Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Apricot Glazed Pork Loin

I'm a big fan of any food that is sweet and spicy. This recipe especially stands out! The pork is tender and juicy and the glaze is super addictive. I paired mine with roasted potatoes and wilted spinach but it would also make a great sandwich topped with crunchy coleslaw.

I made this recipe for our Easter dinner. Move over ham!


Sweet and Spicy Apricot Glazed Pork Loin

Serves 4

1 lb. pork tenderloin

1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Franks)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Rub pork tenderloin with the spice mixture and marinate for at least 2 hours.

4. Meanwhile, mix glaze ingredients and set aside.

5. Transfer marinated pork loin to a baking dish and roast for 20 minutes.

6. Cover pork loin with half of the apricot glaze and roast for an additional 20 minutes.

7. Transfer pork loin to a platter to rest.

8. While the pork loin rests, bring the remaining glaze to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced by half. Pour over the pork loin.



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots and Parsnips


Soups and stews are one of my favorite comfort foods. As Easter approaches, I found it appropriate to create a dish filled with "bunny food" (aka carrots and parsnips)!

These root vegetables are nutrient-packed - they offer potassium and folate for heart health and fiber for optimal digestion. 

Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots and Parsnips

Serves 8

2 lb. top sirloin steak, trimmed and cubed
2 tablespoons flour
6 carrots, peeled and diced
3 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 lb. red potatoes, diced (leave peel on)
1 sweet onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Season steak cubes with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown beef until golden and sprinkle with flour. Transfer to a bowl. 

2. In the same pot, add the diced carrots, parsnips, onion and potatoes and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

 3. Add the thyme and garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

4. Add browned beef, 3 cups stock, red wine,  and Worcestershire sauce to the pot.

5. Whisk together the remaining beef stock and cornstarch and add to the pot. Bring stew to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 25 minutes.

6. Stir in the peas at the last minute.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Louisiana Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya

I don't think I've ever met a shrimp dish I didn't like. This week at the store we wrapped up Cajun Fest and I felt like I needed to make something that really highlighted the huge Louisiana gulf shrimp that we were sent. These shrimp are so yummy. Any variety of fresh shrimp will do for this recipe though - just remember to buy them with the shell on in order to make a shrimp stock to really boost that seafood flavor!


Louisiana Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya

Serves 6-8

2 pounds gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
Olive oil
1/2 pound andouille sausage, diced small
2 green peppers, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 ribs celery, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes with oregano, onion and garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups brown rice (not instant)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thin

1. Make shrimp stock: place shells in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes. Strain and discard shells.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add the sausage. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned.

3. Add the green pepper, onion and celery and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Stir in the garlic, crushed tomatoes, seasonings and brown rice.

5. Add 4 cups shrimp stock and bring a a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.

6. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Let jambalaya sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

Finish with green onion and serve!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Puff Pastry Croutons

To me, March means St. Patricks Day celebrations and cheering on the Spartans during March madness. Since working at a grocery store, I've also found out that March is frozen foods month. Frozen foods aren't always seen as the most healthy option, but they can be! Frozen fruits and vegetables are packaged at the peak of freshness, making them a great option this time of year. This week I was craving a nice warm bowl of soup and I wanted to challenge myself to make one using only frozen vegetables. I was very impressed with the flavor of this soup and definitely recommend it for a quick meal :)


Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Puff Pastry Croutons

Serves 4-6

2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 cans reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups 2% milk
1 bag frozen stew vegetables, thawed
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. In a large saucepan, bring all soup ingredients to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, line a sheetpan with parchment paper or silpat. Roll puff pastry to 1/4" thick. Beat egg and water and brush over the dough.
4. Sprinkle the dough with salt, paprika and parmesan cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares.

Serve soup with fresh croutons.