Pork Dishes

Slow Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti


Cheese- stuffed meatballsI bet you’re here because you saw one of those food videos online. Maybe the one that takes balls of meat, stuffs them full of cheese, and ends with an, “Oooh yeah?”

Well you’re in luck. This is that recipe – with a few minor adjustments to suit my personal tastes.

You can use any type or any combination of ground meat that tickles your fancy. The fattier your meat, the more tender your meatballs will be. I chose to use turkey because I enjoy leaner meals. If you use turkey like I did in this recipe, your meatballs will cook a bit quicker. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook.

When I followed the recipe in the Tasty video, I found that my meatballs were very wet. I recommend dialing down the whole milk amount by 1/4-cup (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup of liquid). You can always add more if your mixture seems too dry. However, be mindful not to overwork your mixture.

cheese stuffed meatballs

A very important part of making a good meatball is to treat your meat gently. Man, that sounds weird, but believe me, it makes a difference. If you cook like I cook, once you get in that bowl with your bare hands, you want to keep mixing until the end of time. Be mindful – you want your mixture combined but if you mix for too long, your meatballs will be tough.

So try to show some restraint, will ya?

Cheese- stuffed meatballs

We gobbled these up for National Meatball Day. What a wonderful, glorious (random) holiday. Don’t wait until any sort of national day to make these. They’re awesome and you should make these immediately! This recipe makes about a couple dozen meatballs and fed us for multiple nights.


Cheese- stuffed meatballs

Slow Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti


  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 8-ounces Fresh Mozzarella
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Parsley
  • 64-ounces Tomato Sauce
  • Spaghetti Noodles


  1. Cut Mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
  2. Using your hands (this is a requirement!, mix all ingredients together except for the Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, and Pasta.
  3. Line the bottom of your slow cooker with a layer of tomato sauce.
  4. Form meat mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs. Stuff each meatball with a cube of mozzarella, reform into a ball, then place in the slow cooker. After you have made a layer of meatballs in your slow cooker, top with tomato sauce and repeat until all meatballs are formed and tomato sauce is used up.
  5. Cook on high for 2 hours. Check meatballs for doneness. Continue cooking for up to 30 more minutes until cooked.

Slow-Cooked Achiote Pork (Cochinita Pibil)


The first time I tried this dish was in a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant here in Colorado.  One of those places where you expect strong margaritas, runny, bland salsa and overly salted chips.  I was not expecting to find a gem of an item on their menu, cochinita pibil.  This was a dish fit for royalty.  Tender pork shoulder marinated with spices and wrapped in tender banana leaves, then slowly cooked for hours until the pork falls apart to the touch.


Our recent move has relocated us near a Mexican neighborhood.  One day I felt like exploring and visited the local mercado.  I was pleasantly surprised to find fresh banana leaves and BAM!  I immediately wanted to make cochinita pibil myself.

After doing some careful research, many recipes I read were very similar and seemed unexpectedly easy.  You can combine your own spices and grind them fresh and I’m sure the flavors will have a bigger POW overall.  I, however, took the easier route and purchased an achiote seasoning pack from my local (American) grocery store.  I placed the banana leaves in a crock pot, set the pork, seasonings and a bit of citrus inside, wrapped everything up and slow cooked it for 6 hours.

As you can expect, the pork turned out tender and flavorful.  We served ours with warm tortillas, rice, and all of our favorite fixin’s – fresh avocado, tangy sour cream, crisp lettuce, diced tomatoes, etc.  Super easy weeknight meal (or Monday Night Football meal in our case!)

¡Cocina feliz! 🙂

P.S.  I apologize for the lack of photos in this post.  Unfortunately as soon as the food was served and the game came on, I didn’t get a chance to take photos of the final product.

Slow-Cooked Achiote Pork (Cochinita Pibil)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Yields: 6-8 servings


  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 1/2 of a 3.5-ounce package prepared achiote seasoning (available in grocery stores in the Mexican spice sections)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (divided use)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ shot tequila (optional)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 1-pound package banana or plantain leaves
  • 1 large white onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick


