Comments (0) | Wednesday, February 4, 2015
I seriously love sweet sauces served with meat. There's something incredibly savory about topping a perfectly cooked piece of pork (or chicken...) with a fruit based sauce. Never mind the fact that it also aids in getting the kids to eat it. This recipe didn't fail to impress. It'll make it back on our table in the near future for sure.
The key to perfect pork is knowing exactly how long to cook it. Pork is best left slightly pink in the center (and I promise, is still safe to eat this way!) though it can be difficult to get the timing down just right. When removed from the oven, it retains its heat and continues to cook slightly. Therefore the best time to remove from the oven is just before the optimal cooking temp. I used a pork loin roast (I'm guessing it was around 2-2.5 pounds) from a 2-pack I bought at Costco. I cut it in half to give it the approximate thickness of a pork tenderloin which is what the original recipe called for. I still used both halves because one just didn't seem like enough.
*original recipe from Budget Bytes*
Pork with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce
1.5-2.5 pounds pork loin roast
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash of ground black pepper
1 (14 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Mix garlic, olive oil and 3 T balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over pork in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and massage contents to distribute marinade evenly and coat the pork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet or broiling pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray lightly with olive oil or cooking spray. Remove pork from bag and discard marinade. Add pork to pan and brown on each side about 5-7 minutes per side. Place pork on lined baking sheet and place in oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer in the thickest portion registers 145 degrees (this ended up being a little less than 30 minutes for me.)
Using the same skillet, add cranberry sauce, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, butter and sage. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking to combine and remove any browned bits of pork from bottom of pan. Turn heat to low and continue simmering for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Let pork rest 10 minutes on cutting board after removing from oven. Slice and serve topped with balsamic cranberry sauce.
Comments (0) | Sunday, February 1, 2015
Growing up we ate tuna casserole at least once or twice a month. It was a quick easy dinner for my working mama to make and everyone (besides my little brother who wasn't "fond" of fish) loved it. Good old fashioned comfort food at its best. Years later when I introduced my version to my kids it came as no surprise that they loved it just as much. Though I may attempt a version someday that omits the traditional canned cream of mushroom soup, I can't mess with perfection here yet. I have yet to jump on that healthy bandwagon though I try to use it only occasionally. But I understand passing this recipe by if you're completely turned off by the use of it. Just know, you'll be missing out on a creamy dish of tuna noddle goodness.
2 cups dried small shell macaroni (or elbow macaroni)
1 can healthy request cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 (6 oz) cans tuna, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl combine soup, milk, mayo and mustard. Stir in tuna. Add cooked macaroni. Gently fold in shredded cheese. Transfer to a greased casserole dish.
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.
Comments (0) | Thursday, January 22, 2015
I may be slightly obsessed with muffins. They smell yummy, they're pretty, they're the perfect individual sized morning treat. They make me happy. And my children think they've hit the jackpot when one of these accompanies their meal in the morning.
Brendan always loves to ask what "kind" of muffins I've made before taking his first bite and exclaiming how amazing they are (what would I do without this boy??) So when I told him this morning that they were called "raspberry surprise" muffins he asked "why the surprise?" just before biting into the jam filled center and telling me "Oooooh! I get it... there's a raspberry surprise in the middle!!"
Recipes makes 24 muffins. Cool completely and freeze extras in a zip top freezer bag. Thaw in microwave or remove from freezer and defrost in bag on kitchen counter.
*recipe adapted from Holly Clegg's Trim and Terrific Freezer Friendly Meals*
Raspberry Surprise Muffins
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups bran flake cereal
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.
In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
In a large bowl combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth. Add flour mixture and bran flakes to the buttermilk mixture, stirring only just until blended. Fold in raspberries. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling 1/3 full. Make a well in center of batter and fill with a heaping teaspoon of jam. Cover with batter, filling to about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.
Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 21, 2015
So this is what happens at my house from time to time.
