Leftover Pulled Pork Quesadilla

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Leftover Pulled Pork Quesadilla

Once every couple of weeks, I like to slow cook a big hunk of meat. Some weeks it is brisket, or a roast but this week I was in a pork mood. I decided to purchase a pork butt (also called pork shoulder) from my local butcher and cook it low and slow.

Here’s a bit of a run down on the pork I used. I purchased a 3-4 lb pork butt and cooked it in my crock pot for about 8 hours. I sliced up a yellow onion thinly, added about six cloves of diced garlic, and a good sized knob of ginger. To this I salt and peppered the pork very well and added about 6 ozs of cherry coke (any pop would do), a few tablespoons of worchestire, a good dash of liquid smoke and a few tablespoons of soy sauce. Again, this can be flavored however you like!

One the pork was completed, I drained a good amount of meat to make the quesadilla. The great thing about this recipe is it has the delicious onion and garlic that flavors the quesadilla so well.

I used sliced mozarella for the cheese on this particular occasion, but pepper jack or Monterey jack would be delicious too!

Dip in tomatillo salsa, squeeze with a lime wedge and serve with sour cream!

Ingredients:

2 flour tortillas

2 tablespoons of butter

Generous helping of leftover pulled pork with onions and garlic

Plenty of cheese – this time I used sliced mozarella

Directions:

Place skillet over medium heat.

Butter one side of both tortillas.  Place buttered side down of one tortilla in bottom of pan.

Layer on your pulled pork, onions, garlic and cheese

Layer with a generous helping of your favorite cheese

Place other buttered tortilla with buttered side facing up.

Cook until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted through.  Serve with your favorite accompaniments!

 

 

Love Me Tender Bread Pudding

Love Me Tender Bread Pudding

Love Me Tender Bread Pudding

Oh dear.  Where to begin with this bread pudding.

It somehow came to me a sleep deprived moment.  It all started with the simple thought of making bread pudding.

Then I thought to myself how about a salted caramel bread pudding?

That lead to me thinking about a bacon and salted caramel bread pudding.

That randomly lead me to thinking about the dearly departed Elvis and his love for bacon and food to excess.  Random, I know, but then it dawned on me.

I AM GOING TO MAKE A SALTED CARAMEL, BACON, BANANA AND PEANUT BUTTER BREAD PUDDING.

It was truly a lightbulb moment, and from there it went all downhill…or uphill, depending on how you look at things.

I started by purchasing a 12 pack of mini croissants from the grocery store bakery.  I ripped each croissant into two pieced and arranged them in a baking dish sprayed with Pam baking spray.  Of course, you could always butter the pan too.

Croissant Rolls

Croissant pieces

 

Next I browned a package of thick cut applewood smoked bacon.  I love the applewood kind as it adds a nice smokey flavor.

Bacon

Bacon

When the bacon was browned, I added the cooled bacon pieces to torn croissant pieces.

LMT3

Croissants with bacon

 

Next I sliced three organic bananas, you know organic for the health benefits ;), and added the pieces to the croissants and bacon.

Next I whipped up the custard consisting of heavy cream, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar.

Custard

Custard

When the custard is ready take some smooth peanut butter and warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds until it is pourable and has a liquid consistency.  Note — I used 1/4 a cup and it is a VERY light note of peanut butter.  I actually had a bit of trouble even tasting the peanut butter flavor but my husband thought it was the perfect amount.

Pour the peanut butter into the custard mixture and whisk until combined.

Peanut Butter and Custard

Peanut Butter and Custard

Next pour the mixture over the croissant, bacon and bananas

Oh Yeah!

Oh Yeah!

While the bread pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce.

Caramel

Caramel

Once the bread pudding is done baking, pour the caramel all over the top and start to drool.

Done!

Done!

Ingredients

Bread Pudding components:

12 mini croissants

1 package of applewood smoked bacon, cut in small pieces

3 ripe organic bananas

Custard components:

8 eggs, whipped

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon of vanilla

1/2 firmly packed cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter

Bacon salted caramel components:

1 tablespoon of reserved bacon grease

4 tablespoons of salted butter

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 cup of packed brown sugar

generous pinch of kosher salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*

Tear croissants into bite sized pieces and arrange in baking dish that is greased or sprayed with baking spray

Cook bacon in pan until browned and crispy.  Reserve bacon grease.  After you have drained the bacon pieces sprinkle over the torn croissant pieces.

Next slice three bananas and layer with croissants and bacon.

Whisk eggs, heavy whipping cream, brown sugar, vanilla until custard is fully incorporated.

Heat peanut butter in microwave for about 30 seconds, until it becomes a runny consistency.  When cooled slightly incorporated into custard mixture.  Once custard and peanut butter are together, pour of croissant pieces.  Make sure to stir around the mixture until all the bread is covered with the custard.