  1. Place the half package of achiote seasoning in a small bowl, pour in a 1/2 cup of the lime juice, 1 cup orange juice, ½ shot of tequila (if using) and 2 teaspoons salt; use a whisk to work everything together into a smooth, marinade.
  2. If using banana leaves, cut 2 two-foot sections and use them to line a slow-cooker—lay one down the length, the other across the width. Add the meat and pour the marinade over and around the roast. Scatter white onion over the meat.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup water around the meat. Fold up the banana leaves to roughly cover everything; turn on the slow cooker. Slow cook for 6 hours until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender (the dish can hold on a slow-cooker’s “keep warm” function for 4 more hours or so).
  4. Use tongs to transfer the meat and onions to dinner plates. Spoon off any rendered fat that’s floating over the juices. If there is a lot of brothy sauce—two cups or more—tip or ladle it into a saucepan and boil it down to about one cup. Season with salt if needed, then spoon it over the meat. Serve with your favorites – warm tortillas, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, salsa, avocado, etc.
  5. No Slow Cooker? In a large (6- to 8-quart, at least 12-inch diameter) heavy pot (preferably a Dutch oven), assemble the dish as described, including dribbling the water around the meat. Set the lid in place and braise in a 300-degree oven for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the pork is thoroughly tender. Complete the dish as described. If there isn’t much juice in the bottom of the pan, remove the meat and add about a cup of water. Bring to a boil, scraping up any sticky bits, season with salt, then pour over the meat.


Source: Rick Bayless, "Mexican Everyday"


Pasta Carbonara

pasta carbonara bacon peas

Lately I have found myself eating more and more vegan and vegetarian meals.  I was a vegetarian for many years (many years ago now) but I found that my lifestyle had changed and I incorporated more and more meat back into my diet.  Nowadays, there are many fantastic meat substitutes available.  I can cope with fake chicken and fake hot dogs, but the fake-in bacon (whether you make it yourself or buy it) just doesn’t quite make the cut for me.  To me, the sound and smell of cooking bacon makes my mouth water and tummy growl.

So as I transition back to a (mostly) vegetarian diet, I still find myself craving bacon from time to time.  We completely indulged with this bacon, cream and cheese pasta dish.  As you can imagine, it’s decadent and delicious.  Salty bacon, creamy pasta and pops of sweetness from the green peas – yum!!

We used a combination of whole wheat penne and cavatappi for our pasta but you can use whatever pasta you have laying around.

pasta carbonara bacon peas

Pasta Carbonara


  • 12-ounces of pasta (a little less than 1 full box)
  • 8 pieces of thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cups grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup green peas


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon until just barely crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Pour off all of the bacon grease, but don't clean the pan. Return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat and throw in the onions and garlic. Cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix together eggs, Parmesan, cream, and salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. When the pasta is done, reserve a cup or two of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and place it in a bowl. While the pasta is still really hot, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta the whole time. The sauce will become thick and should coat the pasta. Splash in a little hot pasta water if needed for consistency.
  5. Halfway through, add the peas, bacon, and sauteed onion/garlic. Finish adding the sauce, stirring until it's all combined.
  6. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan.

Recipe from the Pioneer Woman.


Sausage and Spinach Quiche

sausage, spinach, quiche




An egg dish filled with anything your heart desires – from meats to veggies to your favorite stuffed animal, baked and best enjoyed with mimosas or bloody marys.


A great way to use up leftovers in your fridge.

spinach sausage quiche

Okay, if you didn’t get the idea already, quiches are a perfect excuse to use up odds and ends of meats and vegetables in your fridge.  This particular day I had sausage and spinach on hand.  Other times I have combined bacon and spinach or packed loads of vegetables and topped my quiche with potatoes in this Potato-Topped Quiche recipe.

At any rate, these pies are great to eat any meal of day and you can prepare everything ahead of time (up until the baking part) and then bake it when you’re ready to eat it.  Eat a slice with a simple salad or fresh fruit and down it with your favorite cocktail.

That’s how you should enjoy a slice of quiche anyway (in my humble opinion).

Sausage and Spinach Quiche

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yields: 6 large slices

Serving Size: 1/6 pie

Calories per serving: 500

Fat per serving: 45g

Sausage and Spinach Quiche


  • 8 ounces pork sausage
  • 1 pastry pie shell
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen (or fresh) spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 eggs (or egg beaters), slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 10 grape tomatoes, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare pastry shell and set aside.
  2. Crumble sausage in medium skillet; add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat till sausage is browned, stirring occasionally; drain well.
  3. Thaw spinach, drain well. Remove remaining moisture by pressing spinach between layers of paper toweling. Add spinach to sausage mixture; mix well.
  4. Sprinkle cheese evenly in pastry shell. Top with sausage mixture. In a medium mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, dill, salt and pepper; mix well. Pour egg mixture over sausage mixture and sprinkle in the halved tomatoes.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between center and outer edge comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooked Carolina-Style BBQ Ribs

bbq ribs

BBQ is a way of life.  Some people believe that the secret to good BBQ is the rub.  Others say it’s the way you prepare it, either with a smoker and the wood you use or on a grill.  And of course, there’s the BBQ sauce.  Everyone seems to have a different, family-favorite recipe.  The only way you’ll figure out what recipe is your favorite is by trying as many as possible.  This is a great base recipe to work with.

