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Marinated Grilled Pork Loin and Greek Salad

26 Mar

Happy Monday!  Usually Monday’s don’t equal happiness, but for me, it’s Spring Break!  Wonderful, I know.  It has been an eventful day overall.  I spent a lot of time this morning looking through wedding ideas online.  I’m still searching for shoes, jewelry, hair pieces, etc…  I won’t complain though, because it’s fun to look around and get ideas. 🙂  Before I go into the rest of my day, I need to show you my tasty meal from last night.

While waiting for the main entree to cook, my mom and I enjoyed a greek salad that I created, and we topped it with a homemade greek vinaigrette.

Greek salad with lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers and kalamata olives.

I used a salad dressing recipe I found on Food Network’s website, and it turned out so good!

For the main entree, I decided to make a marinated pork loin.  After marinating the pork loin for several hours, it was well worth the wait!!!

YUM!

Marinated Grilled Pork Loin:

Ingredients:

1 original pork loin (1-2 pounds)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/8 cup lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp thyme

pepper to taste

Directions:

1.) Combine everything but the pork loin in a large ziploc bag.

2.) Once ingredients are mixed well, add the pork loin, and spin it around until it is coated in the mixture.

3.) Let sit in fridge until you are ready to cook.

4.) Cut into 3/4 inch slices, and place on the grill for 10-15 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

**You can also bake them in the oven.**

Hot off the grill.

It turned out so tender that it practically melted in your mouth.  I dipped mine in some mustard, but plain or with barbecue sauce would work too!  I also made some green beans on the grill with garlic salt, pepper, olive oil and almonds.

Pork loin with green beans.

My meals for today featured leftovers from last night that tasted just as good.  Now I’m up to my knees in batter and frosting baking in the kitchen.  I’m working on testing out some cupcake and other dessert recipes for my wedding.  An update on this process will be coming soon!

New Concoctions

25 Mar

What a relaxing weekend it has been for me so far.  Any weekend that involves sunshine, friends and great food is always a good one in my book.

After a last minute decision to head to visit my friend Katie, I hopped in the car.  I was excited to try out a new cafe for lunch and stop at some new-to-me health food stores.  We visited The Main Grain Bakery where I picked up a fresh loaf of their seed bread.  It was nutty and delicious.

Seed bread.

We then made our way to a country store with tons of bakery items, nuts and seeds in bulk.

Oat bran, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut.

Katie suggested the oan bran to me since I’d never had it.  I was also fresh out of chia seeds.  Finding sunflower seeds that are both unsalted and not roasted is always a challenge, so I knew I should snatch these while I could.  Also, unsweetened coconut can be hard to come by in our local grocery stores.  Overall, it was a fun trip, and I am so glad I got to meet up with Katie. 🙂

*****

Yesterday my mom had to work, and she ended up getting home super late.  I knew she was going to be starving, so I threw together a flatbread pizza similar to my margerita pizza from several days ago with the one flatbread remaining.

I decided to do something a little different than the other day since we  didn’t have any basil left.

Pesto Chicken Flatbread Pizza.

Pesto Chicken Flatbread Pizza:

Ingredients:

1 flatbread

1/4-1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon of pesto

1 chicken sausage (flavor of your choice)  I used spinach and feta.

Fresh mozzarella

Shredded parmesan cheese (sprinkled)-The pictures don’t show the parmesan, as it was a last minute addition.

1 handful of fresh spinach

Italian seasoning to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Place flatbread on a cookie sheet and spread pesto sauce evenly.  Then top with tomato sauce.

3.) Place a thin layer of spinach across the entire pizza.

4.) Add fresh mozzarella, shredded parmesan and chopped chicken sausage.

5.) Top with italian seasoning.

6.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, and broil on low for the last 3 minutes, or until crispy on the edges.

 

There are so many different pizza combinations, and I can’t wait to keep exploring the possibilities!!

*****

This morning started out with a new concoction that my friend Katie suggested to me she tried out the recipe from the Heather Eats Almond Butter blog.  I made something similar with an added twist.

Chia Oat Bran Breakfast.

Using my new oat bran, I cooked a 1/2 cup of oat bran with 1 cup of water on the stove in a sauce pan.

This took about 3-5 minutes until all of the water was absorbed.  Then I stirred in approximately 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds and poured it into a bowl.

