My little one is 2 years old! How did that happen so quickly?! For his birthday dinner we made his favorites: pasta, meatballs, and cake! I made meatballs to cook in the sauce which was a first for me. I mixed them, balled ‘em up, and dropped them into the sauce to cook on their own. They were great!!
I normally like the crispy exterior of cooking meatballs, and I thought I might miss that. These turned out very juicy from cooking in the sauce. I was relieved they stayed together and would totally make them this way again. These meatballs being pork meant that there wasn’t excess oil that I’d expect if they were beef.
1 pound ground pork
3 links Sweet Italian Sausage
1 cup breadcrumbs
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup baby Arugula, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups tomato sauce
Mix together the breadcrumbs and the milk, then add all the ingredients into a bowl.
Using your hands, mix everything together until well incorporated.
Roll into balls about 1.5 inches wide. Add into a crockpot with tomato sauce.
Cook on high for 2.5 hours. Stir occasionally.
Meatballs are always a hit here. We all liked them and I’m glad to have some leftovers. These could cook on the stovetop too, rather than the crockpot. The size of the crockpot was great for 1 even layer of cooking though.
Salty pancetta and sweet pear plus melty cheese makes for such a wonderfully balanced pizza. That’s it. Pizza dough, cheese, pancetta, and pear. That’s it. So, basically dinner is brought to you by the letter P.
1 cup Pancetta
1 1/2 cup shredded Mozarella cheese
Preheat the oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta to crisp. Then drain.
Spread the dough out onto a pan, poke a few holes into the dough. Cook for 5-8 minutes to lightly browned.
In the same pan as the pancetta, saute the pear for about 5 minutes over low heat just to soften a little.
Then top the dough with cheese, pear, and pancetta.
Bake for 5-8 minutes more until the cheese melts.
The little one picked off all the pancetta, ate that first, then the pears, then was full. I loved the sweet and subtle pear with the very salty pancetta. I’d totally make this again. Seriously, these few ingredients are just born to go together.
Today’s inspiration came from my friend from college who posted his fabulous brunch. Breakfast calzone? Genius! Inside the puff pastry dough, I filled it with scrambled egg, cheese, and sausage. I never use puff pastry for calzone but thought it was very breakfast-y.
It was such a quick weeknight dinner, or would be a fun one to feed some overnight guests!
1 sheet puff pastry
1/4 cup milk
3 sausage links
1 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs and milk and pour into a medium pan over medium-low heat. Gently cook the scrambled eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from the pan and bring to medium heat to cook the sausage.
Roll out the puff pastry maintaining the square shape.
Place the pastry dough onto a baking sheet: sprayed with non-stick spray or a baking mat, or topped with parchment.
Add the eggs, sausage, cheese to the middle third of the dough all the way to the ends (left to right).
Slice 1/2 slits from the top & bottom to the filling.
Alternate “braiding” the strips starting on one end and crossing one, then the other side, alternating until 3/4 of the way to the end. Then start at the other end in reverse direction to close it up.
Bake 20-30 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
Slice & enjoy!
This was so great. Puff pastry has that buttery crispness that is so perfect for breakfast. I liked the simple and classic flavors. There are 1000 ways to tweak this…with spinach/tomato/herbs or Mexican touches & salsa on the side or eggwhites or whatever else! Also, I’d totally copy my friend who put spiced fries inside as hashbrowns! So clever!
This fall burger is so fun with diced pear & sage in a ground pork burger. I thought about a grilled cheese with pear and sage and then I decided to make it in to a burger and figured pork would be perfect. It was so perfect for a fall evening.
1/2 pound ground pork
5-6 sage leaves
ground black pepper & salt
Mix together the pork, pear, and sage.
Form into patties and grill or pan-sear.
Be sure took cook through. Then top with lettuce, mustard, mayo, and lettuce.
I wanted to be sure not to over do it on the sage. It is a strong flavor to me. I loved the raw pear that cooks slightly for a softness. I liked this one and might still make the grilled cheese version too!
You know when the all the stars align and your seemingly straightforward dinner wows you? This was that moment. I knew it was going to be good, and a nicely balanced meal, and pretty easy, but I didn’t really anticipate how much we’d all LOVE IT.
Excuse me while I pull out the ole soapbox. Get yourself a meat thermometer. Do not cook meat (especially pork!) without one. If you think you don’t love pork tenderloin then it miiiight be that you’ve only had it severely overcooked. Then it’s bland, boring, tough, and yuck.
Mr. J marinated the pork for flavors of honey and lime. Then while he grilled it to perfection, I made some rice with
peaches nectarines, lime juice, peach jam, red onion.
1 pork tenderloin
1/2 cup lime juice + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup rice
1/4 red onion
~ 1 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch)
1/4 cup peach preserves
Marinade the pork in 1/2 cup lime juice, honey, & garlic powder for 4 hours refrigerated.
Get the rice cooking.
Grill flipping to cook each side. Grill to at least 145 degrees. Let it sit about 5 minutes after removing from the heat.
Chop the onion, nectarine, and cilantro and add into the cooked rice.
Add in 1 tablespoon lime juice and peach preserves. Mix well.
Slice the pork and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro over a bed of the rice.
We really did love this. I was so into the peaches with the pork with the onion. The babe couldn’t get enough pork. He had so much and just kept asking for more! Though, he wasn’t into it the next day as leftovers. He liked the rice being kind of sticky…it was much easier for him to spoon from his bowl.
Every veggie can benefit from some prosciutto! I loved the hands-off-ness of this side for a fresh & salty side. They’re just so easy and could easily pop onto the grill. I baked them since they were going with some seared scallops which were cooking inside anyway.