Living in an apartment leaves us lacking in space and BBQ equipment but just like my perfect pulled pork recipe, you don’t need a smoker or grill to make delicious, fall off the bone ribs at home.  The steps are relatively simple.  You rub your ribs with tender loving care, allow those flavors to meld, then slowly cook everything to perfect tenderness.

Slow Cooked Carolina-Style BBQ Ribs

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 12 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 18 hours, 30 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

Serving Size: 3 ribs


  • 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Mop:
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • Few dashes hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Carolina Style BBQ Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Rest:
  • 2 racks St. Louis-style pork ribs, 12 ribs each, membrane removed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil


    For the Rub:
  1. Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the racks with oil and rub with the spice mixture. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  2. For the Mop:
  3. In a large pot over low heat, add all the mop ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. For the Ribs:
  5. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking to allow them to come to room temperature. Heat your oven to 225 degrees F. Put the ribs on a raised rack and cook for 6 hours, brushing the ribs with the mop every hour for the first 5 hours. During the last hour, brush the ribs with the North Carolina Barbecue Sauce every 10 minutes. The ribs are cooked when the meat reaches a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees F. Remove the ribs to a serving platter and serve.
  6. For the BBQ Sauce:
  7. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes.
  8. Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator, stored in a tightly sealed container.

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay’s Smoked Ribs recipe.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza {Cast-Iron}

brussels sprouts, bacon, pizza

The top 5 reasons why I had to make this recipe:

1.  I haven’t made a pizza in a cast-iron skillet before

2.  I love bacon

3.  I haven’t eaten brussels sprouts as anything besides a side dish before

4.  Sizzling bacon

5.  Bacon, bacon, bacon and bacon!

Okay, so I like bacon a little bit.  A lot a bit actually.  But besides the fact that I have a weird obsession with salty pork fat, I was completely intrigued when I read an article online about making pizza in a cast-iron skillet.  This is a FANTASTIC alternative to making pizza at home if you do not have a pizza stone.  The only limitations here are (semi-obviously) the size of your cast-iron skillet.  If you have a small skillet, you can only produce small pizzas, etc.  I fortunately have a HONKER of a skillet (practically too heavy for my wimpy arms) and was able to produce a decent sized pizza, perfect for two.

The other thing that fascinated me about this recipe, was the use of brussels sprouts as a pizza topping.  To be honest, I hadn’t thought of brussels sprouts as anything other than an accompaniment to a piece of grilled steak or chicken breast.  This has to be one of my favorite pizzas that I have made to date!  I don’t know if I will ever eat brussels sprouts as a side dish again.  Super yum!

You’re probably asking yourself why this pizza does not have any sauce on it.  It MUST be dry, right?  WRONG!!  Sorry to burst your bubble, but this pizza doesn’t need a drop of sauce on it.  The cheese, sprouts and bacon rock this pizza so hard, the sauce wont even stick to it if you tried to add some.

Pizza, Brussels Sprouts, Bacon

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Yields: 1 small pizza (2 servings)

Serving Size: 1/2 small pizza

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza


  • Pizza Dough
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic salt
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Heat a large frying pan (NOT the skillet you are going to cook your pizza in) over medium heat and add bacon. Fry and flip until crispy and fat is rendered, about 3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your bacon. Remove crispy bacon and place on a paper towel to drain. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion. Cook for 3 minutes until soft, then add sliced brussels, salt and pepper and stir to coat. Cook for 3 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the garlic, stir and cook for another minute or two, being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat. Crumble the bacon and add to the brussels sprouts mixture. Set aside.
  2. Place an oven rack towards the lower third of your oven and place your cast iron skillet on the rack. Preheat your oven (and cast iron skillet) to 500. If the skillet begins to smoke a lot, you can reduce the heat a bit, but you want it HOT.
  3. While the skillet is heating in the oven, gently shape your pizza dough to the size of a small pizza. Heavily flour a pizza peel or large cutting board and place the dough on top of it. Brush a bit of olive oil around the crust of your pizza dough and sprinkle the edges with a bit of garlic salt. Add about 2/3 of the cheese to your dough, then cover with the brussels sprouts and bacon mixture. Top with the remaining cheese.
  4. Using two heavy potholders, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and slide the pizza into the skillet, dough side down, as best as you can. Carefully grab the hot skillet and pop it back into the oven. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes then using your potholders, grab the handle and rotate 180 degrees, cooking for another 3 minutes. In the mean time, heat a large burner on your stovetop to medium-high heat. Remove the skillet from the oven and place on the stovetop. Check the bottom of the crust with a spatula. Finish cooking on the stovetop for a couple more minutes if the bottom of the crust does not have any color. Remove from burner and allow to cool for 4-5 minutes. Use a large spatula to remove the pizza and place onto a cutting board. Cut into slices and enjoy!


