips
  • 3 t vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 pints blueberries
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 2 pints strawberries
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 c + 2 T sugar, divided
  • 10-12 oz lady finger cookies

Then you will…

  1. In a small sauce pan, warm 1 cup of the cream until hot enough to steam but not hot enough to boil. Stir frequently to avoid scalding the cream.
  2. Put the white chocolate in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and allow to rest for one minute, softening the white chocolate.
  4. Stir together until the white chocolate is melted and smooth.
  5. Optional: strain the white chocolate mixture through a fine sieve to make it extra smooth.
  6. Set the white chocolate mixture aside and allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  7. In a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, whisk the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the cold cream with 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract until firm peaks form.
  8. Fold the white chocolate mixture into the whipped cream until incorporated and smooth.
  9. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the white chocolate mousse to set.
  10. In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries with 2/3 of the lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.
  11. Heat over medium heat, stirring periodically. Allow the berries to break down into a compote, about 8-10 minutes.
  12. Transfer the blueberries to a bowl and allow to cool.
  13. Wash out the saucepan and return to the stove top.
  14. In the saucepan, combine the raspberries with the remaining lemon zest.
  15. Heat over medium heat, stirring periodically. Allow the berries to break down into a compote, about 4-6 minutes.
  16. Transfer the raspberries to a bowl and allow to cool.
  17. Wash out the saucepan and return to the stove top.
  18. Slice the strawberries (we cut them fairly small for kids) and put into a medium mixing bowl.
  19. Mix the lime zest and 2 tablespoons of sugar into the fresh strawberries. Set aside and allow to macerate.
  20. In the small saucepan, bring a few inches of water to a simmer.
  21. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer or large heatproof mixing bowl, mix together the egg whites with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until starting to incorporate.
  22. Place the bowl with the egg white mixture on top of the saucepan with water. Whisk constantly for 6 minutes to gently heat the mixture and dissolve the sugar into the egg whites.
  23. Turn the burner off and remove the bowl from the stove top.
  24. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla into the egg whites.
  25. Continue whisking 6-8 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and resembles a soft marshmallow topping.
  26. Now you are ready to assemble the trifle!
  27. In a large serving bowl or trifle dish, place a layer of lady fingers on the bottom (we broke ours in half to make it easier to eat for kids).
  28. Top the lady fingers with half of the blueberry compote.
  29. Add another layer of lady fingers and top with half of the white chocolate mousse.
  30. Add another layer of lady fingers and top with the raspberry compote.
  31. Add another layer of lady fingers and top with the remaining half of the white chocolate mousse.
  32. Add another layer of lady fingers and top with the remaining half of the blueberry compote.
  33. Add a final layer of lady fingers and top with the soft marshmallow.
  34. Just before serving, top the trifle with the macerated strawberries.

Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs

June 26, 2020

This is comforting and one of the easiest meals to put together. Just about everything is pantry/freezer friendly, which also makes it relatively easy to always have ingredients on hand.

You will need:

  • 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cauliflower soup
  • 1 packet dried brown gravy mix
  • 2 T dried parsley
  • 2 c low sodium beef stock
  • 12 oz egg noodles
  • 14-16 oz frozen meatballs
  • 1 – 1.5 c sour cream

Then you will…

  1. In your instant pot, mix together the soups with the gravy mix, parsley and beef stock.
  2. Stir in the egg noodles.
  3. Top with the frozen meatballs.
  4. Seal the instant pot and pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.
  5. Wait 5-8 minutes before doing a quick release on the pressure.
  6. Open your instant pot carefully.
  7. Stir in one cup of the sour cream and check the taste, adding a little more if needed.
  8. Serve while warm.

Toasted Mexican Corn

June 18, 2020

This is so simple to make but packs HUGE flavor. We love it as a side dish or on top of tacos. You could also serve it inside burritos or quesadillas, or go wild and add it to your favorite salad.

You will need:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 can (14 oz) corn kernels, drained and rinsed
    • OR you could substitute 3-4 fresh cobs with the corn cut off
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 c grated Cotija cheese

Then you will…

  • In a medium nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat.
  • Stir in the corn, chili powder and cumin.
  • Spread into roughy one layer and allow to heat in the pan, undisturbed, for 4 minutes to gently sear some of the corn.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Mix in the lime zest, juice, cilantro and cheese.
  • Serve!

“Big Marshmallow” Pavlova

May 24, 2020

Our boys call this the “big marshmallow” and quickly clean their plates. A pavlova is a meringue-like dessert that you top with whipped cream and fruit. It’s very popular in Australia and New Zealand (where we first had it), and it is thought to have been inspired by ballerina Anna Pavlova in the 1920s. It’s been made and enjoyed in the same day, but you could make it a day prior if you cover it tightly — you want to prevent moisture from getting back into the meringue part.

