So, I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in a few months due to a certain little girl. A little girl that is going to be one next week! She should totally be sleeping all night, am I right? Well, she did last night and I have to tell you, I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’m actually a pleasant person today. Have I told you me without sleep is not a pretty picture? For reals.
Getting enough sleep means I still have energy by the end of the day to cook a decent meal. And this meal totally screams fall to me. Hearty, pork chops covered in homemade whole grain breadcrumbs with a huge helping of broccoli mashed potatoes on the side.
And did I mention this deliciously filling meal is healthy and clean? You’re welcome.
Crispy Baked Pork Chops
recipe adapted from Sugar and Spice by Celeste
Noah had his first day of preschool a couple weeks ago and we did lots to celebrate the big day. It mostly revolved around food because that’s how we roll around here. Big, fancy breakfast, out to his choice of restaurant for lunch (HuHot of course) and his request of spaghetti and meatballs with bell peppers for dinner.
I have a meatball recipe I usually go to for spaghetti but I thought I would switch it up and try something different. I’ve always wanted to try the combination of beef and pork for meatballs so I went on the search and decided on an Ina Garten recipe since you can’t really go wrong with anything she makes. I did adapt the recipe to make them clean by switching white bread for whole grain and using only olive oil to cook them in. Still super delicious and I couldn’t tell the difference. I also opted to make my favorite spaghetti sauce rather than the recipe she included.
This recipe makes a lot so you can cook them through step 2 then cool and freeze them. Or just wait until next week for a delicious way to use the leftovers.
Ina Garten’s Meatballs
recipe adapted from Ina Garten
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup fresh whole grain bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry whole grain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce (prepared without the ground meat)*
Hot cooked whole wheat noodles
1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. You will have30 to 32 meatballs.
2. Pour olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.
3. Place meatballs in spaghetti sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, or until co0ked through.
*I subbed 3 tablespoons organic cane juice for the 1/4 cup sugar in the sauce to keep it clean.
I have to say this crispy pork tenderloin sandwich is my new favorite. It gets it’s crunch from crushed saltine crackers, instant flour and a bath in hot peanut oil. The pork is tender and moist from the buttermilk soak. Then there’s a nice cool crunch from the pickles. Pickles make any sandwich better in my opinion.
Whip up some garlicky baked fries on the side for the ultimate crunch fest!
Crispy Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
recipe from Food Network
2 pounds center-cut boneless pork loin
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 sleeves saltines (about 80 crackers)
2 cups instant flour (such as Wondra)
Peanut oil, for frying
4 soft hamburger buns, split
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1. Cut the pork crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Put each piece flat on a cutting board and slice horizontally almost in half (stop about 1 inch from the other side). Open like a book. Sprinkle each piece with water, place between 2 pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thick with a mallet or heavy skillet.
2. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, garlic, 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper and the cayenne in a shallow bowl then pour into a ziplock bag. Add the pork, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
3. In a food processor, pulse the crackers until they are a coarse crumb then place in a shallow dish. Put the flour in another dish. One at a time, remove a piece of pork from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Dredge both sides in the flour, dip in the buttermilk marinade again, then coat with the cracker crumbs.
4. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1/4 to 1/2 inch peanut oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 360 degrees F. Fry the pork in batches until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
5. Spread both halves of each bun with mayonnaise and mustard. Layer the lettuce, tomatoes and onion on the bottom halves. Add a piece of pork and a few pickle slices. Cover with the bun tops.
We are big on breakfast for dinner around here or brinner as we like to call it. Sometimes it’s just comfort food at it’s finest and other times it’s the fact that most breakfast foods are usually pretty quick and easy to throw together. Either way, it’s always a big hit.
I was craving some breakfast potatoes and sausage but that’s not the healthiest of options so I switched some things up to make a lower calorie but equally delicious brinner.
Sweet potatoes replace the white potatoes and are topped with a fried egg for a yummy hash while a homemade mixture of pork and turkey is combined to create a healified sausage patty. Oh, so good.
The recipe makes 28 small sausage patties which is way too much for the three of us so I froze half the batch. Gotta love a 2 for 1 recipe! Make sure to read the note at the bottom of the recipe for freezing instructions.
Pork and Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties
recipe adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook
*note about freezing patties follows recipe
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. ground pork
1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.
2. Crumble turkey and pork over mixture and mix well.
3. Using a scoop, portion out into 28 sausage patties and flatten slightly. In a large skillet or on a griddle, cook patties over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat in no longer pink, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
*To freeze: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the formed sausage patties (before they are cooked) on the parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 1 hour to flash freeze then place in a labeled freezer bag. Store for up to 2 months.
So, I’ve been trying to write this post for about two hours but I’m just drawing a blank. Probably because the little miss has been waking up about every 10 minutes so I have to go in her room and pop her pacifier back in her mouth. You could guess that sleep has been a precious commodity around here lately. One that I’m not getting. Noah has been sleeping more than she has….there is something majorly wrong with that picture. Luckily, she’ll sleep for a few hours straight at night but naps have been non-existent.
