Category: Dinner


Honey Peach Pecan Pork Roast

I was so excited to make this pork roast for my family, and it did not disappoint!

Pork is mild and lends itself well to a wide range of accompanying flavors from subtle to bold, sweet to spicy. Fruits, especially peaches, are a great complement to pork, and the Peach Jalapeno Sauce adds just enough heat to keep the sweetness from being overwhelming.

This is a wonderfully tender pork roast that is fancy enough for a special meal, yet easy enough for a “regular” dinner.  After pulling it out of the oven, my son-in-law asked for a knife to slice it — only to find that the meat was so tender it shredded with very little effort!

It doesn’t require many ingredients, and I thought it was easy to make. Pop it in the crock pot for 3-4 hours, put it in a roasting pan, spread on the preserve mixture and bake. While the roast is in the oven, heat up the Peach Jalapeno Sauce to serve on the side. Click for recipe.

We had some leftovers but not much, and The Pretty One quickly claimed those to take back to school. If I want leftovers next time, I’ll either use a larger roast or invite fewer people! I’ll also make a zippier sauce by adding more jalapenos. Or, since I love fresh ginger so much, I might sub freshly grated ginger for the jalapenos. Yep, Ginger Peach Sauce sounds like a winner!

 

Honey Peach Pecan Pork Roast

Adapted from CopyKat Recipes

Stuff you need:
1 medium to large pork roast or tenderloin [I used a 4 pound pork roast.]
4 C water (or enough to just cover meat) plus 1 chicken bouillon cube per cup of water OR 4 cups chicken broth
1/2 large onion (or 1 whole small onion)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
2 C peach preserves, divided
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Real Lemon juice
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapenos or freshly grated ginger (optional)

Now what?
Place pork roast in crock pot and add enough water + bouillon or chicken stock to just cover meat.

Peel and chop garlic and onion and add to broth. Add thyme.

Set crock pot to high and allow to cook for no less than 3 hours (longer if meat is still frozen).

Remove meat to appropriately-sized baking dish. Add approximately 1/4 inch of broth. Keep the rest to serve on the side and use a little to keep the leftovers moist in the frig. Mix the honey, 1 cup peach preserves and lemon juice and cover top of meat using a basting brush. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until glaze begins to crystallize, being careful not to overcook. Since the roast is fully cooked in the crock pot, only bake until the glaze begins to form a crust.

Remove from oven, let rest for 10-15 minutes, then slice. [My roast was so tender it shredded instead of sliced!]

Serve with Peach Jalapeno sauce or make gravy with the leftover broth.

Peach Jalapeno Sauce
Simmer 1 cup peach preserves with 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapenos. Stir often for 3-5 minutes. Taste and add more jalapenos for more heat. [I used jarred jalapenos but think fresh would have more of a kick.]

 

 

This mama loves her boy and loves to cook for him! I’m lucky he lives close enough to stop by once or twice a week; it keeps me from missing him too much.

I like to send The Pretty One back to school with things he can heat up for dinner. He cooks for himself, but as a student athlete he doesn’t have the time or the desire to experiment a lot. Without cooking experience it’s difficult to branch out too much, so his menu is fairly limited. He’s trying, though and I think he’ll end up being a pretty good cook. He was raised by professional cooks, so maybe a little of that rubbed off.

I make things he can’t or won’t make for himself, and things that have a different flavor profile from his usual repertoire. Translation: I don’t make burgers, brats or spaghetti for him.

The Pretty One loves Alfredo sauce, rice and peas, so when I found this recipe I couldn’t wait to make it for him. It does require some prep work — it calls for cooked chicken and cooked rice — but that can be done in advance. I cooked the chicken and rice in the morning, then threw the casserole together and baked it in the evening. Click for recipe.

Ready for the oven!

Like most entrees, this recipe can be adjusted to your taste. I left the peppers and nuts out of the original recipe because I didn’t think they’d be welcome. I didn’t have any basil (What? I love basil!) so I used Italian seasoning. We like peas, but you could substitute broccoli or some other veggie if you prefer. I used brown rice but white or wild rice could also be used. Instead of breadcrumbs on the top, I used crushed corn flakes for a little crunch and topped that with minced garlic for extra pop. I really like ham, peas and Alfredo sauce together so next time I’m going to substitute ham for the chicken.

How did it turn out? I asked The Pretty One tonight. He had a complaint — there wasn’t enough. He wants more. He said it was really good and he ate it within 24 hours. I agree – it did taste good! I had to try a spoonful myself. How else would I know if it was any good? And I had to break into the casserole so I could show you what it looked like, right?

This dish is a keeper. I’ll be making it again, but it sounds like I’ll be doubling the recipe next time!

It’s been a long time since I made homemade bread that wasn’t made in a bread machine. It seems to take forEVER, and there is too much waiting time involved. I’m impatient and busy. I’m not very good at waiting, and some days I just can’t afford to be unproductive.

