Archive | April, 2010

Garlic and Herb Encrusted Pork Roast with Pregravied Potatoes

29 Apr

Ok, friends! Here’s a wonderful and easy meal to whip up when you have a little time on your hands. It falls more under the Sunday night dinner category, however, I made this mid week and it was great! This pork roast dish is very similar to the one I grew up eating with a few tweaks. I actually was forced to tweak it because my recipe box is in a storage unit 15 minutes away and my Mom wasn’t picking up her phone. I’m glad I didn’t have access to it all because it made me make a new version which was equally as delicious.

This roast isn’t just a plain jane roast. No, sir! You first cut thin slits in the meat and poke little julienned pieces of garlic into it and then rub it down with oil, salt, pepper and thyme (and/or rosemary if you’re feeling dangerous.) You cook it about an hour and then add some potatoes to the roasting pan so ……are you ready for this……they cook in the liquid and become smothered in the gravy! Its so ridiculously good. Of course there are a few more ingredients than just that, but thats basically the blue print of this meal. It takes around 2 hours to cook (give or take half an hour depending how big your roast is) start to finish. After you have the meat in the oven its just a matter of cutting potatoes and waiting on the roast. Really simple!
Now, before you get cooking, let me give a few pointers about the pork you’re going to want to buy. Your roast should be:
(a) boneless
(b) 2-4 pounds (the bigger it is, the longer you need to cook it)
(c) whole pork tenderloin OR pork loin top roast (this one is tied together with string and its the one I used)
Garlic & Herb Encrusted Pork Roast with Pre-gravied Potatoes
1 3-lb. pork roast (see guidelines above)
1 glove garlic, thinly julienned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary (optional)
6 large starchy potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 yellow onion, diced small
1 1/4 cups chicken stock (or water and chicken bouillon cubes)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare roast by cutting small 1 inch deep slits into meat. Fill slits with julienned garlic pieces. Rub entire roast with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary (if applicable). Place into roasting pan (or large baking dish) and bake 1 hour.
While roast is baking, melt butter and chicken stock together and finish preparing potatoes if you have not yet done so. After an hour of baking, remove roast. Pour about 1/4 cup of warm butter liquid onto roast and around the pan. Shingle potatoes around roast to create two layers of potatoes. Sprinkle on a few diced onions and pour on more butter liquid. Repeat this process until all ingredients are layered around pork roast. Sprinkle paprika and parsley over the whole thing. Return to oven and bake 45 minutes to an hour more. The dish is done once the potatoes are soft and the roast is cooked. Remove from oven and place roast onto a separate place to rest. Cover with foil and set aside. Keeping the potatoes in the roasting pan, stir to coat potatoes in the gravy. If it seems too runny, keep stirring. The starch from the potatoes will thicken the sauce. Taste potatoes and adjust seasonings accordingly. After 10 minutes, slice the pork roast thinly and serve with potatoes.
Recipe TIPS:
– The longer the potatoes cook, the better they become! Also, using a good quality chicken stock will make a HUGE difference in the taste.
-If your gravy for your potatoes is still too runny for your liking, mash a few pieces of the potatoes and stir. That should help thicken it up.
-Applesauce is good with pork, so give that a whirl.
-Use a meat thermometer for best results! You can always remove the meat if its cooked and keep the potatoes cooking! Dry meat is not bueno.
-If you are using a loin top roast with the string around it, DO NOT remove the string until after the meat has finished cooking!

