Showing posts with label pork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pork. Show all posts

Monday, October 29, 2018

Brunch Tostadas


Once in a while, I can recreate a great dish that I've enjoyed at a restaurant. Such is the case for these brunch tostadas. Now, to be clear, this is not the most complicated dish in the world. But still, it's something I would have never put together on my own had I not eaten it first somewhere else. And I'm so glad I did. (Both that I ordered it at the restaurant and that I made it at home!)

We had a fantastic long weekend in Kansas City recently and this was one of my favorite dishes. I had a hard time deciding what to order at The Corner Restaurant, because it all looked so good! But these tostadas won the morning, and now they have won themselves into the rotation at our house. And how could they not?? Crispy tostadas are topped with refried beans, guacamole, carnitas, queso freso and a sunny side up egg. The whole thing is just SO wonderful - and I can't wait for you to try it.


My kids exclaimed "you can make these again!" which is about the winningest endorsement I've heard. And I definitely will, if only because I love them so much!

If you've never bought tostadas before, they should be widely available in the Mexican aisle at your grocery. I bought mine at Aldi and they were cheap (shocking) and delicious. I suppose, if you're really ambitious, you could fry your own. Queso fresco, a Mexican cheese, is crumbly like feta and usually comes in a round. It also is widely available, even at Aldi.


I had leftover carnitas in the freezer that I simply warmed and crisped up in the frying pan. You won't need the whole recipe of carnitas for these tostadas, so be sure to put quesadillas or tacos on your menu for later in the week. Or, freeze the leftover carnitas - they freeze beautifully.

Also, it should be noted that I named these "brunch tostadas" because they have an egg on top! (And because I did eat them for breakfast at the restaurant.) However, at our house we eat them almost exclusively for dinner. So, no matter what they're called, I hope you will try them soon.

Get more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Hearth and Soul, Fabulous.

Brunch Tostadas

8 tostadas
1 can refried beans
3-4 avocados (3 if large, 4 if not!)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
Carnitas
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
8 eggs

Prepare the guacamole by peeling and crushing the avocados. Stir in the red onion, lime juice, garlic and salt to taste.

Heat the tostadas in a 400-degree oven for 4-5 minutes or until fragrant and hot. Warm the beans in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove top over low heat.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray or melt 2 tsp butter. Cook the eggs until desired doneness, sunny side up.

Spread the refried beans among the tostadas, then top with guacamole. Place about 1/3 cup carnitas over each, then top with a cooked egg. Sprinkle queso fresco over the eggs and serve. Makes 8 tostadas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Egg Roll in a Bowl


Well, I'm back from an unplanned summer/early fall hiatus. Life hasn't gotten easier or less complicated, but I am committed to posting regularly because I've been trying so many new, delicious recipes. I can't wait to share them all with you!

A few times a year, I find I have to go carb free for awhile to "undo" several months of less-than-ideal eating. Less than ideal for my clothes to fit, but super ideal for my taste buds, ha!

This is a fantastic recipe if you want all the deliciousness of a great Chinese meal, but no carbs. You won't even miss that deep fried wrapper. If you have any leftovers, they're great for lunch the next day - it seems like all the flavors intensify overnight. And speaking of intensity - you can make this as mild or as spicy as you like based on how much chili garlic sauce or sriracha you add.

This is one of our new favorite dishes. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Egg Roll in a Bowl

2 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
5 green onions, sliced on a bias
1 pound ground pork
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. Sriracha or chili garlic sauce, more to taste
14 - 16 ounce bag coleslaw mix
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and white portion of the green onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Add the ground pork, ground ginger and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until the pork is cooked through. Add the coleslaw mix, Sriracha, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Sauté until the coleslaw is tender.

Top with remaining green onions and sesame seeds before serving.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Sausage, Shrimp and Vegetable Skillet Dinner


I'm always on the look out for fast, easy and delicious meals - they are a life saver on weeknights, especially busy weeknights that involve sports practice, music concerts, and who knows what else. When you have less than an hour to cook AND eat, you have a bit of a challenge. But this is one of those recipes that comes to the rescue! And it only dirties one pan. Save the dishes for after the concert!


