October 31, 2014

Apple Butter Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

1 large onion, cut into rings
2 1/2 lb boneless pork roast
1 cup Musselman's apple butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
12 slices sourdough bread
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Place the onions in a single layer in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker. Place the pork roast on top of the onion. Pour the apple butter, tomato paste, granulated garlic, salt and pepper over the pork. Cover and cook on high 4 hours then on low for 2. Remove the roast and shred with forks or "meat claws". Return to the slow cooker and toss with juices and onion.

Melt a 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Meanwhile, divide the cheese evenly among 6 slices of bread. Place a slice or two of cheese topped bread in the skillet. Cook until the cheese is starting to melt. Top with pulled pork and another slice of bread. Flip, cook until golden. Repeat for remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I love apple butter! We go to the Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs, WV where they cook apple butter over wood fires in the town square every year. So when Musselman's asked if I could great a new recipe using their apple butter, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I hadn't tried it before (I normally buy mine at the festival or make my own) but I was happy to try it. I was pleasantly surprised, it was nicely flavored, well-spiced but not to cinnamon heavy like I feared. This made it even easier to make a the pulled pork I planned (I love apple butter and pork!) because I didn't have to add many extra ingredients. I added some tomato paste to keep it from being too sweet and garlic powder but I really didn't need to add much. I carefully pulled the apple butter and tomato paste on top of the pork so it stayed thick during the cooking process. No one likes watery pulled pork! While it would be great just on a sandwich (or as my husband takes it for lunch, over rice) I took it to the next level by incorporating it into a grilled cheese. So good and hearty enough for lunch.

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October 27, 2014

Bolognese Alla Diavolo Pappardelle


For sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup whole milk
½ cup dry red wine
3½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce can) diced tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste

For pasta
2 pounds flour
10 eggs
3 tablespoons Frank’s® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce

To make the sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or tall-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and carrots until the onions are translucent and soft, stirring occasionally, about 5–8 minutes. Add the sausage and ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large chunks, until the meat is browned, about 8–10 minutes.

Add the spices and milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the milk has cooked down and the meat looks dry, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wine has cooked down and the meat looks dry, about 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least 1½ hours and up to 3½ hours, adding small amounts of water occasionally if the mixture looks dry. When the sauce is done, add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the pasta:

Place the ingredients in a large bowl. Start mixing either by hand or with a mixer with a dough hook until a dough forms. Remove the dough to a lightly floured cutting board and knead, sprinkling on small amounts of flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your pasta machine to create sheets of pasta. Gently fold the sheets in half and slice them into 1-inch-wide strips.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, 2–3 minutes.

Drain the pasta and then serve immediately topped with the sauce. Store the pasta and sauce leftovers separately.

My thoughts:
This one of my favorite recipes from my new book, Cooking with Frank's RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat, I love it not only because the pasta rolls out like a dream or that it is honestly delicious, it shows how versatile hot sauce can be! Who knew pasta infused with hot sauce would be so good? It tastes spicy, not "hot" and if you didn't know, I don't think you'd guess the secret ingredient was hot sauce!

from the book:

"A classic Italian sauce paired with hot sauce–spiked pasta? Sounds crazy, but trust me, it is amazing. Somehow the addition of the hot sauce makes the pasta silky smooth and incredibly easy to work with. It is the perfect light, tasty, fresh foil for a rich, meaty sauce"

Cooking with Frank's RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat is available now! Click on the title to see it on where is available in hardback or for you Kindle.

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October 20, 2014

Meyer Lemon Ginger Beer Rock Shandy

1 cup Meyer lemon juice (from about 7 lemons)
4 cups very cold water
3 tablespoons liquid turbinado sugar, simple syrup or agave nectar
3 cups ginger beer
1/2 teaspoon bitters


In a medium pitcher, stir together the lemon juice, water, syrup until fully incorporated. Carefully stir in the ginger beer. Sprinkle with bitters. Serve immediately. 

My thoughts:
A rock shandy is a non-alcoholic version of a shandy (which is beer mixed with lemonade or soda) frequently made with citrus fruit. I've been on a big ginger beer kick lately so I thought I'd try it with sweet-tart Meyer lemons. It was great, really refreshing but not terribly summery.

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October 13, 2014

Tuna Dandelion Green Pasta Salad

10 oz rotini
2 cups finely chopped dandelion greens
10 oz canned solid white albacore in water, drained
1 small onion, diced
1 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons capote capers
2 green onions, diced

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon
1/2 teaspoon juice from the caper jar
1/2 teaspoon ground peri peri
freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. In the last minute of cooking, toss in the dandelion greens. Drain and cool completely.

