SLOW COOKER HERBED BALSAMIC PORK ROAST

SLOW COOKER HERBED BALSAMIC PORK ROAST

I am in love with my Slow Cooker. I really am. I consider Sally the Slow Cooker to be one of my best friend’s. She never let’s me down. Especially with this recipe. Dust off your Slow Cooker and get ready to make an amazing meal! This roast is melt in your mouth magical goodness. The incrdibles smells coming from the kitchen was a good indication of how delicious this roast would be. But every time you take a bite of the roast, you have to say MMMM and just shake your head, because you can’t believe that you just made an incredible meal. Serve it with Mashed Potatoes and sauteed Swiss Chard. THE BEST!! Plus this roast makes some of the best gravy ever! We were pooling it into our mashed potatoes like there was no tomorrow, but there is a tomorrow, and you will be so happy you have leftovers!

Slow-Cooker Herbed Balsamic Pork Roast

Serving Size: 7-10 slices Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 4-8 hours

Ingredients

1 Pork Roast (3-5 lbs)
1/2 cup + 2 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 cup Honey
2 tsp Rosemary (Dried) ( I didn’t have Rosemary, so I used Provencal Spices)
1/2 tsp Thyme (Dried)
2 Bay Leaves (Or 1 tsp of Thyme)
2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

Place pork roast in the slow cooker. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and pour over roast.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6, depending on the size of the roast. (I put mine in frozen and cooked it on low for 8 hours).
Remove the cooked roast from the slow-cooker. Cover and keep warm. Pour the remaining sauce from slow cooker into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it reduce by about half.
Slice the roast and pour the sauce over top.
Serve!

Recipe adapted from The Home Journalist.com

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Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread

It felt like a winter day today. This news doesn’t bode well for this California girl. My mind is racing as I am checking flights to Los Angeles. Can I get out of Maine before it snows?

You are never prepared for winter. I don’t care how much you winterize and stack wood, well, I really haven’t stacked wood, but one could stack wood, but I have started our wood stove. But still, when you walk outside and that cold wet air hits your face, you have to stand back and gasp.

We have a few sacred days to go until that happens. I was scrolling through the wonderful food blog, 365 Days of Baking and found this delicious quick bread. I had all of the ingredients, love that, loads of pumpkin and chocolate chunks, so I started to set all of my ingredients out. Wait, I was out of butter! So I substituted butter with vegetable oil. I also forgot to add milk, but it wasn’t missed. This quick bread is so moist and perfect. You won’t miss it!

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

Makes One Loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted ( I substituted 1/2 cup of vegetable oil)
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk ( I forgot to add milk, but the bread was moist and delicious without it)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunk chips ( I used Bittersweet chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Generously grease a 9 X 5 X 3-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix well.
In a large bowl, beat eggs.
Add pumpkin and oil. Mix well.
Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix, but just before completely combined, fold in the chocolate chips, combine. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack. This loaf was almost completely finished after one day! I recommend doubling this recipe next time. Perfect for gifts!

Recipe adapted from 365 Days Of Baking

BAKLAVA

BAKLAVA

This is my first attempt at making Baklava. Let me tell you it was much easier than I thought it would be. Since I have ventured out and successfully made Spanakopita, I figured all I needed was patience and some phyllo dough. I have had a package of frozen phyllo dough in my freezer, that turned out to be non-wheat, and single sheet, which makes assembly so much easier than the double sheet that I used for Spanakopita. I used a jelly roll pan which fits the single sheet layer perfectly. The dough was a little dried out after unrolling, but it was still perfect after baking. I also used slivered almonds that I chopped up in the cuisinart. I would double the amount of almonds next time, or maybe add walnuts or pecans. My family and friends thought there was plenty of nuts, so this is just a personal taste. This tray of baklava disappeared very quickly when my son and his friends came home for the weekend, I actually had to hide a couple pieces for hubs, this is his very favorite dessert and he was thrilled that I had made it. I have also had a bottle of Rose Water that I really have been wanting to include in a recipe, this recipe called for Orange Flower Water and I substituted Rose Water for the Orange Water. The smell is wonderful.