I added more meat and vegetables than the original recipe, so I ended up using my large electric skillet so that everything could cook evenly. It worked like a charm. And the best part? It's tremendously versatile - use your favorite veggies or the ones that are languishing in the fridge. I loved zucchini and asparagus together but I'm sure there are many other combinations that would be equally great. Quickly chop up the veggies and sausage, thaw the shrimp, and you'll have a really delicious dinner on the table in no time.


Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me.

Sausage, Shrimp and Vegetable Skillet Dinner

2 tsp. olive oil or coconut oil
12 oz. large cooked shrimp
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
12 oz. smoked sausage or keilbasa, chopped
1 cup diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup medium yellow onion, large diced
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (or use a large electric skillet at 350) and add coconut or olive oil. Season shrimp with Old Bay seasoning and set aside.

Cook onions and bell peppers in skillet with for about 2 minutes; add sausage and zucchini to the skillet, cook another 2 minutes. Add shrimp and asparagus into skillet along with the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, then add chicken broth mix well to moisten all the vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serves 6.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Paleo Newbie

Monday, February 12, 2018

Bacon Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas {Instant Pot}


If I had to vote today on what would be my favorite thing to make in the Instant Pot, I would vote for risotto. I love risotto - the creamy rice, the endless meat and veggie combos, the "comfort food" component - I love everything about it. But I don't often have 30 minutes to stand at the stove and stir it. Enter the Instant Pot! It creates beautiful, creamy, delicious risotto with the cover on and sealed, and you can do something else in the meantime!


I have recipes here for risotto in the IP featuring shrimp and asparagus, Italian sausage, and I regularly adapt my favorite shrimp and spinach version for the IP too. But I knew there had to be other winning combinations.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and I had a few things to use up in the fridge. And it worked out beautifully. Salty bacon pairs well with mushrooms and peas - I like the textures, the colors and the flavors! A win-win-win all around.


Have you made risotto in your IP yet? I hope you'll try it, I know you'll love it!

There are more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Inspire Me2, Show and Share, Fabulous, Hearth and Soul.

Bacon Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas

6 slices bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Set an electric pressure cooker to browning or saute, and add the cut up bacon. Stir and cook until bacon is almost done. Stir in the onion, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Add the rice and the mushrooms, and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until the rice is very lightly browning. Pour in the wine, which will bubble immediately. Stir for 1 minute, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Then add the chicken broth all at once.

Lock the cover and turn the pressure valve (so it's not on venting.) Set on High Pressure for 6 minutes.

When the cooker switches to Keep Warm, immediately release the pressure. After the pressure indicator drops, remove the cover.

Stir in the peas and parmesan cheese until the cheese is melted and peas are warmed through. Serve immediately. (Risotto left in the pot will thicken substantially.) Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cuban Quesadillas


I love everything about a Cuban sandwich, and I order them whenever I get a chance at a restaurant. So when I saw this recipe for Cuban Quesadillas, I knew I had to try them.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I thought I would like them, but I didn't realize I would L.O.V.E. them. Seriously, folks. I made the quesadillas FOUR TIMES in 10 days. That's 2/5. And nobody complained - in fact, every time, there were comments about how delicious these were, how they were the best quesadillas ever, etc., etc.


This has everything that is great about a Cuban sandwich and puts it between tortillas - so there's even more meat and cheesy goodness. And don't forget the pickles - they are what "makes" the sandwich.

The amounts below are really just guidelines - if you don't want to use pulled pork, you could sub sliced pork tenderloin or use leftover roast pork, whatever. Use as much ham as you want - I think I used up to 4 slices because it was really thinly sliced. Just pile on that meat and cheese goodness, top with pickles and honey mustard (regular mustard is standard, but I really like the zing that the honey mustard gives these quesadillas!) and griddle 'em up. That's all there is to it.

And we all lived happily ever after.


Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Inspire Me, Inspire Me2, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, Wow Me, Wow Us, Whisk It, Full Plate, Wonderful Wednesday, Favorite Things.

Cuban Quesadillas

8 flour tortillas (or use 4 large burrito tortillas and just fold in half)
1 heaping cup fully cooked shredded pork (or pulled pork)
4-8 slices cooked ham (depending on thickness)
8 "sandwich slices" dill pickles (or just slice regular dills)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 Tbsp. honey mustard

Heat a grill pan, sandwich press or large skillet. Place 4 tortillas on a flat surface, top each tortilla with 1/4 cup swiss cheese. Divide the pork, pickles and ham evenly between the 4 tortillas, squeeze the mustard on top of the ham. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of mozzarella on each tortilla, then place the 4 remaining tortillas on top.

