August 31, 2013

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin

The nights are getting cooler, and the days are getting shorter.  Those two things made me think of apples and pork the other day.  So last Sunday when my husband asked if I wanted him to cook a pork roast on the grill,  I suggested this apple stuffed pork loin instead.  Luckily he was up for it and our dinner dilemma was solved.

I made this up as I went along.  I make my own stuffing for Thanksgiving every year, so I knew what flavors I wanted this to have.  It turned out beautifully - we all loved it.  My son said "This is delicious!" and gobbled it right up.  I agree.  If you are craving apples and pork, give this one a try!

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin

Garlic salt & pepper seasoning
2 lbs pork loin
2 tbsp butter
1 green apple - peeled, cored & chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider 
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1/8 tsp ground sage (or tsp fresh chopped)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup stuffing bread crumbs OR cornbread
1/4 c + 1 tbsp apple cider
Salt & Pepper to taste
Kitchen string

Rinse the pork loin and pat it dry.  Cut a slit all along the side, lengthwise, and season all sides with the garlic salt & pepper seasoning.  

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and saute the onion and apple until softened (about 10 minutes).  Add the 1/4 cup of apple cider, mustard, sage, ginger and salt & pepper to taste.  Stir to combine and simmer another 5 minutes, or until most of the cider evaporates.  Remove from heat, add your stuffing and remaining 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp more of the apple cider.  Stir to combine.  Taste and season with more salt & pepper if needed.  Place stuffing inside the pork loin, and secure with kitchen string (I used 3 pieces, wrapping each end and the middle).  

My husband cooked this on the grill for about an hour, or until the internal temp was 160.  Then he removed it and covered it for 10 minutes before cutting.  However, you can also do this in the oven - cook at 350 for about a half hour or until internal temp is 150-160, then remove & cover for 10 minutes before cutting.

August 28, 2013

Doughnut Muffins

Summer may not be officially over, but let's face it, when the kids go back to school summer is over.  My son started 10th grade on Monday, so it's back to the grind for this family!  I'm not sure what happened exactly, but I feel like I completely missed the entire summer.  Lucky for me, my husband and I decided to take a vacation this February in Antigua to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.  So now I don't feel so bad about not getting to enjoy the summer that is now over......I have Antigua to look forward to!   YIPPEE ☺

Since school is in session once again, and my son has soccer practice everyday after school, I knew I needed to whip up some kind of snack for him to have in between.  It's been a while since I've made muffins so I figured I'd make these.  They are definitely a cross between a doughnut and a muffin - yummy doughnut texture in muffin form, topped with a yummy glaze.  You really can't go wrong with this tasty snack!  Enjoy your last official days of summer ☺

Doughnut Muffins (adapted from a King Arthur recipe)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp + milk (add more if needed)

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, beat together the butter, oil and both sugars until smooth.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine.  Add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt and mix until just incorporated.  Gently stir in the flour, alternating with the milk - DO NOT OVERMIX.

Distribute the batter evenly into your muffin pan, and bake until toothpick comes out clean - about 15-20 minutes.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool another 10 minutes.  Dip each muffin into the glaze and set aside to harden. 

For the glaze: whisk all ingredients together until smooth. 

August 25, 2013

Corn Fritters

There is a restaurant in Westminster, MA called The Old Mill.  It's one of my favorite places.  The food is good, but it's more about the atmosphere and the setting that I love the most.  We actually had my rehearsal dinner there 10 years ago, so I have many good memories of this place.  The one dish that I loved the most was their corn fritters.  It's not really even a dish.  They bring a bread basket out after taking your order and it's filled with many different kinds of breads.  Corn fritters are in the mix as well, and they give you maple syrup to dip them in.  Those corn fritters are the thing that I remember most - I just loved those!

I have never forgotten those corn fritters.  I've thought about them and pondered how I could make them and get them as close to those corn fritters at The Old Mill.  This recipe is what I've come up with. I don't enjoy deep frying anything, so I decided to use coconut oil to fry them in.  I figured if I have to deep fry something I mine as well try to make it as healthy as possible. 

These really turned out so good - my husband and son loved them and gobbled them up!  These would be a great appetizer for company, or another bread option for a holiday meal - either way, your guests will be impressed!  I can not be sure if they are even close to the ones at The Old Mill because it's been a while since I've had them.  However, going from memory, I am hopeful that they are close.  In any case, these babies are delicious and they brought back nice memories for me.  Try them - I think you'll love them too!

