Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bacon Pancakes

It's been one of those days.  Need I say more?  A day that requires either some lovely libation or some comfort food.  This evening, it's the latter.  When I was a girl, we often had breakfast for dinner.  Breakfast embodies comfort. 

There is no recipe for this.  Just make some nice smokey bacon and pour your batter over it along the strip.  Flip when ready.  Dip into syrup.  Yum.  (Try it with maple bacon!)

Method:  
Just make some nice smokey bacon and pour your batter over it along the strip.  Flip when ready.  Dip into syrup.  Yum.  (Try it with maple bacon!)

My helper girl making the pancake batter.

Pour the pancake batter over already cooked bacon strips.


Flip when the top gets bubbly and slightly dry around the edges.


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Looking for more recipes?
Please visit my Recipe Index for tons of great recipes to cook for/with your family!  Some things are made from leftovers to stretch your budget, others are totally from scratch, while others make use of convenience items for a semi-homemade meal.  I also have a wide array of ethnic recipes represented.  Here are a few to pique your curiosity:
Left Over Pot Roast Pot Pie

Hoppin' John Fritters

Cheater Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

Smoky Sweet Pulled Pork

Sesame Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ham and Cheese Crescents - for kids, by kids

Looks like we've had a mutiny around here, as my kiddos have taken over.  These two are always up for a little kitchen experimentation, so when I suggest we try something new - count them in!  I have been wracking my brain about new things to include in little kids' lunchboxes.  Since these are so easy and quick to throw together (obviously I wasn't needed for much of the process), I thought we could bake these up in the morning and jazz up the standard lunchbox ham and cheese sandwich. 

The crescent roll dough is flaky and slightly sweet, the ham just the right amount of salty (and crunchy on the edges after baking), and I for one have never been able to resist ooey gooey melted mozzarella cheese.  We gave them a little more pizzazz with a sprinkling of Italian seasoning.

  • canned crescent roll dough 
  • 8 slices of ham
  • 4 sticks of mozzarella string cheese
  • Italian seasoning

Step-by-Step:

Separate and open cheese sticks
Dry each slice of ham - both sides.
Cut each cheese stick in half
Sprinkle dough with Italian Seasoning


Roll the ham around the cheese
Roll the ham and cheese roll into the crescent dough
Arrange on a foil lined baking sheet

Bake per package directions until golden brown.  About 15 minutes.
I'm thinking these would be great slathered with basil pesto, filled with rotisserie chicken, sun dried tomatoes, and mozzarella.  Yummm.  Endless variations.

Written Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a pan with aluminum foil for super easy cleanup.  Cut the cheese sticks in half.  Pat dry each side of the ham slices (the extra moisture could result in soggy rolls).  Sprinkle the crescent dough with Italian seasoning and then separate them into triangles.  Roll each piece of cheese into a piece of ham, then roll into the dough - starting at the wide end.  Arrange them on the foil-lined pan and bake.  I baked these about 15 minutes until golden brown.  You can expect some of cheese to start oozing out of the ends.  Allow to cool.


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Here are some bonus recipes!
Prosciutto and Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus Appetizers

Vietnamese Style Lettuce Cups

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli

Beefy Mexican Cornbread

Ham Cups

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spinach and Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Since I was a small girl, my mother has always ENCOURAGED me to write in my cookbooks.  Yep.  You heard me.  Browsing through through her cookbooks (and now mine) becomes like a walk down the proverbial "memory lane."  There are dates, occasions, people present, cooking partners, recipe changes, etc. lining the margins next to the recipes. I can even find recipes that I made for old boyfriends back in high school!  In short, the well-used books themselves become treasures of our history, chronicles of wonderful life memories.  On the other end of the spectrum, these little notes have a way of reaching up and slapping you... "Geez you are getting so old!"  As I looked back at this recipe, I was a little take aback that I've been making this now for 11 years! Wow!  The inspiration for this recipe comes from a cookbook Come On In, Recipes from the Junior League of Jackson, MS.

