Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

I’m getting Fall fever, even if it is still 90 degrees here in Florida. I drank my first pumpkin beer this week, I’m going to get my fall decorations out this weekend and I made my first seasonal dinner.  You can never go wrong with the combination of pork and apples so when I saw a recipe in my Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook for Root Beer Pork Chops with Apple Salsa I knew I had to try it. I loved the idea but made some changes to the recipes to fit my tastes.

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

4 Boneless Pork Loin Chops

1/4 c molasses

6 oz root beer

1 T oil

Combine Root Beer and Molasses in a ziplock bag or shallow dish add pork chops and refrigerate 4 hrs-overnight, turning occasionally. Heat oil in a large skillet over med high heat and add pork chops. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until seared with some dark brown coloring. Turn chops and repeat on the other side. Add remaining root beer mixture to pan  with chops and bring to a boil. reduce heat to low and cover, cook for 4 more minutes or until desired doneness. ( use a meat thermometer if desired)

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops

Fresh Apple Salsa

2 large crisp apples, (I used Fiji, Granny Smiths would be good also)

1/2 c chopped onion

1/4-1/2 t minced jalapeño pepper

1 T lemon juice

2 T honey

1/4 t salt

1 T chopped fresh parsley

add all ingredients to a bowl and stir, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This makes more than needed for the pork chops, use the leftovers for wraps, chicken salad, or peanut butter would be great, or also as an accompaniment with a cheese plate or with cinnamon sugar pita chips.

Fresh Apple Salsa great on top of pork or chicken

Root Beer Glazed Pork Chops with Fresh Apple Salsa

Creamy Tomato Soup with Pesto

I don’t know what it is about Fall, but this time of year makes me go right for the comfort foods and classic combinations I grew up with. As I looked at my menu board for the week I thought this could have been one my mom had when I was a child. Last night’s dinner was grilled cheese and tomato soup. I made the soup in the crock pot so it was done and ready for whenever my family decided to make their appearance for dinner, and the bonus is you get to smell its deliciousness all day.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Pesto

1 28 oz can of peeled whole tomatoes

1 20 oz can of petite diced tomatoes

1 1/2 c vegetable stock (chicken would work too)

1 T italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 t salt

1/4 c brown sugar

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 c cream

2 T butter

For Pesto

1/2 c  fresh basil

1/4 c parmesan cheese

1/4 c pine nuts

1 large clove of garlic

1/4 c olive oil

Add tomatoes, stock, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, sugar, onion and garlic to a large slow cooker/ crock pot. turn on high and cover. Cook for one hour and then turn to low. Cook for 2-3 more hours or until tomatoes and onions have completely softened. Add cream and butter and use an immersion blender to puree. You could also use a regular blender or use a wooden spoon to mash. Place on warm until ready to serve. Taste for salt and sugar add more if desired.

Meanwhile place basil, parmesan, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor, pulse until smooth and then slowly add olive oil while processor is on until pesto is the desired consistency.

Serve soup with a drizzle of pesto over the top.

Fall Flavor: Apple Ginger Pork Roast

What is a more classic combination than pork and apples? This is an updated version of pork chop and applesauce night. It’s made in a slow cooker and has a beautiful, savory ,and delicate flavor of apples and ginger.

Apple Ginger Pork Roast

1 1/2 lb pork loin roast

2 T coarsely chopped fresh ginger

1 large onion quartered

3 large or 4 small apples peeled and sliced into 1 inch wedges (use a firm variety)

3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped

2T soy sauce

2 C chicken broth

2 T apple cider vinegar

1/2 t ground cloves

1/2 t ground nutmeg

Add roast, apples, onions, garlic and ginger to a large crock pot / slow cooker. Add soy, chicken broth, vinegar and spices. Turn on high, cover and cook for 4 hours.

Remove Roast and slice, meat will be very tender.

Serve, I served mine on top of mashed potatoes and served the au jus and apples from the pot over the top.

Best Ever Barbecued Shrimp and Sausage with Grits (and I’ve tried a lot)

No Easter Brunch, or any brunch or Mardi Gras celebration is complete without Shrimp and Grits. It is one of my favorite comfort foods and my go to order at restaurants. So I have had my fair share, and feel like I am a good judge of this dish. The winner for me is this recipe , from one of my heavily used cookbooks, Southern Living’s All Time Favorites. The sauce I use is pretty much the same but I add Cajun Style smoked sausage because my kids are not huge seafood fans.  I have had many compliments and given the recipe to many friends. This is a must have in your recipe file.

2Lbs unpeeled, extra large raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined (don’t be tempted to take the peels off, the shrimp will be dry and will not have as much flavor, the mess is worth it)

4 links Cajun style smoked sausage cut into 2 ” chunks (if you prefer add another pound of shrimp and skip the sausage)

1/2 c butter

1/2 olive oil

1/4 c chili sauce ( I use Heinz)

1/4 c Worcestershire sauce

2 lemons sliced

4 garlic cloves minced

2T Creole Seasoning

1T chopped fresh parsley

2T lemon juice

1t smoked paprika

1t dried oregeno

1t ground black pepper

1/2 t of your favorite hot sauce

Line a large baking sheet with foil, spread shrimp and sausage on pan evenly

Combine butter and remaining ingredients in a med saucepan over low heat stirring until butter melts and ingrediants are combined

Pour over Shrimp and Sausage, cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, turning shrimp once ( I have even marinated them overnight and  just cooked them for a little less time)

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until shrimp are opaque

Serve over cheese grits, sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley