Pork loin is always a big hit in our house. It’s delicious, lean, healthy and lends itself to all types of savory flavors. When it’s cold outside I sear and then roast the pork, but as soon as Spring arrives I head out to the grill. Not only am I fascinated by the alchemy of the grill, I love not having dishes to wash, so I am always trying to figure out how to make our entire dinner outside. The tasty marinade bastes the pork and then transforms into a delicious sauce for your dinner…and a vinaigrette for a quick salad later in the week. Now that’s getting some serious mileage from a small cooking investment!
When you are feeding a crowd you can't go wrong with pork loin. It's a crowd pleaser and so much easier to manage on the grill then lots of burgers or chicken breasts. If you don't have oregano, either thyme or rosemary would work equally well in this marinade. Happy cooking!
1 cup Oregano leaves
¼ cup Garlic, minced
2 tsp Kosher salt
¾ cup Olive oil
¼ cup Sherry vinegar
4½ - 5 lb Pork loin, trimmed (see note)
In a food processor combine oregano leaves and garlic and pulse until a paste is formed.
Add Kosher salt, olive oil and sherry vinegar and pulse until the dressing is emulsified.
Place the pork in a pyrex dish, poke about 10 holes with a fork in each side of the pork and spread both sides with approximately ⅓ cup of the dressing.
Transfer the rest of the marinade to a mason jar - now you have dressing for your pork.
Cover the pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Spray grill with olive oil or canola spray and heat to high. Let grill preheat until the temperature gauge reads at least 300 degrees.
Place pork on the grill, I like to put it crossways for grill marks, and grill over high heat, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes total (this is the searing part of the cook time).
Turn heat to low and continue cooking, turning the pork every 15 minutes, for about 45 minutes longer.
The internal temperature of the pork should be 145 degrees when you take it off the grill. Let it rest for about 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute, the internal temperature will continue to rise.
Thinly slice to serve (the meat will be slightly pink in the center).
Pork loin - it's important to trim not only the excess fat and the silver skin off the pork. The silver skin is tough and inedible when cooked, so you definitely want to cut it off.
At this time of year there’s still some uncertainty in the weather, lots of warm days hint of Spring, but the nights can be chilly and some days you need warm socks and a jacket. This stew is the last one I make each year, it’s fresh and light, and chock full of vibrant flavors – cumin, turmeric, dried red chiles, olives and lots of lemon. While this stew is great for a family dinner, it’s also special enough to serve for a cozy dinner with friends. Don’t be scared away from the long recipe – it’s very simple actually. I also included some technique notes that hopefully will add to your cooking knowledge.
Try my recipe for poached chicken breasts. I guarantee tender, juicy and flavorful chicken – the ideal starting point for literally hundreds of recipes.
You will notice the recipe calls for 1-3 chile de Arbol (check the notes for more on them), they do make this stew a bit spicy. If you aren't sure you want it spicy make it the first time with 1 or 2 chiles. If you want to make this stew super family-friendly you could even omit the chiles entirely and only add the olives in the adult servings (I know my kids wouldn't touch olives). Your stew will still be totally delicious! Happy cooking!
¼ cup Olive oil
2 Onions, yellow, large, minced
12 tsp Minced garlic
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp Turmeric, ground
1 tbsp Cumin, ground
1 tbsp Coriander, ground
1-3 Chile de Arbol, stemmed, seeded and minced (see note)
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 Bay leaves, dried
3 (15.5 oz) cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, with 1 can pureed (see note)
6 cups plus ½ cup Chicken broth, low-sodium or homemade
3 Lemons, zested and juiced
4-5 lbs. Chicken, cooked and shredded (I use skinless, boneless breasts)
2 cups Green olives, small, pitted (optional)
1 (6 oz) bag Baby Spinach, with stems removed (optional)
In a Dutch oven over medium low heat add the oilve oil. Once the oil has warmed add the onions. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned, 8-10 minutes.
Add the garlic, Kosher salt, turmeric, cumin, and coriander and continue to cook for 5 minutes more.
In the meantime, puree 1 can of the chickpeas with ½ cup of chicken broth. (If you don't have a food processor you can simply mash them with a potato masher)
Add chile(s), cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, all of the chickpeas (pureed and regular), chicken broth, the zest and juice of 2 lemons and the chicken. Stir well, adjust heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Remove Dutch oven from heat. Add last lemon (zest and juice) as well as olives and baby spinach if using. Stir well. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can also freeze for up to 1 month.