Looking at the title, and remembering that I have picky eaters may have you scratching your head.  Well, I can explain.  One of the great things about pork tenderloin, aside from being really lean, but still tender and juicy, is that they usually come 2-to-a-pack.  That's fortunate, because I can stuff one and leave the other one plain.  Doesn't that work out nicely? 

In my opinion, the stuffing of this pork really brings it to life.  It's sweet and savory at the same time, beautiful to look at, and gives you a wonderful textural component to the bite.  This version is done on the grill.  The other option is for the oven.  We've done it both ways. 

Click for Printable Recipe 
Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach, washed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dried apricots, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (2 tsp dried)
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pork tenderloin (2 lb), pounded out to 3/4" thickness
optional  sauce - 
  • 1 cup beef stock/broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup apple jelly
  • 1/2 cup creamed honey (or plain)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Step-by-step
Sauce:
Just start this going as you are prepping the meat and veggies for the grilled version.  The longer you cook it down, the silkier and yummier it is.  Combine broth, wine, jelly, honey and Worcestershire in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to about medium heat.  Reduce sauce down until thickened to desired amount.


1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup apple jelly
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1/4-1/2 cup honey
Here's the sauce, in the process of reducing.

Grilled Method:  (faster)

Saute spinach and garlic briefly in butter.  Mix in the sliced apricots and chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the apricot stuffing over the flattened tenderloin.  Roll up the pork and secure with kitchen twine (I usually add a few toothpicks as well).  Grill until internal meat temperature reaches 150-160 degrees F, depending on your preference.  Tent the grilled meat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  If you don't let it rest, all the juices will run out of the meat, leaving it dry.  So just don't!  Slice tenderloin and serve with sauce if desired.

Filling -
Saute garlic briefly in butter

Wash and remove stems if desired from baby spinach and chop.
Add the spinach to the garlic and let it wilt briefly. Only a couple of minutes.  Careful, don't let the garlic burn.
Add chopped rosemary


Add chopped apricots
Salt and Pepper to taste
 Meat Prep -


Start on one "side" of the pork and slice down, leaving a border on the side and at the bottom.
When you get to the bottom "border," turn the knife and continue to cut to the side.  You can essentially make a border the whole way around.  Pull the meat open as you go.

Here is the cut pork.

I'm not that great at making it perfectly uniform, so I am pounding it to a uniform thickness.  Be careful to not tear the meat or make it too thin.

Add the apricot filling in the middle.

Roll it up.
Pin it and tie it up.

I left this in the capable hands of my husband, while I attended to something else.
Grill on each side until it reaches the desired temp.  Isn't it pretty? 160 degrees is probably around the average goal temp.
 
Don't forget to remove the toothpicks and string!

Allow to rest 10 minutes (tented under aluminum foil) before cutting!!!!!

Just beautiful!!!

Oven Method:  (a bit more flavorful in my opinion)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  After you get the tenderloin stuffed and tied up, brown it on all sides in oil, in a Dutch oven on the stove top.  Add the wine, Worcestershire, and jelly to the pot and then put in the oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes per pound, or until an internal meat thermometer reads 150 degrees.  Remove the meat to rest on a plate (covered) while you put the pot back on the stove.  Add the beef broth to the pot and scrape down all the browned bits (fond) from the bottom of the pot.  This is where you get tons of flavor for the sauce.  Add in the honey and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened.  Slice the tenderloin and serve with the sauce. 

Grilled Method:  (faster)

Saute spinach and garlic briefly in butter.  Mix in the sliced apricots and chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the apricot stuffing over the flattened tenderloin.  Roll up the pork and secure with kitchen twine (I usually add a few toothpicks as well).  Grill until internal meat temperature reaches 150-160 degrees F, depending on your preference.  Tent the grilled meat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  If you don't let it rest, all the juices will run out of the meat, leaving it dry.  So just don't!  Slice tenderloin and serve with sauce if desired.

Sauce:
Just start this going as you are prepping the meat and veggies for the grilled version.  Combine broth, wine, jelly, honey and Worcestershire in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to about medium heat.  Reduce sauce down until thickened to desired amount.

Looking for more great recipes?  Please visit my Recipe Index for more ideas to cook with/for your family.  Here are a few to pique your interest:


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