I know I was just complaining about the heat being back, but with rain predicted the rest of the week it’s actually staying below 90 for a few days, hooray! I’m really loving this milder summer Memphis has had thus far because that means I can turn on my oven guilt-free (and high-bill free). I should probably bake a bunch this week just in case it’s never cool again, but that also means I need to clear out some space in my freezer to store them. The three ice cream flavors I currently have in there are not being devoured fast enough! Who wants to come over for an ice cream party??
But today’s post isn’t about ice cream or baked desserts, is about baked meat! Some people are a little weirded out by fruit and meat combos. I happen to thoroughly enjoy things such as hawaiian pizza, orange beef and chicken, kebabs, pineapple fried rice, and the first offender is likely my mom’s pineapple burger. Fruit and meat entrees are especially desirable during the summer and this recipe hits the spot. A (not-dried-out) pork loin chop is topped off with an avocado-mango salsa and served with a spinach quinoa. It’s a light yet filling meal, but if for some reason you need a little more try scooping up some of the salsa with corn chips! I actually had a little bit of leftover salsa and ended up doing that exact thing the next day.
PORK LOIN CHOPS WITH AVOCADO-MANGA SALSA AND SPINACH QUINOA
1 lb. pork loin chops (preferably four 1/4 lb. ones)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
8 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 medium avocado, peeled and diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (keep the seeds if you prefer more heat)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- Combine the pork, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Allow to marinade at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
- In a medium pot, combine the quinoa and chicken broth. Cover and bring to a simmer, continuing to cook until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the spinach and allow to cook another 2-3 minutes, or until wilted. Stir to combine.
- While the quinoa cooks, preheat oven to 475 degrees. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side. Cover (if your cover is not oven-proof, use foil) and bake for 10-15 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine remaining 1/4 cup cilantro with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, mango, avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeño and lime juice.
- Serve pork topped with salsa and spinach quinoa on the side.
Source: Adapted from SELF.
Fried rice is one of my favorites although I’ve only made it myself a handful of times. It is likely due to Qing bringing in fresh homemade fried rice for us at work sometimes, and I am convinced I cannot make it any better. One of these days I need to watch her make it. She uses Asian BBQ pork which you can only buy at the Asian grocery store – another place I need to check out evidently.
Meanwhile while planning to invade her kitchen, I took a stab at fried rice again with this pineapple and pork chop version. Granted there is no competition when it comes to Qing’s fried rice, but it was still quite good. Next time I would use less onion, but that may just be my preference. But I really thought the grilled pineapple was a must for the flavor of this dish. Start up your grill!
Be sure to check out the original post by The Pioneer Woman for great step-by-step photos.
One year ago: White Chocolate Coconut Chili Macadamia Nut Cookies
PORK CHOPS WITH PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE
1/2 whole pineapple, cut into spears and skewered
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
6 whole pork chops
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, sliced
8 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (more to taste), divided
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Sriracha, or other hot sauce
Salt to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
1-1/2 cup frozen peas
- Grill (or saute) pineapple spears until they have good marks/color on the outside. Slice, then set aside.
- Heat butter and oil over medium high heat, then add the pork chops to the pan. Saute on both sides until they have nice color.
- Throw in the sliced onions and work them into the crevices between the chops. Shake the pan and move the onions around and let them cook for a good couple of minutes.
- When the onions are starting to soften, add 6 tablespoons pf the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and hot sauce. Shake the pan, stir it around, and let it cook and bubble up for a good couple of minutes until the pork chops are completely cooked and the sauce is thicker. Remove the pork chops to a bowl, then let the sauce bubble up and cook for another 30 to 45 seconds. Pour it over the pork chops. Set aside.
- Add a small amount of oil to the same pan (without cleaning it) and return it to the stove top over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir it around, then crack in the eggs and immediately stir them to scramble them a bit. Add carrots, peas, and remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Add cooked rice and stir it around to cook for a couple of minutes.
- To serve, pile rice on a plate, then top with pineapple chunks, pork chops and onions from the sauce. Drizzle a little bit of sauce over the top.
Source: Adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman.
Ask and you shall receive. On my last pizza post, many of you left comments to keep the pizzas rolling so here’s this week’s installment! This time I’ve made a recipe I found on Bev Cooks awhile back. You make a pesto using spinach leaves for the sauce, and top it off with red pepper, Italian sausage and of course Mozzarella cheese. It’s a pretty fantastic little dance of ingredients. And they certainly look good together too!
