Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pork Carnitas Tacos (Crock Pot)

I saw this recipe on Pinterest for pork carnitas and had to try it. It was delicious! You could do a variety of things with the meat; we chose to make tacos with it but you could serve it over rice or as a burrito or sandwich.

Pork Carnitas Tacos (Crock Pot)


Ingredients:
  • About 2 lbs of pork shoulder (the one that I bought came in 3 big slabs)
  • 1 yellow onion (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 beer (I used Summit Extra Pale Ale)
  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil for searing the meat
Directions:
  1. Chop the onion into large slices.
  2. Add sliced onion and cinnamon stick to the crockpot. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix all of the spices together (garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper). 
  4. Rub the meat with the spice mixture so that each slab of meat is fully covered. 
  5. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Once oil is heated, add the slabs to the skillet (may need to repeat since most skillets aren't large enough for all the meat) and turn up the heat to high in order to sear the outside of each slab. Only takes 1-2 minutes on each side as long as the skillet is really hot. 
  6. Once meat is seared, add it to the crockpot on top of the onions. 
  7. Pour beer and orange juice on top of the meat/onions in the crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours on low. 
  8. After the 6-8 hours, remove meat and shred with forks. 
  9. Set oven to broil. 
  10. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil. 
  11. Place shredded meat on the baking sheet. Pour some of the liquid from the crock pot over it. I also added most of the onions to the baking sheet. 
  12. Place meat under broiler for about 5 minutes then take it out, flip the meat over, and broil the other side for another 5 minutes. Make sure to watch it though because each broiler is different and you may need to adjust the time so that it doesn't get burnt. 
  13. Serve as tacos on tortilla shells with spinach, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and any other toppings of your choice. 
Searing the pork

Onion and cinnamon stick added to the crockpot

Meat topped with orange juice and beer added to the crockpot

Ready to broil the meat

The finished meat in a taco


Friday, October 25, 2013

Baked Pickles

I LOVE fried pickles so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest I was excited about the possibility of a healthy alternative to fried pickles. They were delicious... not quite as crispy as the fried pickles but still very tasty. I found the proportion of the other recipe a little off so I modified it below.

Baked Pickles


Ingredients:
  • 6 large whole dill pickles (chopped) or you can buy pre-sliced dill pickles
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (finely shredded)
  • Season-All Salt to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • Ranch dressing (for serving)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Chop the pickles into 1/4" chips and finely shred the cheddar cheese.
  3. Take three small bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour. In the second bowl, beat the eggs and the milk together. In the third bowl, combine the panko crumbs, cheddar cheese, and Season-All salt. 
  4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  5. Dip and coat the pickle chips in each of the three bowls, starting with the flour then the eggs/milk, and finally the crumbs/cheese. 
  6. Place pickle chips on backing sheet after coated. 
  7. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until desired crispiness is reached.
  8. Serve with a side dip of ranch dressing and enjoy!
Ingredients

The assembly line




Monday, October 21, 2013

Zuppa Toscana Soup (Crock Pot)

We were looking for a good soup recipe last week and found this one on a website called Just a Pinch. It does taste a lot like Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, which has always been a favorite of mine, and it serves a lot! We enjoyed it with freshly made bread and it was awesome. It did take a while to make but it was worth it.

Zuppa Toscana Soup (Crock Pot)


Ingredients:
  • 14 oz of spicy andouille sausage
  • 2 large potatoes (cut in half and then quartered)
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 3 strips of cooked bacon (crumbled)
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 16 oz of chicken broth
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups of kale (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
Directions:
  1. Chop the sausage into bite-size pieces -- cutting lengthwise first then into 1/2 inch slices. 
  2. Brown the sausage links in a skillet.
  3. While browning the sausage, cook the bacon in a skillet. 
  4. Chop the potatoes (first in half, then quartered) and onions. 
  5. After sausage and bacon were cooked and the potatoes and onions are chopped, add the sausage, bacon, potatoes, onions, garlic, chicken broth, salt and pepper, and water to the crockpot (if you have a smaller crockpot, you may want to add less water). 
  6. Cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours until the potatoes are cooked and soft. 
  7. Shortly before serving wash and chop the kale. About 5-10 minutes before serving, turn the crockpot to "Warm" and add kale and whipping cream to the crockpot. 
  8. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it looked awesome so I had to try it. I will definitely be making it again -- it was great!

