Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce

I'm sure you are all just ASTOUNDED that I am finally posting something other than a menu plan!  Unfortunately, it seems like it was all I could find time for with Christmas LOOMING.  Yes, LOOMING.  I hate that I didn't enjoy the season as much as I normally do.  It is my own fault.  I put off the preparations (shopping, baking, etc.) that we, as mothers must do, and as a result things became a bit stressful for me and I didn't even get to do as much baking as I normally do.  I found myself doing the minimum and I DIDN'T EVEN DO SUGAR COOKIES WITH MY KIDS!!!!! for the first time ever.  Oh, the shame.  Speaking of firsts, I also didn't even get Christmas cards out this year for the first time EVER since my oldest (11) was born.  Well, now that that is off my chest, I can now look forward and resolve to do better next year.  

This pork recipe is fantastic.  Please try it!  It is SO flavorful, not to mention healthy!  It is a winner that I will be making again!

Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce

1/2 c. bourbon
1/4 c. packed, dark brown sugar
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. salt
1-11/2 lb. Pork Tenderloin, trimmed

To prepare sauce, combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 11 minutes), stirring frequently.  Remove from heat. 

To prepare pork, combine chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, stirring well.  Rub evenly onto pork.  Cut pork crosswise into 12 slices.  

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (I like to use my griddle so I can fit everything on).  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Serve with sauce.  

Source: Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

277 (13% from fat)
4g (sat 1.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.5g)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Menu Plan

We just got home from a week of solid travel.  It was fun to visit relatives, but if feels so good to be home.  We have SO much organization to do.  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday: Sandwiches, cause we just got home!

Wednesday: Burrito Casserole , Spanish Rice, & Iceburg Lettuce

Friday: Homemade Pasta, Olive Garden Breadsticks, Salad

Saturday: BWW Night: Onion Strings, Side Salad, & Wings

Sunday: Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup, Tortilla Chips & Salsa

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, on a Tuesday

Monday: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup (MIL's Homemade, canned)

Tuesday: Broccoli and Chicken Stir-fried Rice

Wednesday: Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce, Rice, & Steamed Vegetables

Thursday: Healthy Homemade Fish Sticks & Two-Step Mac and Cheese

Friday: Homemade Pizza Crust (Not sure on toppings)

Saturday: Bloomin' OnionWallaby DarnedHoney Wheat BreadOutback Steaks, Steamed Veggies

Sunday: Cheddar Chicken Chowder & French Baguettes

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chewy Granola Squares

My kids just LOVED these Chewy Granola Squares.  They are such a perfect little snack to send with them to school and so easy to make.  Give them a try!  I know I will be making them again and again!  I feel much better about them eating these than the granola bars they are always asking for at the grocery store.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the finished bars (the last pic is right before they went into the oven).  I made these after I put the kids to bed one night and they disappeared so fast the next day I never got around to it! 

Chewy Granola Squares

2 1/2 c. Quick Rolled Oats
1/2 c. Rice Krispies
1/4 c. Coconut
1/2 c. M&M Mini's (you could sub chocolate chips, marshmallows, raisins, or anything your heart desires)
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Butter, softened
1/4 c. Honey
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Add all of the ingredients together and mix until combined.  Press into a 9x13 inch pan (you may want to line with Parchment paper first for easy removal).  Bake at 350* for 18-20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars.  Let set completely, then cut into bars.  

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles are a hugely popular recipe online.  Why wouldn't they be?  They only contain 3 ingredients, are relatively easy to make, and the taste?  Out of this world!  They are certainly one of the baked goods that my family looks forward to most at Christmas.  You simply MUST add them to your Holiday Baking.  Trust me!

Here are the ingredients you will need if you want to make a double batch, which I did since I was making them for an exchange.  I only ended up using 3 of the boxes of Baker's Semi-Sweet chocolate for a double recipe though.  

Oreo Truffles

1-16 oz. package Oreos, divided (NOT DOUBLE STUFFED!)
8 oz. package Cream Cheese, softened (I use reduced-fat)
2-8 oz. packages Semi-Sweet baking chocolate

If desired, crush 9 of the cookies in the food processor and reserve for later use (sprinkling on top for decoration).  Or, if you are like me, and your kids already ate at least 9 of the Oreos, just use pretty Christmas sprinkles and skip this step;P

Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs in the food processor.  Drop in cream cheese by the spoonful. Mix in food processor until it is all mixed together and has formed one large ball.  Put in bowl.  Place bowl in freezer for about 10-15 minutes so that it is easier to work with.

Get your double boiler heating to melt the chocolate (or if you don't have one, like me, get your stockpot with glass bowl heating).

Roll cookie mixture into approximately 42 balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  Place on baking sheet on wax paper.  Place in fridge or freezer for a few more minutes so they are firm.  

Gingerly, roll the balls in the melted chocolate.  I like to use a fork to gently turned them about.  You need to be go it quickly so that the balls don't lose their shape.  Scoop the balls out of the chocolate with your fork and tap the fork against the bowl a couple of times to get rid of excess chocolate.  Place on wax paper and sprinkle with Oreos or your decor of choice while the chocolate in nice and soft.  Repeat until done.  Leave balls on wax paper until they harden, then package them as you wish.  Store in refrigerator.   

