Orange-Sesame Pork with Napa Slaw

Skip take out and make this orange-sesame pork with napa slaw.  It’s the perfect weeknight dinner that will be on the table in under 30 minutes.

First things first, prep your brown rice.  Rice can take a little while to make but once it’s cooked, it will stay hot for quite a while.  If you don’t want to spend the time making rice (though it’s a money saver), feel free to sub in precooked rice in a pouch (like Uncle Ben’s).

Next prep your slaw – though I must note that you can do this up to a day in advance.  I actually made the slaw the morning that I was going to be making this dinner.  The slaw is a mix of napa cabbage, green onions, orange sections plus the juice of the orange, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.  Simply toss and set aside.

Slice the pork chops into 1/4-inch slices (I used center cut pork chops).  Toss the pork with the cornstarch, a little soy sauce and pepper.  Finally, make the sauce.  The sauce is a mixture of orange juice, oyster sauce (mine had unfortunately gone bad so I simply used a little more soy sauce), red pepper flakes and sesame oil.

Stir fry the pork in a little canola oil until browned (about 6 minutes).  Add in the sauce mixture and cook until bubbly and thickened.  Serve the pork over a pile of rice with some of the slaw on the side.

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The leftovers held up really well and I thought the pork actually got better with time.  I think it really soaked up the flavors from the sauce.

What’s on your dinner menu tonight?

 

Sesame-Ginger-Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

If you’re in a dinner rut you must try these stuffed sweet potatoes.  So many flavors and textures.  This recipe was in a recent issue of Cooking Light in a section that focused on the use of “tahini,” a rich sesame seed “butter” that can be used in everything from savory soups to desserts.  I’ve found that Trader Joes has the best tahini for the price but you can find it at Harris Teeter and some other local grocery stores.

The most time consuming part of the recipe is baking the sweet potatoes but once their in the oven, you can forget about them for an hour.  Pierce the potatoes with a knife or fork and rub with a little oil before baking at 400 degrees.

Once the potatoes are baked, remove from the oven and let them rest (and cool!) a little bit.  Now it’s time to roast your chickpeas.  Rinse and drain the beans before tossing with sesame oil, garlic powder, ground ginger, and salt.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

While the chickpeas roasted, prep your sauces.  The tahini sauce is made with tahini (make sure to stir it really well), spicy fresh ginger, garlic and rice vinegar.  It is thinned out a bit with the addition of warm water.  Whisk until creamy and smooth.  The other “sauce” is simply Sriracha mixed with a little water.

To serve, halve the potatoes and score with a knife.  Top with the tahini sauce and a sprinkle of salt.  Add the roasted chickpeas and then top with a little more tahini and some of the spicy Sriracha mixture.

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Incredibly delicious.  Incredibly healthy.  Incredible filling.  This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and perfect for any night of the week.

Summer Herbed Grilled Shrimp + Soft Shell Crab

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMA!!!!!!

I hope you all had a lovely long Memorial Day Weekend!  We spent the weekend at Ocean Isle Beach with my family and enjoyed lounging at the pool, dinners with family and long morning walks.  The weather was absolutely perfect and I didn’t want the weekend to end.  We headed back home on Monday morning so that we could get settled for the week and enjoy our evening.  Before we hit the road, we grabbed some soft shell crabs and shrimp to bring home so we could have a seafood feast to end a fantastic weekend.

I’ve had a craving for soft shell crab over the past month or so but we haven’t had the chance to go to a restaurant that has them on the weekend.  So last night we tackled cooking soft shell crab at home.  Turns out it’s incredibly easy!  On the drive home, I researched a few recipes and finally decided to use this recipe as my guide.  Instead of flour, I used a seafood breader that was recommended by The Island Seafood Company (where we purchase our fish and shrimp).  We also asked them to prep them (cutting off the eyes and removing the lungs) for cooking.  The crabs are simply pan fried in a mixture of bacon fat (yes!), butter and EVOO for about 6 minutes on each side.

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I served the crabs with the sauce in the recipe (I ended up adding some vinegar to the sauce for some acidity) as well as cocktail sauce.

We also feasted on Summer Herbed Grilled Shrimp.  The shrimp are tossed with honey, EVOO, salt and pepper before being grilled to perfection.  Once grilled, serve the shrimp with a delicious mixture of parsley, oregano, lemon zest, garlic, EVOO and red wine vinegar.

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And finally, to add some veggies, we grilled some cabbage and then topped with bacon (because why not) and a basil vinaigrette.

The perfect end to our long weekend.

 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This weekend has been a long time coming:  my niece is coming to visit!  We promised her when she turned 5 that she could come spend a weekend with Aunt Emmy and Uncle Chris all by herself and we finally coordinated our schedules so we could make it happen.  We have a fun weekend planned and can’t wait to spend some one-on-one time with my favorite 5 year old.

Here are my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Layers:  Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake.  How fun is this cake?

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Favorite Dip:  Curry Hummus.  What a perfect snack.  Or lunch.  Or dinner.