Total time includes the time it takes to prep pizza dough.


Recipe idea from How Sweet It Is, skillet method from bev cooks, originally from kitchen konfidence

Loaded Baked Potato Soup and My Dream Job {Dishcrawl}

loaded potato soup ham

I recently applied to my dream job at Dishcrawl and landed an interview next week!  It’s a job that mixes my love of food with my passion for Marketing.  How exciting!  I realized that in my cover letter I forgot to mention my favorite thing to cook (and had to blog about it immediately).  To answer your question Dishcrawl (not that I think you’ll actually read this… *wink*) I absolutely love making soups!  Soups, to me, remind me of home in Wisconsin.  You see, I did not come from a family of cooks, but one thing that my Grandma and my Mom did pass down to me is their favorite Polish Chicken Dumpling Soup recipe.  Over the years I’ve created all sorts of wacky soup combinations but the family recipe has remained intact… for now.

Anywho, this post isn’t about Chicken soup it’s about Potato soup!  This Loaded Baked Potato Soup is one of my latest creations.  It was inspired by a recipe I created for my Vegan friend and her boyfriend.  They recently hosted a Tator-Tot themed movie night and all of the food that we brought had something to do with tator-tots.  I created a Baked Potato/Tator-Tot Pizza for this very occasion.  The flavors were so awesome and it has been so cold here lately, this soup was bound to happen!

Continuing with my “Cleanse,” I wanted to use up the frozen ham bone that had been sitting in my freezer since Christmas.  The ham bone provided the perfect base for this soup.  If you don’t have a ham bone, you can cut up a ham steak and use low-sodium chicken broth for the base instead.  Either way, you’ll end up with a creamy, hearty soup that tastes just like you’re eating a loaded baked potato.  Yum!

Stay warm out there folks!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Shredded Cheddar, Chopped Green Onion and Bits of Bacon, for topping


  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and stock in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately with cheddar cheese, green onion and bits of bacon.

Sticky Rice and Lap Cheong {Chinese Sausage}

If you’ve never had Chinese sausage, you are in for a special treat today.  Chinese sausages are dried and are made with sweetened pork and various spices.  They have a very high fat content, which becomes ideal when they steam with your rice and flavor the entire pot.  I usually have my friends pick up a few packs of them for me when they visit Hong Kong or San Francisco.  If you aren’t planning a trip to either of those places anytime soon, you can order them online here.

There are two types of Chinese sausages.  One is red and made purely out of pork (pictured above). The other is darker in color and is made out of liver (typically duck liver).  There are different varieties of each too.

Whichever you prefer, these sausage keep for a long time and are super versatile.   Add them to stir-frys, in soups, asian meatballs, or make Sticky Rice.

The recipe below is very forgiving.  Add or omit ingredients as you see fit.  This is the base recipe I use when I make this dish.

Sticky Rice and Lap Cheong {Chinese Sausage}

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Sticky Rice and Lap Cheong {Chinese Sausage}


  • 3 cups Chinese or Japanese short-grain sticky ("sweet") rice*
  • 1 cup Chinese dried black mushrooms* or dried shiitake mushrooms (1 1/2 oz)
  • 5 Chinese sausages* (6 to 8 oz total)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion (white and pale green parts only; from 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 cups bottled peeled cooked whole chestnuts (from a 14- to 15-oz jar), drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Chinese rice wine or medium-dry Sherry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth


  1. Cover rice with cold water by 1 inch in a large bowl and soak at least 2 hours. Drain in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water.
  2. Soak mushrooms in warm water 30 minutes, then drain, squeezing excess liquid back into bowl, and discard liquid. Rinse mushrooms to remove any grit, then discard stems and coarsely chop caps. 3Quarter sausages lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Heat a wok over high heat until just smoking. Add peanut oil and heat, swirling in wok, until just smoking. Add ginger and scallion and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add sausage and stir-fry 1 minute, then add mushrooms and stir-fry 1 minute. Add chestnuts and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in rice wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper and remove from heat. Add drained rice and stir to coat.
  4. Transfer mixture to a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot and add broth (broth will not completely cover rice). Bring to a simmer, stir once, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 25 minutes more, then remove from heat. Stir from bottom to distribute ingredients and let stand, covered, 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Bacon, the Most Important Meal of the Day {International Bacon Day}

Happy International Bacon Day!  Yes, Bacon is so good, so internationally known, that it too has it’s own day. Take that, International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

I love bacon.  In fact, that’s me, enjoying a piece of chocolate covered bacon.  If I could swim in a vat of any substance, I would swim in a vat of bacon.  I love every single fatty, salty, ounce of it.  Put it on everything (and I mean, everything!) and I would die a very happy Foodie.  To celebrate this glorious day, I thought I’d share one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare bacon… in the oven.

Yes, this technique is nothing new, but it is something that I’ve had to perfect over the years.  Typically, I’ll take a cast iron skillet over a cookie sheet any day… except for those times when I don’t want to deal with grease splatter and streaky clean ups (which, is almost every day).

First, do your best to find a bacon that is DRY CURED.  The quality of your bacon will be ten-fold, plus your bacon won’t crackle and pop as much because there is less water in the meat.

Secondly, cover a cookie sheet (or two if you’re making a lot of bacon) completely with aluminum foil.  This will catch all of your bacon drippings and provides for easier clean up (you’ll spend more time eating bacon and less time cleaning up!)  Lay your bacon strips in a single layer, without touching the other strips of bacon, pop your cookie sheet(s) into your cold oven and crank the heat up to 400 degrees F.  Putting your bacon into a cold oven will prevent the ends of the strips from curling up.  Set your timer for 12 minutes.

At 12 minutes, spin the cookie sheet(s) around so the bacon bakes evenly.  Set the timer for another 8 minutes and check your bacon at this point.  Depending on the thickness of your bacon, your bacon may or may not be cooked to your liking at the 20 minute mark.  For example, I like my bacon on the thicker side and a BIT chewy in the thick parts.  I typically bake my bacon for 25 minutes total.

And just like when you cook bacon on the stove top, you’ll want to pull your bacon off a minute before it’s completely cooked to your liking.  Bacon will continue to cook for another minute after you pull it off the heat.  It also crisps up as it dries too.  Keep that in mind so you don’t overcook your bacon, unless of course, you prefer extra crispy bacon!

Remove the bacon with your tongs and let them drip dry for a minute on a couple paper towels.

Eat immediately!


A big thanks to the Washington Post for taking that glorious photo of bacon.

Slow-Cooked Pork, Fresh Peach and Cilantro Quesadillas

Happy Labor Day!  Are you enjoying your weekend?  I’ve been so busy this weekend that I almost feel like I need a weekend after this weekend!  It’s a good thing I only have four work days this week.  I have a feeling that next weekend will be very similar.

Peach season is rockin’ and rollin’ here in Colorado.  There are fruit stands on almost every corner with loads of freshly picked peaches.  These peaches are absolutely divine by themselves, but I have food A.D.D. and wanted to try cooking with them too.  Something so deliciously sweet needs something smokey and salty to balance everything out, don’t you think?  What a perfect opportunity to slow-roast some pork shoulder.

*drool*  Okay, I confess… I’ll use any excuse to make slow-roasted pulled pork.  You really don’t have to twist my arm there.  I know this sounds a bit odd, but keep an adventurous mind here folks.  The combination of these savory morsels alongside perfectly juicy peaches will leave you with a mouthful of heaven my friends.

I added some cilantro for some brightness and a bit of shredded cheddar to bind everything together (Chedda’ makes everything betta’).  I served mine with BBQ sauce on the side, which I personally enjoyed but Mister was mowing these down without any sauce.  I must have done something right.  I love it when I do that.