Of course as with all of my pizza recipes, you do not need a stone and peel to make pizza at home. Just cook it on a pizza pan or cookie sheet as you prefer, but I am convinced that the crust comes out as pure perfection when using a stone. So you really should get your hands on one sooner rather than later. Probably my favorite kitchen item ever. And I am sure you can tell how well-loved it is by it’s stained appearance in pictures.
By the way, is anyone shocked that I rate every pizza I make as 2-3 servings? Maybe I am just a fat kid but there’s hardly a pizza made in my kitchen that ends up producing more than 3 servings. Maybe I cut my slices too big, but I don’t care O:-).
One year ago: Review: Just Tell Me What to Eat!
SAUSAGE, RED BELL PEPPER AND SPINACH PESTO PIZZA
2 cups baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp
1 Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin sticks
1 recipe thin-crust pizza dough
1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with pizza stone on bottom rack.
- In a food processor add the spinach, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts, and a pinch of salt and pepper. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until pesto-y. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a medium skillet and add the sausage. Break up with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Set aside.
- To the same pan, add the red pepper. Add a little more oil if needed. Add a dash of salt.
- Transfer pizza dough to the preheated pizza stone using a cornmeal dusted pizza peel. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
- Remove pizza and stone and evenly spoon the pesto over the crust. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Then add the sausage and peppers. Then more cheese.
- Return pizza and stone to the oven and bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown and cheesy is bubbly. Slice and eat.
Source: Bev Cooks
Hope everyone had as great of weather as we did over the weekend. First my dad and I took care of a few odd things around my apartment, such as hanging my newest work of art (check it out). We were super crafty too because I didn’t have a level, just used a straight piece of wood and a tape measure. Then my dad and I took advantage of the weather and spent some time walking around the Lichtnerman Nature Center on Saturday followed by a movie and some great frozen custard eaten on a bench outside. On Sunday we enjoyed brunch on a friend of mine’s roof-patio, followed by cooking our holiday dinner with all the windows open in my apt, while the wonderful aromas were filling my kitchen.
Now that we are on the subject of food, have you ever flavor injected your meat? If you haven’t you really should. It results in serious flavor saturation. And with this ham recipe, you also get a nice sweet glaze on the outside, locking in all of that flavor. Of course, since this was a pre-spiral cut ham some of the injected juices leaked out, but having it seep through the layers was good enough for me. This recipe made way too much for the number of people who were eating it, but leftovers are not frowned upon!
Serves approximately 20
1-10 lb. fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham, on the bone
1 cup mango chutney
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup pineapple juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham on a rack in a heavy roasting pan, cut-side down.
- In a pot over medium heat, add chutney, sugar, syrup and juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Using a flavor injector, inject ham with some of the cooled glaze mixture all over, inserting the needle in various directions (use as much as desired). Pour the remainder of the glaze over the ham and cover completely with foil.
- Bake for 2 hours until the ham is fully heated. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Source: The Spiffy Cookie original
I have a confession. I originally did make something using andouille sausage for the Holiday Recipe Club blog hop yesterday, and it was this mac and cheese. Instead I had decided to post something that was a little more in the spirit of the Mardi Gras holiday (hence the bananas foster muffins). But now it’s time to share the savory side of how this holiday was celebrated in my kitchen.
I cannot recall the last time I ate andouille sausage but such a question will become easy to answer now that I have made this because I definitely plan to make it again. Recipes that take traditional mac and cheese for a spin by adding other ingredients and seasonings, such as seen in this recipe, are some of my favorites. Mac and cheese really is a great base for the construction of a very delicious meal – after all, how can you go wrong with pasta and cheese?
One year ago: Pizza Bagels
CAJUN MAC & CHEESE
12 ounces whole-wheat pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz. andouille sausage, diced
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp Cajun spice blend
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt & pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 1 minute less than package directs. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water then drain pasta.
- In a large, deep skillet heat olive oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add onions and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Gradually and carefully whisk in the milk. Whisk until sauce is thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta and cheese to the skillet, tossing to combine. Add pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 minute. Serve.
Source: Adapted slightly from Handle the Heat, originally from Food Network Magazine March 2012.
Have you made plans for Valentine’s Day yet? I actually do not have any yet, but in the meantime have not slacked off on making Valentine’s Day inspired treats and meals. For example, after I mastered the stromboli I decided it was time to take on the calzone. But not just any calzone, but a heart-shaped one! And it conveniently serves two people. Or maybe four if you serve anything substantial on the side.
And if the shape alone wasn’t enough this baby is actually stuffed with sausage lasagna filling. Gooey, cheesy, meaty loveliness wrapped up in dough. Yup, go ahead and eat your heart out. (Sorry sorry couldn’t resist)
One year ago: Oreo Truffles
SAUSAGE LASAGNA HEART CALZONE
1/2 lb pizza dough
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
1-1/2 cups pizza sauce
8 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Pinch of salt, fresh cracked pepper
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning, plus more for topping (optional)
1 egg, beaten (for brushing dough)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown sausage until browned. Drain and return back to skillet. Add pasta sauce and reduce heat to low to simmer.
- Place ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Cut the pizza doughs in half. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, form two large hearts and roll until about 1/8″ thick. Move one dough-heart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Top the dough-heart on the baking sheet with sausage marinara then with ricotta (you may have leftovers), leaving a 1/2″ edge. Brush the edges of the dough with egg and top with remaining dough-heart. Press seams together, brush entire top lightly with egg then sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Cut a few slices in the top, transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Source: Adapted slightly from Picky Palate.
Pizza and other pizza-like-creations are one of my favorite things to eat. However, as you may have noticed I have yet to post any calzones or strombolis because I’ve never been very good with rolled up pizza dough concoctions. They always turn into a big mess (still delicious just not photogenic) and I never understood why. But then I saw that Laurens posted a great “how to” on making stromboli and I decided to try it out. Her step-by-step photos really help! And I have to say it turned out to be the most beautiful stromboli that’s ever been in my kitchen (brushing the edges with egg was key to seal the edges). Behold!
I barely had enough patience to let it cool down before cutting it up so that I could dive into this marvelous creation. To distract myself I made sure I had plenty of pizza sauce to dip into.
Next I need to retry making calzones, and will definitely be brushing the edges of that with egg too. It seems to seal it up perfectly, in ways that simple pressing/folding cannot.
One year ago: Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich
1/2 lb pizza dough (I used Lauren’s recipe)
1/2 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping
1-1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
6 thin slices hard salami
4 thin slices deli honey ham
1 egg, beaten
Dried parsley & Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- Spread pizza dough out on baking sheet to be approximately 10×16. Spread pizza sauce over 2/3′s of the dough lengthwise, leaving a 3×16 rectangle of plain dough along one of the edges. Top sauce with half the grated cheese, salami and ham. Top with remaining cheese.
- Brush the plain strip of dough with the egg. Fold in the other sides about an inch and brush them with egg. Roll up like a jelly roll* lengthwise starting along the long edge of dough topped with all the fillings and ending with the plain strip of dough on the bottom of the roll.
- Brush the entire stromboli with egg and gently cut slats in the top of the dough every 1-2 inches. Sprinkle parsley and cheese over top and bake 8-10 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes and slice into pieces. Serve with more pizza sauce.
*This is where using parchment paper is really handy because you can pick it up to help roll the dough.
Source: Adapted slightly from Lauren’s Latest.
Can you believe it’s 2012?? Because I definitely cannot. And to start off this fresh start, I completely failed on posting for the first time of the new year yesterday. But for good reason, I came down with a pretty nasty head cold. I’m not fulling recovered yet, but to make up for yesterday I want to share something extra delicious with you.
Hawaiian pizza is one of my favorite types of pizza, yet I order/make it rarely for some strange reason. This version uses a combination of sweet apricot preserves and spicy chili Sriracha as the sauce instead of the standard tomato base – it’s fantastic and may have just ruined any chance of ordering Hawaiian pizza out ever again because I have never seen this anywhere else!
One year ago: Spinach Tomato Tortellini
SWEET ‘N’ SPICY HAWAIIAN PIZZA
1 whole wheat pizza dough
1/3 cup apricot preserves
2 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup chopped jalapenos
- Preheat oven to 450 and move rack to just above the center with pizza stone. Allow stone to preheat for at least 10 minutes.