Cook each quesadilla for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese has melted. Serves 4.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy {Instant Pot!}


My favorite thing about the Instant Pot? It can deliver delicious meals of things that you haven't had a lot of success with otherwise. Case in point, pork chops. (Second case in point - POACHED EGGS! Coming soon...)


Pork chops are really hard to cook well, in my opinion. They dry out easily and no amount of barbecue sauce can make you want to chew forever on them. (Ahem.) But in the Instant Pot? Pork chops come out beautifully tender - you don't even need a knife! - and maintain good moisture. No dry meat here! I particularly love this mushroom gravy - but if you aren't a fan of mushrooms, just leave them out. Mashed potatoes are a must here, too. They soak up all the delicious gravy. This is the perfect autumn comfort food. And this is the way I'll be making pork chops from now on!


I've heard that if you have a "tall trivet" you can even make potatoes in the IP WHILE YOU COOK THE MEAT. Get out! That sounds fantastic. I do love my IP for mashed potatoes (no more potato water all over the stove!), but at the same time? I will have to investigate one of these tall trivets and I will report back. Even if you have to make the potatoes on the stove like I did, still make this. These pork chops will knock your socks off. I can't wait to try different pork chop variations now...


Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy

4 boneless Pork Chops, thin/medium cut
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Season both sides of pork chops well with seasoned salt. Turn InstantPot to Sauté and allow to heat. Add the oil to the cooking pot and when hot, sear both sides of pork chops, one at a time, for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate. Add onions and sauté for one minute. Add garlic and sauté for one more minute.

Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth to the pot and scrape up any brown bits that were stuck to the bottom. Add the rest of the broth to the cooking pot. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch, salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine.

Pour in the gravy mixture, add the butter, and stir until butter is melted. Add in the mushrooms and pork chops, along with any juice that accumulated on the plate. Lock the lid and close the pressure valve to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. When finished, allow a 10 minute natural release.
Remove the chops to a serving plate.

Reset the pot and press the Sauté button. Remove 1/2 cup of liquid from the cooking pot and add 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch and whisk really well. Pour into cooking pot and stir to thicken gravy.

Serve pork chops and gravy over potatoes or rice.


Recipe Source: This Old Gal

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole {or anytime casserole!}


A great brunch recipe is a treasure. And this is one. I love this dish! Full of potatoes, eggs and sausage with a little red pepper thrown in for color - it's the perfect holiday breakfast, or supper!


I served this with cranberry salad and gingerbread muffins and it was a wonderful combination. Liven up your holiday breakfast or brunch (or supper!) with this great dish and the high praise will start rolling in!


Get more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up.

Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole

1 pound breakfast sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup red pepper, large diced
1 (30-32oz) bag frozen shredded hash browns
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
8 eggs
2 cups milk

In a large skillet, cook sausage, onion and red pepper over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Remove meat and vegetables with a slotted spatula and then drain all but 1 Tbsp. fat. Return skillet to the heat and add hash browns to skillet. Cook until lightly browned.

Place hash browns in bottom of lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. Top with sausage mixture and sprinkle with cheese.

Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk. Pour over hash brown mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8-10.

(If you want to make this ahead of time, after adding the egg mixture, cover and refrigerate. Add ten minutes to the baking time.)

Recipe Source: Adapted from Plain Chicken

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sausage and Potato Soup with Spinach


This is the last official post for Secret Recipe Club. So I couldn't be more thrilled to be assigned to Elena Bltheh's blog, Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. Elena Bltheh has been the tour de force behind the SRC for a while, and I want to thank her for all her hard work; it's so fun to be involved in this exchange.

Elena Bltheh has a ton of recipes on her blog. She really IS fantastical at sharing recipes. When I saw the recipe for this soup, I knew it would be the perfect choice. I made this soup on the day of the first snowfall in Minnesota (November 18 - not too shabby, folks!) and it was a great dinner.


