One Pork Butt – Three Meals: Pork and Cheddar Pancake Muffins

22 04 2016

One Pork Butt – Three Meals.

And finally, here’s meal idea three…brunch!

It’s mother hubbard here this weekend. This is about as real as it gets folks, I’m talking down to one egg kind-of-serious. I managed to whip up something creative with just a few ingredients and leftovers though, which is what I do best! AND, I was even able to base it off a little inspiration from one of my favorite pancakes.

There’s this crazy tasty, sweet/savory pancake at First Watch made with cheddar cheese and bacon, which was the inspiration for this dish. Sounds weird, but covered in yummy maple syrup, it’s the perfect brunch bite! Making these as muffins allows you to cook them all at once, rather than having to flip a bunch of jacks individually, and I’m all about saving time!

Pork and Cheddar Pancake Muffins

The following makes 6 muffins (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl combine the milk and eggs. Add Bisquick and stir until just combined. Fold in the pork and cheese.

Spray a large muffin tin with non-stick spray, or use liners for easy cleanup like me. Divide the batter among 6 cups. Bake until cooked through and slightly browning on top, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing.

Serve pancake muffins with a side of Peach Habanero Syrup to pour all over!





Peach Habanero Syrup

11 04 2016

I’m a sucker for brunch! And for my birthday meal at my in-laws this past weekend, my MIL made a delicious sweet and savory brunch of chicken and waffles. I helped top it off with this simple and equally sweet and savory, peach habanero syrup. Bonus, leftovers are great for dinner too – thanks, Dee! 🙂

Peach Habanero Syrup

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 habanero pepper, chopped (Choose a pepper size based on your level of comfort with heat, the larger the pepper the more spice it will add to the syrup. Also, leave the seeds and ribs in for more heat, remove them for less heat.)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup peach puree (Easiest way is to puree thawed frozen peaches with a little water – which is also my son’s baby food recipe too!)

In a small or medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring often. Add the chopped habanero and lower heat to simmer. Cook on low, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Add the peach puree and continue to cook, and stir, another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, and store leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge.

P.S. The consistency of this syrup is on the thin side. That doesn’t bother me, but if you’d prefer it to be thicker, try cooking it longer or adding a bit more sugar at the beginning.





Easter Bread Baked French Toast

5 04 2016

My hubs fam makes a delicious Easter bread similar to the Italian sweetened bread, Panettone. This thick, dense bread is just perfect for baked french toast! And because the bread itself it already sweetened, you don’t need extra sugar. To make this casserole more savory for dinner, I topped it with breakfast sausage browned with a little cayenne before baking. Love enjoying breakfast for dinner, especially when leftovers can be gobbled up the next morning too!

Easter Bread Baked French Toast

The following makes a 9×13 casserole (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 8-10 cups cubed Easter bread (or Panettone or other sweetened bread)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 oz mascarpone or cream cheese
  • Butter
  • 1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  • Cayenne pepper

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 casserole dish. You could also use non-stick spray.

With a whisk, beat milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add the cubed bread and toss to combine. Pour bread and liquid in the greased casserole dish and add dollops of mascarpone or cream cheese all over and in between the bread. It doesn’t have to be perfect and if the bread starts to tear and get mushy don’t worry about it! Cover with foil and store in the fridge overnight, or at least 8-10 hours.

Brown the breakfast sausage with a little cayenne pepper, breaking up in small pieces as it cooks. Store in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the casserole.

When ready to bake, top the casserole with the browned breakfast sausage and preheat the oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes to an hour. I keep the sausage separate and only add to the top (rather than mixing it in) to keep it crispy, which adds another layer of texture to the baked french toast.

Top with your fav maple syrup before serving (my go to is organic maple agave syrup).





Creamy Apple-Shallot Vinaigrette

28 03 2016

I just started introducing pureed fruits to my son (he mostly eats veggies), and I thought my homemade apple puree/applesauce would have been gobbled up. It was, but only after I added it to a combo of yams and squash….leaving me with a good bit of apple puree leftover. Enter this deliciously tart and creamy vinaigrette, which I made for an elegant Easter salad this past weekend. It would be great on lots of things though, like chicken or a roasted cauliflower and pork pizza which I’ll be making for dinner this week.

Creamy Apple Shallot Vinaigrette

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Stem Blog: 

  • 1/2 cup applesauce or 2 Fuji apples, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 cup olive oil

Add everything but the oil to a Vitamix or high-powdered blender and blend until smooth. Stream in the oil, starting with 3/4 cup. Taste and adjust vinegar, seasoning and the oil based on your liking (I for instance, like my dressing with more vinegar/acid than most people so I tend to use less oil).

Store this dressing in a mason jar in the fridge, and quickly shake up before serving.

The salad I served this with was made up of spinach, roasted cauliflower, apple slices, goat cheese and homemade croutons. Delicious, and great for spring!





Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

21 06 2015

This pasta salad is light, fresh and super tasty – great for serving in the summer! I love taking ideas I see on in my fav cooking shows or magazines and making them my own. This recipe is a great example, thanks to the Food Network’s The Kitchen for the pineapple-zucchini salsa idea!