Corn Fritters

1 1/4 cup sweet corn
3 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup half & half (or cream)
Coconut oil
Maple syrup (real Vermont maple syrup is best of course)

Spoon coconut oil into a medium sized saucepan and turn heat on medium-high.  As it starts melting, you want to have about 3-4 inches of oil, so add more if you need to.  Heat to about 350 degrees.  

Meanwhile, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cup of the corn to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until blended and the corn is in much smaller pieces.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining corn and half & half.  Stir gently to combine - do not over mix.  Batter shouldn't be too thin or too thick.  

Once your oil is good and hot, spoon 2-3 fritters into the oil.  I used a small scooper, which measures about 2 tbsp per scoop (1/8 cup).  Fry 1-2 minutes, then gently flip with a slotted spoon and let it cook a couple more minutes until it's golden brown on all sides.  Remove with the slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels.  Continue until batter is gone.  Serves with maple syrup on the side for dipping.  Serves 3-4.

August 20, 2013

Blue Cheese Dressing

It's no big surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a strong dislike for mayonnaise.  I recently had some blue cheese leftover, so my husband suggested that I make blue cheese dressing with it.  While it was a great idea, I was dreading the thought of making it because of the mayonnaise I knew I would have to use.  Don't get me wrong - I like to dip my buffalo chicken tenders in blue cheese dressing as much as the next person.  I just try not to think of what it's made of while I'm eating it!

However, since it was a great idea and since I prefer to make as much as I can from scratch, I decided to go ahead and make it.  I have to say I am really glad I did!  All of us thought it tasted much better than store bought (yes, I tasted it too).  So skip the store bought variety that's full of preservatives and make your own.  It takes just a few minutes to throw together, and the result in so worth it!  Here's my version:

Blue Cheese Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2-3 oz blue cheese, crumbled
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley

Add the mayonnaise, sour cream and blue cheese in a medium sized bowl.  Stir to combine, breaking up the larger chunks of blue cheese.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.  Transfer the dressing to a container with a lid and let it set for at least an hour before using. 

August 15, 2013

Peach Cobbler

Ah, summer will soon be coming to an end.  I am saddened to say that I didn't do as much as I would have liked.  It feels like I didn't get out to enjoy the warm weather much, although that probably has more to do with the actual weather itself, seeing how it seemed like it rained almost every day!  Usually mid-August and back to school shopping make me a little sad, but I am especially sad this year just because the summer seemed to go by much faster than usual.

Anyway, here is a popular dessert that just screams summer.  Everyone has their own version of peach cobbler, so here is mine.  My family loves this, especially warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream slowly melting on top.  Mmmm, yum!  So, if you are like me and feeling a little down about summer coming to an end, make this and hold on to the taste of summer just a little longer.

Peach Cobbler (serves 6)

6-7 medium sized ripe peaches (about 2 lbs)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
2 tbsp corn meal
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, slightly beaten
Turbinado Sugar

Peel peaches and after cutting in half, remove the pit then cut each half into 4 slices.  Place peaches in a medium size bowl and toss gently with the brown sugar - set aside for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.  Drain the juice in a colander over a large bowl.  Take a 1/4 cup of the drained juice and mix it in a small bowl with the cornstarch, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Toss the juice mixture with the peaches and pour it into an 8x8 baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350.

To the bowl of a food processor add the flour, corn meal, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.  Pulse to combine.  Cut the butter into pieces and scatter it around the bowl over dry ingredients, then pulse until mixture resembles crumbs (about 10 pulses).  Transfer to a medium bowl, then add the vanilla and the egg.  Stir until a dough forms, but don't over-mix.  Place dollops of dough over the peaches evenly.  Sprinkle the dough with the turbinado sugar.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. 

August 11, 2013

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties

I have been experimenting with Quinoa lately.  You can really do some amazing things with it.  I am really becoming a fan of this stuff! 

This is my latest concoction - sweet potato quinoa patties.  I ate two of these for lunch the other day and I was full for hours.  You can get creative with toppings also, or you can be like me and put ketchup on it.  Is that weird?  I questioned the idea myself, but in the end I did it and really like it.  It was sort of like sweet potato fries with ketchup.....but in the form of a patty.  Whatever - they were super yummy anyway!  My husband even liked them, which I did not expect at all.  Don't knock it till you try it ☺

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties

1 large sweet potato
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 pepper
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (for a gluten free dish, use gluten free breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet on medium-low heat and add the onion.  Peel sweet potato and cook in the microwave for 3-5 minutes - you don't want it to be soft, but not rock hard either.  Remove from microwave and cut it into small pieces.  Add to the onions and season with the salt and pepper.  Stir, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir, and after one minute remove from heat.  Transfer mixture to a bowl.