We loved the soup - it was perfect for a (sort of) snowy day. I love the combination of spicy sausage, tender red potatoes and the colorful spinach. A little cream and parmesan at the end really makes this soup special. The hot Italian sausage was a bit much for my family, so next time I'll use mild.


Thanks, Elena Bltheh, for a great recipe, and for a wonderful run with SRC!


Sausage and Potato Soup with Spinach

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
5 cups chicken broth
1 pound red potatoes, diced
4 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage. Crumble and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, onion, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Stir often while cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes until onions are translucent. Add chicken broth, then bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Add spinach and stir until it wilts. Then stir in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese and cook for another minute. Serves 6.



Monday, November 7, 2016

One Pan Cheesy Pasta with Sausage


There were so many cries of "this is SO good!" when I served this that I lost count. There were absolutely no leftovers - a sign of a great meal! I know that it needs to become a regular menu item at our house or there might be some kind of revolt. And why shouldn't it? It's easy, fast and delicious - three of my main requirements for busy weeknights.


It really couldn't be simpler - saute some sausage and onion, throw in tomatoes, broth and pasta, cook til the pasta is done, then stir in the cheese. Dinner will be ready in no time. Serve with a big green salad and get ready for the cheering!

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Favorite Recipe of the Month.

One Pan Cheesy Pasta with Sausage

1 lb. smoked sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, pureed if you prefer
1/2 cup milk
8 oz small pasta shapes
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
2 cups shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese

Brown the sausage and saute the onions in a large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, and pasta then bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir in cheese. Serves 4-6.


Recipe Source: Budget Savvy Diva

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bowties with Bacon, Carrots and Peas


Summer is not yet officially over, but school has begun in many places, including for the school going ones at my house (5 of us!). So it's a great time to try some new family friendly dinners that are quick and easy to prepare and hearty enough to fill up the hungry tummies of the soccer players/dancers/runners around the table. (Or desk sitters, in my case. Ha!)

I love this recipe because it is light enough to be a great summer dish but it is filling enough to satisfy the aforementioned appetites. And it's a great way to get the veggies in! And, it's beautiful with the green and orange. Make it today! I know it will become a regular on our table.


Find other inspiration at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Full Plate.

Bowties with Bacon, Carrots and Peas

12 ounces uncooked bow tie pasta
1/2 pound center-cut bacon slices, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 12 oz. bag frozen green peas
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta until al dente; drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon.

Remove all but 1 Tbps. of bacon drippings from pan. Add onion and carrot to drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes. Add stock; bring to a boil. Add peas; cook 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in bacon, thyme, salt, pepper, and cream cheese. Add pasta to pan; toss to coat. Stir in reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Top with cheese and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Perfect St. Louis or Baby Back Ribs


It's grilling season! We love grilling practically year round, which is saying something for Minnesota, but now that summer is officially here (Memorial Day is the official start in our neck of the woods)we can really put that grill to use. My family LOVES ribs. And while I've always made the boneless country-style ribs in the crock pot, there are members of my clan who love their baby back ribs. I've tried a few ways to make these, and this is my favorite. Ribs are cooked for many hours at a low heat in the oven, and then finished on the grill for that nice crunchy texture.


They practically fall off the bone. Delicious. The secret for both texture and flavor is that the ribs sit on a "shelf" of onions - water below helps steam the meat but the meat doesn't sit in the liquid. The only hard part about this recipe is enduring the tantalizing aroma from the oven and knowing you have to wait several hours to eat!


If it's pouring rain, or you want ribs in the middle of a snow storm, don't worry. You can also finish these in the oven. Either way, they are absolutely scrumptious.

Get more great ideas at Full Plate, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Foodie Friday.

Perfect St. Louis or Baby Back Ribs

2 racks baby back ribs (or St. Louis style ribs)
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Paprika
Barbecue sauce
3-4 onions, peeled
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup beer or water

Season both sides of ribs liberally with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika; set aside.

Slice onions into 1/2" rings and place them in the bottom of a large roasting pan (or two smaller ones – use whatever you need so that the ribs can cook in a single layer). This is to create a layer that will keep the ribs elevated so that they’re never sitting in liquid.

Pour just enough beer or water into the pan to cover the bottom. Add liquid smoke to the beer.

