Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

It will be 6 years this June since I started writing this weekly food blog and I do not see myself stopping anytime soon. I hope you are all OK with that; well I guess if you are reading this; you are on board with me continuing.
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With that being said I have upgraded my subscription on WordPress (more $) and am getting some help with how to make it a little more professional; and I hope easier for you to save and hopefully print out your favorite recipes. At least that is my goal. I just finished day 2 on how to build a better business blog so we’ll see where this takes me/us.
IMG_4029I have mentioned before that I am not very good at “self promoting” but yesterday I went to The Flying Butcher to pick up more pork chops and am making them tonight for my niece and her husband. I mentioned to the guy that helped me that I write a food blog and mentioned them in one of my posts because the pork chops we SO good. He said I should tag them and they will share it on their site. Look at me go! The name of the pork chops are Hatfield I need to ask them next time what Hatfield refers to. Name of the farm? Name of the pig? Company they get them from?
IMG_4037.JPGThe recipe I am going to share here today is what I am making for them later today. Not only because it is delicious but also because they collect and boil sap to make maple syrup and who doesn’t love having recipes that go along with what you worked so hard for.
IMG_4033.JPGThis recipe is even easier than the pork and apple recipe from a couple of weeks ago. Plus it’s fresh maple syrup season right now so let’s get cooking!
IMG_4030Pork Chop
4 pork chops – bone in or thick cut
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Balsamic Glaze
½ cup maple syrup
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons beef broth
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic – smashed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small saucepan add all the glaze ingredients together and bring to a boil. You’ll want to boil it down for about 4 minutes.
IMG_4031Using a cast iron pan; if you have one. Either pre-heat it in your 350’F oven while you prepare the glaze, or place it on the stove top and put it on low to heat it up nicely.
IMG_4034.JPGPat the chops dry using paper towels. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add a little olive oil. Once your pan is almost to the smoking point. Add the chops and let them sizzle for 2-3 minutes. Flip and add some of the glaze to the browned side. After another 2-3 minutes flip again and add more glaze. You can keep flipping and adding glaze or finish them off in the 350’ F oven till they have an internal temperature of 140’F.
IMG_4035.JPGRemove them from the pan adding more glaze and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Happy Easter!!!  Have a wonderful day!

If I was better at this blogging thing I would have given you this recipe last week so you could make it today as part of you Easter dinner. I plan on making it later today for my fam that will be here for dinner. I first made this and blogged about this recipe back in 2016. I am looking forward to having it later today, I can taste it already!

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I also am planning on making a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting or it might turn into carrot cupcakes; both sound appealing to me.  I’ll have to see how the day progresses.

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Right now the house is super quiet. all I can hear is my fingers tapping on the keyboard. Which is very unusual around here. At the very least the dog is wanting something; could be out, could be attention or mostly could be a treat; but even he is still sleeping.  In less than an hour all things are going to change. My son and his fiance and my in-laws will all be here for pancakes, sausage and home fries.

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We have had Easter morning pancakes long before my kids were even born. And yes even though the kids are adults I will be hiding eggs. Which is almost as much fun for me as it is for them to find them.  I do love that I can truly hide them. The only problem is me keeping track of where I put them.
 
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If you happen to not have the ingredients on hand and there isn’t an open store near by I hope you keep this recipe in the back of your mind as it is easy to bring together; yes there are a few steps but nothing you can’t handle. The flavors meld so nice together and  you’ll look like a rock star placing it on the table for all to share.

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The Marcona almonds used to be something you had to look for around here but not now. I can get them pretty much at all of the grocery stores around. Which is great and now I have them on hand ALL the time. They are awesome by the handful as well as in sweet or savory recipes.  You should check them out if you haven’t already.

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Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad
Preheat oven to 425’F

2 pounds carrots
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
⅔ cup dried cranberries
⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic (grated)
6 ounces baby arugula
6 ounces goat cheese
⅔ cup Marcona almonds (roasted/salted)
1½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon Freshly cracked black pepper

Prepare carrots to 1 inch wide and 2 inches long – because they are roasting at a high temperature you don’t want them too small.

Place in a medium bowl with the olive oil, 1 tsp salt and pepper toss together. Using 2 sheet pans (they need space you don’t want them to steam) Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once until the carrots are tender. Transfer all of the carrots to one sheet pan and add the maple syrup. Toss and roast for another 5-10 minutes just till the edges caramelize. Watch them. Once out set aside for 10 minutes.

Combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer then set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the vinegar, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
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Place the arugula in a large dish, add the carrots, cranberries in their juice, goat cheese crumbled, almonds and the vinaigrette. Toss and serve at room temperature.