Pork, Peach and Cilantro Quesadillas

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yields: 2 Servings

Serving Size: 1 Quesadilla

Pork, Peach and Cilantro Quesadillas


  • 2 Large tortillas (white or whole grain)
  • 1 ripe peach, sliced
  • 1/2 cup or so of Perfect Pulled Pork
  • 1/2 cup cheddar or Velveeta, shredded
  • Cilantro
  • BBQ sauce, for serving


  1. Spray a large frying pan with a bit of cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Prepare your quesadilla by sprinkling cheddar across one half of the tortilla and ten spread some pork, cilantro and lots of fresh peaches around the same half of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and place it on the warm pan.
  2. Use a heavy pan (cast-iron if you have it) and lay the pan across the top of the quesadilla to weigh it down. You'll get a nice crispy crust on the tortilla this way. Give it a couple minutes and remove the heavy pan and check the bottom of the quesadilla. Flip it over when it is golden brown (and adjust your heat as necessary). Place the heavy pan back on top of the quesadilla and wait a couple more minutes. Once both sides are browned, remove the quesadilla. Set it aside and repeat these steps with the second quesadilla. Cut both quesadillas into fourths and serve with BBQ sauce.

Juicy, Thick-Cut Pork Chops

Happy September!

This has been a long hot summer.  I am ready for the new season, are you?  I love coming home to simmering crock pot dinners and snuggling up with my Mister on those crisp autumn nights.  I’m a fan of change, especially when it comes to seasons.

When the temperature starts to drop, cozy pork dishes warm the belly and the soul.  This thick-cut pork chop definitely fits that bill.  If you haven’t cooked a thick chop before, have no fear.  With a little care and attention (and a meat thermometer) you’ll cook these like a pro in no time – no grill necessary.

Serve these with onions and butternut squash or freshly picked apples.  Or do like I did, and plop an incredibly edibly egg on top of your chop and scrap up the runny yolk with each bite.  Mmm…

Thick-Cut Oven Baked Pork Chops

Thick-Cut Oven Baked Pork Chops


    For the Rub:
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 3 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the Rest:
  • 2-4 2-inch thick pork chops
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. Prepare the dry rub and distribute it evenly on your pork chops. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat (use a cast iron skillet if you have it). Cook the pork chops until both sides are nicely browned, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  3. Place the pork chops in a baking pan if you do not have a cast iron skillet and bake the chops, uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through (internal temperature of 145). Allow the chops to rest for five minutes and serve.

Perfect Pulled Pork

Ever wonder how your favorite BBQ joint makes their pork so dang good?  I did too until now.  The secret to their recipe?  Cook your pork shoulder low and slow.  Okay, that might be a very well-known secret but this was the first time that I tried the “low and slow” method in an oven.

Up until now, I had prepared my pork shoulder in my crock pot.  Inspired by an episode on Food Network this week (they’ve been airing BBQ madness for a while now) I decided to try my luck with the oven.  Now that I have tasted the juicy, tender, all-mighty oven pork, I will never cook pork shoulder in my crock pot again.

My pork turned out absolutely perfect.  I feel like if I would place my plate of pork (Subject A) next to that BBQ joint’s plate of pork (Subject B), taste-testers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference!  I’m that confident.  The catch?  You can’t leave your oven on all day unattended like you can with a crock pot.  So if you’re going to try this method, do it on your day off (I recommend glasses of cold beer to keep you busy in the mean time).

View a list of all of my pork recipes here.

Note:  I updated this recipe based on all of your suggestions.   I changed the internal temperature from 170 degrees to 200 degrees.  170 degrees is where a pork roast is cooked and sliceable, but 200 degrees is fall-apart tender.  I also added two more hours to the cook time, to accomodate the internal temperature change.  Thank you for your comments!

Perfect Pulled Pork

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 12 hours

Total Time: 13 hours

Yields: Serves about 8

Perfect Pulled Pork


  • 1 (6-pound) pork shoulder or pork butt, bone in preferred
  • Dry Rub:
  • 3 tablespoons paprika (I used smoked paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt


  1. Preheat your oven or smoker to 225 degrees F. Lightly score your pork with a sharp knife. Mix the dry rub ingredients together and rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
  2. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast for 10-12 hours, uncovered. Check the pork at 10 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the pork should register at least 200 degrees F. Your pork should also pull easily apart. If it isn't done, increase the cook time in increments of 30 minutes.
  3. When the pork is cooked, take it out of the oven and place it on a platter to cool. Allow the meat to rest for at least 30 minutes. Once rested, use 2 forks to shred the meat. Serve as is, on a bun, on a baked potato or combine with your favorite BBQ sauce.


If you wish to use the meat later, wrap the cooked pork in double foil to retain the juices and refrigerate or freeze.


Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay and Tyler Florence’s Pulled Pork Recipes

Photo courtesy of GroovyGamer.net

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