Mash the potato up with a fork a little, then add the quinoa, bread crumbs, cheese, basil, and more salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well, then form into patties - I got 4 large patties out of it.  Heat olive oil in a skillet again on medium-high heat.  Add the patties and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until browned. 

August 7, 2013

Blue Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Onions

One of the things we planted in our garden this year is onions.  Due to all the rain we've had over the summer, not everything is doing so great.  However, the onions are doing awesome!  We will have quite a few by the time we harvest them, and I am hoping they will be pretty large by then.  As a result, I have poked around in my endless stack of cookbooks and on the internet looking for recipes where onions are the star. 

That's when I came across this recipe from for grilled blue cheese and bacon stuffed onions.  Just the description sounds amazing right?  I haven't been able to get the thought out of my head since I came across the recipe, so when we we decided to have steak for dinner the other night I knew I had to make this to go with it.  

I am so glad it I found this recipe - these babies were AMAZING!  I mean really, really good and so perfect with the steak.  Seriously....if you like onions, blue cheese and bacon you have to try this side dish.  I can not wait to make this for company.....I can't wait to make it again period!  So, so good.....this is a must try people.  Thanks so much to for putting this recipe out there - I will love and cherish it forever ☺

Blue Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Onions (adapted from

3 medium sized sweet onions
3/4 stick of butter at room temp
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
4 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/4 tsp dried thyme (or 1/2-1 tsp fresh thyme)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook your bacon and set it aside.  Heat your grill on high.  Trim the ends of each onion and peel off the outer layer.  With a spoon, scoop out the center of each onion - careful not to dig all the way through the bottom.  In a bowl, mix together the butter, blue cheese, thyme, crumbled bacon and a dash of salt & pepper.  Stir everything together, then with a spoon stuff each onion with the filling all the way to the top.

Place each onion on a square of tin foil, then draw the foil up and over to make a pouch - seal all ends tightly, but try to not touch the sides of the onions.  Reduce the heat on your grill to low and place foil pockets onto the grill.  Close the lid and cook for about 40 minutes - cooking time will vary based on the size of the onions.  Remove from grill and let it set for 5 minutes.  Be careful not to get burned from the steam when opening the pockets.  Plate the onions and drizzle any juices from the bottom of the pocket over top of the onions.  YUM!

August 2, 2013

Turkey Burgers

Let me start by saying this - I LOVE burgers.  All kinds, however, the stranger the toppings the better!  I would go as far as to say that it would perhaps be my "last meal" request.....although I'd have to carefully consider that, but it would be a top contender for sure.  Turkey burgers though...well let's just say I haven't come across one that I would say was "really good."  They are usually too dry, or without much flavor.  For this reason, I can't remember the last time I had one!

The reason I decided to attempt making my own is simple - I am not allowed to eat beef at the moment.  There's only so much fish, roasted turkey and bison a girl can eat.  So after much thought (yes, this required "much thought") I chose to try my hand at a Thanksgiving type themed turkey burger.  I added a little bit of applesauce for moisture, a little chopped fresh rosemary for flavor, then I topped it with a blackberry preserve mixed with a little ketchup and a sprinkle of goat cheese.  I contemplated putting the goat cheese inside the burger, but since I didn't have much goat cheese I decided to save that idea for another time.

My husband cooked it on the grill for me, so I can not say how long on each side he cooked it for.  What I can tell you is that this burger was delicious!  I really, really loved it.  I will admit that I was doubtful I'd like it that much, so it was such a nice surprise when I realized after that first bite that this was indeed a good burger.  So even if you are not a fan of turkey burgers, give this one a just may surprise you too!

Little B's Turkey Burger

1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tbsp softened or melted (but not hot) coconut oil (you could probably leave this out but they may not turn out to be so moist)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Add everything to a large glass bowl and mix gently to thoroughly combine.  Form into patties - I got 5 burger patties from this.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Cook until cooked through in the middle (about 5-7 minutes each side).  Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings, or try the blackberry preserves mixed with ketchup & topped with goat cheese (no bun) like me, or just get creative!

*NOTE:  My husband cooked these on the grill for me.  He was worried that they would fall apart because they are very delicate, so he put them on greased tin foil to start off on the grill.  Once they cooked a few minutes on one side, he flipped them over and onto the grill without the tin foil and finished cooking them there.