Source: Allrecipes

Tilapia Parmesan

If you are like me this time of year, you are resorting to fast food and cookies far too often.  Not that there is anything wrong with cookies....but you know what I mean.  Do you know what is perfect for those nights you don't seem to have enough hours in your day?  Fish!  It is such a quick and easy thing to cook.  Dare I say, it is easier and quicker than hitting the drive through?  I should add, my kids absolutely LOVE Tilapia prepared this way.  They INHALE it and I never seem to make enough to satisfy them.


Tilapia Parmesan

1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c. Butter, softened
3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise (light is fine)
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Basil, dried
1/4 tsp. ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 tsp. Celery Salt
2 lbs. Tilapia Fillets
Cajun Seasoning, optional

Preheat your oven's broiler.  Grease a broiling pan, or line pan with aluminum foil.  In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan, butter, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.  Season with basil, pepper, onion powder, and celery salt.  Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets on a single layer on the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the fillets with some Cajun Seasoning if you would like a little extra kick.  Broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Flip the fillets over and broil a few more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.  Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned (mine could have used an extra minute browning, as you can see) and fish flakes easily with a fork.  Be careful not to overcook the fish!

Sources: Allrecipes & The Girl Who Ate Everything

Friday, December 3, 2010

Smoky Sesame Cheese Log

Today is your lucky day.  I am sharing my families absolute FAVORITE Thanksgiving appetizer.  I stumbled upon this recipe about 8 years ago in a Taste of Home magazine and I have been making it for Thanksgiving ever since.  It is, of course, also perfect as a Christmas appetizer.  We are usually doing a lot of traveling at Christmas though, so I don't get to do much of the cooking.  Enjoy!

Smoky Sesame Cheese Log

2-8 oz. packages Cream Cheese, softened (reduced-fat is fine, that is what I usually use)
1 c. (4 oz.) Monterey Jack cheese (I have also used Sharp Cheddar in a pinch and I think we might like that even better)
1/2 c. Bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 c. Bacon, crumbled & cooked
1/2 c. Sesame Seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp. Chives, minced

Assorted Fresh Vegetables or Crackers

In a large bowl, beat the first five ingredients until blended.  Add liquid smoke.  Shape mixture into a log.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight ( I sometimes speed up this process by just popping it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so before rolling it).  

For topping, combine the bacon, sesame seeds, and chives; roll cheese log in topping.  Serve with vegetables and/or crackers.

FYI: I usually use an entire 1 lb. package of bacon in this recipe (minus the couple slices that inevitably get stolen by my family while I am trying to cook;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Menu Plan

It has been too long!  I had a great Thanksgiving where I cooked massive amounts of food and I have several delicious recipes just BEGGING to be shared.  Hopefully, I will get to that very soon.  For today, I want to share my December Monthly Menu Plan.  I took a break from doing monthly shopping, and I decided it was time to go back to it.  It really does make our lives run so much more smoothly (not to mention, I'm convinced it saves us lots of money).  It is a little work up front, but, when finished...I won't need to think about it until next month which is AWESOME.  Especially since I need to focus my time and energy preparing for Christmas.  YIKES!  I so admire all of you that have all of your shopping done before Thanksgiving.  In my next life, I am going to be super-organized like that:-)  I also admire all of you that have been better about keeping up on your blogs than me.  Ugh!  My intentions are good, but I always feel guilty blogging when I should be cleaning, like NOW.

1st:  BBQ Meatballs, Potatoes, & Fresh Vegetables
2nd: Chinese-Style Roast Pork, Jasmine Rice, & Green Beans
3rd: Homemade Pizza Crust (Not sure on the toppings yet)
4th: CHINESE NIGHT IN: Bourbon Chicken, Rice, Egg RollsEgg Drop Soup
7th: Burrito Casserole, Spanish Rice, & Iceburg Lettuce
9th: Crab Cakes, Potatoes, Veggie
10th: Tacos in a Bag
11th: OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE NIGHT:  Bloomin' Onion, Wallaby Darned, Honey Wheat Bread, Outback Steaks, Steamed Veggies
12th: Broccoli & Chicken Stir-fried Rice
13th: Cheddar Chicken Chowder & French Baguettes
14th: Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein
15th: Spiced Pork with Bourbon Reduction Sauce, Rice, & Steamed Vegetables
16th: Healthy Homemade Fish Sticks & Two-Step Macaroni and Cheese
17th: Homemade Pizza Crust (Not sure on toppings)
18th: BWW NIGHT: Onion Strings, Side Salad, & Wings
19th: Tortellini & Ham & Salad
20th: Dirty Rice
21st: Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup, Tortilla chips and homemade salsa
22nd: OUR FAMILY CHRISTMAS: Lobster PizzaCheddar & Herb Biscuits, Crab Legs, & Side Salad
29th: Baked Potato Soup & Sweet Dinner Rolls
30th: Herb Crusted Salmon with Mixed Greens Salad & Minnesota Wild Rice Pilaf
31st: NEW YEARS EVE!!  Homemade Pasta Making Night!

*Easy French Toast Casserole
*Caramel Rolls

Other Snacks:
*Chewy Granola Squares
*Jerky Lovers Jerky

Christmas Baking- Not finalized, still thinking!:
* Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies
*Peanut Butter Blossoms
*Oatmeal Carmelitas
*Homemade Oreos
*Apple Cider Caramels
*Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
*Chex Mix
*Sugar Cookies
*Oreo Truffles
*Glass Block Holiday Jello


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