Arrange rib racks in a single layer on top of onion slices. Cover pan tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 4 hours. Remove ribs from oven and uncover.

Brush ribs with barbecue sauce and place on a heated grill. Grill over indirect heat for 15-20 minutes until meat shreds from the bones easily and the outside texture is crispy to your liking. (Alternatively, return the ribs to the oven for 15-20 minutes after covering with sauce.)

Recipe Source: Methods adapted from South Your Mouth and Jenny Can Cook

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Brussels and Mushrooms


Here are a few of my favorite things: brussels sprouts, mushrooms, easy dinners, yummy food, Italian sausage, parmesan cheese sauces, eating supper on the deck, leftovers that are better than the original dish for lunch the next day. Wow! This recipe has all of the above!

Lauren has a great blog,
Sew You Think You Can Cook
, with lots of recipes to choose from. I was happy to be assigned to it for Secret Recipe Club as I had made the Candy Cane Bundt Cake for our Christmas reveal last November. I loved perusing her blog then, and it was even more fun this time cause I could choose from ANY recipe, not just the Christmas-themed ones!


So, as I said above, I love all the ingredients in this recipe! And I love that it comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner. And I love that it tastes great. And that the leftovers the next day are excellent as well. I also think that you could "trick" your kids (if you need to!) by using all shaved brussels in this recipe - I put mine through the food processor to slice them... of course, the mushrooms might prove to be trickier to disguise (what is it with kids and mushrooms by the way???).


In any case, make this pasta dish!

Find more great recipes at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up.

Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Brussels and Mushrooms

18 oz cheese tortellini or ravioli
2 links Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cups sliced Brussels sprouts
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 C milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up. When fully cooked remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add olive oil and butter to the skillet. Saute mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and rosemary until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook another 60 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chicken broth, and scrape up any stuck bits in the pan, and cook and stir until the liquid has evaporated.

In a measuring cup whisk together the milk and flour. Slowly add the milk to the pot, stirring to prevent lumps. Bring to a gentle boil and melt in the cheese. Add in the cooked ravioli and sausage. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water. Serves 6.



Monday, February 15, 2016

Hearty Sausage and Potato Soup


I love expanding my soup repertoire! It's been COLD the last few weeks, and soup is one of my favorite dinners. At least when I eat soup it warms me up enough so I don't have to wear 5 layers of clothes at the dinner table. I also love smoked sausage, and potatoes, and cheese, so I knew this Hearty Sausage and Potato Soup from April's blog would be right up my alley. And I was right. It's super hearty and super delicious, and my whole family ate it up.

I have lots of other potato and/or sausage soups that we enjoy, including Northwoods Bean Soup (with sausage!), Spicy Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup, and Potato Soup. But now, thanks to April and Secret Recipe Club I have another great soup option for these winter days.


Hearty Sausage and Potato Soup

2 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound smoked or Polish Sausage (Cut in 1/4 inch slices and then into half-moons)
8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
1 can evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. flour


Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook till onion is translucent. Add potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then continue cooking over medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Potatoes should just be starting to fall apart. Add smoked sausage and cook for 5 minutes more.

Combine flour with 3 Tbsp. water and whisk until smooth. Add it to the soup and stir until smooth and slightly thickened. Add evaporated milk and cheese and cook till cheese is melted, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serves 6-8.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

BLT Dip


These next two weekends are big for football - with the ProBowl and then the SuperBowl, it's time to cheer on your favorite division and team, and also time to make some fun dips! Today and Monday, I'll give you two new recipes perfect for eating while football viewing.


This BLT Dip was actually christened in my family this winter as a DINNER! I know. I did also serve fruit. (I think.) Dips for dinner once in a while are not a bad thing, and as the chef and dinner presenter, you do score big points with the kids. My family LOVES bacon and they love BLTs, and it was the kids who actually stumbled upon this recipe and asked me to make it. So we had a snacky dinner, and it was a huge success. We ate this with toasted baguette slices.


Delicious is an understatement.

You'll be the hit of the party when you make this, football season or not!

Find more great inspiration at Clever Chicks, Full Plate, Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent, Hearth and Soul, Show and Share, Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Fabulous, Tasty Tuesday, Try a New Recipe.