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups


Ingredients:
  • 1 lb of lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach
  • 2 1/2 cups of marinara sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning or basil
Directions:
  1. Cook the lasagna noodles al dente according to instructions on the box. Generally get a large pot of water with a dash of salt boiling; when boiling, add lasagna noodles and cook 10-12 minutes; drain noodles when done cooking.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the filling. Thaw the frozen spinach in the microwave; when it is fully thawed, use paper towels to squeeze out excess liquid. 
  3. While the spinach is thawing, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, salt/pepper, and egg in a bowl. 
  4. After spinach is thawed, add to cheese mixture. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  6. Spray a baking dish with the olive oil spray. 
  7. On a clean surface (like a cutting board), lay out a few noodles at a time. Place a large scoop of the cheese mixture and spread across noodle. The filling should be thinly spread across the noodle (once rolled, it will be thicker). 
  8. Roll the noodles and place in the baking dish. Repeat until the filling is gone (there may be noodles left over).
  9. Pour the marinara sauce over the rolled noodles. 
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. 
  11. Sprinkle Italian seasoning or basil as well as any extra Parmesan cheese over the top and serve. 
The ingredients (missing the marinara and Italian seasoning)

Mixing the filling

Boiling the noodles

Spreading the filling in the noodles

The filled and rolled noodles

All of the filled and rolled noodles in the baking dish

Cooked and covered in marinara and sprinkled with Italian seasoning

The final meal (with multi-color carrots from the farmer's market)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Puppy Chow

You can't go wrong with puppy chow and this recipe is no exception... it puts a great fall/Halloween spin on the classic recipe. You essentially make two separate batches of puppy chow and then mix them together; this makes a HUGE batch of puppy chow, I made it for a potluck so the big batch worked out well but if you were making this for a smaller party or just for your family, I would suggest halving the recipe. I found this recipe on a blog called Your Cup of Cake.

Halloween/Fall Puppy Chow


Ingredients for the white chocolate puppy chow:
  • 9 cups of rice cereal squares (Chex -- almost a full box)
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
Ingredients for the dark chocolate puppy chow:
  • 9 cups of rice cereal squares (Chex -- almost a full box)
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cocoa powder
Other ingredients:
  • Peanut butter candies (Reese's Pieces) 
Directions:
  1. Prep two baking sheets by lining them with parchment or wax paper for easier clean-up. 
  2. Measure out the Chex into a large bowl. 
  3. Starting with the white chocolate mix: In a small microwave-proof bowl or measuring cup, melt the white chocolate chips, peanut butter, and regular butter. Generally start with 1 minute, stir, then microwave in 30 second intervals as needed, stirring in between intervals. The mixture should be smooth but be careful not to burn it. 
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract to melted mixture then pour over Chex.
  5. Gently stir the mixture so that Chex is about evenly coated. 
  6. Transfer coated Chex to a large Ziploc bag. 
  7. Add powdered sugar to bag, seal, and shake the mixture until Chex is evenly coated. 
  8. Dump the mixture out on the lined baking sheet to allow it to cool. 
  9. Repeat steps 2-8 for the dark chocolate mix but use the semi-sweet chocolate chips instead. Also, add cocoa powder to the Ziploc bag when you add the powdered sugar. 
  10. After the mixes have had time to cool on their separate baking sheets, combine them together into a very large bowl and add the peanut butter candies. Enjoy!
The separate mixes cooling


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Slow Cooker Bacon Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken

OK, so the title alone is a mouthful!  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it is available at the site The Chateauguay Citizen.  The recipe sounded intriguing and relatively simple, so I thought I'd give it a try. My husband's response was that this was an explosion of taste.  He said he meant that in a good way.  I have to agree with him.  This is a sweet and salty recipe with ingredients that don't always go together.  We still thought it tasted good, but it definitely will wake up your taste buds!

