This is the first week since before Christmas that I feel like I'm back into the full swing of cooking dinners. We certainly weren't lacking for food - just not in the form of healthy dinners. I have been out of my usual routine and just couldn't seem to get it all together until this week - I finally feel like I'm settled back into my dinner routine.
One of the great things about taking a road trip vacation, is that I get to read all of my cooking magazines that have been piling up on my coffee table. I did exactly that over the Christmas break and I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all of my cooking magazines that I hadn't had time to read. I was able to spend time actually planning menus instead of running by the grocery store to pick up dinner on my home from Christmas shopping. Consequently, our dinners for the rest of this month are coming directly out of the pages of my magazines.
One of the recipes that caught my eye was a Tuscan Style Pork Roast in my Cook's Illustrated magazine. This was a great way to launch myself back into the routine of cooking healthy dinners.
Tuscan Style Pork Roast
1/3 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2 ounces pancetta
2 1/2 pound boneless center cut pork loin roast
Set roast on a greased wire rack over a baking sheet.
Roast at 275 until roast registers 135 degrees. (About 1 1- 1/2 hours) Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes.
Cut twine. Slice roast. Squeeze lemons into remaining reserved oil. Serve vinaigrette with sliced roast.
This roast took a lot longer to cook than 2 hours to cook. I ended up kicking up the heat at the 2 hour mark when the pork temperature was barely 100 degrees. I think I ended up roasting my pork about 2 1/2 hours and finished it up at 400 degrees. (I was in a hurry - and starving. No time to wait another hour for dinner.)
This elegant pork is perfect for a busy weeknight and a perfect meal to impress your guests.
It happened almost immediately. I got my personal chef license and NOBODY wanted to cook for me anymore. Nothing had changed really - I didn't become a picky eater or turn into a weird food snob but all of a sudden, everyone was afraid that I would be critical of their food. I get it, it can be intimidating to invite a foodie over for dinner but quite honestly, we're far less critical that you might think.
Believe it or not, I had to even convince my own family that I really wanted them to take a turn in the cooking. They just assumed that I was the "best" cook in the house and that I really didn't wouldn't want to eat anything that they made. The truth is, my very favorite meals are the ones that someone else has prepared for me.
Last winter the neighborhood that I live in hosted a chili cookoff. It was a great opportunity to taste all sorts of homemade chili recipes. I cooked a batch of chili to submit for the competition but to be honest, I didn't even eat any of my own - I was much more excited about tasting everyone else's chili. One of my favorites was a white chicken chili recipe. Did I mention how thankful I am for friends who share their recipes with me too?
White Chicken Chili
1 Tablespoon oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken broth
7 ounces green chilies, diced
1/2 poblano chili, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
Ladle into bowls and serve.
Gotta love having friends who are not only willing to cook for me and my family but also willing to share their recipes with me. I've got some of the best friends around.
Just when you think that they're couldn't possibly be a cupcake flavor that I haven't tried yet - I pull a new cupcake flavor out of my recipe hat.
It's hard to believe that I haven't put this flavor combination together before now. A buttery, moist, yellow cupcake with a scattering of sweet, colorful candy pieces - yes, please.
So without further ado ... here is it - my M&M Cupcake recipe.
Combine dry ingredients. Add to batter alternating with milk.
Bake 22 minutes at 350. Cool on wire racks.
Frost with vanilla buttercream and decorate with M&M's.
Never underestimate my cupcake inventory. I've got a constant stream of cupcake recipes that are still in the development stage somewhere in the back of my brain. Doesn't everyone else lay in bed at night dreaming up new cupcake flavors?
Who doesn't love Mexican food? I love chicken tacos, I love love fish tacos and I love love love the rice and beans that they sneak onto my plate - no matter what I order when we go out for Mexican. I'm not sure what they put in those rice and beans but they're seriously good and crazy addicting.
I've tried to recreate that restaurant style Mexican rice at home and it's definitely fallen short of my high expectations. Last week I gave it another try with a brand new Mexican rice recipe. (Who says Italians can't make great Mexican food?)
Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Fluff with fork.
This rice was sooo good. It had the exact same effect on my as the restaurant rice - I could NOT stop eating it. It was surprisingly easy too. This recipe is a win win.
Try this rice with your favorite Mexican meal. For me, I'm thinking I'll serve it with my chicken fajitas, my oven tacos, my Mexican lasagna and my shrimp tacos. (Pretty much all of my Mexican meals will be accompanied by this rice.) Yum!
Happy New Year!!!
What better way to kick off a brand new year of recipe blogging than with a festive raspberry filled champagne cupcake? I had good intentions of posting this recipe before New Years Eve so that you could make them for your New Years Eve celebrations but things just got a little to busy. BUT, if you have a little leftover champagne this morning that you don't really know what to do with - these cupcakes work with champagne that may have lost a little of it's bubbles.
Raspberry Filled Champagne Cupcakes
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
3 egg whites
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp champagne
1 batch of raspberry filling
Bake 22 minutes at 350.
Cut a hole in the center of each cupcake.
Fill each hole with a spoonful of raspberry filling.
Top with a swirl of vanilla buttercream and another spoonful of raspberry filling. I made some festive little decorations for my cupcakes using small skewers and some leftover Christmas tinsel.
We rang in the New Year in style last night. Thought I would share just a few pictures of our New Years Eve party.
Here's to a fabulous new year.
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