BLT Dip

12 slices bacon
2 - 8 oz. packages low fat cream cheese
2/3 cup sour cream (low fat or fat free is ok)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups shredded romaine lettuce

Cook the bacon until crisp and crumble into small pieces.

Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar, Mozzarella, mustard, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, 1/2 cup of the crumbled bacon, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir together until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to a greased 2-quart baking dish and spread evenly across the bottom. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining bacon crumbles, the diced tomatoes and the shredded lettuce. Serve hot with crackers or baguette slices.


Recipe Source: Adapted from Emily Bites

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sweet and Tangy Glazed Pork Tenderloin


I love pork tenderloin and it is often my main dish of choice for dinner parties. So far, I haven't met a preparation of this versatile cut of meat that I don't like: grilled, roasted, slow cooked, easy, more complex. There's not a bad apple in that bunch of recipes! And even though I have my favorite preparation methods and flavors, I love trying new things, too. This version, from Cooking Light, is absolutely delicious.

The great thing about pork tenderloin, especially for dinner parties, is that it cooks relatively quickly, and you don't have to fuss much with it (maybe brushing with sauce once in a while but that's it!) leaving you available to do other things. It's also important that the meat rests for 5 minutes or so after being removed from the oven, which lets you put the finishing touches on side dishes.


Pork tenderloin is great not only for dinner parties; it's great any night of the week whether you have company or not. I oftentimes serve pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes or garlic mashed, and some variety of brussels sprouts or green beans. Cranberry salad or sauce is also a great addition!


Find more great stuff at Full Plate, Wow Me, Showcase Your Talent, Wow Us, What's Cooking, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.


Sweet and Tangy Glazed Pork Tenderloin

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 1 pound pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp. grape jelly
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced green onion

Combine salt, pepper, 1 tsp. oil, thyme and garlic; rub over pork. Place pork on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray; bake at 500 for 10 minutes.

Combine remaining 1 tsp. oil, grape jelly, vinegar and onions in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Brush half of jelly mixture over pork; bake for 5 more minutes. Turn pork, brush with remaining jelly mixture. Bake 5-8 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145 degrees. Place pork on cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Serves 3-4.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sausage and Apple Flatbreads


I love experimenting with new things to put on flatbreads. They make a fun, easy dinner and can also double as appetizers or snacks, depending on how they're cut and served! Some of my favorite combos have been bbq shrimp, Mediterranean shrimp, (are you sensing a shrimp theme?) and prosciutto and roasted asparagus (fancy!). I tend to improvise with what I have on hand, and so far I haven't come up with a loser.

After trying this recipe for Secret Recipe Club from Jamie's blog, Our Eating Habits, I have a new favorite, especially for fall. Apples and Italian sausage over a layer of cheese. Hello. This is great football watching food, party food, lunch food, you name it. It's just great.


If you don't have a source for naan (Indian flatbreads), both Costco and Aldi have wonderful options. I'm sure wherever you shop has them too - and you could use pitas in a pinch. Thanks, Jamie, for an awesome flatbread idea!

Find more great stuff at What's Cooking, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Try a New Recipe, Showcase your Talent, Full Plate.

Sausage and Apple Flatbreads

4 links Italian Sausage, removed from casings
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 apples, cored and sliced
6 garlic or plain naan
2 cups shredded Colby Jack or Mexican-style cheese

In a large skillet, crumble sausage and cook with onion over medium high heat, about 3 minutes. Add apples and cook an additional 5 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked.

Sprinkle cheese evenly between naan breads and then top with sausage apple mixture.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Cranberry Pork Loin {Crock pot!}


This recipe has so many things going for it:
-it cooks all day while you are at work or doing other things
-it features an inexpensive cut of meat
-the sauce is excellent on potatoes
-cranberry - what could be better?
-did I mention it cooks all day without any help from you?

We loved this served with mashed potatoes and green beans. Embrace fall and your crock pot and have a fantastic dinner, even on a week night!


Get more inspiration at Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Hearth and Soul.

