September 25, 2015

Pork Carnitas

I love it when I find a meal to make where I can utilize my Dutch Oven.  You know it's gonna be good if you break out the Dutch Oven.

Give yourself a little time to make this meal, you won't be sorry.  The meat just falls apart and is SO flavorful.

This was my first attempt at making Pork Carnitas but I'm thrilled with how it turned out. Luckily I found the recipe with enough to get dinner on the table, but that was pure luck.  Allow yourself about 3.5 hours from start to finish.  There aren't a lot of steps and it's very easy to put together.  That slow cooking time is essential for tender meat.

My husband loved this one!

Pork Carnitas
Recipe from My Kitchen Escapades

  • 4 pounds 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 whole onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves
  1. preheat the oven to 300º, adjust your oven racks so your Dutch Oven will fit in the lower half. 
  2. In a Dutch Oven, add all of the ingredients including the used orange halves. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat with the cover off. 
  3. Put the cover on and place in the oven for about 2 hours or until the meat is falls apart when you pull at it with a fork. 
  4. Remove from the oven and turn the broiler on. 
  5. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and place on a foil lined jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet with sides. 
  6. Discard everything else that was in the Dutch Oven except for the cooking liquid. 
  7. Return the Dutch Oven and the cooking liquid to the stove top and boil on high heat until the liquid thickens and you have about 1 cup of it. 
  8. Meanwhile, use two forks to pull eat meat chunk into three pieces.  Place under the broiler and cook until the edges begin to get crisp, then flip the pieces over and follow the same process until that side has begun to crisp as well. 
  9. Once the meat has crisped up and the liquid has reduced you can combine them together and serve. 
  10. I served mine over brown rice. It is more traditional to serve in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings. 

September 17, 2015

Four Ingredient Chicken

When I recently saw this recipe on Facebook I knew I wanted to try it.  I mean, it's four ingredients so how hard could it be?  Not hard, at all.

See, I'm not a huge fan of chicken.  So when I eat it, it has to be covered in some sort of delicious sauce or be accompanied by gravy.  This recipe fit the bill for me.

I couldn't find Russian dressing at the supermarket I was at so I quickly did an online search and found out it was easy to make.  I happened to have all the ingredients at home so I just made it first and then added all the other ingredients into it.

I used my hands to make sure the chicken was coated with the sauce on all sides. Then I made sure the chicken pieces were evenly spaced in the pan and popped it into the oven. An hour later I had a delicious meal that I plan to make again.  The sauce is extremely flavorful.  I made mashed potatoes for the meal accompaniments and the sauce tasted so good with the potatoes too.

This meal does take a little bit of prior planning since it takes and hour to cook and you probably won't have every single ingredient in your pantry or refrigerator.  However, I plan to stock these ingredients now just in case I have a craving for this one, which might happen....often.

Four Ingredient Chicken
Recipe from Facebook via Kathy Kehoe

  • 8 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on)
  • 1 package french onion soup mix
  • 1 - 8 ounce bottle Russian dressing (or make your own, recipe below)
  • 1 small jar apricot preserves or 1 cup
Homemade Russian Dressing
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp minced onion
Cooking Directions
  1. mix all of the ingredients together (not the chicken).
  2. Place the chicken in a 9x13 inch dish and pepper (no salt needed)
  3. Coat the chicken thoroughly with the sauce, get all sides well coated. 
  4. Bake at 400 for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until chicken is done.  Baste several times while cooking. 

September 10, 2015

Mexican Corn Dip

I've been wanting to try this recipe for quite some time. My chance finally came up recently and it was SO good!

I have to admit that I may have just dug into this with a spoon.  I mean, it makes a fantastic dip, it also tastes great straight off the spoon. :)

The slight bite and heat from the jalapeño was delicious.  The cheese pieces and the creaminess from the mayonnaise was outstanding. There isn't anything about this dip I didn't like.  The flavors all meld together so well.  I just loved it.

Mexican Corn Dip
Recipe by Damn Delicious

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 ears corn, rinsed and shucked
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled cotija cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • juice from 1 lime
  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the corn and jalapeño and cook until charred, about 8-10 minutes. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and serve immediately. 

