Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

My husband and I are huge fans of Costa Vida / Cafe Rio.  I love the sweet pork.  He loves the chicken.  We do not drink soda, and as a result, I rarely make this at home.  Every so often I'll remember to grab some coke and when I do, this is the recipe I use.  It requires little time and then cooks in your crock pot all day.  I'll serve this in burritos, over nacho's, in a quesadilla, etc.

As a side note; I like the pork to be in larger chunks, as opposed to the small shreds you get at Cafe Rio.  If you like it in smaller pieces, increase the cooking time (I've included instructions for both ways below).

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

2 lb. pork butt roast
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard
1 medium onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cans Coca-Cola
4oz. can diced green chiles
10oz. can red enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar

In a crock pot, combine 2 cans of cola with the oregano, cumin, salt, mustard, onion and garlic.
Stir everything together and add pork.
Fill half way up the pork with water, and cook on low for 10 hours (small shreds), or 5 hours (large chunks).

Remove pork from crock pot and shred with forks.
Discard remaining liquid in the crockpot.
Put shredded pork back into the crock pot.
In a blender combine green chilies, enchilada sauce, brown sugar and the other can of Coke, adding more coke if too thick.
Pour over the shredded pork and mix.
Cook on low for 2 more hours.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chewy M&M Granola Bars

Yet another great granola bar recipe to add to the collection.

Chewy M&M Granola Bars
2 1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 c. coconut
1/2 c. M&M mini's
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Add all dry ingredients and mix together until combined.
Pour in softened butter, honey and vanilla.
Fold into oat mixture until evenly coated.

Press into a sprayed 9x13" baking dish.
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars.
Let bars cool completely before cutting.
Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Butternut Linguine

Roasted butternut squash, paired with noodles, sausage and kale.  The perfect fall dinner.

Butternut Linguine
Recipe modified from Taste of Home

1 lb. Italian sausage
6 c. peeled butternut squash, cubed
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
12oz linguine (I used fettuccine)
2 c. kale, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 can chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Place squash on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Drizzle with olive oil and mix around with your hands, making sure each piece is coated.
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Roast at 425 for 30 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions; drain.
In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion until no longer pink.
Add squash, kale, noodles and sage to skillet and toss to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine broth and cornstarch and pour into pan, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Monday, November 19, 2012


The perfect wassail recipe for all of your upcoming holiday get togethers.
Recipe from Lyn H. Denna

2 c. sugar
2 c. water
10 whole cloves
8-10 whole allspice berries
1 stick ginger
2 sticks cinnamon
2 quarts apple cider or juice
2-3 small cans frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cans water (orange juice cans)
1/2 c. lemon juice

Combine the sugar and water and boil for 5 minutes.
In a small fabric or cheesecloth pouch, combine whole cloves, whole allspice berries, and ginger.
Add spice bag and cinnamon sticks to sugar/water mixture and let set for 1 hour.

Remove spice bag and cinnamon sticks.
Add remaining ingredients.
Heat through and serve hot.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tender Grilled Pork Chops

This is one of the easiest pork chop recipes I've ever made; and one of the tastiest.
Boneless pork loin or bone in chops; they are both fantastic.

Tender Grilled Pork Chops
Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe

4 pork chops
1/4 c. olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. steak seasoning

Put pork chops in a quart or gallon size ziplock bag.
Whisk olive oil, soy sauce and steak seasoning together.
Pour over meat in bag.
Mix around with hands to coat evenly.
Let marinate if fridge for 3-8 hours.
Grill until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side for boneless, 12-15 per side for bone-in.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bacon Breakfast Casserole

This easy casserole comes together quickly and can either be cooked right away, or stored in the fridge overnight.  Great for breakfast or dinner.

Bacon Breakfast Casserole
Recipe modified from Our Best Bites

5 small-medium baked potatoes, cooked and cubed
6 oz. bacon (I used turkey)
2 c. cheddar, shredded
1 c. pepperjack, shredded
6 eggs
1/4 c. milk
34 scallions
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and crumble bacon.
Layer in an 8x11" baking dish: potatoes, half of the cheese, bacon, onions and remaining cheese.
Whisk eggs and milk together and pour evenly over potato mixture.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

If preparing for tomorrow morning, place in refrigerator overnight.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cream of Chicken/Mushroom Soup Substitute

These easy to make Cream of Soup substitutes are the only thing I use anymore.  I have yet to find a recipe that it doesn't work in.  It saves me money and space.  A few more minutes of time is all it takes compared to opening up a can.  Not to mention you get to control everything that goes into it!
Cream of Chicken Substitute
Recipe modified from A Matter of Preparedness

3 c. powdered milk (both instant or non-fat work great)
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
18 chicken bouillon cubes
3 Tbsp. dehydrated onion flakes
1 1/2 Tbsp. basil
1 1/2 Tbsp. thyme
3/4 tsp. pepper
2/3 c. freeze dried chicken dices, optional

In a food processor, combine bouillon cubes, onion flakes, basil, thyme, and pepper; pulse until smooth.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Store in an airtight container.

To use:
Mix 1/2 c. soup mixture with 1 1/2 c. water in a saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally until thickened.
Replace in any recipe for 1 can of condensed Cream of Chicken Soup.
Cream of Mushroom Substitute
Follow directions for cream of chicken substitute above, only:
replace chicken bouillon with beef bouillon

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

I love the concept of burrito bowls; everything mexican that you love heaped together in a bowl rather than stuffed into a tortilla.  This particular dish is topped over quinoa, and it is delicious.  We always add meat to ours, but this would be very filling as a vegetarian meal as well.
As far as the meat goes: this is definitely a 'leftover' meal for me.  One that you can take any extra shredded meat, add some quinoa and toppings and you are good to go.

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls
Recipe modified from The Shiksa in the Kitchen

1 c. quinoa
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. minced onion
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. cumin
dash red pepper flakes
1/4 c. water
3 Tbsp. lime juice, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Meat of choice, cooked and shredded:
I like it with kalua pork the best, but we've used chicken and beef also

Toppings of choice:
tomato / salsa
avocado / guacamole
sour cream

Cook quinoa according to package directions.
When finished, fold in remaining 2 Tbsp. lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Meanwhile, saute onions in olive oil until translucent.
Add beans, water, cumin and red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated.
Stir in 1 Tbsp. lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble bowls, layer quinoa, beans, meat, and any additional toppings.
Serve warm.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Autumn Butternut Soup

There are a million butternut squash soups out there.  This is my version of a few that I compiled together.  It is delicious, filling, and great for you.
Autumn Butternut Soup
Menu Managed Original

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 c. cubed butternut squash
1 large sweet potato, chopped
1 c. chicken broth (or vegetable)
1/2 c. orange juice
2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Heat oil in large saucepan.
Add onion, carrot, salt and pepper, and cook until onion is translucent.
Add squash and potato and stir, cooking for one minute.
Add broth and cover.
Bring to a boil and cook until squash and potato are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add orange juice and 1 cup of milk.
Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree until smooth.
Add remaining cup of milk and nutmeg.
Stir and heat through.