I remember the smell of the house during my childhood when Mom would make dinner rolls. It was so tantalizing it made my stomach growl! When I saw Kelli’s post for Honey Oatmeal Bread on her blog Can Cook, Will Travel, I could just imagine the wonderful smells that would fill my house.

Baking bread requires time and attention, which is one of the reasons I don’t make it often. It’s not like popping something in the crock pot and turning it on or putting brownies in the oven for 25 minutes. Bread is a commitment. It’s a hurry-up-and-wait project that requires you to be available when the bread calls.

I'm the Queen of Everything in my kitchen!

Christmas morning I planned to be home, and it would be a guilt-free day if I didn’t get anything done, so what better time to bake bread? I put on my “Queen of Everything” apron and got started! (Click for recipe.) Kelli’s got the baking step-by-step covered on her blog. Below is how MY step-by-step went!

Mix up the bread dough, put it in a greased bowl on the stove for an hour to rise. [Run downstairs and jump on the elliptical for an episode of The Big Bang Theory, then do some heavy bag work for a couple of commercials. Run back upstairs and finish wrapping Christmas presents.]

Punch the dough down, flip it out on a floured surface, cover it with the bowl and let it rise another 15 minutes. [Do a little clean-up in the kitchen, run downstairs and move the laundry from washer to dryer, come back up and check email.]

Divide the dough into two loaves, cover and place on the stove for another hour for final rising. [Pull some shrimp out of the freezer for dinner, take a shower, try once again to decide on a shade of blue paint for the bathroom, read over tonight’s Fettuccine Alfredo recipe.]

Bake the bread for 35 minutes. [Open Christmas presents with The Pretty One. Admire the delightful pink shoes he gave me, take silly pictures by the tree.]

Pull bread from oven and let cool. [Mix up Cinnamon Honey Butter, make the Fettuccine Alfredo, broil the blackened shrimp.]

It’s true, baking bread is time consuming; it takes 3 – 4 hours. But as I discovered, with a little focus and coordination those can be very productive hours. And the payoff? Besides the workout and small tasks I completed during the waiting period? Two loaves of slightly sweet oatmeal bread with a dense texture and a makes-you-drool smell! You can’t get bread like this in the bakery unless you get it straight out of the oven, and how often does that happen? Slice into a warm loaf, slather on a little butter and savor the goodness. If you have leftovers, slice it up in the morning for toast or dip it in a cinnamon egg mixture for a hearty French toast. Top with fresh fruit, and you have a delicious (and healthy) start to your day! 

Steam rises from a freshly baked loaf.

Quinoa for dinner!

Orange Ginger Chicken, Quinoa, Stir Fry Veggies.  See? I CAN cook healthy food!

I was craving chicken over rice with some type of sauce, but couldn’t quite put my finger on the type of sauce I wanted. Quinoa sounded good too, and it’s so versatile I knew I could make a pot to use for several meals. So I grabbed a bottle of sauce from the pantry, pulled out some fresh ginger, garlic, onions, celery, carrots & cabbage, and cooked up some deliciousness!

Normally I season quinoa when I cook it, but this time I wanted to use it for both sweet and savory dishes, so I cooked it up plain.  I let the sauce from the chicken and veggies season it. Later this week I’ll make a sweeter version by adding almond milk, fruit and warm spices.

If you’re not familiar with quinoa, you should give it a try. It’s considered a super food — a complete protein source, good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus, gluten-free, and considered easy to digest. For only 220 calories for 1 cup, it provides essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa’s versatility makes it ideal for salads, pilafs, porridges, breads, or just about anything else where you’d use a grain. There are all kinds of recipes online, so pick one and try it — I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Welcome to Munchie’s Mind!

 I’ve been blogging for a while, but not about food. Instead, I’ve been sharing my thoughts about karate. Now it’s time to blog about my other passion – food!

Food. I love it. I love to eat it, make it, talk about it, read about it. After all, what’s not to like? Well, besides all those silly calories!

Playing in the kitchen is my relaxation. My refuge. The place where my creativity can come out and play.

I’m a writer of boring stuff by day, karate student by evening, baker & cook when I get the chance. Fifteen years in the food service business only endorsed what I already knew — food is my passion. If I could cook and bake all week and get paid for it — would I? I’m not sure. I don’t ever want to get to the point where “playing” in the kitchen becomes “working” in the kitchen, a chore. So for now, I bake for family, friends & co-workers for celebrations — birthdays, weddings, baby showers — and just because there are ingredients in my kitchen just begging to be transformed.  

Over the years I’ve been influenced and inspired by many people. They’ve encouraged me to bake up sugary goodness, courageously been my guinea pigs for new recipes, and (thankfully!) eaten my food so I wouldn’t eat it all.  These are my stories of the people in my life and the food I associate with them. You’ll notice it’s mostly baking, thanks to my sweet tooth. But I’m working on learning to love healthy food as well, so hopefully you’ll see some of that, too!

Here we go!