Why do I add spices so early in a recipe? Many years ago I discovered the Indian technique of "blooming" spices. All that means is you add your spices and seasonings to hot oil and allow them to cook for a few minutes. You achieve two things - one, the hot oil helps release the flavors and two, your dish has so many more layers of flavor. Give it a try! Chile de Arbol - one of my favorite aspects of cooking is that you never stop learning, there is ALWAYS a new ingredient, technique, recipe to experiment with. I came late to dried chiles - I did not start cooking with them until this winter and I was instantly hooked. They add such an interesting complexity to dishes. Yes, they are a bit expensive (a container of these costs around $5, but they last forever). Depending on your heat tolerance start with small, maybe just use 1 chile and see how you enjoy the heat. Chickpeas - They can be a wonderful way to add thickness and body to a soup or stew, so in this recipe I take 1 can and puree it in the food processor with ½ cup of chicken broth. It's a great technique to use in a variety of dishes.
Rice is a dinnertime staple in our house. I serve it with all types of meals, but especially with Asian dinners, so Jasmine is the rice I make over and over again. The secret here is the cooking technique. I bake my rice which means hands-off cooking and even more important, it cooks consistently. Perfect, fluffy rice every time!
Why is this rice so good? The secret to baking the rice is the consistent temp - unlike the stovetop where you can never achieve the same result. Make sure you have boiling water and chicken broth (by the way, the combination of the two makes the rice so much tastier). The boiling liquid to kick start the cooking process. Did you know that rice freezes really well? So, yes this recipe makes a lot, but I toss half of the cooked rice in a Ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer. Happy cooking!
3 cups Jasmine rice
2¼ cups Chicken Stock
2¼ cups Water
4 tbsp Canola oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Preheat oven to 375:
Prepare the rice: Measure rice in a casserole dish.
Make the broth: Pour the chicken broth, water, canola oil, kosher salt, and garlic powder in a small stockpot. Heat on high until boiling. You can also do this step in the microwave! Immediately remove from heat and pour into the casserole dish. Mix thoroughly.
Put it in the oven: Cover tightly with foil and put into the oven. Cook for 50 minutes. Remove from oven, pull back the foil. Two results can happen now - one, if the liquid has been completely absorbed, fluff with a fork and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Two - if there is any liquid left in the pan, then re-cover and put back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Then remove, fluff with a fork and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
I always use a aluminum pan when cooking rice. Why? It just conducts heat better than a Pyrex dish and the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. You can use a glass baking dish, just be sure to spray the dish with canola spray before starting the recipe.
I have never been one for frying meatballs (too messy!), so I am constantly tinkering around with baking meatballs instead. This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s new cookbook. I have always baked my meatballs, but usually at a low temperature. I still make meatballs that way from time to time, but I really appreciate the speed with which these meatballs come together. The additional breadcrumbs and higher heat help the meatballs keep their shape and cooks them all the way through…then all you need is a quick simmer in the sauce and dinner is ready!
Have a few extra minutes? Make my delicious marinara sauce!
If your family is anything like mine, everyone has certain foods they like better than others. I thought it would be fun to show you my kid's plates - so take a look and see if your family resembles mine! By the way, this recipe makes a lot of meatballs...which freeze beautifully, so go ahead and put some meatballs in the dinner bank (i.e. freezer). Happy cooking!
4 Eggs, large, lightly beaten
1 cup Yogurt, whole milk Greek
1½ cups Red wine, dry
2 tsp Kosher salt
4 tsp Minced garlic
2 tsp Oregano, dried
2 cups Grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
4 cups Breadcrumbs, fresh or Panko
2½ - 2¾ lbs Meat mixture (a blend of sirloin, veal and pork) (see note)
2 (32 oz) jars of Marinara sauce (good quality, homemade is even better)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make sure oven racks are in the upper and lower positions. Line two sheet pans with aluminum foil.
Place eggs, yogurt and red wine in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Add Kosher salt, minced garlic, oregano, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Mix throughly (the reason you want to mix completely before adding the meatloaf mixture is because you never want to overmix the meat - it will toughen the meatballs).