In a large bowl, toss together the tuna, pasta mixture, capers, onion, green onion, celery and zest. Break up any large chunks of tuna. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, caper juice, mustard, spices. Drizzle over the salad and stir to evenly distribute all ingredients.

My thoughts:
I was excited to see dandelion greens in the supermarket last week. I had never seen them before and I was surprised at how long they were! They looked like a bunch Swiss chard or something. Anyway, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with but I had a craving for tuna salad so I thought I'd try it in that. Luckily for me, the somewhat bitter greens were the perfect foil for the milder tuna and pasta. I had it for lunch for several days and never got tired of it. High praise for a pasta salad!

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October 10, 2014

Butternut Squash Pork Tacos

2 1/2 lb boneless pork roast
1 1/2 lb (peeled, seeded) butternut squash, cut into 2 inch half moons*
2 jalapenos, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated garlic

to serve:
taco sized tortillas
shredded Mexican cheeses
sour cream
hot sauce

Place the butternut squash in the bottom of a 4 qt slow cooker. Place the pork on top the squash and then scatter the remaining ingredients on top. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove the pork and shred. Use a slotted spoon or spider to scoop out the solid ingredients from the slow cooker insert. Place in a medium sized bowl and use a potato masher to mash until fairly smooth. Add the pork and toss to coat. Serve immediately on warm tortillas and top with your favorite toppings.

*I had a monster-sized squash so I only had to use half.

My thoughts:
I know butternut squash pork tacos sounds kind of nutty but trust me, it works! The squash cooks while the pork does, becoming incredibly tender. Once mashed and tossed with the shredded pork, it gives the pork an earthy flavor that is quite a change from my normally fiery tacos but quite good. It also helps thicken the meat mixture which I appreciate, slow cooker pork has a tendency to fall out of tacos. Not a problem with this recipe. You can top it with whatever you'd like, but I stuck with cheese, sour cream and lettuce. I think some thinly sliced radishes would be good too for a bit of crunch. I'm adding these to my regular autumn location.

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October 08, 2014

Chorizo Autumn Vegetable Soup


group #1
1 acorn squash, cubed
2 carrots, cut into coins
2 very large parsnips, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 Walla Walla onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground peri peri
8 cups Swanson chicken broth*
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

group #2
1 bunch lacinato kale
12 oz Portuguese-style chorizo, cut into coins and lightly browned

Add the ingredients from group #1 to a 6 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hrs. Stir in group #2. Cover and cook on low 20 additional minutes.

*Depending on the size of your vegetables, you might need slightly more stock. It should just cover the vegetables.

My thoughts:
October is official soup weather, I think. It is suddenly quite chilly here and I have to say, I don't like it one bit! We had lovely weather 2 weekends ago and actually spent an afternoon at a beach searching for sea glass. Now I am trying to think of fun, indoor activities. Maybe I will take up a craft.

I digress, the lovely people at Swanson contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in creating a new soup recipe using their chicken broth. They have new ones out that are flavored, Tuscan Chicken and Louisiana Cajun, and a starter for creamy soups which are all very tasty but for this recipe, I stuck with the classic. I had a bunch of vegetables from my delivery service and some Portuguese chorizo, I decided to go make a vaguely Portuguese inspired soup (we are still obsessed with Portugal after our trip in May) with loads of autumn vegetables and peri peri. I even included kale, which normally I hate but I realized the lacinato variety is actually not bad. Much less fibrous and the stems and ribs were much smaller and more tender than the kale I normally have had. This is a hearty, filling soup that anyone would love. It even freezes well!

Disclosure: I received samples from Swanson® for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience, or Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Swanson® but the opinions are 100% my own!

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October 06, 2014

Cheddar Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
1 large broccoli crown, cut into florets (about 1 1/2 cups florets)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra sharp cheddar
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli, garlic and potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, mash in remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
It is mashed potato season again! I love them any time of the year but in the summer it is just too hot to boil water sometimes! This is one of my favorite ways to make mashed potatoes; there is no need for a second vegetable side dish. I don't know about you but making multiple sides and a main is something I try to avoid unless it is a special occasion. For two people it seems like a lot of work (and dishes for a dishwasher-less house) and often yields too many leftovers. These are not only delish but truly one pot. Boiling the garlic sounds a bit weird at first but it really infuses the dish and gets really soft and mashable. The cheddar is just gilding the lily but so good!

If you are at home and have leftovers, try browning them in a little butter to reheat--so good!

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