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

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Either of these recipes are great on their own but they also go great together. Impress your family and make their favorite take out entrees at home. 

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice


Orange Glazed Chicken

1 1/2-2 lbs chicken ( use your favorite cut, thighs, wings, breast but leave the bones in and skin on)

Salt and pepper

1 c orange juice

1 T corn starch

1/2 c ketchup

2 T honey or brown sugar

2 t vinegar

2 T soy sauce

2 t hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450,  place chicken on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper,  cook for 20 minutes skin side down, then turn and cook 20 minutes more. Chicken should have crispy skin and be golden brown. ( this is for thighs, cook longer for breasts, shorter for wings). Meanwhile add orange juice and cornstarch to a medium sized sauce pan and whisk together, add ketchup, honey, vinegar, soy and hot sauce and whisk again, bring mixture to a boil over med high heat and then turn to low, whisk mixture until thicken to a glaze consistency. Keep Warm.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Dip cooked chicken into glaze and coat well, place back on baking sheet and place back into the oven for 4 minutes or until chicken starts to get dark spots.

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Serve with any remaining orange sauce.

 

Vegetable Fried Rice

4 c cold cooked rice (great for left over rice, or make the day before for best results)

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c rice vinegar

1 T sugar

2T oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 c broccoli florets

3/4 c sliced carrots

1/2 c chopped scallions

2 t chopped garlic

1 T minced ginger

1/2 c frozen peas

2 T chopped basil

 In a small bowl mix together, soy, sugar and vinegar. Heat 1 T oil in a large pan or wok, add carrots, broccoli and scallions, cook 2-3 minutes, add garlic, ginger and peas, cook 2 min more, add cooked rice and soy mixture. stir together and cook over med high heat until all rice is coated and brown, make a well in the center of the wok/pan and add remaining oil and beaten eggs, stir vigorously and then mix with rice mixture until egg is cooked, add basil and stir. Serve.

Vegetable Fried Rice

 Vegetable Fried Rice

Orange Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

 

 

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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.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

I love pumpkin ravioli but who has time or energy to make that, get all the flavor with none of the work with this baked ziti dish.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

1 16 0z package of ziti or other pasta cooked and drained

2 c pumpkin puree

2 c ricotta cheese

1/4 c  shredded parmesan cheese

1 T honey

1 egg

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1 T chopped fresh sage

1 T butter

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

While pasta is cooking, mix pumpkin, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, honey, egg, nutmeg and sage in a bowl. When pasta is done drain and return to pot, add butter and stir over low heat until melted. Add pumpkin/cheese mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Stir in salt and pepper. Add to a large baking pan and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 min at 325 or until cheese is melted.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

It’s that time of year!: Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

I love fall and even though it’s not quite here yet I couldn’t resist making something with pumpkin. This is just the beginning, stay tuned for more pumpkin recipes or try these.

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

2T pumpkin puree

1/4 c apple cider vinegar

3 T olive oil

1 t honey

salt and pepper to taste

add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth ( you could also wisk by hand)

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

 

Food Trend: Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

 

Burrata cheese is popping up on menus all over town. What is it? Pure indulgence, it is fresh mozzarella cheese filled with shredded mozzarella cheese that has been soaked in cream. Here is my recipe for a delicious salad using the best that summer has to offer. Make sure you use good ripe tomatoes for this recipe.

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

makes 1 dinner or 2 appetizer portions

For the vinaigrette

2 T fresh Basil leaves

1 T honey

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper

Mix the above ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

Salad

1 vine ripened tomato sliced

1 c spring mix greens

2 T thinly sliced radish

2 t sliced fresh basil

1 T pepitas ( roasted pumpkin seeds)

1 ball Burrata cheese

Layer greens, and tomatoes on a plate, sprinkle sliced radishes, pepitas and chopped basil on top. drizzle with Basil Honey Vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

Burrata Cheese Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

 

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

 

This is a quick and easy chicken recipe and you probably already have these ingredients at home. Plus it uses Sriracha, my favorite hot sauce. Find it in the Asian section of your supermarket, it’s the bottle with the rooster on it.