August 27, 2015

Starbucks Lime Refresher (CopyCat)

Summer isn't over yet, although I wish I'd found this drink at the beginning of summer.  There is still time to enjoy it!

Easy to assemble and tastes for refreshing on a hot day.  It's fresh, not too sweet and there's the little hint of cucumber flavor that makes people go "oh, yum".  Perfect for a day by the pool or after a long day of yard work.  Kids love it and grown ups do too.

Starbucks Lime Refresher (CopyCat)
Recipe from Herbamum

  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped or mint tea in a bag
  • 3/4 - 1 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sweetener (I used sugar but you can use anything)
  • 2 cups fresh lime juice
  • lime slices for garnish if desired. 
Cooking Directions
  1. Add the chopped cucumber and finely chopped mint (or tea) to the 3 cups of water. Stir around and then use a fine mesh strainer to remove the mint leaves and cucumber pieces. Add the cucumber flavored water to a large pitcher.
  2. Add the lime juice and sweetener to the pitcher and stir in an additional 4 cups of water. Stir well until your sweetener has been incorporated.
  3. Chill and serve with a lime wedge for garnish, if desired.

August 19, 2015

Kid Friendly Salmon

It's been a little hard to work on my blog this week.  School has started here and I do a online public school with my daughter and that equals very little time for myself.

That being said, this is a great dinner if you're trying to get your kids to eat more fish like I am.  This makes the salmon sort of sweet and savory at the same time.  My husband isn't the biggest fish eater either and he really loved this recipe.

It's easy to throw together and cooks in no time.  No super strong flavors and no spice so it's very kid (and husband) friendly. Great to add to the weekly menu!

Kid Friendly Salmon
Recipe from Tomorrow Farm Fiber Arts

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb fresh salmon, cut into 4 pieces
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the soy sauce, oil, brown sugar and garlic together.
  2. Place the salmon in a baking dish and pour the sauce over the top. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Grill or broil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side until fish is flaky.

August 14, 2015

Oatmeal-Fig Bars

This cookie bar was in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine.  There were so many to choose from, it was hard to settle on just one to make.  I told my husband that he would have to pick, there were just way too many choices for me.

I think he picked this one because it does have the "healthy" factor since there is oatmeal, wheat flour and figs in it.  I'm pretty sure that they can't be considered health food though.

The bars are perfect for a breakfast on the run, or a snack.  Very satisfying with a yummy fig taste and soft chewy texture.

I froze mine and I just pull a couple out as needed.  I'm happy with all the bar recipes that were in the magazine and I can't wait to try more. 

Oatmeal-Fig Bars
Recipe from Food Network Magazine Sept 2015 page 68

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled (Old Fashioned) oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped dried figs
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. Line a 9x13 inch pan with tin foil so it hangs over the edges, then oil the tin foil with either non-stick spray or use your hands or a napkin to spread oil over the surface.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º
  3. In a food processor, add the softened butter and both sugars and pulse to combine.
  4. Add the oats, both flours, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine.
  5. Next add the figs, eggs and vanilla and pulse until clumps form.
  6. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and then bake for about 35 minutes until the edges are set but the middle is soft.
  7. Cool before cutting.

August 5, 2015


Here's a cookie I'm just getting around to, amazingly, since it's a classic. I haven't been in a hurry to make it because I've always thought cinnamon and sugar were more breakfast flavors so I haven't jumped on the bandwagon to make these cookies. 

My bad. 

They're great.  They are like a shortbread cookie that's rolled in cinnamon sugar before you bake it.  You can keep them soft or bake them longer and make them crunchy.  Either way, they are totally delicious and they make a great "hot weather" cookie because there isn't anything melt-y in them. 
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon (for coating)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, silicone cookie mat or grease with non-stick spray. Set aside. 
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar together until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. 
  4. Add the baking powder and salt and with the mixer on low, add the flour and mix until well incorporated. 
  5. In a zip lock bag add the sugar and cinnamon. 
  6. Use a 1 inch cookie scoop to make a ball and then drop in the bag and shake it slightly until fully covered by cinnamon sugar.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet and place balls about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Before baking, take the bottom of a drinking glass and smooth the dough ball down to about 3/8 inch thick. 
  7. Bake for 8 minutes for softer cookies or 10 minutes for crunchier cookies. 
  8. Let cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.