I topped my oats with wheat germ, a scoop of almond butter and 1 Tablespoon of melted coconut butter.  There isn’t a ton of flavor, but the butters help.  I’m not picky with flavors as long as I know things are good for me. 🙂

Now I’m trying to find the motivation for a nice afternoon walk before it’s time to work on dinner.  I’m hoping for another cookout with my mom and grandpa and currently have a pork loin marinating in the fridge.  I’ll be back with an update and pictures of the finished product.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

 

 

Mouth-Watering Meals

21 Mar

Well we’ve made it over the hump… I’m so glad to say that it’s almost Thursday.  Luckily this week has gone pretty fast, and lets hope it keeps up!

After school today, my mom and I headed out for a nice, long 4 mile walk.  We chose to take the same route Korey and I took on Sunday.  It was the perfect walking weather with a nice breeze.  After a frustrating day, the walk was essential in order to get rid of my frustration!

When we arrived home, our legs were feeling tired, but our stomachs were also grumbling!  As badly as we wanted to sit down and rest, we knew we needed to throw together some dinner.  Lucky for me, my mom took more initiative and put together a chicken and veggie salad that definitely hit the spot.

Packed with nutrients 🙂

This salad had grilled lemon pepper chicken, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, slivered almonds, and avocado.  I topped mine with a raspberry walnut dressing.

*****

After dinner came the inevitable…taxes.  My mom and I have been procrastinating for the past few months, but we knew tonight was the night.  It’s a long process that involves me sitting in front of the computer for several hours typing while my mom reads me information.  We also help do my brother’s taxes, so 3 sets of taxes=no fun!  Not only that, but half of the time we can’t find the papers we need.  (Note to Korey…..when we get married, we will keep important documents in a folder so nothing gets lost!)  You can thank me later. 🙂

Half way through our taxes we had an unexpected surprise.  My brother’s girlfriend, Mandy, is home for spring break this week, so she stopped over to visit.

Mandy and I.

That is a waaaaay old picture, but a cute one none-the-less.  I’m so glad we got to catch up!

*****

Before I let you go, (and let myself go and get some much needed sleep!), I have one more new recipe for you that I created for last night’s Bunco party.

Flatbread Margerita Pizza:

Ingredients:

1 flatbread

1 roma tomato (thinly sliced)

1/4- 1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/8 cup fresh basil (chopped)

Shredded parmesan cheese (sprinkled)

Fresh mozzarella

Italian seasoning (to taste)

**Ingredient amounts are approximate.  Feel free to add more or less as you wish!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Lay flatbread on a baking sheet, and spread a thin layer of sauce.

3.) Add tomato slices, shredded basil, cheeses and seasoning evenly to the sauce.

4.) Bake for 10-15 minutes, and broil in order to crisp the edges and the top.

Artisan-Style Flatbread.

I chose to use the One-Republic brand, however any thin flatbread would work.

Thinly sliced tomatoes are key!

The next few pictures describe the way that I chop the basil.  It creates thin ribbons of basil that are great for sprinkling!

Take several basil leaves and fold them in half.

Roll the basil leaves tightly into a tube shape.

With a knife, slice off small pieces of basil.

Fresh basil is one of my favorite fresh herbs, and a necessary ingredient for a margarita pizza.

Flatbread with all of the toppings.

This was a huge hit at the party, and everyone thought it was amazing!  For an improv recipe, I’d say it went well. 🙂

Yumm!

In case you’re not familiar with fresh mozzarella, here are a few images of different varieties below.

Large mozzarella ball.

Small mozzarella pearls.

The fresh mozzarella comes in either a large ball or small pearls.  Either variety works, though.  I used the pearls for my recipe and chopped them in half.  However, it may be easier to use thin slices from the large ball.

Re-living this recipe is making my mouth water!  I better head to bed before I give in to my cravings. 🙂

Baked Bruschetta

18 Mar

With the nice weather we’ve been having, all I want to do is cook and grill out!  In between cooking and eating, I have managed to find time for some exercise as well.  Korey and I went for a 4 mile walk today, and it felt amazing.  That walk was much needed after all of my indulgences this weekend.

Last night while visiting my future in-laws, I decided it was my turn to cook dinner.  Part of the meal featured a homemade bruschetta that I created.  Based on the reactions I received, my made-up creation turned out well.

Bruschetta

Ingredients:

3 roma tomatoes, diced (or approximately 1 1/2 cups)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 Tablespoon of basil (dried or fresh)

Loaf of italian bread

Philadelphia cooking cream (garlic flavor)

Directions:

1.) Dice tomatoes, and add them to a small mixing bowl.

2.) Add minced garlic, basil and olive oil to tomatoes, and mix well.

3.) Allow mixture to sit in fridge until you are ready to use.