Ingredients

BBQ and Apples mixed together

Chicken wrapped in bacon and added to the crockpot

All ingredients ready to cook

Dinner!

Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts (mine were frozen and they still cooked in the time allotted)
8 slices of bacon
1 cup BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 small apples, peeled and chopped

Mix the BBQ sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and apples together.  Set aside.
Grease the inside of the crock pot.
Wrap two slices of bacon around each chicken breast and place in the bottom of the crock pot.
Pour the apple-BBQ mixture over the top of the chicken.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

I reviewed several chocolate lava cake recipes and finally came up with my own version.  I don't like to waste egg whites or yokes, so my version doesn't require any egg separation.  The cake is extremely moist and our family enjoyed celebrating my husband's birthday with this yummy dessert.

Ingredients:

Butter as needed
4 eggs
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup 60% cocoa chocolate chips
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Generously butter the inside of 4 (5 1/2 ounce ramekins).  Place them in a casserole dish.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and foamy
Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave save bowl in 30 second intervals stirring after each melting (1-3 minutes)
Pour chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture
Add cocoa powder to mixture
Add flour and salt and vanilla to the mixture
Pour batter into a 4 cup measuring cup and then pour into each of the 4 ramekins, tap on counter to eliminate any air bubbles
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Arrange ramekins in a casserole dish and pour enough water into the casserole dish to reach halfway up the ramekins.
Bake in the preheated oven for 18 minutes.
Set aside to cool for 15 minutes
Loosen the edges from the ramekins with a knife.  Invert each cake onto a plate and dust with powdered sugar.
Eggs and Sugar whisked together

Melted chocolate added to the mixture

Water added to casserole dish before putting it into the oven

Finshed dessert..notice I needed to take a bit before taking a picture :-)



Monday, October 7, 2013

Deliciously Simple Chicken

Sometimes when I get home from work, I'm just looking for a really simple recipe that doesn't require too much effort.  When I got home the other day,  I hadn't thawed the chicken, so I was going to go from frozen chicken.   I had some chicken tenderloins which will bake quicker from frozen than chicken breasts, so I used them to make the main part of our meal.

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 cup Sun Dried Tomato Extra Virgin Olive Oil Salad dressing
6 chicken tenderloins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange the frozen tenderloins in a baking pan.
Sprinkle the tenderloins with garlic salt and lemon pepper - I just sprinkled the tenderloins, no actual measuring for me here.  Pour the salad dressing over the top of the tenderloins.  Bake the tenderloins at 350 for 45 minutes.




Seasoning the Chicken Tenderloins

Sun dried tomato salad dressing poured on top

Finished Chicken - It was delicious!



Friday, October 4, 2013

Kohlrabi Fries

Will and I went to the farmer's market on Saturday and decided to get something different from the usual so we got Kohlrabi. I have only ever eaten it raw so I went searching online to see if there were any good Kohlrabi recipes out there and found this one from New York Times. They were delicious!

Kohlrabi Fries

Ingredients:
  • 4 kohlrabi (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp SeasonAll salt
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Paprika
Directions:
  1. Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thick sticks or slices. 
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. 
  3. Place the flour, salt, and Paprika in a large bowl. 
  4. Toss the kohlrabi sticks in the flour mixture until they are lightly coated. 
  5. When the oil is hot, add the kohlrabi sticks so that each one is laying flat in the skillet. 
  6. Cook on one side until browned, 2-4 minutes. 
  7. Then flip using tongs and cook the other side until browned (another 2-4 minutes)
  8. Remove using tongs. Set on paper towels to let oil seep off and sprinkle extra SeasonAll salt on them to serve. 
Raw kohlrabi; sliced

Seasoned

Cooking the first side

Cooking the second side

All finished!