Bake covered with foil in oven for 30 minutes, then remove foil and cook an additional 20 minutes until middle is set and no longer jiggly.

While bread pudding is baking, make the caramel sauce.  In small saucepan mix the brown sugar, cream, butter, bacon grease and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.

Once bread pudding is finished cooking, pour decadent caramel sauce over the top!

Bon appetit!

 

Hearty Baked Potato Soup

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Hearty Baked Potato Soup

I’m a sucker for soups!  Especially soups that eat like a meal, and my take on potato soup is a simple one but a hearty one!  As it is the end of winter here in the Pacific northwest I am stocking up on soups before warmer weather arrives.

Ingredients:

1 package of bacon

6 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced small

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large sweet onion, diced small

1 box of stock

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

Salt & pepper to taste

Toppings:  Whatever you like! My favorites are bacon, cheddar, sour cream and scallions

Start by browning a package of bacon in a heavy pot, preferably a dutch oven if you have one.  Once the bacon is nice and crisp, remove from the pan.

Drain most of the bacon fat and add a touch of butter or olive oil if you’d like.  Sauté potatoes, onions and garlic until softened.  Season veggies with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour in a box of chicken, beef or vegetable stock.  I used beef on this occasion because it was what I had on hand.  It added a deep, rich flavor.

Cover and simmer until everything is softened.

Use a hand held immersion blender to combine.  Add pint of heavy whipping cream and cook until well combined.

Top with bacon, sharp cheddar, sour cream or whatever you’d like!

 

Bacon, Swiss and Onion Quiche

Bacon, Swiss and Onion Quiche

Quiche is one of my favorite breakfast and brunch go to recipes as they are so versatile.  I have many versions of quiche that I enjoy, but this one is a quiche in a simplistic, yet oh so delicious form!

Ingredients:

1 package of bacon

2 tablespoons of butter

2 small sweet onions, or 1 large

3/4 lb of swiss cheese, grated

6 eggs, whisked

1 & 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 store bought unbaked pie crust (the kind that you unroll)

salt & pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions:

*heat oven to 325*

Start by cooking bacon until it is nice and crisp.  I like to cook my bacon in the oven on a wire rack until it is crisp and golden brown.

quichebacon

Crispy Bacon

 

Next sauté the onions in the butter until they are golden brown and sweet. Salt and pepper to taste.

quicheonion

Sautéed Onions

 

Whisk together eggs and heavy whipping cream.  After they are blended together, whisk in the swiss cheese.  Next add the cooled onions and bacon to the custard mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the custard mixture into the unrolled pie crust.

quichecheese

Swiss Cheese

 

Bake uncovered at 325* until the entire pie is golden brown and puffed up in the middle.  Also, the middle should no longer be jiggly.  Serve with a light salad or fruit for a complete meal!

Quick Mulligatawny Curry

Quick Mulligatawny Curry

I’m in love with Mulligatawny soup, well, and just about any kind of curry in general.  I was recently experimenting with a quick mulligatawny recipe and came up with the following, which is great on these cold winter days.

Let me preface this by saying this is a very thick soup — almost as thick as a curry!  You could serve it over basmati or jasmine rice for a filling meal.  If you like a thinner soup, simply add chicken stock to lighten it up!

I also separate 2 cup portions into pyrex and freeze for quick work lunches.  The best thing to serve with this soup is garlic naan bread (Trader Joe’s brand is my favorite) or if you can’t find that a nice piece of crusty french bread would be great too!

Ingredients:

4 whole Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Cut Into Bite-Sized Pieces

Salt And Black Pepper To Taste

4 Tablespoons Butter

1 whole sweet yellow onion, diced

1 large shallot, minced

1 large knob of ginger, minced finely

5 cloves garlic, minced finely

1/2 cup All-purpose Flour

2 Tablespoon Curry Powder – or more to taste!

2 cans of coconut milk

2 cups Half-and-half

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons brown sugar or more (or less) to taste

2 teaspoons Salt, More To Taste

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cayenne Pepper (optional, for extra heat)

Preparation Instructions:

Season diced chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

In the same pot, add butter and reduce heat to medium. Add diced onion, shallot, ginger and garlic and stir to cook. The onions and garlic mixture should start turn a nice golden brown.

Sprinkle flour over onions and chicken. Stir to combine, then stir in curry powder. Sometimes I use more curry powder than stated.  Start with 2 tablespoons and then go from there!

Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly and letting the curry powder become fragrant.

Pour in both cans of coconut milk. Stir to combine, then cook for five minutes. Add half and half, salt, pepper, and sugar, then cook for another five minutes or so.  I’ve actually cooked this soup all day on low before and it just becomes more lovely as time passes.

Add diced apple and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off and allow to stand 5 or 10 minutes before serving. Taste for seasonings that need to be adjusted!  Serve with bread or rice – yum!