No Bake Cookies

27 Apr

So, we’re still on the apartment hunt. Its a little stressful (which probably explains why I’ve just been posting desserts lately) and time consuming. And guess what! After my race which was 9 days ago, I realized that I forgot my running shoes in Utah! They are in the mail now but I haven’t been able to run at all these last few days! How smart am I?! Don’t worry though, I’ve been eating plenty of desserts to give me motivation to run once I get those shoes. Grumble grumble. I am so unimpressed with myself.
I digress.
Anyways, these are the perfect dessert when you’re short on time. You just need a stove top to boil these suckers and voila–10 minutes to a whole huge batch of awesome delectable cookies. The flavor of these is to die for- chocolate and peanut butter, my friends! A deadly combination, in my opinion. And the oats add a great texture as well. YUM.
My husband grew up eating these and they probably are his all time favorites. I usually make regular sized petite cookies and then one huge cookie just for him. I’m such a good wife, aren’t I? I suppose it makes him feel good because he could say “yeah, I only ate one!” HAHA. He doesn’t tell anyone that the cookie was the size of his face. Wow. Anyways, you all really should make these because they are 1. delicious 2. easy 3. fast 4. delicious. Yup! Super good any way you look at it!
No Bake Cookies
yield: at least 30
1/2 cup butter or margerine
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
3 cups oats
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In large pot, bring butter, milk and sugar to boil. Stir while boiling 1 minute. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in remaining ingredients until combined. Immediately scoop into cookies and place on waxed paper or aluminum foil. Allow 5-10 minutes to set and cool.
Recipe TIPS:
-Its a good idea to have all the ingredients you stir into the boiled mixture pre measured, so the process is quick and the cookie ‘batter’ comes together properly.

Banoffee Pie turned into a cake!

24 Apr
(photo to come shortly!)

Wow, is it hard to find a decent, clean and affordable apartment! We’ve been scouring at least 4 different small towns and we’ve only found 1 absolutely perfect place. We’ll have to wait and see if our application is chosen, but until then, how about making another MONSTER cake? This time with all the flavors and ingredients from a Banoffee pie! This is so good and so easy to make! I just can’t believe it. Just like the chocolate version, you’ll need cake, pudding, cream cheese, and whipped cream. The fillings are just about up to you, but to make it the banoffee way, I added in sliced bananas, crumbled shortbread cookies and toffee bits. A little different from the traditional English pie, but still the same flavors and a little more fun to eat! Give it a try sometime and impress your friends after having spent 10 minutes putting these little cakes together! I take full responsibility for any weight you may gain from consuming this dessert. You’re welcome.

Banoffee MONSTER Cakes
yield: 12 at least
1 white or yellow cake mix
1 small box chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1-8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
3-4 bananas, sliced
1 cup prepared toffee bits (I used heath bar bits found in the baking section at the store)
12-15 shortbread cookies, crumbled
Prepare cake mix according to packaged directions. Bake on greased cookie sheet with high sides for half the time the directions say (for me that was 15 minutes at 350, but check your instructions). Cool and set aside.
For the chocolate cream cheese mousse: In large bowl, whisk milk and pudding together until smooth. Set aside to thicken. In stand mixer, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Slowly add in pudding to cream cheese to combine. Turn machine off, scrape sides of bowl and whip again to ensure no lumps are in the mixture. Continue the scrape-mix method until the chocolate pudding mix is smooth, creamy and lump free. Fold in whipped cream. Store in fridge until ready to assemble.
For assembly: Cut cake into 3-4 inch squares. Cut each individual square in half horizontally to create 2 skinny pieces of cake. Top with sliced bananas, creamy chocolate filling, crumbled shortbread cookies and toffee bits. Repeat this process again to create 2 layers. You can make as many layers as you want, hence they become MONSTERS. So good!

Recipe TIPS:
– You could turn this recipe into cupcakes, a trifle or even a frozen cake! Try it! You’ll like it!
– If your cream cheese isn’t at room temperature, you’ll have a lumpy creamy filling. If you don’t mind it lumpy then disregard this tip!

Southwest Cod Cakes with Mexican Sweet Rice

21 Apr
This is what I made for dinner tonight! Looks yummy, right?! Well, the recipe is below!
After a looooooong drive in a car packed tight…..

and after I ran my race……

WE MADE IT! It was a long few days, but we’re here and getting settled now. Never before have I been so happy to arrive at any given destination.
Anyways, as I said before, this is what we had for dinner tonight and they were a big hit! My mother-in-law wanted me to make dinner and I (of course) agreed to. This is what I came up with and everyone ate it all up (except for my daughter who decided her food was better suited on the floor). Her loss. So, these little cod cakes are really healthy and full of flavor, especially when you eat them with a few extra things like warm black beans, sweet rice (recipe below!), and avocado salsa. YUM! A huge hit in this house… didn’t even taste or smell like fish, either! Now THAT is a big accomplishment. So, if you find cod is on sale, pick up a lot and make these! It’ll be worth it!