4.) Slice loaf of italian bread, and place the slices onto a baking pan.

5.) Spread a thin layer of the cooking cream cheese onto slices.

6.) Spoon the tomato mixture onto the bread slices.

7.) Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy.  (At this point, you could also just bake the bread with the cream cheese and add the tomato mixture after the bread has been cooked.)

Tomato topping mixture prepared in a bowl.

Bread with cream cheese and tomato mixture ready to go in the oven.

Overall, we enjoyed this recipe.  There are many different ways to recreate it.  I would also suggest adding a small amount of balsamic vinegar to the tomato mixture for some added tang.  Otherwise, you could also sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on top of the tomato mixture rather than using the cooking cream.  Usually I’m not a huge fan of baking with processed and packaged ingredients, but the cooking cream was quite delicious.  I can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as I did.  Of course it was another fast week of Korey being home, but I sure did enjoy every minute of it.  Check back tomorrow for a relationship recap because it’s our 1 year anniversary, and it was quite possibly my best year yet!! ❤

Chicken Kale Soup

12 Mar

Is it really Sunday???  Can the weekend go any faster…probably not.  Usually I would be bummed that the weekend was over, except for the fact that Korey will be coming home tomorrow!!  It’s been another long two weeks of him being gone for work.  Unfortunately for me I will have to go through the entire day of student teaching before I get to see his smiling face. 🙂   I just love this picture!!  What a little model he is.  This was from our trip to Florida last May.  Speaking of Florida, the weather here today in Wisconsin was beautiful!!  I may or may not have been sitting on the front porch in a lawn chair tanning my face…and boy did it feel good.  After catching some rays, I went on the treadmill for a solid 30 minutes.  It just so happened that mom was ready for an outdoor walk before dinner, so we did the “loop” by our house that takes about 20 minutes.

After we got home, we went straight to the kitchen to work on a new soup recipe.  I thought it turned out pretty well for an improvisation recipe…you guys will have to be the judge though.

Chicken Kale Soup:

1 T. olive oil

1 clove garlic

2 stalks celery (diced)

1 1/2 cups carrots (diced)

1/2 cup onion (minced)

1 tsp. chicken bouillon

1 1/2 tsp. parsley

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. sea salt

10 cups water

3 chicken sausages (chopped into approximately 20 pieces each)

4 cups chopped kale

1 can white hominy (drained)

1 can cannellini beans (drained)

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional-this makes it quite spicy!)

Directions:

1.) Combine chopped veggies, garlic and olive oil in a large pot, and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until veggies start to soften.

Veggies in stock pot.

2.) Add water, both cans of beans and seasonings (chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, parsley, bay leaf, garlic salt) and bring to a boil.

3.) Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low, add the chicken sausages and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

4.) After 20 minutes, add 4 cups of chopped kale, and simmer for 15 more minutes.

5.) Scoop and serve hot.  Top with mozzarella or parmesan cheese.

The final product!

I hope you guys enjoy.  Again, if you like a little spice, add just a touch of cayenne pepper.  Yum yum!!!  While my soup was cooking, I was snacking on this…..

How delicious does that look??  Trust me…it was!

I am working on another batch of homemade pumpkin granola.  Since mom and I liked the batch I made last Sunday and it’s almost gone, I knew I needed to make more.  That recipe will be coming soon.  Enjoy the rest of your night!

Lemon Caper Sauce

9 Mar

As I was looking through past recipes I made, I came across a lemon caper sauce that I was obsessed with for a while.  I would drizzle it on top of chicken or pasta dishes.  It’s extremely delicious and fairly healthy too.  What could be better?!

Lemon Caper Sauce:

1 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

black pepper

1 Tbsp capers

1/2  cup fresh mushrooms (optional)

Chicken or chicken sausage (optional)

Feta cheese for topping

Directions:

1.) Begin by mixing cold water and cornstarch in a small dish until smooth.

2.) In a medium sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients except chicken with cornstarch/water mixture and heat over medium, stirring as sauce starts to thicken.  This should take approximately 10 minutes.

**Can be used over pasta noodles of your choice.  I prefer the flavored al dente noodles similar to the ones below.**

I typically use lemon juice from a bottle just because it’s easier.  Also, here is what capers are packaged in just in case you’re not familiar with them.

Once you have cooked pasta noodles and prepared chicken (or ingredients of your choice), top with sauce as you desire.  I have made this recipe three separate times, and each time I did things a little different as you can see.

Each time though, it turned out perfect, and even tasted great as leftovers the next day!  Don’t wait any longer… you need to make this. 🙂