BAKLAVA
Serve in small portions, it is buttery and sweet
serves 10-12

Ingredients

Syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp lemon
1 Tbsp Rose Water ( recipe calls for Orange Flower Water)

Pastry

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 lb package phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup chopped walnuts, almonds, or pistachio nuts
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

First, make the syrup by combining all of the ingredients in a heavy- based saucepan. Place over low heat until the sugar dissolves, it will look clear. Stir occasionally. Once the sugar dissolves, raise the heat and allow the syrup to boil until it is thick enough to coat the spoon. This should take about 2 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool and chill thoroughly.

Brush a rectangular baking dish, about 12 x 18 inches, with some of the melted butter. Place about 8 sheets of phyllo dough in the dish, brushing the top of each sheet with some of the melted butter.

Mix the nuts, sugar and cinnamon together and spread half of the mixture over the top of the phyllo. Place two more layers of buttered phyllo dough on top and then cover with the remaining nuts. Layer up the remaining phyllo, brushing each sheet with some of the butter.

With a sharp knife, score a diamond pattern in the top. Sprinkle the top with a little water to keep it moist and prevent curling. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes and then raise the temperature to 425 degrees F. Continue baking for 10-15 minutes longer or until the pastry is cooked and the top is golden brown and crisp. ( My baklava was done golden brown and done before the oven temperature changes, so I removed the tray of baklava then, just keep and eye on it)

Remove the pastry from the oven and immediately pour over the syrup. Leave the pastry to cool and when thoroughly cold, cut into diamond shapes to serve.

Baklava may be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Leave at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from the Kitchen Flipbook

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SLOW COOKER BEEF AND PEPPERS

SLOW COOKER BEEF AND PEPPERS

After working outside all day winterizing our home, I knew we would all love a warm, comforting meal, the kind that warms up your bones. Sitting by the woodstove, all toasty and warm, Slow Cooker Beef and Peppers hit the spot. My family went back for seconds. Serve it over any type of rice that you like.

Ingredients
3 LB Beef Roast ( remove any fat and cut up into a little bigger than bite size chunks)
1 medium can Tomato Sauce
5 Peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced onion
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tbsp Provencal Spices

Directions

In a Slow Cooker, add all ingredients, set on High for 4 hours or until meat is tender, or Low for 6 hours. Stir every hour to make sure all flavors are blended.
Serve over rice.
Serves 6

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Will Cook For Smiles

BEEF AND BROCCOLI

BEEF AND BROCCOLI

When my Mom was visiting, my kids requested Chinese Food for dinner. Mom and I decided to make homemade Chinese food. Beef and Broccoli was on the menu. The meat was very tender and cooked quickly. This is a great dish to make when you don’t have a lot of time and would like something really delicious! We doubled the recipe for 5 people.

BEEF and BROCCOLI

Ingredients

1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, partly frozen
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp sugar
8 oz fresh broccoli
1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled
6 tbsps oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions

Trim any fat from the meat and cut meat into very thin stripsacross the grain. Strips should be bout 3 inches long.

Combine the meat and the soy sauce, cornstarch, sherry, and sugar. Stir well and leave long enough for the meat to completely defrost.

Trim the broccoli flowerets from the stalks and cut them into even sized pieces. Peel the stalks of the broccoli and cut into thin, diagonal slices. Slice the ginger into thin shreds.

Heat a wok and add 2 tbsps of the oil to it. Add the broccoli and sprinkle with salt. Stir fry, turning constantly, until the broccoli is dark green. Do not cook for longer than 2 minutes. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Place the remaining oil in the wok and add the ginger and the beef mixture. Stir fry, turning constantly, for about 2 minutes. Return the broccoli to the pan and mix well. Heat through for 30 seconds and serve immediately over rice.

Using meat that is partly frozen makes it easier to slice thinly. If more sauce is desired, double the quantities of soy sauce, cornstarch, sherry and sugar.

Recipe semi adapted from the Kitchen Flipbook

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Pulled Pork is so simple to make in the Crock Pot, just set it and forget it. I started this Pulled Pork early in the morning and let it do it’s thing for 12 hours on low. The results are delicious. We had a meal of Pulled Pork and Rice and Beans the first night and the second night, I prepared Enchiladas. I hadn’t planned on making Enchiladas, but after tasting the Pulled Pork, I knew it would be wonderful as enchiladas, it really is!

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Ingredients

4 Pound Pork Roast
4 cloves garlic ( chopped)
1 TBSP Cumin
Salt
Pepper

Directions

Place pork in crock pot, add spices, cook on low for 12 hours. Shred pork with two forks.