Add the meat mixture to the bowl and gently mix with your hands until all ingredients are combined.
Measure out enough meat mixture to form a 2 inch ball (an ice cream scoop is really helpful here) and place each ball 1 inch apart on the sheet pans.
Transfer sheet pans to the oven, starting one pan on the upper rack and one pan on the lower rack. Your total cooking time with be between 20 - 30 minutes, you will want the meatballs to be lightly browned, After 10 - 12 minutes, switch the positions of your sheet pans so that the meatballs can cook evenly.
Meanwhile, in large pot add the marinara sauce and simmer until heated through.
Add browned meatballs and simmer until flavors are melded, 10 - 15 minutes.
Serve on top of spaghetti or polenta or even on its own. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Meatball / meatloaf mixture comes in a package that is generally in packages of 1¼ or 1⅓ lbs. So, that’s why I called for a specific pound range, I am figuring on you buying two packages of the meat mix. If you are making meatloaf in the spring or summer, you won’t find the mix in the store. In that situation, I buy ground beef and ground pork (it’s hard to find ground veal so I just skip it). The meatloaf is still fantastic!
This recipe thunderbolt really happened by accident. I was trying to make pulled pork last minute and the grocery store was out of pork butt. Tragedy! I know, not a horrible thing, but what was I going to do? Well, I decided to grab a pork loin and see what I could do with it. Turns out the pork loin made a delicious and much healthier pulled pork. The one change, since it has so little fat, you really want the shredded pork to sit overnight in the braising liquid. So, this is a recipe you need to start 1 day before you want to eat it.
Try my barbecue sauce, it’s great on the pulled pork.
I used a slow cooker, but you can just as easily make this pork low and slow in the oven. I've included instructions for both methods. The most important part of this recipe is to make sure the cooked and shredded pork go back in the braising liquid overnight. It's the best way to add the flavor that you're missing when you don't have the fat from a pork butt. Happy cooking!
½ cup Brown sugar, light
2 tbsp Mustard, ground
1 tbsp Kosher salt
4 tbsp Paprika
2 tbsp Garlic powder
2 tbsp Onion powder
6 lb Pork loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 4 equal pieces
3 cups Apple juice
¼ cup Liquid smoke
Accompaniments - barbecue sauce, potato rolls.
In a small bowl combine mustard, Kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.
Rub the 4 pieces of pork with the spice rub. If you have extra time, you could refrigerate the pork overnight for additional flavor.
Slow cooker: place the pork in the slow cooker and add apple juice and liquid smoke. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 - 7 hours.
In the oven: preheat oven to 300. Place pork in a large 4 quart baking dish (you could also use a Dutch oven), add apple juice and liquid smoke and cook for 2½ - 3 hours.
When the pork is cool enough, shred into bite-size pieces.
Place shredded pork back in the slow cooker or baking dish in the braising liquid and refrigerate overnight.
To serve reheat pork in a covered dish in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Ham is always a big hit in our house! It’s so easy to cook and I can feed a lot of hungry kids. When I’m making a ham just for our family, I don’t bother with a glaze, but I’m including my favorite glaze recipe here as well. To make this recipe even simpler, I call for a spiral-cut ham, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time carving the ham. With this recipe I am hopeful you’re encouraged to make family Sunday dinner a tradition in your house.
Behold the 2 ingredient recipe! Of course, you can make the glaze, but I only take that step for company or a holiday - otherwise the kids are so happy to just have normal, delicious ham. Check out my improvised cutting board - I don't own a cutting board with a rim, so whenever I need to carve a protein I simply place a flexible cutting board inside a rimmed sheet pan and I am ready to go. Happy cooking!
7 - 8 lb Spiral Ham
1 cup Apple juice
1 cup Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup Brown sugar, light
Preheat oven to 250.
Place ham in a large shallow baking dish (I have a 4 quart Pyrex dish that I use in this recipe).
Pour apple juice over the ham.
Cover ham with parchment paper followed by aluminum foil tightly crimped to the baking dish.
Cook until warmed through, 1¾ - 2 hours.
Carefully remove to a lined cutting board to cool slightly before carving.
If glazing, whisk vinegar, mustard and brown sugar in a small bowl.