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Favorite Tropical:  Hacienda Convertible Gown in Kauai Kisses.  The perfect summer dress in a fun palm print.

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Favorite One-Pan Dinner:  Lemon Basil Chicken.  Because sometimes life is crazy and you need easy dinner ideas.

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Favorite Carbs:  Breadsticks with Homemade Ranch and Pizza Sauce.  I need a night of nothing except catching up on DVR and breadsticks.

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Favorite Spring Cleaning:  5 Strategies for Organizing Your Pantry (And Keeping it That Way).  I love nothing more than organized closets.  And drawers.  And rooms.

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Favorite Date Night In:  Seared Scallops with Porcini Mushroom Risotto.   Drooling.  This dinner is begging for a bottle of white wine.

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Favorite Purchase:  2017-2018 Simplified Planner.  After years of using the same planner, I’ve upgraded.  I love that every day has it’s own page which means lots of room for LISTS.

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Favorite From Scratch:  Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  I adore cinnamon raisin bread but I’ve never tried to make it at home…

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Favorite Poolside Sipper:  Strawberry Gin Lemonades.  Summer is right around the corner!

CHEERS!

Nutty Fried Rice

Good morning!  I am hopeful that everyone reading had a wonderful weekend.  We ended up staying in South Carolina with my brother and SIL an extra evening so we could enjoy the gorgeous weather on Sunday instead of being in the car.  And the extra baby snuggles made the drive yesterday morning totally worth it.  My newest nephew is absolutely precious.  He’s calm and hardly cries and has a head FULL of hair.  I could stare at him all day.  We enjoyed dinner out the first night at The Oak Table.  We also had a pizza night as well as a steak night thanks to my SIL’s parents.  Counting down to our next visit already!

This week is pretty typical – thankfully – and we’re preparing for my niece’s first overnight visit by herself.  Cannot wait to spoil her silly.  After we arrived home yesterday I came up with the meal plan for the week and gave Big Guy some options to pick from.  I should have known he would pick Nutty Fried Rice over ANYTHING because we adores cashews and stir fries.  This dish is full of broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and rice but has an absolutely addicting sauce that is mixed in for the ultimate nuttiness.

My favorite bites definitely included cashews – my favorite nut!

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Just a reminder that the key to dishes like this one is to prep ALL your ingredients before you ever start cooking.  I also love that this stir fry uses precooked brown rice (Uncle Ben’s) as a timesaver.  If you’re allergic to peanuts, sub in almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower seed butter.

I promise you’re going to go NUTS for this dinner!

Grilled Flank Steak with Salsa Verde

It’s grilling season, y’all!  The weather has been absolute perfection here in NC the past few days and it looks as if it’s going to stay gorgeous for awhile.  I savor these few weeks of Spring before the humidity hits and the bugs come out of hiding.  So between now and whenever that happens (before Memorial Day, if I had to guess), I’ll be enjoying as many meals al fresco as possible.

Warmer weather also brings about the desire to fill my plates with salads and fresh flavors from the garden.  Last night we enjoyed grilled flank steak served over homegrown greens with a salsa verde on the side that was packed with herbaceous flavors.

The flank steak is marinated in a EVOO, red wine vinegar, garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper.

After grilled to perfection (medium-rare, please), serve it with salsa verde that is a mix of fresh herbs (I used parsley, basil, chives and cilantro), garlic, a splash of red wine vinegar, capers, EVOO plus some salt and pepper.

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So simple yet so incredibly delicious.  Especially with a side of fresh air and the end of a beautiful Spring day.

 

Ground Beef and Pasta Casserole

A one-pot dish that is sure to be a winner on the dinner table.  It’s healthy comfort food that’s also husband and kid-friendly.  I recommend this dinner on a night when you have a little bit of time to prep (30 minutes) but once it goes in the oven, the work is done.

I love that this recipe makes prep easier by using a food processor to chop up the carrots and onions.  Simply place the veggies in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Let the dishwasher clean the food processor.

Sauté the onions and carrots for about 4 minutes and add in the finely chopped garlic, allowing that to cook for 2 more minutes.  Then add in the Italian seasoning – I made my own Italian seasoning using dried basil, thyme and oregano, some red pepper flakes and a little salt.  Add in the beef.  I find that Trader Joes as some of the best ground beef.  I try and stock up when I got and throw several packages in the freezer for nights like this.  Cook the beef for 5 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks.  I like using a potato masher for this.  Seriously.  Then goes in the chicken stock, fresh basil, tomato paste, vinegar, pasta (I used gluten-free brown rice pasta) and the tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook about 13 minutes or until the pasta is almost cooked through and the pasta has thickened a bit.

At this point I decided to transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish knowing we would have lots of leftovers.  But you can totally keep this a one-pot meal and starting the whole recipe in an oven-safe pot.

Top the pasta with mozzarella and bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Sprinkle with basil and dig in!

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So yummy!  Absolute comfort food – carbs and cheese.

Like a said, a true winning dinner that everyone will love.