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (use any cut of chicken you like just adjust your cooking times accordingly)

1/3 c honey

2-4T Sriracha Sauce (depending on your tastes)

2T lime juice

1/4 t salt

1/8 t black pepper

1/2 t lime zest

Combine honey, Sriracha, Lime juice, Salt pepper and zest, pour over chicken and cover. Place in refrigerator 1hr-overnight.

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

 

Preheat oven to 350. Remove chicken and place in a baking pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and reaches 160+ degrees.

Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken

 

Garnish with lime slices and extra Sriracha if desired.

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese TOasts

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Toasts

 

I love figs, I didn’t used to. I thought all figs tasted like Fig Newtons. Then I tried a fresh fig, delicious, juicy and just the right amount of sweetness to be the perfect accompaniment to any kind of cheese. Unfortunately they are hard to find around here so when I do I buy some. I found them at Fresh Market the other day and made this delicious appetizer. I would also be great with a salad for a light, vegetarian dinner or lunch.

1 loaf French Bread

6 figs sliced into 1/4 ‘ pieces

1 c crumbled goat cheese

1/3 c pistachios crushed

2-3 T olive oil

2 T honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, slice the bread in half horizontally. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle or brush with olive oil, sprinkle on the goat cheese and then place the figs on top and sprinkle with pistachios. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes 0r until cheese starts to melt. remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Cut into slices for appetizers or halves for meal portions.

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Toasts

Fig, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Toasts

 

Gone Girl Book Club: Crepe-a-Dillas

Gone Girl

This month’s book selection was the suspenseful mystery Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was the perfect book for book club, lots to discuss, surprising twists, crazy characters and a unique writing style. I liked it a lot, but I may be biased because it was actually my pick. That also meant that book club was at my house so I had to really bring it with the food. Hmm where to start, how about the beginning, on the day Amy goes missing she is makes crepes for their 5th anniversary breakfast. Crepes are not generally a finger food though and since there is always tons of food at out book clubs, the portion size would be too big. So I thought about it and decided to make my own surprising twist on quesadillas, crepe-a-dillas. Individual triangles of crepe-y goodness, perfect for parties.

Crepe-a-dillas

Crepe-A-Dillas

Filling:

8 0z marscapone cheese

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/4 c lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

3 T honey

10 crepes (you could make your own, but I used pre made ones found in my produce section of the grocery store, flour tortillas would also work)

Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 c sugar

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c water

For the filling,  mix all ingredients with a mixer  until incorporated. To make crepe-a-dillas lay one crepe flat, spread thin layer of filling on crepe, fold in half and then cut into wedges with pizza cutter of knife.

Crepe-a-dillasCrepe-a-dillasCrepe-a-dillas

Place on a plate and put wax paper or plastic wrap between layers to prevent sticking, place in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the sauce, add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Place in small bowl and cover. Cool in the refrigerator.

I also made a Chicken Frito Pie, just like the nice woman brought Nick after his wife disappeared which I will share the recipe to in my next post. We also had members bring manchego cheese, chocolate truffles, chili cheese fritos and casseroles, all thematic for the book.

For decorations I really wanted to have live lobsters in a pot (too mean), so I looked for fake ones but I couldn’t find them. I also wrapped a large box in a blue plastic table cloth from the dollar store ( I couldn’t find plain blue wrapping paper anywhere) for the centerpiece. I had a number 5 candle in my crepe-a-dillas. I also thought it would be fun to make some fun quizzes for book club like the ones Amy wrote for magazines.

Caution tape by the front door would have been a nice touch but I thought of that after book club.

I kept a bowl of red jelly beans close by for our discussions so that they could be throw at people for fun if you disagreed with their thoughts about the book. By the way I am still finding red jelly beans in and under my couch. Gone Girl Book Club

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Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

I love the combination of blueberries and basil, so when I was asked to make salsa for a wine and cheese party, I decided to add a little twist. This salsa is great with goat cheese, brie, blue cheese or even cream cheese, serve over top the cheese on a cracker or bread. This would also be great on chicken or fish.

 Blueberry and Basil Salsa

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 c red onion

5 large fresh basil leaves

1 tsp honey

1 tsp lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until salsa consistency.

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