Slowly pour over the ham, using a pastry or basting brush to get the glaze inside the spiral slices.
Increase oven temperature to 425 and return the ham to the oven for 15 minutes.
Finally, carefully remove the ham to a lined cutting board to cool before carving.
I LOVE pulled pork…it is so flavorful and a great option for feeding a crowd (or our family). Not enjoying any fat on my food, I shred it neurotically, so you’re only left with lean pork. And it freezes beautifully, so you can make a big batch and save some for a future meal. Usually I gravitate to Southern flavors, lots of brown sugar, cumin, celery seed. Sometimes I go out on a limb with still more cumin, but amp up the chipotle chili powder and the pork is ready for a Mexican-inspired meal. Inspired by a food article (I am constantly reading), I went in a totally different direction, and created my FAVORITE pulled pork ever! With hints of chili paste and honey this pulled pork is Asian-inspired and incredible! In our house, we enjoy this pork over rice, with noodles, in quesadillas, and best of all on homemade nachos!
Not a fan of heat? You can make this dish less spicy by reducing the amount of chili paste. My recipe calls for 4 tablespoons, try 2 or 3 instead. Happy cooking!
2 Onions, yellow, medium, cut into ½ inch slices
12 Garlic cloves, smashed
10 lb. Pork shoulder roast or butt
2 tbsp Kosher salt
¼ cup Chipotle chili powder
2 cups plus ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
2 cups plus 1 cup Orange juice
4 tbsp Ground chili paste
1 cup Honey
Preheat oven to 250.
Lay sliced onions and garlic in a large Dutch oven or casserole dish.
Rub pork all over with Kosher salt and chipotle chili powder.
Place pork in cooking vessel, pour 2 cups of Apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of orange juice over the pork.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 6 hours.
Remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a foil-lined sheet pan. Let cool at least 30 minutes, until you can easily shred the pork.
In the meantime, pour the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Reserve 3 cups of the braising liquid, discarding the rest. Add remaining apple cider vinegar and orange juice. Whisk in ground chili paste and honey. Set aside.
Shred the pork, discarding the fat, and place in a large casserole dish. Pour liquid flavoring mix over the pork, and using your hands, throughly combine.
Serve immediately, or refridgerate for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a 300 degree oven before serving.
Crispy chicken breasts are always a big hit in our family…and probably any house with children. So, I’m on a never-ending quest to come up with new variations on a breaded chicken breast, and make the recipe as easy as possible. I think I have hit the jackpot here – POTATO CHIPS are in the breading! Obviously, your kids are going to love these. And for the cook – this chicken is oven-fried, so no one gets stuck at the stove.
This chicken is so easy to make...take the techniques and ingredient ratios and make this recipe your own. You can try different spices and seasonings, swap the honey mustard for dijon or spicy...the combinations are limitless. Happy cooking!
4 Eggs, large
½ cup Greek yogurt, whole milk
¼ cup Honey mustard
1 tbsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
5 lbs. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts (this is a family pack of chicken and usually has 5 breasts)
8 oz Potato chips (a standard bag), will measure out to approximately 2 cups
2 cups Panko or homemade breadcrumbs (see note)
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, yogurt, mustard, garlic powder and Kosher salt.
Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally and add each halved breast to a large Ziploc bag (you should have about 10 breasts).
Carefully pour the egg mixture into the Ziploc bag holding the chicken and seal. You can proceed with the recipe right away, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours. If you do refrigerate, then allow the bag of chicken and egg mixture to sit on the counter for no more than 30 minutes - it will take the chill off the chicken (so the cooking time will not change).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Spray baking sheet with cooking spray (I use canola spray).
Put half of the bag of chips in the food processor and blitz into the chips are in a fine crumb. Empty the chips into a Ziploc bag and repeat with the remaining chips. Place the second batch of chips in another Ziploc bag. Then divide the Panko breadcrumbs evenly between both bags. (Why two bags? Read my note)
Gently roll chicken breasts in the potato chip/Panko mixture and place on the baking sheet.
Give the chicken a spritz of cooking spray. This will help brown and crisp up the coating.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until chicken registers 160 degrees. It will progress to 165 degrees while resting on the baking sheet.