Southwest Cod Cakes
yield: 12 large
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
2 1/2 lbs. cod filet, cooked and flaked
1/4 cups cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Heat large skillet to medium heat. Melt butter and sauté onions, garlic, and red pepper until soft, 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and cooked vegetables together. Form palm-sized patties by pressing mixture in between hands. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve with sweet rice, black beans and/or avocado tomato salsa.
Mexican Sweet Rice
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 chicken bouillon cube (I used Knorr)
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Sautee onions until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in rice to coat grains in butter. Increase temperature to high and stir in bouillon cube, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Once rice has come to a boil, reduce heat and stir in sugar. Cook covered on low heat 20 minutes or until rice has softened completely. Stir in chopped cilantro right before serving.

Guess what!

19 Apr

We’re in the middle of a move…..AGAIN! Right now we’re staying with some friends in Utah and tomorrow morning we’re driving the 12 hours to Oregon. I can’t believe its TWELVE hours… a car……with a one year old.

I hope we make it.

In other news, I ran my half marathon yesterday morning with my sister! We did great, but I’m still SO SORE. Anyone know how to get rid of the pain real quick?! PS- I’ve tried some hardcore drugs and stretches.
MORE RECIPES (and photos of this crazy excursion) TO COME!

Chocolate MONSTER Cakes

15 Apr
Guess what guys! I finally submitted my FIRST video to the Paula Deen contest! Thank you all so much for the confidence and the feedback! I appreciate it all so much! Love you guys like carbs! Anyways, these next few days are going to be a little crazy for me and my family: we are traveling to Salt Lake City for a race I’m running on Saturday with my sister and then after that, we are officially moving to Oregon! So exciting! I’m very sad to leave this small town where I met some of my best friends and my husband too! We met here, got engaged here, started our life here and had our little girl here. Lots of memories, but still lots more to be had else where. Its very bitter sweet, but we all are excited for what the future holds!
So, moving on to this amazingly delicious and easy recipe…….my friend Brittnae named these little babies for me! So delicious and easy are these little cakes to make (and eat!). You only need a few ingredients to whip these baby cakes up. AND, guess what! This will be the next recipe I submit for the Paula Deen recipe search! Test it out and tell me what you think!
Chocolate MONSTER Cakes
yield: 12 servings (or like 2 of my sized servings)
1 boxed chocolate cake mix (german chocolate, devils food, any kind!)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 small package vanilla pudding
1-8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
24 Oreos, crushed
Make cake mix batter according to packaged directions. (Instead of oil, I used low fat sour cream and it was delicious!) Spread melted butter to coat cookie sheet (with high sides). Pour prepared batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, give or take 3 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool 10-15 minutes at least. The cake can be made in advance!
For the creamy filling: In a large bowl, whip vanilla pudding with milk until smooth and set aside to set. In large stand mixer, whip heavy cream until firm peaks form. Scrape out of bowl and set aside. Using same bowl, whip room temperature cream cheese about 1 minute to smooth out. With machine on, slowly pour vanilla pudding into cream cheese. Once all pudding is in the bowl, scrape down the sides and whip again until smooth. Fold whipped cream into pudding cream cheese mixture until incorporated.
For assembly: Cut cake into 3-4 inch squares. Cut each individual square in half horizontally to create 2 skinny pieces of cake. Spoon some creamy filling onto one half of cake. Top with Oreo crumbs and remaining piece of cake. Top cake with more cream and Oreo crumbs.
Recipe TIPS:
– You could turn this recipe into cupcakes, a trifle or even a frozen cake! Try it! You’ll like it!
– If your cream cheese isn’t at room temperature, you’ll have a lumpy creamy filling. If you don’t mind it lumpy then disregard this tip!

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

13 Apr
This is one of the BEST original recipes I have ever made. I LOVE it so much… much so that I submitted it to a Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Paula Deen contest, hence the video! I was so nervous filming it and I’m still trying to figure out how to edit my 3 videos together (I’m still learning!) but here is the first one that actually shows you how to make it! Tell me what you think and definitely make this pizza right now! Its so ridiculously good. Over the top delicious!! PROMISE!
Jalapeno Popper Pizza
Yield: 6 servings
1 lb. pizza dough
1 cup prepared alfredo sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and sliced
1 1/2 cups cubed prepared breaded chicken (store bought or home made)
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 oz. philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese
PS- do you like the video idea? Should I make more?!