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

The following serves 6-8 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Kitchen):

  • 2 small to medium-size zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a peeled and cored pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta
  • 2 small to medium-size shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (save yourself time and use it from the tube)
  • 2 tsp finely diced jalapeno or your favorite hot sauce, use more or less depending on how much spice you like
  • 6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Champagne or Chardonnay Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or mint
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium. Grill the pineapple and zucchini for a few minutes on each side until beginning to char. You still want the zucchini to have a little crunch. Remove from the grill and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, diced the pineapple and zucchini and add to a large bowl or casserole dish. Toss with the cucumber, and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk the shallots, ginger, jalapeno or hot sauce, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the pineapple-zucchini mixture and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt and cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to pan to cool slightly.

Add the slightly cooled pasta to the dressed pineapple-zucchini mixture. Add the cilantro or mint and toss everything well to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper to taste if needed. You can also add more oil or vinegar if you’d like.

Store covered in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.





Fruity Orzo Salad

8 06 2015

Saw this fruity salad idea in my latest Rachael Ray Mag and had to give it a try! It’s pretty versatile too, you can switch up the pasta, the fruit and the herbs – perfect for quick summer meals!

Fruity Orzo Salad

Fruity Orzo Salad

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray):

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 4-5 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Golden balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 nectarine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup drained mozzarella pearls (small, fresh mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives or basil
  • Zest of half a lemon

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook orzo to al dente according to package directions. Drain, cool and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next add the cooled orzo, the chopped nectarine, mozzarella balls, chives (or basil) and lemon zest. Toss everything to coat in the dressing. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil and/or seasoning if needed. Add in the bacon and toss to coat.

Serve salad with a protein of your choice. Pictured here is a salmon burger.





Blueberry and Sweet Corn Oatmeal Bake

1 03 2015

Here’s an easy baked oatmeal that you can whip up over the weekend and enjoy for breakfast throughout the week. While the corn may seem like a strange ingredient, it’s a creative way to sneak in a serving of veggies. If it’s too strange for you, just leave it out and it won’t affect the dish.

Blueberry and Sweet Corn Oatmeal Bake

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Fresh Fork Market):

  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn (you’ll just need enough to line the bottom of the casserole dish)
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • Plain yogurt for topping

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a 1.5 or 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Spread corn in an even layer on the bottom of the casserole. Then top with a layer of blueberries, making sure to reserve some for the top. Note: if you use frozen corn and/or blueberries, be sure to thaw and drain them first.

In a bowl mix together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pour the mixture over the corn and blueberries in the casserole.

To save on dishes, use the same bowl and whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla and honey. Whisk well until the honey is fully incorporated. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the oats.

Top with the diced butter and the remaining blueberries. Bake uncovered for 35 – 50 minutes, until baked through and bubbly, but not runny and also browned on top.

Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with yogurt.





Kale-Artichoke Dip

12 01 2015

Here’s a simple and unique artichoke dip that features kale rather than spinach. This healthy dip whips up fast, and is great for diving into on game day!

Kale-Artichoke Dip

The following serves 6 (adapted from Girl Who Ate Everything):

  • 1 (14 oz) can artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 4 cups fresh chopped kale
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Lemon zest from about a 1/4 of a lemon or so
  • Multi-grain chips and sliced veggies for serving

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 1 and 1/2 or 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the artichokes, cream cheese, yogurt, 1/2 cup Italian cheese blend, parmesan, kale, garlic and lemon zest. Season with salt to taste and mix well until everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Stir and bake, covered, for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add the remaining 1/2 cup of Italian cheese blend. Bake uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Serve with multi-grain chips and sliced veggies such as celery and carrots.

And here’s one more idea for you….in case you have extras, try heating this up the next day and topping it on quick sautéed chicken!





Granola Cookies

10 12 2014

I like making my own granola, and the recipe I follow makes a lot! After awhile I’m usually ready to turn it into something even better…enter, these cookies! I found a simple recipe that let’s your homemade granola be the delicious star!

Granola Cookies

The following makes 24 cookies (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker):

  • 14 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (you could use AP flour as well)
  • 3 cups granola (I make my own with whatever dried fruit, nuts and seeds I have around)

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with silpats or wax paper.

With electric mixer, beat butter at medium speed until smooth, 2 mins. Add the sugars and beat for another 3 mins, or until creamy. Add the egg and salt and beat until well blended.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, mixing only until Incorporated. Then slowly add the granola. Stop mixer when it’s mostly blended and finish by hand if needed, making sure to get up any of the dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl.

Scoop out 2 Tbsp of dough and arrange mounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving room in between the cookies. Flatten the mounds lightly with your finger tips.

Bake 10-12 mins. The cookies should be golden brown but not too firm. All to rest on the sheets 2 mins before transferring to cooling racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.





Cabbage and Apple Salad

7 10 2014

Here’s a crunchy, healthy and super flavorful salad which I like to serve as a side dish. You can quickly whip it up and let it hang out in the fridge while you cook dinner – which will allow the flavors to combine. Don’t worry about the measurements, just wing it and adjust to your taste as you go. If you like salad a little on the tangy side, add more vinegar. If you don’t like it as dressed, don’t add as much liquid. Just have fun with it! 🙂

Cabbage and Apple Salad

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
  • Apple, cored and sliced thin
  • Shallot, sliced thin
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Whisk a little Dijon mustard with some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add shredded or sliced cabbage, sliced apples and sliced shallots. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, vinegar or oil as needed. Add sunflower seeds and fresh parsley before serving.