No sleep = unhappy, grumpy mama. You know what does make me happy though? These pork chops. They have a warm smokiness due to the cumin and spices and a yummy zip from the citrus. It really is a perfect combination.
Plus they are pretty quick and easy to make. If you don’t count the marinating time, I would say they only take about 15 minutes from start to finish. A perfect weeknight meal with some major Cuban flair.
Cuban Pork Chops with Mojo
recipe from Food Network
1 cup plus 1/4 cup orange juice, divided
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, divided
1/4 cup vinegar
4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1. In a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, combine 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup lime juice, and vinegar. Add pork and let it sit and marinate for about 1 hour in refrigerator.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine all dried spices. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and rub with the dry spice mixture.
3. Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Place the pork chops in the pan and sear on 1 side until brown. Flip over and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic begins to brown. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, and white wine. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and begins to thicken. The chops should be cooked through.
4. Remove the chops from pan and put on a warm plate. Continue to reduce juices in pan by half. Pour over the chops and serve immediately.
Looking for something easy and delicious to nosh on during the big game on Sunday? These sweet and spicy Asian ribs will totally hit the spot. They will cook away in the crock pot while you whip up the rest of your Super Bowl feast. Right before serving, drench them in sauce and throw them under the broiler for some crispy carmelization. Soo good.
I personally would use more Sriracha for more zing but if you want to keep it mild for your crew go ahead with the stated amount in the recipe.
Who are you cheering for this Sunday? I think I’m going to root for the Broncos since Manning always yells Omaha before his plays. Good logic in choosing my winner, right? Either that or whoever has the prettiest uniform.
Sweet and Spicy Asian Ribs
recipe from Family Favorite Recipes
2 racks baby back pork ribs
1 cup water
2/3 cup sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. Sriracha hot chili sauce (or more if you like things spicier)
1. First, be sure to remove any membrane from ribs. Rub ribs with seasoning and place in large crock pot (you may have to cut the ribs up so they all fit). Pour in water and cook on low heat for 3-5 hours, until ribs are cooked through and they are already starting to fall off the bone.
2. In a small bowl, combine chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger and sriracha. Place ribs on a baking sheet and put on the top rack of the oven. Broil for about 3-5 minutes or until the sauce begins to caramelize. Watch them closely as they will burn quickly. Remove from oven, lightly cover with foil and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
Long time, no see huh? I decided to take some time off from this little space of mine to truly enjoy Christmas with my family. Not that I don’t enjoy my blog, but life has been crazy and hectic and stressful lately and I needed some time to focus without my computer calling my name. We are still trying to figure out our new normal as a family of four and with the craziness of the holidays and a death in the family, it was nice to unplug. Those of you that have added a new baby to your family, do you ever figure out a new routine? I feel like it’s never going to happen.
I have to admit, it’s been a hard few months. And I haven’t been able to find much time to get into the kitchen so I haven’t had much to share with you all lately. Cooking is hard when you have a sweet, but demanding 3 year old and a new baby to keep happy. Luckily, Hannah is adjusting and is now ok with being put down for a little while.
But I still find more times than not that I only have a short little window to get something on the table that isn’t a dang frozen pizza. Did you ever think a food blogger would admit to that? Sometimes it’s just easier than dealing with two screaming babies. And I have to admit too, that Joel is usually pretty happy when said frozen pizza is dinner. He has always enjoyed them and pre-Hannah, only got them when I wouldn’t be home for dinner which wasn’t often. And sometimes he just enjoys something “normal” instead of our constantly ever-changing menu. Gah, whatever.
Anyway, these pork chops are incredibly simple to throw together when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook a detailed meal. Since the chops are smoked, all you have to do is soak them in the sweet and spicy marinade for 20 minutes then heat them through on the grill. So easy. You could even throw them in the marinade earlier in the day so all you have to do at dinner time is grill them for a few minutes while you steam some veggies or whip up a quick salad. And with the new year upon us, these can still keep everyone with weight loss resolutions (me included) on track.
Sweet and Spicy Grilled Smoked Pork Chops
recipe from Sunny Anderson
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for grill
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 thinly cut (about 1/2-inch thick) smoked pork chops
1. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high.
2. In a plastic resealable bag, big enough to fit the chops, mix together the sugar, honey, oil, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Add the pork chops and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.
3. Remove the pork from the marinade. Lightly brush the grill with oil. Put the chops on the grill and cook until grill marks form, about 2 minutes. Rotate the chops 90 degrees, and grill for 2 minutes more, to create diamond grill marks. Flip and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from grill to a serving platter and serve.
My parents came for dinner last week so I decided to make one of our favorite kinds of food, Mexican. And it’s just in time to share with you all for Cinco de Mayo. I decided on these amazing pork carnitas, Mexican rice, crock pot refried beans and homemade flour tortillas (which I will be sharing with you later this week).