 

Recipe – Ina Garten the Chew episode

Must try Granola

I have NO idea why it has taken me SOOOOOO long to make a batch of granola. Seriously; we all love it; we or more like; I buy it; Over the years I’ve bought all different kinds/brands. I have even gone so far as to write down the ingredients listed on a local company’s bag of my favorite granola. I am only slightly embarrassed to say that that was YEARS ago; literally at least over 10 years ago.
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So I would like to thank you all for getting me off my butt and finally pulling the trigger on not only buying the ingredients; which has been in my pantry for a couple of weeks now. Today is the day I make it happen. If I didn’t write a weekly food blog I probably would still be holding onto a piece of paper that says rolled oats on top of it. I am always looking for something yummy and simples to share with you all. So I finally made one of the easiest recipes on the planet. While you might have to buy a few ingredients that you probably wouldn’t have on hand the reward is pretty fantastic.
img_4888img_4889img_4890I also finally now know why it isn’t exactly the cheapest snack on the shelf. This recipe makes a lot of yummy granola. Keep it in an airtight container and it should last a few weeks. If it lasts that long; in my house if it makes a week and a half I will be shocked!
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Granola – preheat oven to 325’F

Ingredients
8 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups wheat germ
1 ½ cups oat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ cup honey
1 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions
Line two large baking sheets with something – Parchment, tinfoil and if you are lucky Silpat mat

In a very large bowl combine oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, coconut and the nuts.

In a medium saucepan combine salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for a minute and then pour over the dry ingredients; stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes take out and stir; bake for another 10-15 minutes just till toasted. Once cooled it will be a little crispy. You can break it up totally or leave some a little chunky.

you can add raisins and or craisins if you wish

Adapted from Megan’s Granola – all recipes

Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad

Firstly I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy Holiday!

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Time has a way of clicking by pretty quickly. We are coming up on closing out 2016 but we still have a little time to enjoy not only our family and friends but some yummy food!
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These last couple of months of the year people seem to bring out some of the oldies but goodie recipes. The traditional family ones they either grew up with or started themselves years ago. I tend to mix the two a bit; or at least try to a little. Turkey for Thanksgiving, Roast Beef for Christmas. Generally the same sides that go with both and yummy gravy.
img_4817I don’t think it will come as a total shock that I have a total “life envy” of Ina Garten. She seems down to earth, her recipes have never failed me and she has a “party barn” in the Hamptons; well hers might not be a party barn but that is what mine would be if I had one in my swamp.
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Last week my husband was in the room when Ina was on The Chew and she made a Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad – it sounded so delish that my husband said “we” aka known as just me; should make that. Having yesterday off I had plenty of time to get a lot of things done so why not have something different for Christmas Eve dinner.
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It was given an 11 out of 10 so I have to share it with you and I think you should totally make it to try it for yourselves. It might sound a little tedious but it really isn’t. Roasting the carrots is the longest part and the oven is doing most of the work anyway.
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Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad
Preheat oven to 425’F

2 pounds carrots
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
⅔ cup dried cranberries
⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic (grated)
6 ounces baby arugula
6 ounces goat cheese
⅔ cup marcona almonds (roasted/salted)
1½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon Freshly cracked black pepper

Prepare carrots to 1 inch wide and 2 inches long – because they are roasting at a high temperature you don’t want them too small.

Place in a medium bowl with the olive oil, 1 tsp salt and pepper toss together. Using 2 sheet pans (they need space you don’t want them to steam) Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once until the carrots are tender. Transfer all of the carrots to one sheet pan and add the maple syrup. Toss and roast for another 5-10 minutes just till the edges caramelize. Watch them. Once out set aside for 10 minutes.

Combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer then set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the vinegar, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
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Place the arugula in a large dish, add the carrots, cranberries in their juice, goat cheese crumbled, almonds and the vinaigrette. Toss and serve at room temperature.

 

Recipe – Ina Garten the Chew epsiode

Maple-roasted chicken and acorn squash

I found another one-pan dinner that I think you need to try; super easy and very tasty and did I mention only one dish? Over the last couple of weeks, I have attended a couple of events where I have run into some blasts from the past if you will. I am finding it very humbling when they come up to me and the first words are “I love your blog, or “I am enjoying reading and seeing all your food” “I want to come to a class or can I just come to dinner” “I made this weeks and it was awesome; thank you” I am enjoying writing and sharing my love of food and new recipes that I don’t even think of who is actually reading my words so I am just very grateful when someone I know mentions they read and enjoy I truly thank you!

 

One such compliment was from my sister-in-law who came to visit a couple of weeks ago. I love when she comes up; she is smart, funny and loves food AND wine. Some of my favorite attributes in company; well she is family she’s not company.

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I love that she would much rather cook in than go out to dinner; she watches me, takes home recipes and notes and  I know she goes home and makes what she takes with her because I have gotten a few texts with minor questions. I love it!

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This is one dish that I threw together kind of last minute as I wasn’t sure if we were staying in or going out. My girlfriend KP can attest to this indecisiveness. She was here one night when the wine was flowing and we still needed to eat, going out was not going to be an option, I mentioned the wine right? So we threw together a delicious meal and a phrase we still kind of use today “my sous chef sucks” long story short, the veggies were not cut into uniformed pieces.

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I need to admit that acorn squash was never on my radar; I bet it has to do with it being green. I know the inside is not but the outside is DARK green. I know I am evolving as an adult and green is no longer an issue but I never really knew what to do with it. I have already bought it twice in a month so I could make this dish. From making it a couple of times, I want to mention to leave the squash I larger pieces, when I made it chopped up it got too mushy.

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Maple-roasted chicken and acorn squash

1 medium Acorn squash
4 Carrots, chopped
1 medium Onion
6 Chicken thighs bone in skin on
½ cup Maple syrup
1+ tsp Kosher salt
½+ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
sprig of fresh Rosemary stem removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 450’F

Cut squash lengthwise in half; remove seeds, cut each half crosswise into ½ inch slices; throwaway ends.

Place squash, carrots and onions sprinkle with some of the rosemary, salt and pepper in greased 13×9 baking pan. Season both sides of the chicken with remaining rosemary, salt and pepper place skin side down over the vegetables. Roast for 10 minutes.

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Turn chicken over; drizzle with maple syrup; roast another 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170’-175’ and the vegetables are tender.  If you find that the vegetables could use a little more time, remove the chicken to a plate cover loosely with foil and return the pan to the oven while the chicken rests.

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Adapted from taste of home magazine

Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful Mom’s out there!!!

I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to blog about today, last night at dinner my daughter texted me an early; at least for me; Happy Mother’s day; since she is 13 hours ahead of me it was technically already Sunday for her.

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A few weeks back she sent me a cinnamon bun recipe that I just “had to make” so I thought why not make them for myself tomorrow for breakfast; she immediately wrote back that she would also make them but for her dinner and we could Skype and eat them together.  Oh my how flipping cute is that, at least that was what I thought last night while at my nice dinner out with my hubby sipping my very chilled Cosmo.

I gathered all the ingredients and turned on my computer, let Abbi know I was online, finally, and off we went. Since she has made them a few times before, I kept showing her my dough,” is what it is supposed to look like”? It was actually a lot of fun “baking with my daughter” this morning.

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I did have to tell her that I totally loved dough that was kneaded in my kitchen-aid versus by hand. She doesn’t have this luxury in her apartment in Japan, she was less impressed by this, though she did brag that she is well practiced in the art of dough making, she even had to point out that she can make dough wearing a black shirt and it would still be black when she is done, at this point I looked down and yup had flour all over me. I always make a mess, but I clean up real well…

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Dough

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour + extra flour if needed – I needed 4 extra tablespoons

1 cup buttermilk – warmed 1 minute in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (I had to make my own as I didn’t have any on hand) – 1 cup of milk, 1 tbs of lemon juice let sit a few minutes.

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2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast

2 tbs canola oil

2 tbs granulated sugar

¼ tsp salt

Filing

½ cup unsalted butter, very soft

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tbs cinnamon

2-3 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped

Glaze

2 tbs butter

2 tbs maple syrup

½ cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 inch casserole dish by spraying with cooking spray

In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all dough ingredients and knead for about 7 minutes, or until dough is soft, smooth, and has come together in a firm mass. If hand-kneading, you may need to knead a few minutes longer.  Note – Dough should be smooth, not overly sticky, and fairly easy to handle. If your dough is still wet, add 1 Tbs of flour one at a time until it comes together.

Turn dough out onto a silpat or cooking sprayed work surface, I have an awesome pastry mat I use lightly floured

Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle that’s approximately 9×14 inches

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Spread butter in an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1/4-inch margins around edges; set aside.

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In a small bowl, add sugars, cinnamon, and stir to combine. Evenly sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough. Sprinkle chopped bacon over cinnamon and sugar.

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Starting with the 14-inch side, roll dough up into a tight log

Make approximately 1-inch slices with a pastry cutter, or a sharp knife or even unflavored waxed dental floss.  You don’t want to squish the rolls too much, I used my pastry cutter I didn’t mind how they looked – kind looks like my kids made them when they were younger

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Place rolls into prepared pan.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until cooked through and set. Watch rolls closely so you don’t burn them.

Making the glazed – over low heat melt the butter and maple syrup together; Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 cup powdered sugar

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I do have to share with you all that it didn’t go as smoothly as it could have; I missed a step and had to unroll my dough as I forgot to add the bacon. Shit happens in the kitchen; at least my kitchen.

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recipe adapted from: beccabakes.com