Asparagus spears (I doubled them per prosciutto slice)
Trim the ends of the asparagus and preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Wrap the asparagus in prosciutto at an angle. (I doubled the asparagus per prosciutto slice).
Bring the balsamic to a low boil in a small pan for about 5-8 minutes until it gets thicker.
Bake for 15 minutes, turning halfway. Cook until the asparagus gets tender and the prosciutto crisps.
Remove the balsamic from the heat and allow to cool to room temp where it will become syrupy.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction & enjoy!
It isn’t really asparagus season but I was wanting this and it was great. The little one gobbled some and had scallops for the first time!
There are so many breakfasts to share with you! This one is a few weeks old but I was trying to spread them out (there’s still another to post!)! For Dad’s bday I made sausage gravy with biscuit cups. They were so fun and there’s very little cooking involved! I made mini ones to join the many other brunch items being served. They were tasty and just so cute! Make the biscuits in advance and the sausage can be made ahead too!
Ingredients: Makes 20 mini biscuit cups
1 package of 10 biscuit Juniors
1 package of breakfast sausage, with the casing removed
1 package country gravy
(milk according to the gravy)
1 cup coffee
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Flip a mini muffin tin upside down and spray with non-stick spray.
Pop the biscuits open and carefully divide each in half. Lay each half of a raw biscuit onto an inverted muffin well and skip every-other one so they don’t run together.
Bake for 4-5 minutes in two batches.
Pan fry the sausage. Cook through and drain the grease.
Prepare the gravy according to the package in the pan from the sausage. Reduce the milk called for by 1/4 and substitute with coffee. Add in lots of cracked black pepper then the sausage.
Serve and enjoy!
They were really cute! I liked the gravy to get spiced up a bit since I didn’t make it from scratch. Keep an eye on those biscuits! As halfsies they cook quickly. They’d work well with jumbo ones on a regular size muffin pan too.
I made this root beer barbecue sauce and made it very heavy on the root beer. Seriously root-beer-y. I think it jazzed up a weeknight, and definitely woke up these pork chops.
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
salt & pepper
2 cups root beer, and 1/2 cup reserved
In a heavy pot, saute onion in a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook for about 5-minutes, until softened and translucent.
Add in garlic, ketchup, mustard, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.
Add in pepper, salt, and root beer. Stir well and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add in the last of the root beer and remove from the heat.
Allow to cool, and enjoy!
I loved this! I think it had the root beer flavor, especially the sauce that we added after the cooking. We served it with our fav raw broccoli salad with raisins. I’m not so into cream soda, but I can see that being a hit in this too with a few tweaks.
I head to the grocery store with my meal plans in mind. “Plans” might sound intense, but one of those could include a sandwich or something easy though one of my last trips still had a hole needing another meal. I saw these nifty packages in the meat department of pork cutlets with capers, sundried tomatoes, and some sort of finishing sauce. I almost grabbed it and then I cheap-ed out. The price definitely included the convenience so I decided I could replicate on my own, for wayyy cheaper.
I grabbed some thin-cut boneless pork chops and remembered a jar of sundried tomato pesto in the fridge. I skipped the capers. Couscous cooks in 5 minutes + some salad. Yay for dinner!
4-6 boneless thin cut pork chops
1 cup flour
1 tablespoons garlic powder
salt & pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons of sundried tomato pesto, or diced sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (optional)
Preheat a large skillet to medium heat with a few generous glugs of olive oil…about 1/4 cup.
Season the flour with garlic powder, salt, and pepper then dredge the pork into the flour and add to the pan.
Cook about 4 minutes before flipping to cook another 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and finish searing all the pork.
Drain the oil and discard.
Deglaze with the chicken broth scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan then add in the garlic, sundried tomato pesto, salt, pepper, and a glug or two of red wine, and chopped oregano. Cook for two minutes on medium heat.
Then add the pork back into the pan. Flip each one to cover in sauce. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Serve over couscous, rice, beans, pasta, or however you choose. Enjoy!
I liked jazzing up some ready-made sauce to make it a bit more interesting. I don’t use sundried tomatoes all the time so it was nice to have flavors we don’t eat weekly. The sauce is a little bit oily but tasty. The pork cooks quickly and using the same pan is totally the savior for this!
While I was searing the pork, our new & nifty Nest smoke alarms were notifying us on our phones that there was smoke accumulating. I hadn’t noticed my phone but Mr. J was able to quiet it from his phone, while tub-side with the little one. Phew! The last thing we needed during the bewitching hours was Mr. J having to get T out of the tub all soapy, while dinner burned, while I got the dogs to ease their panic. I guess these things are worth it!
I’m always ready for a new pizza. I ran through Delish’s unconventional pizzas and was so ready for kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion and I added a buttery mustard sauce. It was so great. I’ll always love pizza dough but using naan is just so much faster on a weeknight.
2 naan breads
1 sweet potato
1/2 turkey kielbasa
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
3 tbs butter
3 tbs dijon or grain mustard
1/4 cup red onion
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees and preheat pizza stone if using one.
Cook the sweet potato either baking it, pealing & boiling it, or microwaving it.
Heat a skillet to medium heat.
Melt the butter and add the mustard. Mix well, add some salt & pepper, and spoon onto the naan.
Bake for 10 minutes to toast the bottoms a bit.
Add the sliced kielbasa to the pan to warm through and caramelize the edges.
Slice or chop the sweet potato and the red onion.
Remove the naans from the oven, top with cheese, kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion.
Bake for 15 minutes until the crust crisps and cheese melts.
I loved this. The mustardy sauce with the kielbasa was so spot on. Naans are the perfect individual serving. They are doughy and get a bit crisped. The baby loves sweet potato so we were all too happy to have half a leftover sweet potato.