Dark Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Dark Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

My husband absolutely loves bread pudding, which is odd because he truly does not eat a lot of sweets.  However, in his big heart he has a soft spot for a good bread pudding.  Over the years of our marriage, I have worked on and perfected my bread pudding recipes.  I have quite a few different ones, but this is by far one is one of his favorites.

First start off with six stale croissants.  Rip them to shreds and place them in a sprayed or buttered baking dish

Next melt 4 tablespoons of butter and pour it over the croissant bits

After that sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips.

Once you have the croissant/chocolate/butter in place, pour of the rich delicious custard

Make sure to push down the croissants into the custard mixture so it is all covered.  Let the custard sit and absorb into the bread.

Bake for 45 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered!

 

Dark Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

*six stale croissants

* 4 tablespoons melted butter

*eight eggs – beaten

* 1& 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

*3/4 cup of 2% milk

*1 cup of sugar

*1 tablespoon of good vanilla

*1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

* Preheat oven to 350*

Beat 8 eggs with the heavy whipping cream, milk, sugar and vanilla.  Set aside.

Rip croissants into bite sized pieces and place in sprayed or buttered baking dish.  Next pour 4 tablespoons of melted butter over the croissant pieces.  After that sprinkle croissant/butter mixture with dark chocolate chips.  Pour the custard over the croissant mixture and make sure all pieces are covered.  Push down the croissants if needed.  Let the croissants sit in the custard mixture for 10 minutes or so to soak up the moisture.

Bake covered for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the pudding is set, golden brown and no longer jiggly!

Roasted Mushroom Tart

Roasted Mushroom Tart

Roasted Mushroom Tart

Mushrooms combine deliciously with béchamel and fried sage in this recipe by eatHalifax:

Roasted Mushroom Tart

Serves 4-6 as a main

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: Less than 1 hour

Ingredients for tart:

  • 2 1/2 lbs. mixed mushrooms (like whole cremini, whole button, halved king oyster, whole enoki)
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves removed and peeled
  • 1/2 small lemon, sliced in rounds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 sprigs each fresh thyme and rosemary
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

Ingredients for béchamel:

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg + more to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigianino Reggiano

Ingredients for fried sage:

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Bunch of fresh sage, stems removed
  • Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Toss together the mushrooms (except the enoki), garlic, lemon, olive oil, herbs, and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until golden brown but still tender, about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. If using enoki mushrooms, add in the last 5 minutes. Remove the herb stalks and lemon slices.

Meanwhile make the béchamel. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan until hot and bubbling. Add the flour. Cook for 1 minute, whisking often. Whisk in the milk gradually. Bring to a boil. Cook, whisking frequently, until thick and smooth, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more nutmeg if desired.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a larger square. Fold over the edges ½ inch to create a border. Prick the centre lightly with a fork. Bake 10 minutes. Pour the béchamel into the crust. If it all doesn’t fit without pouring over the edge, save it and serve with the tart. Bake an additional 10 minutes until set. Arrange the mushrooms and roasted garlic on top. Bake 5 minutes more or until the pastry is golden brown.

For the fried sage, heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/3 of the sage leaves and cook until crisp, only 2-3 seconds. Transfer to paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining leaves. Crumble over the tart to serve.

More information and recipe ideas can be found at www.mushrooms.ca.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

www.newscanada.com

Beef and Mushroom Meatball Sliders

Beef and Mushroom Meatball Sliders

Beef and Mushroom Meatball Sliders

Living Lou is a popular Canadian food blogger with an expertise in cooking and baking – and she also brings a youthful, innovative approach to the kitchen.

“I wanted to lighten up my favourite meatball sliders and using the ‘blend and extend’ method is the perfect way to do this,” Louisa points out. “Who would think that finely chopped mushrooms would blend in seamlessly with ground beef? It’s quite the revelation and something that I’ve been using in all sorts of recipes. Not only does it add volume, vitamins and minerals to dishes, it makes eating beef more affordable.”

Sliders are great, she adds, for feeding a crowd and are especially kid friendly. These sliders are a little on the spicy side, but you can omit the red pepper flakes if you want to keep things a bit milder.

Beef and Mushroom Meatball Sliders

Makes 12

Ingredients:

4 oz white button mushrooms1 clove garlic, minced1 lb lean ground beef1/3 cup bread crumbs1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley1 egg

2 tbsp +1/4 cup barbecue sauce1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (can omit)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

2. In a food processor, process mushrooms and garlic.

3. In a large bowl, combine mushroom mixture with beef, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, 2 tbsp barbecue sauce and red pepper flakes.