I am putting groceries away in the fridge and run across a bag of zucchini that I must have bought for a dinner I was planning on making but either skipped over or substituted it with something else. Realize it's not in my menu plan for the current week and know that if I stuff it back in the fridge without a plan it will most definitely begin to rot... ZUCCHINI BREAD! Think back to a recipe I've been wanting to make for quite some time, peruse the pantry for the remaining ingredients and BAM! I've developed a plan to make a random loaf of zucchini bread the next day. My family appreciates these random moments of baking genius.
Or at least I like to think they do.
And if you're one to turn your nose down at something so "healthy" sounding, rest assured that my friend Rachel took one bite and said "really this just tastes like chocolate bread..."
So indulge without feeling guilty... zucchini is a vegetable after all.
Feel free to use regular cocoa powder, but the Hershey's Special Dark gives it an amazing deep dark chocolate flavor. Also, for best results, store loaf wrapped in plastic wrap or an airtight container overnight and slice and eat the next day. Moist chocolate overload!
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup hershey special dark cocoa powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini, gently squeezed to remove liquid
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl mix eggs, applesauce, oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice into 12 pieces
Per slice: cal 222, carb 33g, fat 9g, pro 3g, sod 314mg, sugar 16g
Comments (0) | Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Easy, quick, smells so good when it's cooking all day. I have a hard time deciding which chili recipes are my favorites but I have to say that I will be going back to this one again and again. Everyone nearly licked their bowls cleaned. And even Violet, who turned it down the first night, ate a baby sized helping of leftovers the next night. Go baby V!
If you like an extra spicy chili then feel free to add some extra chili powder. I was incredibly pleased with the heat and the seasonings the way it is (but remember, we're not a "hot and spicy" crowd.)
*Adapted from Myrecipes.com*
Amazing Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic)
2 cups frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (1.25 oz) packet McCormick chili seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
Brown turkey in a large nonstick skillet with onions and garlic until turkey is no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Spoon into a large slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 6-8 hours. Top with cheese and sour cream. Serve with cornbread and a green salad.
Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 7, 2015
This dish really is amazing. Any dinner really, that my picky 6-year-old will eat, is amazing in my book. So I will bring this into rotation as a family regular for sure.
Chicken Fiesta (adapted from www.dessertnowdinnerlater.com)
16 oz jar of mild salsa
1 cup long grain white rice
1 (14.5 oz) can corn, undrained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
4 or 5 small chicken breasts
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
In a medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray (alternatively, spray dish then just mix all ingredients in dish to save a bowl from needing a wash.) Top with chicken breasts and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle dish evenly with green onions.
Comments (0) | Sunday, January 4, 2015
I'm trying to make a comeback this year. I want to share all the incredible new recipes I tried and fell in love with last year! Too much good stuff to keep to myself. The problem is the lack of photos (and the lack of quality of the ones I do have!) But I'll do my best.
I began browsing through my photos in an attempt to find a starting point and came across this gem. Honestly, I made this just last November for the very first time and I can still remember every distinct flavor as if I had just eaten it tonight. Very few (healthy) ingredients that yielded so much incredible flavor. As if I needed any more assurance that this one was a hit... everyone devoured every bite. So enjoy... I know we all did.
Chicken and Orzo Skillet (adapted from Cooking Light)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (I used three large breasts)
8 cups water
12 ounces uncooked orzo
2 cups chopped tomato (3-4 roma tomatoes)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (or pizza or pasta sauce... it's what I had open in the fridge!)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 cups baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil or cooking spray and add chicken. Cook about 6 minutes, stirring to brown all sides. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Boil 8 cups water in a large saucepan. Add orzo and cook 8 minutes. Pour and save 1/4 cup cooking liquid then drain remaining liquid from orzo in a colander.
Add 1/4 cup cooking liquid, tomatoes and tomato paste to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, pasta, garlic salt, pepper and spinach, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta cheese.
I think I served it with a side of roasted asparagus. Or maybe I didn't. But it sounds good doesn't it?