Baked Cuban Sliders

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Not only are these sliders incredibly easy to make but they are also delicious. The sauce on top is the perfect addition and doesn’t mute, but instead enhances the flavor of the pickles and ham. It took a lot of self control to only have two of these for dinner. I could have easily been satisfied with a few more!  You only need a handful of ingredients for this recipe and about 30 minutes of time to make it. I was able to stuff a 9×13 baking dish and had another (smaller) pan of 7 more so we will definitely have leftovers for a few days. It is the perfect dish for busy weeknights. This recipe was inspired by http://www.houseofyumm.com you can find the original post on their beautiful website if you would like to check it out.

Serves: 24 sliders     Calories: 217 per slider     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 24 Hawaiian rolls
  • 9oz thin sliced deli ham, we used honey ham
  • 2 (80z) packages of Swiss cheese
  • 1 (24 oz) jar of bread and butter pickles, I used a big jar because I packed on the pickles. If you want to use a smaller jar just go lightly on the pickles when you assemble the sliders.
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2.  Prepare your baking dish with cooking spray
  3. Cut all of the Hawaiian rolls in half. Place the bottom half of each roll evenly in your baking dish, reserving the top halves.
  4. Place the ham over the bottom halves of the rolls, next the cheese and finally the pickles.
  5. Place the tops of the rolls over the dish.
  6. Whisk together the butter, dijon mustard and onions. Spoon this sauce over the tops of the sliders. Don’t soak them with the sauce as they will get soggy. You want just enough sauce for flavor 😉
  7. Cover your dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes is up remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to crisp up the tops of the sliders.
  8. Slice the sliders apart, serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.houseofyumm.com

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Rosemary Dijon Pork Chops – ★★★★★

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When I say I am terrified of cooking pork chops I mean “I’ve been married to a man who loves pork chops for 5 years and this is only the second time I’ve ever made them for him” terrified. I over cook meat. Ask Perry and he will gladly tell you how many times I’ve ruined a recipe because I just cannot stomach the thought of eating possibly undercooked meat. For real you guys I could survive an apocalypse off jerky and be happy as a clam. Perry kept dropping hints that he was craving the comforts of a home-cooked pork chop so I turned to my trusty sidekick, pintrest. I found the original recipe at http://www.kitchen-concoctions.com but adapted my own little recipe from theirs. The only reason I adapted my own for this one is because with a cross-country move and 2 kids (one of which is only 3 months old) it’s not very feasible to buy a 6 pack of nice brown beer to dump only one in a sauce. We’ve been sipping on coors light for the past few months, if the mood strikes, so thats what I had in sorts for beer. That being said, the sauce was still amazing with the cheap-nowhere-near-brown-hued-or-robust and I would suggest using any beer you can get your hands on so long as it isn’t banana bread or chocolate pretzel infused etc. The recipe was simple enough that even I was able to pull it off (with coors light nonetheless) and the flavor was fantastic! Perry gave 5 stars and here is why:

I enjoy pork chops, Dijon, and beer. This recipe sounded like a score to me, except that it was pork chops. Kelsey has some sick fear of cooking pork chops and I have a sick fear of eating pork chops that she cooks. Last time she did pork shops she “slow cooked” them. Basically she made pork chop jerky in her slow cooker. However this dinner was a pleasant surprise. The pork was succulent and the sauce…. The sauce is what deems this dinner worthy of 5 stars. Be warned that the sauce is really rich, so don’t go dumping it on the steamed veggies and rice you may be having on the side. Imagine having a perfect chop with a velvet Dijon sauce herbed with pungent rosemary. Yeah that’s exactly how it is.”

Serves: 4-5     Calories: approximately 334 calories per chop with nice ladling of sauce    Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops, I used boneless about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup of beer, brown ale is recommended but coors works too.
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (+ more for garnish)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and black pepper. Place on a greased 9×13 baking dish
  3. Whisk together beer, Dijon, honey, butter, rosemary and garlic. Pour this mixture over the pork chops.
  4. Bake pork chops for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Remove pork chops from sauce and roasting pan
  6. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and the add juices from roasting pan. Stir in the whipping cream and boil until reduced consistently stirring.
  7. Serve the chops with cream sauce drizzled overtop.
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.kitchen-concoctions.com 

