Sweet Soy Glazed Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice

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This is a quick and easy weeknight meal and a great way to use up leftover rice. The pork chops are cooked with a combination of onions, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and Sriracha until tender and succulent. Then rice is fried with a dash of soy sauce, garlic, scrambled eggs and tossed with smoky roasted peppers, crisp, fresh peas and sweet, juicy pineapple. It’s a great mix of salty and sweet and a delicious Asian-inspired twist on classic pork chops.

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 whole Pineapple, Cut Into Spears And Skewered
  • 2 cups White Or Brown Rice, Cooked
  • 4 whole Pork Chops
  • 1 teaspoon Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Canola Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Sliced
  • 6 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha, Or Other Hot Sauce
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 jar (small) Drained Pimentos
  • 1-1/2 cup Frozen Peas
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (additional)

Method:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Saute pineapple spears until they have good color on the outside. Slice, then set aside.
  3. Heat butter and oil over medium high heat, then add the pork chops to the pan. Saute on both sides until they have nice color.
  4. Add the sliced onions and saute until softened. When the onions are starting to soften, add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and hot sauce. Shake the pan, stir it around, and let it cook and bubble up for a good couple of minutes until the pork chops are completely cooked and the sauce is thicker.
  5. Remove the pork chops and let the sauce bubble up and cook for another until reduced. Pour it over the pork chops. Set aside.
  6. Add a small amount of oil to the same pan (without cleaning it) and return it to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir it around, then crack in the eggs and immediately stir them to scramble them a bit. Add peas, pimentos, and a couple of tablespoons (additional) soy sauce. Add cooked rice and stir it around to cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. To serve, pile rice on a plate, then top with a pork chops and onions from the sauce. Drizzle a little bit of sauce over the top.

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S’mores Bars

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These bars are soft, moist, chewy and super simple to make. They come together in one bowl in about five minutes. You can substitute graham flour for an even more authentic s’mores flavor or add peanut butter in place of some of the butter for a fluffernutter spin. The brown sugar gives them a rich caramel flavor. Studded with chunks of dark chocolate and gooey toasted marshmallows, these bars are delicious with or without the campfire. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 large marshmallows cut into thirds along the middle
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, corn starch and salt and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  6. Place the marshmallow slices and chocolate chunks on top.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until just set. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

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Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter

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Making your own nut butters is so easy and one of my favorite things to experiment with. Almond butter, cashew macadamia nut butter, mixed nut butter, and pecan butter … the options are endless. This recipe combines the familiar taste of peanut butter with warm cinnamon and chewy raisins. You simply put the peanuts in the food processor with a pinch of salt and sugar and grind it until it becomes rich and creamy. The cinnamon adds subtle spice and raisins give it texture and fruitiness.   It’s great on everything from toast to ice cream, or just straight out of the jar with a spoon.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dry roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants

Method:

  1. Place the peanuts, salt and sugar in a food processor and blend for around 10 minutes or until smooth.
  2. Add in cinnamon and raisins and pulse until combined.
  3. Store in a sealed jar.

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Mocha Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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These cookies are soft, chewy and studded with chunks of dark chocolate and specks of expresso. The expresso gives them a subtle, smoky mocha flavor and browned butter adds nuttiness and warmth. The mocha flavor isn’t overpowering so you don’t have to be a coffee lover to enjoy them! The recipe is slightly adapted from Amanda at Kevin and Amanda

Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Chocolate Chunks

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter starts to foam, begin whisking constantly. When the butter turns brown, fragrant, and you see little brown bits at the bottom of the pan, immediately remove from heat and and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, coffee, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low-speed just until combined. Add the chocolate chunks and stir until just combined.

4. Use a small cookie scoop to place dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes until edges just start to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Sea Salt Bars

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The marriage of chocolate and peanut butter is one of the most universally popular flavor combinations – there’s something about the creamy mix of salty and sweet. These bars are a spin on a Reeses peanut butter cup with an emphasis on the peanut butter. The graham cracker crumbs give the bars a dense, chewy texture and the dark chocolate layer is sprinkled with sea salt to give the whole bar an addictive richness.
Ingredients:
  • 2 sleeves graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch of sea salt for sprinkling
Method:
1) Place the graham crackers in a food processor and grind to fine crumbs.
2) Add the remaining ingredients and process until fully combined.
3) Spread the mixture into a greased 8×8 inch pan.
4) Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and spread over the peanut butter layer. Sprinkle sea salt over the warm chocolate.
5) Place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour before cutting into bars.
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Banana Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

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This cake is a spin on the classic Southern caramel cake. A moist banana cake is swirled with rich caramel sauce and covered with a creamy caramel frosting. The frosting uses nutty browned butter and salted caramel for a unique spin on the traditional recipe and is much easier to spread. You can use dulce de leche or any other thick caramel sauce for both the cake and the frosting (I use Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce). Sugar-coated pecans make the perfect topper for the cake. Happy Mother’s Day!