Cilantro Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 cup of orange juice ( fresh squeezed)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch of Cilantro
1 Jalapeno Pepper ( seeded) use gloves!
1 Korean Pepper (seeded)
salt
pepper
1 tsp Oregano

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over pulled pork and heat for a couple minutes in crock pot until warm.

Enchiladas

2 cups pulled pork
1 package flour tortillas
1 can Enchilada sauce
1 small can Green Chile’s
1- 8 oz package Jack Cheese ( shredded)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray Vegetable spray in a 9 x 12 casserole dish. Shred the Jack cheese then sprinkle it on top of some shredded pork placed into the center of a flour tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in casserole dish. Repeat with the rest of tortillas and pork. Pour enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas, Pour chiles over tortillas. Sprinkle Jack Cheese over tortillas. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

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Mom’s Best Pumpkin Pie

Mom's Best Pumpkin Pie

I come from a long line of pie bakers in my family. I remember my Great Grandma, Martha Cook, making her wonderful Boysenberry Cobblers that I still dream about. My Grandma Billie made a perfect Pecan Pie. Pronounced, puh-can, that’s the way it will always be for me. But my Mom can make a pie crust like nobody’s business, flaky, tender, perfect crust. I think the trick is not over working your crust, just do it and don’t think about it. She also makes the best Pumpkin Pie that I have ever had.

My son requested Pumpkin Pies instead of a cake for his birthday. Yes his love for pie is in his blood. My Mom made two pies because she knew that her grandson could eat a whole pie by himself without blinking an eye. Topped with fresh whipped cream, nothing more comforting. I have been eating this pie my whole life and can’t imagine a holiday without it.

Mom’s Best Pumpkin Pie
Makes 2 pies

6 eggs slightly beaten
1 can ( 29 oz) solid pack pumpkin (we like Libby’s)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp ground Ginger
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
2 cans (12 fl oz each) Evaporated Milk
2 9- inch unbaked homemade pie shells

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Combine filling ingredients in order given, divide evenly into pie shells. Bake 15 mins, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 45 mins, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Wrap foil around crust if browns too quickly. Cool, garnish with whipped cream.

Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

Makes one 9 inch deep dish pie crust

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2-3 TBSP cold water

Directions

Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl, cut in vegetable shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle with water, blend until mixture holds together. Shape dough into a ball, place on lightly floured surface. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Line pie plate with pastry. Turn edge under, crimp edge as desired.

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Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

My love for Greek food goes back to my late teens when we would have dinner at a wonderful Greek restaurant in the valley. The waiters would throw plates and dance and sing and keep delivering never ending mounds of fabulous food to our table. I just couldn’t get enough of their, “Joie de Vivre”, I should know how to say that in Greek, but eh, not so sure. Flash forward a couple years later and I am sailing around Mykonos in awe of how beautiful Greece is and trying to figure out how I can make a living picking olives from the trees. The meals started off with spanakopita, greek spinach pie, with layers of perfectly flaky phyllo dough that melts in your mouth, don’t even think about the calories, just look at that gorgeous blue sea. I have wanted to create this fabulous pie, but always thought it would be so much work. I imagined it being gobbled up and me crying saying, “I worked on that all day” But really it is just like making layers in a painting when you are brushing the olive oil over the phyllo. Just get comfy in your chair, and see yourself creating a spinach masterpiece. Phyllo is a magical food, how it puffs up perfectly browned after baking for what seems like not much time. This recipe is perfect for a brunch party or an appetizer for a holiday or just great for dinner.

Ingredients

1 onion chopped
2 cartons frozen spinach-thawed and drained
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
8 oz crumbled Feta Cheese
2 eggs beaten
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 16oz package of Phyllo Dough thawed
1/4 cup Olive Oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a pan, saute onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil until soft, set aside. Combine spinach, egg, feta, mozzarella, vinegar and mix. Set aside. Brush bottom of a 17 x11 Jelly Roll pan with olive oil. Place one sheet across the bottom and top of pan, continue placing layers of dough and brushing with olive oil after each layer. After the first roll is used up place spinach and cheese mixture and smooth out over phyllo, continue to layer the next roll of layers as before with olive oil. With a sharp knife, score the top layers into diamond shape.
Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 24 pieces.