Neither Joel or my brother really like pork so I was a little worried about how this would go over. The verdict…they loved it and have requested it to be made again, soon.
Although the carnitas take a little time to cook and have a few different steps, they come together very easily. And make sure not to skip anything, especially the broiling. It gives the pork a crispy, crunchy bite that is so delicious with the soft tortillas. Man, I need to stop talking about them or else I’m going to start drooling. Please run to the store for the ingredients right now and make this for your family and friends. It’s a great, easy and casual way to entertain any time of the year.
recipe from My Kitchen Escapades
4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 cup water
1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and move oven rack to the bottom of the oven. In a large dutch oven, combine all the ingredients (including the orange halves) and heat over medium high heat until it simmers. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat falls apart when you poke it with a fork.
2. Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler. Remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined jelly roll pan. Remove and throw out everything from the pot except for the cooking liquid. Place the dutch oven over high heat on the stove and boil until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. You should have about 1 cup of liquid remaining when it is finished.
3. While the liquid is reducing, use two forks to pull each cube of pork into three equal sized pieces. Once the liquid has become a syrup, gently fold in the pieces of pork into the pot. Try not to break up the pork any further. Taste and if needed, add some salt and pepper.
4. Spread the pork back onto the foil lined pan and evenly spread the meat around so there is a single layer of meat. Place the jelly roll pan on the lower middle rack of the oven and broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip the pieces of meat and broil the other side until well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings.
Wow, Vegas was a whirlwind and I have to say, I was definitely ready to come home! It was a fun trip but we tried to do way too much in not enough time. Joel and I always seem to do this when we have a little getaway without Noah. When I go somewhere for the first time (and if I’m not sure I’ll be going back again) I like to see and do everything possible…which translates into a packed vacation that lacks relaxation. After this trip, we vowed to not do that again. But I really can’t make any promises.
Plus, I had a whole airport fiasco that ended up in my being stuck in the Vegas airport for over 7 hours before I finally got to board a flight (and not my original). The flight I was supposed to be on got delayed almost 2 hours because of strong winds in Phoenix which would have meant I would miss my connection and be stuck there overnight. I kept being told that I would make the connection and they had me board then right before leaving the gate they called my name and pulled me off the flight saying that I wouldn’t make the connection…no way, the flight didn’t board until 6:40 and my connection was to take off at 7:20. Sooo, they put me on a direct flight at 8:20. I had to wait a little longer but at least I wouldn’t be stuck somewhere overnight. Once I got to my new gate, I found out it was delayed until 10:10 meaning I wouldn’t get home until 3 a.m. Luckily, my bag made it and I eventually got to my parents around 3:30. I got about 3 hours of sleep before Noah woke up and we had to drive the hour home so that Joel could get to work. It was a rough day to say the least.
I’m sure many of you out there get to the end of the day exhausted and needing to whip up a quick and easy dinner so today I’m sharing some of my favorite 30 minutes (or less) main dishes that I have featured here. Many of these are regular rotations for us during the week.
Veggie Stirfry, Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp, Ultimate Grilled Cheese, Oven Tacos
Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese, Honey Mustard Pork Burgers, Catalina Taco Salad, BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
Steak Bites, Sesame Noodles, Buffalo Sloppy Joes, Salt and Pepper Pork Chops
I really need to stop watching TV while attempting to write. I’ve been sitting here for about an hour and have only got a few measly sentences. Pathetic time waster I am. I need to turn it off. But I’m watching The Taste so that makes it ok right? All I have to say is darn the freakin’ Hopper that came with our satellite. It tapes all the primetime shows on all the main network channels EVERY.DAY. This translates to me watching too much TV and finding too many new shows that I will inevitably become a slave to. I have only watched the audition episodes of the show but I’m liking it so far and really like the idea of it. Well, I like everything but Anthony Bourdain. Sorry, I’m just not a fan of that guy.
Here is yet another easy, crock pot meal for those busy weeknights. This one went over 50/50 in our house (I didn’t count Noah since he doesn’t really eat meat). I loved the smokey, rich and sweet flavors of this pork but Joel wasn’t a huge fan. Good thing for both of us that he gets free lunches at work because he didn’t have to eat leftovers meaning the more for me!
This would be perfect to serve at a big barbecue as it is simple to throw together which translates to more time to party with your peeps and it feeds a crowd.
Hawaiian Pulled Pork
recipe from Flavors by Four
1 3.5 lb. pork shoulder (I used a pork loin roast)
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. black pepper
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1. Add all ingredients but pork to slow cooker. Add pork. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours, or until pork is falling apart.
2. Break up or shred pork with two forks. Sauce should be fairly thick. If sauce is still too thin, turn crock pot back up to high until sauce thickens (mine was plenty thick without this step). Serve on rolls.