- Roll out pizza dough and transfer to a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.
- Warm the apricot preserves in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then stir well and spread evenly all of the pizza crust. Spread the Sriracha on top of that and then cover the entire thing with mozzarella. Evenly distribute the ham, pineapple, and jalapenos on top of the cheese.
- Place directly on the pizza stone and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes until the crust is crispy and brown and the cheese is bubbly. Carefully remove from oven, let cool slightly, and then slice and serve.
Source: Heather’s Dish
Every recipe I come across with butternut squash gets bookmarked. Even though I have shared more pumpkin recipes than butternut squash, it is the squash which wins my heart this season. What held me back from using it more thus far was that it required more effort than opening a can of pumpkin (aka lazy). But then I saw that this recipe called for canned butternut squash, who knew that existed!? Actually, I am still convinced that it doesn’t because I could not find it. However, it was located in the freezer section and I would prefer to use frozen over canned anyway.
There are so many other flavors mixing alongside the butternut squash in this recipe. Most of them made sense, but the apple wasn’t something I would immediately think of when pondering upon the anatomy of macaroni and cheese. Upon the first bite, I was a little skeptical still, but the more I ate the more I grew to love it. And then it was all gone and I needed to help myself to seconds. Technically this should serve four, but it was more like two servings in my house. Sometimes gluttony wins, and it’s a good thing this meal is secretly healthy (which my last mac and cheese I shared definitely was not).
BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, BACON AND APPLE
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
8 oz. whole grain elbow macaroni (half of a 16 oz. box)
1 cup canned butternut squash, pureed
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp evaporated milk
1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1 tsp salt
1 whole medium crispy apple, chopped or grated
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp crumbled bacon (about 2 slices)
- Heat butter in a skillet over low heat. When melted, add onions and let them caramelize for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor. Keep heat on low/low-medium.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Then drain it and return to the pan over low heat. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, evaporated milk, and cream cheese. When everything is combined, add in salt and mix to combine.
- Add onions and apples to the pasta. Stir to combine and add a tablespoon more of broth or milk if needed.
- Just before serving, mix in the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Serve! Top each serving with 1 tablespoon bacon.
(NOTE: Because there’s very little butter, it can “dry out” quickly, especially once off the heat. Add a tablespoon of water, milk, or broth to get it back to its original creaminess.)
Source: Adapted slightly from Pinch of Yum.
So far I am pleasantly surprised with the meals and desserts I have made with what is already stocked in my kitchen. But I had to cave on buying ground chicken in order make these burgers. They have been on my cooking “to do” list for too long. Besides, I had some leftover root beer pulled pork begging for a purpose and used it instead of what I assume was supposed to be dry pulled pork in the ingredient list. Sometimes I think I am really good at finding new life to leftovers.
Mine didn’t come out looking nearly as gorgeous as Tara’s from Smells Like Home (maybe it’s the lack of BBQ sauce oozing down the sides), but it’s what’s inside that counts! Which just so happens to be yummy deliciousness.
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp very finely chopped (or grated) onion
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Hot sauce, to taste
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook the sauce about 7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be reduced down to approximately 1 cup. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about 1 week.
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup crumbled cornbread or 1/4 cup cornmeal
1 scallion, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped pulled pork
5 tbsp BBQ sauce, divided
Red onion slices
Sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
Additional BBQ sauce
Hamburger buns (I used Deli thins, just because that’s what I had)
- Prepare grill*.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cornbread, scallion, cilantro, paprika, garlic, mustard, salt, cayenne, brown sugar, pork, and 2 tablespoons of the bbq sauce. Lightly but thoroughly mix with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce to a small bowl.
- Form the mixture into 4 equal-sized patties. Brush the grates of the grill with olive oil. Place the burgers and onions on the grill, and cook the burgers 5-6 minutes, then flip. Turn the onions as well. Brush the cooked sides with half the reserved BBQ sauce. After 3-4 minutes, flip the burgers again. glazing the other side with the remaining BBQ sauce. Place a slice of cheese on each patty, and lay the buns, cut side down, on the grill. Close the lid and allow the cheese to melt and the buns to toast.
- Remove all the food from the grill, assembling the burgers as desired. Serve with additional BBQ sauce if desired.
*I do not have a grill, but the George Foreman worked just fine.