For the cake:

  • 10 Tablespoons UNSALTED BUTTER, ROOM TEMP
  • 1 1/4 Cups SUGAR
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
  • 1/3 Cup CARAMEL SAUCE
  • 2 each EGGS
  • splash VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 2 Cups AP FLOUR
  • 1/2 teaspoon BAKING POWDER
  • 1 Cup MILK

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease two 9″ cake pans.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
  4. Add sugar, carmel sauce, mashed bananas and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
  5. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
  6. Sift flour and baking powder.
  7. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dries.
  8. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time.
  9. 8. Add another third of the dries, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dries.
  10. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds. making sure batter is uniform.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks UNSALTED BUTTER
  • 1 Pound CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR, SIFTED
  • 2-3 Tablespoons MILK
  • 2 teaspoons VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1/2 cup CARAMEL SAUCE
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste

Method

  1.  Cook butter until brown.
  2. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
  3. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of milk and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Spinach

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Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s naturally sweet and when roasted it gets caramelized on the outside while remaining creamy and luxurious on the inside. Simply cube the squash and roast it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. It’s full of fiber, potassium  vitamin B6 and folate. It goes great paired with spinach that has been sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes for a spicy kick. It’s a healthy and comforting side dish. 

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April 30, 2013 · 10:01 am

Chewy Sugar Cookies

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A classic sugar cookie is hard to beat. I’ve always loved the chewy sugar cookies they sell at Fresh Market and this recipe is the closest I’ve come to recreating them at home. A crackly sugar coating gives way to a buttery, doughy, chewy middle. The key is under baking them slightly so they don’t get too crispy while they cool. The extra egg yolks give these cookies a warm richness and the cream of tartar helps them maintain their shape while keeping them tender on the inside. I like making some mini cookies and sandwiching them with jam, nutella or ice cream…

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar (sanding or granulated) for rolling cookies

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl sides and bottom. Add yolks, vanilla, and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix on low speed until dough comes together. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons and roll between your hands until smooth.
  3. Roll dough in sanding or granulated sugar to coat and place on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets. Bake cookies until they are golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, about 11-13 minutes. Immediately transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2013

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The SoBe Wine and Food Festival is held annually in South Beach and this year the turn out was bigger than ever. With over 60,000 guests, it’s a 4 day destination event that showcases the best in food and wine from around the county. When you walk up the beach front tents you are handed a wine glass and sway bag full of samples and once you enter the Grand Tasting village, there are hundreds of food, wine and liquor distributors passing out delicious tastes. Some of my favorite Food Network celebrity chefs hosted cooking demonstrations including Martha Stewart, Tyler Florence, Alex Guarnaschelli, Aaron Sanchez, Pat and Gina Neely, Curtis Stone, Masaharu Morimoto, and Nigella Lawson. It’s one of my favorite events and with gorgeous weather and lots of beach and pool time this year didn’t disappoint!  Check out their website for more information. 

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Butterfinger Bars

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These bars are the perfect combination of salty, sweet, crunchy and chewy. Peanut butter and butterscotch is one of my favorite flavor combinations. When you combine peanut butter, agave, and brown sugar you get a mixture that’s creamy, rich, decadent and tastes like the middle of a butterfinger candy bar. You simply pour the mixture over cereal and let it set until the bars are firm enough to cut. You can use almost any cereal you want (I used cornflakes for these but special K and rice crispies work well too.) Think of them as “healthy” butterfingers!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3-4 cups cornflakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, agave and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted.
  2. Pour the mixture over the cereal and stir to combine.
  3. Press the cereal mixture into a greased 8×8 inch pan and allow to set until cool before cutting into bars.

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