Cranberry Pork Loin

3 pound pork loin
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water

Place roast in slow cooker. In a medium size bowl mash cranberry sauce; stir in 1/2 cup water, sugar, mustard and cloves until mixed. Pour mixture over pork loin. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove pork loin from crock pot to platter, shred, and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour liquid from the crock pot into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a small bowl combine cornstarch and cold water to make paste. Stir paste mixture into saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve with pork.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Julie's Eats and Treats

Monday, September 14, 2015

Broccoli-Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese


Here are things I look for in a weekday dinner:
- Takes 45 minutes or less to prepare (ideally, 30 or less)
- Uses as few pots/pans/dishes as possible
- Will be eaten happily by all members of the family
- Has good balance of protein, carbs, and plenty of vegetables
- Bonus if it makes a great lunch for me the next day

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Cooking Light, I knew right away I wanted to try it. Bacon is one of the main food groups at my house (or I should say, the kids wish it was). They eat broccoli pretty well and like mac and cheese so I was pretty sure it would be a hit. But this recipe had a secret ingredient: pureed butternut squash to amp up the vitamins and also cut down on the need for cheese. Would this really work, I wondered? Could I "fool" my kids into thinking this was normal mac and cheese???

The answer: a resounding YES. After searching several grocery stores unsuccessfully for frozen, pureed squash, I ended up subbing pumpkin. It adds the right color and creaminess not to mention added vitamins, as I said above. And my kids (2 teens and 1 tween) ATE IT UP!!! One even had seconds, which is unusual.

This is the perfect autumn comfort food and a great weekday dinner because it all cooks in ONE POT. Serve it with a nice salad and some apple slices and dinner is done. And it ticks all my little bullet points above. Score.


Find more great stuff at Inspire Me, Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking.

Broccoli-Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese

4 slices bacon, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 - 10 oz. package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
(or use equivalent amount of mashed sweet potato or canned pumpkin)
3 cups chopped broccoli florets
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup milk
10 ounces elbow macaroni
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan. Then remove all but 2 tsp. of bacon drippings from the pan. Add garlic to remaining drippings; saute 30 seconds.

Add chicken broth, milk and squash; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add pasta; cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli; cover and cook 3-5 minutes or until pasta is done and sauce is thickened.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste and most of the cheese. Sprinkle bacon and remaining cheese on top. Cover; let stand one minute. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Grilled Brown Sugar Chili Pork Tenderloin


In my opinion, there can never be too many options for preparing pork tenderloin. It's one of my favorite cuts of meat, because it's tender, flavorful, and does well on the grill, in the oven, or in the crockpot.

This version employs a simple rub, with ingredients already in your spice cabinet, to liven up the meat before placing it on the grill. The result is a delicious, melt in your mouth entree! Any leftovers would be divine on a sandwich the next day, too! (We didn't have leftovers, unfortunately.) Pair this with some potatoes and a salad (or cauli and brussels!), and you have a wonderful meal that's quick and easy.


Find more great ideas at Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Create Link Inspire, What's Cooking.

Grilled Brown Sugar Chili Pork Tenderloin

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 pork tenderloin

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, and ground cinnamon. Mix well.

Rinse and dry off the pork tenderloin. Rub half of seasoning mixture onto the top, then flip the pork tenderloin over and rub the rest onto the bottom of the pork. Place tenderloin on a grill heated to medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. (The internal temperature of pork should reach 155 degrees.) Slice and serve immediately. Serves 3.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sausage, Red Pepper and Mushroom Quiche


Quiche is such a fun, versatile meal option. I love that you can change it up easily and also use whatever you have. And so I was thrilled to find this version on Happy Go Lucky, when I was assigned to Kara's blog for Secret Recipe Club.

I can't believe I hadn't thought of this combo myself - I love sausage and peppers and mushroom on pizza or in risotto. And now I love it in quiche too. I made this crustless


but I've included Kara's recipe below which includes a crust. Either way, it's a winner!


Sausage, Red Pepper and Mushroom Quiche

1 – 9 inch frozen pie shell
3/4 pounds mild Italian sausage
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 mushrooms, diced
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
5 eggs
1/2 cup half and half

Bake shell at 425 for 7 minutes or until it is just golden.

While shell is baking, saute sausage, pepper and mushrooms in a large skillet over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink. Drain mixture, discarding excess fat. Place meat and veggie mixture pie shell. Cover with grated cheese.

Whisk together eggs and half and half. Pour egg mixture over sausage mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until center of quiche is no longer runny. Serves 6-8.








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