Dulce de Leche Caramel

Dulce de Leche Caramel

Dulce de Leche

My daughter looked at me and sighed. She asked if we have any caramel for apples? I thought to myself, not right this minute, but I can have it in 90 minutes! You just need one ingredient~ One can of sweetened condensed milk. There are a couple ways that you can make Dulce de Leche, on the stovetop, microwave, crock pot or oven. My crock pot was full preparing dinner, so I went with the stovetop method.

Directions

In a large pot, Immerse can in water, make sure that the water is covering the can at all times, very important, you don’t want the can to explode. Boil for 90 minutes. Carefully remove can, I used a waterproof oven mitt and tongs. Let cool, open can, pour into a glass container and stir, store in refrigerator.

Serve with cut up apples, coffee, over cakes, brownies, turnovers, there are unlimited ways to use Dulce de Leche.

Here are some other ways to make Dulce De Leche:

The following four methods all begin with a can of sweetened condensed milk:

1. Oven: This is a great way to make it because it gives a smooth creamy texture with minimal work. Empty the contents of a can into an oven-proof dish; sprinkle with some kosher salt and tightly cover it with foil.

Place the covered dish in a larger roasting or casserole pan and fill it up with water until it reaches three quarters of the up the covered dish to create a water bath. Bake at 425 degrees F for 60-90 minutes checking every 30 minutes on the water level and adding more as needed.

Dulce de leche is ready when it takes on a brown and caramel-like appearance. Remove from the oven and whisk to smoothness. Let cool before storing.

2. Stovetop: This method takes the longest, but it allows for the most control over the consistency. Remove label from can. Pierce three holes in the formation of a triangle on top of can (this is critical to release the pressure from the heat or else the can may explode.) Place the can in a sauce pan and fill the sauce pan with water three-quarters of the way up the side of the can.

Bring water to a simmer and keep it there for 3-4 hours or until desired consistency. For a thicker more syrup-like texture cook closer to 4 hours. When ready, use tongs to remove can allow to cool slightly and pour dulce de leche in a bowl and whisk to smoothness. Let cool before storing.

3. Microwave: The fastest way, but it may yield a less smooth texture than the other two methods.

Empty contents of can in a microwave safe dish and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Cook it on medium in two minute increments stirring between each increment (be careful of any steam as you lift the plastic wrap) up to 10 minutes for thinner pouring consistency, or up to 13-15 minutes for a thicker, syrup-like consistency. Let cool before storing.

This method comes from the Comfortably Domestic Blog:

Dulce de Leche Caramel in a Crock Pot

Yields Three 8-Ounce Jars

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 5 to 7 hours, Total Time: 5 to 7 hours

2 cans (14 oz. each) Sweetened Condensed Milk

3 (8 oz. each) canning jars with seals and bands

Transfer the contents of the cans of sweetened condensed milk into the canning jars, filling each jar no more than three-quarters of the way. Place the seals on the jars, and loosely affix the bands until they are on well, but not quite finger tight. Air should be able to circulate through the seals so as not to have them explode under the pressure created by the steam in the crock pot.

Set the jars into the crock of a slow cooker. Fill the crock with enough cold water to immerse the jars in water until it is one-inch from the top of the jars. Place the lid on the slow cooker and heat on low for five to seven hours, depending on the desired consistency.

Five hours for flowing caramel.

Seven hours spreadable caramel.

Carefully remove the jars from the crock, and let stand at room temperature until cool. Caramel will continue to thicken as it stands.

Once cooled, dulce de leche can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Apple Pie Bars

Apple Pie Bars

We are a bulk buying family, especially when it is seasonal. Now it is apple season! When I asked hubs what he would like me to bake with the many pounds of apples we just purchased, he said in excitement, “Apple Pie! ” I have a wonderful recipe that I have been wanting to bake from Taste of Home, this is like a double pie recipe, that can be cut into bars. Flaky, buttery, crumbly apple pie, but baked in a rectangular dish. It’s perfect warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or drizzled with a caramel sauce.

Apple Pie Bars

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups cold butter, divided
5 to 6 cups thinly sliced peeled Apples
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda; cut in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 2 cups for topping. Press remaining crumbs into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Arrange apples over top, sprinkle cinnamon over apples; set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, vanilla and remaining butter. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly; spread over apples. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Yield: 3-4 dozen.