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

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Roll Out the Barrel: Oktoberfest Party

Oktoberfest Party: Photo Booth

It was one of my best friends birthday recently so we decided to throw her a birthday party with an Oktoberfest theme. Whats not to like, beer, costumes, and German food.

To start I decorated with some beer and fall things I had around the house, empty bottles, beer steins, burlap runner, dried wheat and fall leaves. I also bought a blue and white harlequin tablecloth ( the official Oktoberfest pattern) from a party store and hung it over a curtain rod in my family room to make a back drop for a ” photo booth”. I had props like steins, lederhosen, German signs and Oktoberfest bibs from the party store. I set my camera on a tripod in front of it and tried to get shots of all the party goers.

I am also very lucky that I have some home brewing friends who made a keg of beer especially for our party, delicious!  But this is a great time to taste some of the fall varieties of craft beers like Oktoberfests and Pumpkins.

For appetizers I set up a “Pretzel Stand” I had assorted flavors, shapes and sizes of pretzels and dips to go with them. I even made some homemade Pretzel Bites by following this recipe. http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/10/24/pretzel-bites-with-four-distinct-dipping-sauces/. I made the dough a day ahead of time and covered it tightly with plastic wrap. then boiled and baked the pretzels the next day. I also found that I needed to add about 3/4 c more flour than the recipe called for to get the dough to be the right consistency but I live in Florida and baking here can be weird.

Oktoberfest Party: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Oktoberfest Party: Pretzel Stand

For dips I made a Sweet and Spicy Mustard Sauce

1 c mayonnaise

3/4 c coarse mustard

2 T  jarred grated horseradish

2 T honey

Oktoberfest Party: Sweet and Spicy Mustard

a Chocolate and Toffee Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 c toffee chips (Heath)

1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer on low until combined.

Oktoberfest Party: Chocolate and Toffee Dip

I also made Beer Cheese Dip using an Oktoberfest Beer instead of an IPA.

To make all of the food seem more festive I labeled them with German names on the tables.

For the main course we had Brats braised in Beer, Rouladen, Oma’s Potato Salad, Saurkraut with beer and apples, and Homemade Cucumber Salad

Oktoberfest Party: Rouladen

Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1 cup sour cream

2 T sugar

2 T white vinegar

1 t dried dill

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

Slice cucumbers and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl

Oktoberfest Party: Cucumber Salad

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, cupcakes. My friend made 3 different kinds for our Oktoberfest themed party. Apple Strudel, German Chocolate and Bavarian Cream. ( I will try to get the recipes to post on here)

Oktoberfest Party: Cupcakes

Fun was had by all, the food, beer and company was all delightful. Go on try some of these ideas at your next Fall party and share your tips below.

Pork Chops with Orange Butternut Sauce

 

Butternut squash and pork chops are classic fall food, this sauce gets a little zip from oranges which are also coming into season.

Pork Chops with Orange Butternut Sauce

8 boneless pork chops

2 T butter

3 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed

2 garlic cloves

1/2 c chopped onion

3/4 cup orange juice ( used fresh squeezed if possible)

1T balsamic vinegar

1/2  t dried sage

1/2 t ground ginger

1/2 t ground cinnamon

water

salt

chili powder

Melt Butter in a large pan over med high heat. add squash and onions, saute until onions and squash are browned. add garlic and saute until garlic is soft and golden.

add orange juice, vinegar, ginger, sage and cinnamon , bring to a simmer and cover. cook for 15-25 minutes or until squash is soft enough to mash with the back of a spoon. Use a hand blender to make into a puree ( you could also hand mash or use a regular blender) remove from pan and set aside.

Sprinkle chops with salt and chili powder, brown on each side in the pan. You may have to do this in small batches depending on chop and pan size.

 

Add puree back to the pan with chops cover and cook over med heat for 20 minutes or until chops are done. add water if necessary ( I used about a 1/4 cup). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

 

This dip is perfect for a Fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving gathering. All the taste of pumpkin pie with out the hassle of baking, and its a finger food so it is perfect for parties.

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

1 8oz brick of cream cheese softened

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 c brown sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 t vanilla

ginger snaps

sliced apples

Mix the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, spice and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric beater until smooth and incorporated. Serve with apples and ginger snaps.

For a pretty and festive presentation, hollow out a small pumpkin or gourd and serve dip inside.

 

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Nutella Glaze

 

Fall is here, time to use one of my favorite seasonal ingredients, pumpkin.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Nutella Glaze

1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree

1 c canola or vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 T vanilla

2/3 c water

3 c sugar

3 1/2 c flour

2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

1/4 t cloves

1/2 t ginger

1 c chocolate chips

1/4 c Nutella spread

2 T powdered sugar

2-4 T milk

 

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a large bundt cake pan. In a large mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar. In a medium bowl stir together, flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add dry ingredients to wet gradually stirring until smooth.

 

Add chocolate chips and pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake in oven for 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

Let cake cool in pan. Meanwhile make Nutella glaze by whisking together Nutella, powdered sugar and milk. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. When cake is cool invert onto a plate or cake stand. Drizzle glaze over top and serve.

 

 

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.

Kale, Potato, and Pork Soup

Hearty, Yummy, and Easy. This is a perfect weeknight meal for fall or anytime of the year. The vinegar added at the end adds a nice flavor and brightness to the soup.

Kale, Potato, and Pork Soup

1 yellow or white onion chopped

2 large potatoes cut into bite sized chunks ( I left the skin on)

3 T olive oil

1- 1 1/2 lbs ground pork  (substitute any ground meat that you have on hand)

3 cloves garlic chopped

1/4 t  black pepper

1/4 t red pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicy)

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 T Italian Seasoning

32 oz chicken broth

1 T balsamic vinegar

In a large heavy pot, add olive oil and heat over med high heat. Add potatoes and onion and cook for about 3 minutes, add ground meat, garlic, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until Meat is no longer pink. Add carrots, Italian Seasoning and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve.