Category Archives: Main Dishes

Slow Cooker Pork Loin and Sweet Root Vegetables

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It has most certainly been awhile! You must be under the impression that I’ve been surviving on take out and peanut butter sandwiches!  No worries…things haven’t been that bad. School is a bit busy (aka overwhelming), so it has been a lot of slow cooker meals for us. Who ever created the crock pot, I thank you. I appreciate the lack of mess every evening and the fact that dinner is taken care of each morning before I walk out the door. This particular crock pot creation was a home run. Simple and delicious, what can be better?

IMG_2339The Ingredients:

  • 1 pork loin (whatever size feeds your family best, the one I cooked was about 1.5 pounds); allow it to take the chill from the refrigerator off while preparing the rest of the recipe
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (and whatever else may sound good in your refrigerator, diced potatoes would also be fantastic!)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or pineapple juice
  • For the dry rub: 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper  Read the rest of this entry

Maple Sausage, Pepper, & Potato Breakfast Casserole

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Husbands ask for a lot of things…and some requests are harder to grant than others. Like when they try to convince you that entertaining the idea of them growing a mustache for a month will make them look cool or when they think its a good idea to watch television in place of folding laundry. Thankfully, one for a breakfast casserole was something I could happily oblige to. Not only does it make husband happy (and possibly more inclined to fold laundry while watching football) it’s easy to throw together and tastes amazing.

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mmmm cheese and sausage, what more could you ask for?

Here’s a little story for all of you, we’re friends now right? It seems as though we’ve had a pretty steady friendship for the past 6 months and I feel ready to open up to all of you. Anyhow, now that we’ve established our virtual relationship, here’s the story. This one time, my very sweet husband, thought it would be a great idea to cook me breakfast. He actually surprised me while I was still sleeping. I woke up to a very proud husband. Matt announced, “I made you eggs!” I smiled and was excited about his very thoughtful gesture. He poured me a glass of orange juice and said “Not only did I make you breakfast, but there is a secret ingredient!” Yeah, I was worried too. So I smiled, picked up a forkful of the mystery eggs. I couldn’t even chew it….it tasted that bad! I gulped it down. Care to guess what was in them? Maple syrup, hot peppers, and feta cheese. Don’t get me wrong, these are actually a few of my favorite things. Mixed into eggs together however, not so great. I politely ate my whole plate but I’ll tell you I sure didn’t ask for seconds…

The Ingredients: 

Makes an 8 x 8 pan

  • 8 0z frozen of potatoes  
  • 5 eggs scrambled
  • 1 lb of breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 red pepper & 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of freshly grated cheese, I used pepperjack (I actually roughly chopped a block of cheese and put it in my food processor to grate it; great time saving tip!)
  • Salt and pepper

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Pomegranate and White Chocolate Scones

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I can’t even begin to explain how much I love a good pastry in the morning with my coffee. My brain sometimes tells me that it’s a bad idea, but look how delicious these scones look. How bad could they be? Thankfully I figured out a way to make them taste fantastic but not be a huge calorie bomb like many of the purchased baked goods (for example a blueberry scone from Starbucks is almost 500 calories per serving; gasp! but they’re so good!). Now you can have your cake (scone) and eat it too. This recipe only has a few tablespoons of sugar and absolutely no butter. Seems too good to be true doesn’t it? Seriously though, you won’t believe how good they taste until you give them a try.

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Feeling less guilty about drooling over them yet?

The flavor combination may seem a little weird to some, but it’s actually pretty amazing. I found myself with about 4 cups of pomegranate seeds after buying two gigantic softball sized pomegranates and needed to find a creative way to use them. I started reminiscing about some chocolate covered pomegranate candies I’ve had in the past and voila a new recipe was created. If you’re not sold on the flavor paring feel free to add blueberries, strawberries, diced apples etc. instead. Hope you enjoy them! They are a fantastic treat and ridiculously easy to make.

The Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 tbs of sugar
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • zest of one small orange
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup  half and half (or substitute half regular milk if heavy cream now makes this recipe horrifying to you)

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Corn Chowder and Parmesan Crisps

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It has been a lovely few weeks off from school but tomorrow classes resume. I look forward to the new challenges ahead but know that it does mean that my free time is about to be non-exsistent again. In order to prepare, I wanted to cook a few big meals which I could store in the freezer for Matt and I while we get back into the swing of things and our ever crazy schedules. Since corn chowder is probably one of my favorite parts of my New England heritage and because I was deeply craving some comfort food before all the stressors in my life return, I thought tonight would be the perfect night for it. Not only does this recipe take less than 20 minutes to throw together, it also feeds a crowd.  I had never made it in the crock pot before but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make and also how delicious the results were. I think you’ll love it and your family will too. It also freezes great and can be reheated in the crock pot without trouble. The parmesan crisps are also super simple to make and taste fantastic. Matt really enjoyed them because if you layer them on top of your soup it actually melts into the soup. Creamy soup and salty cheese? You can’t go wrong. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! I’m planning on reheating a big bowl of corn chowder tomorrow for lunch.

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Corn Chowder

The Ingredients:

  • 1 48 oz box of Chicken Stock
  • 16 oz bag of frozen sweet yellow corn
  • 1.5-2 lbs of new potatoes, cut into similar size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 pieces of bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup half and half, heavy cream, or milk of your choosing
  • 2 heaping tbs of flour
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Parsley for garnish

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Lettuce Wraps…with a Mexican twist!

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Phew! Finals are over and I have a few weeks off before resuming classes. I am looking forward to getting back into the kitchen over break and trying all the recipes I’ve been stockpiling during my study breaks (aka periods of pure procrastination!) It is finally feeling a little bit more like the Holiday season now that I’ve caught up on sleep and feel like a real member of society again. I am in the preliminary stages of my Holiday shopping and have already brainstormed a few really great gift ideas. One of my gift ideas is actually a little bit of an at home project, so I look forward to sharing that after the Holidays! It seems like a great project and I can’t wait to get it started tomorrow morning. I’ll be sure to share after the Holidays when all of my gifts have been dispersed! I love giving personalized gifts because I feel that it really shows people just how much you care. I am also excited about creating all my favorite Holiday recipes! A particular favorite of mine is my candied almonds! I’m planning on making them this week and will be sure to share the recipe. They are to die for!

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On to today’s recipe:)  On a quick trip to Whole Foods I saw that Bibb lettuce was on sale for $1.99, avocados were on sale for $1.00, and ground chicken was also ridiculously on sale. I couldn’t resist any of these items and because of my underlying love of lettuce cups I knew I had all the makings of a very quick and healthy meal. If you know me at all, you know that I love all things spicy food. So naturally, I knew these ingredients would lend themselves very well to creating a twist on the traditional Asian inspired lettuce cup. It was undoubtedly a success and I’m not certain I’ll ever transition back to using taco shells after coming up with this recipe redo. One can’t beat tasty and healthy! Plus cutting the calories from the taco shells allows me to feel a little less guilty about having a small scoop of my homemade vanilla ice cream in the freezer (recipe to follow soon!).

I made a very simple guacamole to add on top. I used one avocado, a 1/4 cup of sweet onion which I rinsed under water to get rid of the pungent onion taste/smell, and a small handful of pickled jalapeños which I minced. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper and mashed it all together with a fork. I let it hang out in the fridge while I prepared to the rest of the meal.

The Ingredients: 

  • 1 head Bibb Lettuce, pre-washed and leaves separated
  • 1 pound ground chicken, turkey, or beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

To a small bowl, add:

  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  • A liberal pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2-1 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce
  • Fresh cracked black pepper 

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Thanksgiving Dinner and Delicious Leftovers

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Thanksgiving dinner was a success! Matt and I had a wonderful meal and I thoroughly enjoyed putting my own twist on a few classic recipes. We did, however, miss our families and look forward to spending time with them on Christmas. Our Thanksgiving menu included: homemade cranberry sauce, semi-homemade cornbread stuffing, chive and cream cheese mashed potatoes, homemade yeast rolls, and of course turkey and from scratch gravy. I also made a few desserts! You can check out my quick and delicious apple pie recipe and be on the lookout for Matt’s favorite dessert, cream cheese pumpkin roll. We had a lot to be thankful for this year and I am so glad I was able to prepare such a flavorful meal for my well deserving husband.