4. Using a standard ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into 12 even meatballs.

5. Brush with remaining ¼ cup of barbecue sauce.

6. Bake in oven for 35-45 minutes or until fully cooked.

More information and recipe ideas can be found at www.mushrooms.ca.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

www.newscanada.com

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Vietnamese Salad

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Vietnamese Salad

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Vietnamese Salad

Following a healthy diet doesn’t mean that you have to eat the same dish every day. As the seasons change, so should your meals and the ingredients you add to them. Each season offers its own unique variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be added to recipes for a boost of freshness and originality.

“Winter is peak season for Florida grapefruit, the sweetest and juiciest variety of grapefruit in the world,” says Emily Richards, a home economist. “And that’s just one benefit of this healthy, versatile ingredient that will tantalize your taste buds and provide nutrients to support good health. One-half of a Florida grapefruit contains 100 per cent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, so this touch of natural sweetness in your meals will also help support a healthy immune system.

Florida’s unique fertile soil and lush subtropical climate provide ideal growing conditions for grapefruit to thrive. Growers there have knowledge plus experience – and the lush citrus groves produce the fresh juicy taste that is inside every Florida grapefruit.

Richards reminds us that putting a salad on our menu is a great way to get the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables – and it’s also a good way to experiment with in-season produce.

“Best of all, salads can be salty or sweet, hot or cold, and made with a variety of textures,” she points out. “The recipe for Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Vietnamese Salad, for example, combines flavours from Florida grapefruit, soy sauce and rice vinegar with the crunchy texture of Mexican jicama. It is a spiced up, refreshing salad, that is a great addition to serve alongside your favourite protein or fish. Using in-season produce makes this dish as fresh as it is flavourful.”

More information and additional recipes are available at www.facebook.com/FloridaGrapefruitCA.

Florida Grapefruit and Jicama Vietnamese Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 cups (2 L)

Ingredients:

1 small jicama, peeled (about 1 1/4 lb/600 g)

3 cups (750 ml) shredded napa cabbage

2 Florida ruby red grapefruits, peeled and segmented

1 carrot, shredded

1 cup (250 ml) diced English cucumber

3 tbsp (45 ml) Florida ruby red grapefruit juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) each soy sauce and rice vinegar

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp (30 ml) liquid honey

2 tsp (10 ml) sriracha chili sauce

Directions:

Thinly slice jicama and stack slices. Cut into 2 inch (5 cm) matchstick size strips and place in a large bowl. Add cabbage, Florida grapefruit segments, carrot and cucumber.

In a small bowl, whisk together Florida grapefruit juice, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, honey and chili sauce. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes before serving for flavours to develop.

Makes 8 servings.

www.newscanada.com

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Making your own apple cider vinegar is a great way to make use of those apple skins, scraps, and cores that you might normally toss out.  This method only takes about 8 weeks to make, and produces a wonderful homemade vinegar to use in cooking or cleaning.

The kind of apples that you want to use really depends on you!  Using locally grown apples is a great way to celebrate the seasonal fruits of your surroundings.  There are sweet apples like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Fuji, Gala, and Red Delicious to use; tart apples like Granny Smith, McIntosh, Liberty, and Winesap; and bitter apples like crabapples and Cortland.  Braeburn apples have a tart and sweet flavor. You can mix it up to your liking, and then change up the recipe later depending on your taste.

If you use peels in your vinegar, you will want your apple peels to have been washed very well.

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

What you need:

  • A jar or multiple jars, just depending on how much you want to make, for storing the vinegar
  • Apple pieces cut from the apple including skins, cores, and scraps – you will want enough to fill at least one jar to the top with apples
  • Cheesecloth to cover the jar(s)
  • Filtered water
  • Rubber band(s) or string to tie with
  • Raw sugar – 1 tsp. per apple used (optional since apples already have sugar, adding more sugar will help speed the fermentation process)

How to make:

  1. Set the apple pieces aside to air out.
  2. Once the apple scraps have turned brown, place them in the jar(s).  Fill the jar(s) to the top with the apple scraps.
  3. Mix the filtered water with the sugar.
  4. Fill the jar with apple scraps to the top with water.
  5. Leave the jar out for 1 week, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cover the jar(s) with cheesecloth, securing it around the top with a rubber band or tie.  Do not cover with a lid, the mixture needs the air for breathing.
  7. Place the jar in a warm, dark area (with a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees F.), a cupboard or pantry will do.
  8. After 3-4 weeks, you can start taste testing the vinegar solution, a culture will most likely have formed on the top.
  9. Once the vinegar is to your liking (it could take up to 8 weeks using this method), strain out all of the apple scraps.
  10. Bottle the vinegar at this point for future use!  Make sure it is not bottled using anything metallic, as metal will cause a bad reaction with the vinegar.

Note: the vinegar will likely be cloudy, which is fine, however if you want for it to be more clear, you can filter it through a coffee filter.

Also see: Apple Cider Vinegar – Multiple Uses for Every Day Maladies

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