Peanut Sauce – ★★★★★

11029640_10205879874614123_4164395445143186072_nI know people who are extremely picky and almost snobby about their sauces. I hate to admit that I have become this way with my peanut sauce. I used to love going to the local Thai Restaurant to feast on chicken and beef satay with a few extra sides of peanut sauce. However, once I learned to make my own peanut sauce I developed a hate for the recipe offered by our local spot. Once you get your hands on a recipe that has a beautiful base and you learn to tailor it to your own tastes it is extremely difficult to have anything but your own. This stuff is good with satay (naturally), egg rolls, rice, veggies, pita and of course on its own by the spoonful. A batch of this stuff doesn’t last long in our home. It is savory and creamy with a nice finishing kick. There are a few ingredients that can be a bit pricey (sesame oil and rice vinegar) but think of them as pantry staples because I guarantee you’ll be making more of this sauce. Perry gave 5 stars and here is why:

Kelsey has been developing her peanut sauce since she learned how to make chicken satay years ago. It feels as though every time she makes this stuff it gets better and better. I asked her to write down the exact ingredients and measurements because it was so excellent. She advised me that this time she finely chopped peanuts in our blender to mix in giving it a crunchy texture and an even nuttier taste. The spice at the end is great. It isn’t too overwhelming but it does heighten the experience that is this sauce. I call it an experience because I cannot stop eating it until I dip everything I can find in the fridge in it. Creamy perfection!”

Serves: 12+     Calories: 102 per 1 tbsp serving     Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of peanuts, unsalted if you can help it
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp garlic chili sauce (add more or less to your taste. I you don’t like heat don’t add it. If you like a little kick add a fraction of this amount. Tailor it to your taste.)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Grind the peanuts in a blender or food processor so that they are finely chopped. It will feel like a paste to the touch but look like grainy sand to the eye. Remove from the blender/processor and set aside
  2. Blend/process the peanut butter, ginger, chicken broth, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic, and chili sauce until smooth.
  3. Hand mix in the chopped peanuts until evenly mixed.
  4. Garnish with red pepper flakes and serve.
  5. Enjoy with anything you can get your hands on 🙂

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Spicy Zucchini-Tomato Sauce – ★★★★★

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I remember, as a child, my mom making pasta sauce from scratch. It would take hours to simmer, tasted delicious and the house would smell amazing. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of time so if I wanted to make my own sauce I had to find something to whip up in 45 mins max… The Food Network gods have blessed me with this recipe and doubt I’ll ever go back to the Jar. The fresh basil is a must so please don’t skimp there and use dried basil. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it will make. Perry loved this recipe because not only was it tasty but it made enough for leftovers and according to him it tasted better day after day. He gave 5 stars and here is why:

This sauce is amazing. It tastes very fresh and has a nice little kick at the end. I really like the addition of zucchini because it gives a little crunch and of course adds flavor. It didn’t seem like it took to much effort to make and it wasn’t very expensive either. We only spent $60.00 for the three meals we made +extra things we needed so I’ll estimate this only cost about 10.00 max to make. These are the kind of dinners I like, cheap and delicious.

Serves: 4-6      Total Time: 35 minutes     Calories: 354  

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil. (Olive oil is the best but we had canola on hand.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used about 3 because I love garlic)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (plus a little extra to sprinkle ontop if you really like the heat)
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into small chunks 
  • 1 pkg whole wheat pasta of your choice (we used spaghetti)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (THE BEST!)
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for topping (Optional but very recommended)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is just golden, about 1 minute.
  2. Squash the whole tomatoes with your hands over the skillet, add with juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt or less and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as directed. Drain and add to the sauce along with the basil; toss to coat.
  4. Top with parmesan and enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.foodnetwork.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Homemade Cranberry Sauce – SUPER EASY!

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Like I said earlier this was the first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner so I wanted to make everything from scratch. Everything down to the cranberry sauce 🙂 This recipe was so darn easy that I don’t think I will ever go out and by a can of cranberry sauce. This sauce has lemon zest making it pleasantly sweet and tart. Try this and you’ll never go back to the can 🙂 Original recipe found at Martha Stewart.

Makes  2 cups of sauce (We had 7 adults at dinner and still have a lot left over. I wouldn’t make a second batch unless you are hosting a 20+ person dinner.)

Ingredients:

– 1-12oz bag of cranberries, rinsed

– 3/4 cup of sugar

– 1 tsp grated lemon zest

– 1 cup of water

Directions:

1.) In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, sugar, lemon zest, and water.

2.) Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until cranberries are soft (about 10 minutes)

3.) Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature

4.) Serve

*Original recipe belongs to Martha Stewart

** Photo is original taken by me

Mini Asian Meatballs – Party Pleaser!

Yesterday we went to a BBQ and signed up to bring an appetizer. My husband automatically said he wanted meatballs so I turned to the internet to find a recipe for cocktail meatballs. After looking for about an hour I found “the one.” This recipe does not take 5-8 hours in the crockpot (this was key because time was not on my side.) Also if you cook a lot of Asian style foods you probably have a lot of the ingredients in your cabinet. If you don’t have the ingredients however it will be a little more pricey initially but don’t fret because you can make a ton of great recipes with those same left over ingredients. These little morsels are very flavorful and extremely easy to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

For the meatballs:

-2 lbs. ground beef

-2 tsp. sesame oil

-1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (oriential foods aisle at the grocery market)

-1/2 tsp. ground ginger (I grated fresh ginger and did not used dried ginger)

-2 eggs

-3 tsp. minced garlic

-1/2 cup of sliced green onion (you want to slice these guys pretty thin)

-garnish (completely optional): sesame seeds lightly toasted in a pan over the oven.

Ingredients for Sauce:

– 2/3 cup of hoisin sauce (oriential foods aisle at the grocery market)

-1/4 cup of rice vinegar (oriential foods aisle at the grocery market)

-2 garlic cloves minced

-2 tbsp. soy sauce (oriential foods aisle at the grocery market)

-1 tsp. sesame oil (oriential foods aisle at the grocery market)

-1tsp. ground ginger (once again I grated fresh ginger instead of using dried ground ginger)

DIRECTIONS:

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.) In a fairly large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs.

3.) Once combined roll the mixture into 1-in balls and place in a greased baking sheet. (Approx 30-40 balls)

4.) Bake 10-12 minutes until browned and not longer pink.

5.) While the meatballs are baking whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce.

6.) Drop baked meatballs into the sauce and fold the balls into sauce to coat.

7.) If you want to keep them warm (like I did) put the balls and sauce into a crockpot and turn to low/warm.

8.) Either have the sesame seed garnish in a separate bowl by the meatballs or dump them into the sauce and mix.

9.) Make tons of copies of this recipe to hand out to your friends who ask for it 🙂

**Photo is an original by me

**Original recipe was found at http://www.allrecipes.com

Pineapple Chicken and Asparagus with Goat Cheese and Curried Orange Sauce

I was a little unsure of this recipe at first but we gave it a shot and it was amazing! Pineapple, orange juice, goat cheese, and asparagus do not sound like they mesh well but the different flavors compliment each other really well and leave your taste buds tingling for more. The huge plus with this recipe is that the ingredients are cooked by “dry pan frying” which means no oil or no added fat! What a win win recipe 😉 I suggest making the sauce first and keeping it warm because when you get all the other ingredients you really need to focus on what is on the stove. Since you are “dry frying” it is easy to burn the ingredients so you’ll want to focus.

Serves: 4   Calories: 235

Sauce Ingredients:

– 2 1/4 cups of orange juice

– 2 cloves of garlic

– 2 oz. fresh chopped ginger root

– Curry powder to taste

– Chilli powder to taste

– Salt to taste

Main Dish Ingredients:

– 1 lb boneless skin less chicken breasts – rinsed, trimmed, and cut into bite sized pieces

– 1 bundle of Asparagus (about 20-25 spears) – rinsed, trimmed, cut in half

– 1 pineapple – peeled and cut into bite size pieces.

– 1 oz. goat cheese

– Dash of salt

Directions for Sauce:

1.) Heat a small sauce pan to medium-high

2.) Keep pan over heat and mince 2 cloves of garlic and 2 oz of ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan to toast. Don’t let it burn just get it a little crispy on the outside. Stir it around the pan to keep it from burning

3.) When the garlic and ginger has a nice toasted texture and before it burns add the orange juice. Turn heat to just a smidgen under high

4.) Add salt, curry, and chilli powder.

5.) Stir well and continue to stir for 10-12 minutes.

6.) Turn heat to low and stir every few minutes while cooking the main dish. Don’t let it burn and remember to stir. It will also start to thicken.

Directions for Main Dish:

1.) Put the peeled and cut pineapple into a cold frying pan. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and let sit for a few minutes while juice collects in the bottom of the pan.

2.) Put rinsed, trimmed, and cut asparagus into a separate cold frying pan.

3.) Heat pineapple on medium-high

4.) In yet another frying pan put the rinsed, trimmed, and cut chicken breasts in another frying pan.

5.) When the chicken is half way cooked turn the pineapple to high. Keep a keen eye on this pan while it is cooking on high. You do not want to burn the pineapple but you want to tenderize it and lightly brown it on the outside.

6.) Don’t forget about the asparagus. Continue to toss it in the pan so it does not burn.

7.) When the chicken is cooked all the way add it to the pineapple and toss.

8.) Add 1 oz of goat cheese to the asparagus and let it melt. The cheese will clump together so spread it over all the asparagus to coat.

9.) Dish chicken and pineapple and drizzle the curried orange sauce over it. Then place asparagus on top.

10.) Indulge 🙂

**Original recipe can be found on sparkrecipe.com**

***All photos are originals taken by me***