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2/3 c + 2 T sugar, divided
  • 1 t cornstarch
  • 1/2 t cream of tartar
  • 2 1/2 t vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 t white vinegar
  • 2/3 c whipping cream
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 4-6 T powdered sugar, to your sweetness preference
  • 2 c sliced strawberries
  • Zest of one lime
  • 3-4 oz of your favorite fruit curd (we loved using passion fruit curd)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  3. In a small food processor, pulse together 2/3 cup of the sugar with the cornstarch and cream of tartar (about 5 pulses).
  4. Add the sugar mixture to the egg whites in 2 parts, mixing in between, before continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla plus the vinegar and beat until very stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down without losing any of the meringue from the bowl.
  6. Spread the meringue in a 9-10 inch circle on the prepared parchment paper. I like to give it a slightly higher lip around the edges, which will help it hold the whipped cream in place later.
  7. Put the meringue in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees.
  8. Bake for 90-100 minutes or until the meringue is dry. It does not need to be golden.
  9. Turn the oven off and allow the meringue to cool in the oven.
  10. Beat the whipping cream with the sour cream and remaining teaspoon of vanilla until soft peaks start to form.
  11. Add the powdered sugar to taste (we prefer less sweet, since the meringue and berries add sweetness too) and beat until it holds soft peaks.
  12. In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the lime zest. Stir gently and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes.
  13. Top the meringue with the whipped cream, dollops of the fruit curd, and the strawberries. Serve immediately.

Apple Ginger Cake

March 31, 2020

This is a feel good cake, perfect for tea time or sharing with friends. I love the warm ginger and how well it goes with all of the apple!

You will need:

  • 2 c currants
  • 1 c (~ 6 oz) dried apples, chopped
  • Scant 1/4 c (~2 oz) crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 c brandy or bourbon
  • 2/3 c whole milk
  • 1 c molasses
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 4 c flour
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 8 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c toasted nuts, chopped (I used pecans)

20191227 Apple Ginger Cake 01

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the currants, dried apple and crystallized ginger.
  3. Warm the brandy or bourbon for 20 seconds in the microwave.
  4. Stir the brandy into the dried fruits and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the milk with the molasses and baking soda.
  6. In another medium bowl, combine the flour with the cloves, nutmeg, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt.
  7. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
  8. Mix in the eggs.
  9. Mix the milk mixture and the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating between the two.
  10. Gently mix in the fruit and nuts.
  11. Pour into the prepared pan.
  12. Cover with a double layer of aluminum foil, tightly crimped around the edges of the pan.
  13. Set the pan in a deep roasting pan.
  14. Add boiling water to the roasting pan until it reaches about halfway up the bundt pan.
  15. Bake for approximately 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  16. Remove the Bundt pan from the water and allow to cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto a plate
  17. Serve warm in slices with some whipped cream.

Cinnamon Monkey Bread

March 26, 2020

This cinnamon monkey bread is scrumptious! My kids kept calling it doughnut cake, but either way it was gone before we could lick our fingers clean. It’s also simple with only¬† 5 ingredients and a perfect recipe for kids to help prep. We served for a holiday brunch treat along with fresh berries and whipped cream.

20191228 Cinnamon Monkey Bread 02

You will need:

  • ~20 oz buttermilk biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury homestyle), cut into quarters
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 T ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 8 T unsalted butter, melted

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan.
  2. In a gallon Ziploc bag, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Add the biscuit pieces to the bag.
  4. Close the bag and toss to coat the biscuit pieces.
  5. Spread the biscuit pieces in the prepared pan.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together any leftover sugar with the melted butter.
  7. Pour the butter mixture over the biscuit pieces.
  8. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  9. Remove from the oven and wait 5 minutes, before you invert the monkey bread onto a plate.
  10. Allow to cool at least another 5 minutes before serving, as the caramel sauce will be very hot.

Buttermilk Banana Bread

March 22, 2020

We usually have bananas in the house, and we all love banana bread. We had some extra buttermilk that we needed to use, and voil√°! The result was a bit hit with the whole family and some friends that were visiting.

You will need:

  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c chopped nuts (I suggest pecans or walnuts)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugars with the butter.
  3. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Stir in the mashed banana.
  5. Mix in the flour, oats and nuts.
  6. Spread in the loaf pan.
  7. Bake 60-75 minutes, or until golden and a tester in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing and cooling on a rack.

20191231 Buttermilk Banana Bread

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