Don't use regular breadcrumbs, they are too heavy for this recipe. Panko breadcrumbs are made from the center of the bread - no crusts - and they are very easy to find, in most grocery stores they can be found both on the baking aisle and the Asian food aisle. Why two bags of the breading mixture? Because the wet chicken will clump the potato chip/Panko mix. So, if you divide the mix in half, then right about the time you have a clumpy mess you get to switch to the second bag.
You have to try the chicken with this yummy sauce!
Nothing could make me happier than to share my new favorite brisket recipe! I love brisket and really prefer to smoke it, but I got started too late, and knew I was going to have to go with a braise. I even had to skip the season, wrap and chill it in the fridge for 1 – 2 days step. I was originally just cooking pulled pork and then when I realized how many hungry kids were going to be here, I added the brisket to double the amount of slider sandwiches. I served this as part of a big football spread for all Jeff’s boys and their friends home from college – over at our house to watch the Alabama bowl game.
Brisket is one of the ultimate do-ahead foods…so go ahead and make it a day or two early. After reheating it in a low oven it will be even more delicious then if you had served it the same day! Happy cooking!
8 - 10 lb. Brisket, flat-cut, untrimmed
2 Onions, medium, thinly sliced
½ cup Light brown sugar
2 tbsp Garlic powder
2 tbsp Onion powder
2 tbsp Ground cumin
2 tbsp Paprika
2 tbsp Kosher salt
6 tbsp Dijon mustard, divided
1 12-oz Lager
Let brisket sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Distribute the thinly sliced onions evenly on the bottom of a large roasting pan or casserole dish.
Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl until throughly combined.
Smear ½ of the Dijon mustard on the non-fat side of the brisket. Sprinkle with ½ of the dry rub mixture and press to adhere to the brisket. Place brisket in the pan on top of the onions and repeat steps on the fat side of the brisket.
Pour lager all over the brisket.
Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Braise until very tender, about 6 hours.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Shred or slice and mix the brisket back in with the cooking liquid and the onions. Serve immediately.
If refrigerating: Let brisket cool completely. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for 1 - 2 days. To serve, reheat, covered, in a 325 oven for 1½ - 2 hours.
How I LOVE potatoes! They are just my favorite food (and of course a carb downfall), but you only live once and everything is good in moderation. I am always working on new potato recipes and of course anything with potatoes, cheese, bacon and butter is going to be a winner, including this spicy potato casserole that’s perfect for an afternoon of football. It’s an ideal year-round side for pulled pork, brisket, ribs and burgers on the grill.
Just like a mashed potato casserole with some kick to it! There is a good bit of butter here, but consider this a special treat...definitely not an everyday dish! Happy cooking!
1 package Crab boil mix (I like Old Bay or Zatarain)
3 lbs Red skin potatoes, skin on, cut into ½ inch slices
1 (16 oz) Bacon, thick sliced
1 Red onion, medium, diced
2 Tbsp Minced garlic
1 stick Butter, unsalted, room temperature
12 oz Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup Sour cream
2 Scallions, minced green parts only (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fill a 5-6 quart pot about ⅔ full of water. Add boil seasoning mix and stir to combine. Add potato slices and bring water to a boil. Cook the potatoes until fork tender, 20 - 25 minutes.
In the meantime, place bacon in a large skillet and cook until crispy, 10 - 15 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, leave bacon grease in the skillet. Once bacon is cooled, crumble into small bits.
Add red onions to the skillet and cook until almost caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes longer.
Drain potatoes in a large colander and set aside. Do not rinse!
In a large bowl place the butter, red onions and garlic, ½ of the crumbled bacon, ⅔ of the cheddar cheese, the Kosher salt and the sour cream. Mix thoroughly until well combined. Carefully fold in the potatoes and gently stir to combine.
Place potato mixture in a oven-safe casserole dish and top with remaining cheddar cheese and bacon. Add scallions if using.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through. Serve immediately.
I always like to have do-ahead dishes for entertaining, but because of the sour cream in the dish, you can’t really re-warm in the oven. However, there are several make-ahead components. The potatoes and crab boil mix can be prepared, drained and placed in Ziplock or Tupperware overnight in the fridge. The same goes for the bacon and the red onion / garlic mixture. Before assembling the dish, warm both the potatoes and red onion / garlic mixture in the microwave.