The turkey was fantastic! I stuffed the cavity with oranges, lemons, sage, thyme and fresh sprigs or rosemary. I made a compound butter with sage, thyme, rosemary, and fresh cracked black pepper that I spread on the skin of the turkey. I basted the turkey regularly with pan drippings and some melted butter infused with the same herbs I listed above. It was so good! I’m glad we have a lot of leftovers!

One of Matt’s favorites sandwiches is the Turkey Cranberry sandwich from Paradise Cafe and Bakery. I decided to draw inspiration from that when looking for a way to repurpose our leftovers. I used my homemade cranberry sauce (Never made it? It’s so easy! Throw a bag of cranberries into a small stock pot with 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, a splash of orange juice and apple cider, as well as a generous pinch of cinnamon and orange rind and let it simmer on the stove until the cranberries break down and the sugar thickens the sauce. It only takes about 20 minutes and is a thousand times more delicious than the canned variety!) and avocado on this sandwich and it really made the sandwich fantastic. I also added a generous sprinkle of my semi-homemade cornbread stuffing (I’ll fill you in on this recipe later!).

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Pesto, Pine nut, & Prosciutto Pizza

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One of our favorite pizzas in the city is from a restaurant called Osteria. It is divine but…a little expensive (a small pizza goes for about 20 dollars). I knew I could come up with just as delicious version at home at a much, much, much cheaper price! It’s a really quick meal to throw together on nights that I’m too busy to spend too much time in the kitchen. With a little help of pre-made ingredients, you can have this meal prepared from start to finish, including cooking time, in about 20 minutes. It’s way better (in my opinion) then standard delivery. I know pine nuts can be a pricy ingredient, but if you store them in your freezer they will last for about 6 months! I often make my own pesto in the summer, but during the fall and winter months I rely on a very good quality store bought kind because it’s easier when fresh items aren’t as readily available (plus I’ve been so busy studying for exams as of late, I don’t have much time to make my own).

The Ingredients:

  • Pre-made pizza dough or your favorite homemade recipe (we buy ours from Whole Foods for around $2.50 and it’s made fresh daily)
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Homemade or store-bought pesto
  • Prosciutto
  • Pine nuts

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White Cheddar, Chive, and Sage Biscuits and Chorizo Gravy

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White Cheddar, Chive, and Sage Biscuits and Chorizo Gravy

Homemade biscuits are one of my favorite things to make…not too mention they are simple and delicious! Once you try them, you’ll honestly never go back to buying canned biscuits again. I have a recipe that’s from right near my hometown that I have been using for years, with fantastic results every time. Today I decided to add 1/4 cup of aged white cheddar, 1/2 tsp of chives, and a small amount of chopped sage to my favorite biscuit recipe.  I hope that you’ll give them a try soon! You’ll have them prepared and in the oven in less than 10 minutes.

I know for some, the idea of making homemade gravy is a little daunting. I have a slurry maker from Pampered Chef that makes this task super easy. All I do is add a few tablespoons of flour to about a cup of milk with fresh cracked black pepper and within 5 minutes of cooking a delicious gravy is formed. If you don’t have a slurry maker, you can make this without problem by whisking together the flour and milk together before adding it to your pan. It’s really that simple!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of chorizo sausage or sausage of your choice; ours was spicy chorizo so I didn’t have to add many spices but if you buy plain I’d recommend adding red pepper flakes, black pepper, and fresh herbs
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1 cup of milk + more to add to pan until desired amount of gravy is made
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

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