Vietnamese and Thai food are a favorite of mine and I was delighted to find this recipe. The caramelized ground pork is out-of-this-world and makes the dish. I also thought the caramelized pork would be great in street tacos (ok, so now I’m on to Mexican food). The leftovers were equally as good, warmed in the microwave. For those that do not like spicy hot, I was relieved that the green curry paste from the grocery store was not at all spicy hot, it just added the right about flavor to the dish.
Vietnamese-Style Caramelized Ground Pork Bowls
For the Quick-Pickled Carrots:
4oz grated carrots
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Caramelized Ground Pork:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1lb ground pork
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
salt and pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
For the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
12oz fresh or frozen cauliflower rice
salt and pepper
squeeze fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
For the Green Curry Drizzle:
2 Tablespoons green curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk (I like full fat)
2 Tablespoons chicken broth
squeeze fresh lime juice
For the toppings:
8oz broccoli florets, steamed
chopped green onion
For the Quick-Pickled Carrots: Add vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a microwave safe dish then microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved then pour over carrots, stir to combine, and refrigerate. Can be done several days ahead of time.
For the Caramelized Ground Pork: Place 2 layers of paper towel on a large plate then set aside. Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add ground pork, shallot, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper (to taste) then saute until pork is just barely cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks. Add brown sugar and fish sauce to the skillet then stir to combine. Spread pork into an even layer in the bottom of the wok or skillet then saute for 2 minutes – DO NOT DISTURB OR STIR THE PORK as it caramelizes. Stir then spread the pork into an even layer again and cook for 2 more minutes, undisturbed. Continue cooking then stirring in two minute increments – leaving the pork alone as it cooks and caramelizes – until the pork is brown and caramelized. You may need to cook in 1 minute increments near the end to prevent the sugar from burning. Scrape the caramelized pork onto prepared paper towel lined plate to drain then set aside.
For the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice: Get out a serving bowl then set aside. Place wok or skillet back over high heat then add oil. Once oil is hot, add cauliflower rice, season with salt and pepper, then stir fry until cauliflower is crisp tender, 3-4 minutes. Add lime juice and chopped cilantro then stir to combine. Scrape cauliflower rice into serving bowl then set aside.
For the Green Curry Drizzle: Place wok or skillet back over medium high heat. Add curry paste then saute for 30 seconds, scraping/flattening/stirring it with a spatula. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, and sugar then stir until smooth and bring sauce to a simmer. Turn heat down to medium then simmer until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced, 3-4 minutes. Squeeze in a little lime juice to taste.
To assemble: Scoop the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice into bowls then top with the Caramelized Ground Pork, Quick Pickled Carrots, toppings, and Green Curry Drizzling Sauce.
Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese is such a treat. My daughter, Megan, suggested I make it when I asked what I could make with leftover canned pumpkin.
The recipe is so easy and is plate of fall goodness complimented by a great salad and bread. Easy peasy dinner that will please a family or guest!
Pumpkin Pasta Dinner with sausage and goat cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15-ounce can pumpkin puree or a scant 2 cups of pumpkin puree
A few fresh sage leaves and a few sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
A good pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2–2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Serve with 1 pound al dente linguini pasta, or any cooked pasta you like.
Well-browned ground Italian sausage
Goat cheese crumbles
Toasted pine nuts
Red pepper flakes
To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and chopped herbs.
Increase heat to medium and add all of the spices. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until thickened to your desired sauce consistency. Add more stock as you see fit. Taste and season with salt and pepper (and even more spices) to your taste.
Toss boiled pasta in the warm sauce. To serve, top with sausage or sausage alternative, goat cheese crumbled (or parmesan), toasted pine nuts (or any kind of crunch) and chopped parsley.
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It started with fried Eggplant in my Mother’s kitchen, and through the years I have experienced eggplant in many ways. I have made Ina Garten’s Eggplant Spread dozens of times. This recipe is more like baba ganoush, with that wonderful smoky flavor. The dip would be wonderful served with a fresh Greek Salad.
SMOKY EGGPLANT DIP
Makes about 2 cups
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each) 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste 6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper Pinch or two of ground cumin 2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided Toasted sesame seeds or za’atar for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 375°F.
Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
Prick eggplants a few times with a fork or tip of a knife. Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. I like mine quite smoky and like to leave no purple visible. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, trim off stem and cut lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature.
Next Step Option 1: Food Processor: In a blender or food processor: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and into the work bowl. Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulses) until combined but still coarsely chopped.
Taste and adjust ingredients if needed. You may wish to add more salt and lemon.
To serve: Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter with second tablespoon of parsley, and some toasted sesame seeds or za’atar, if desired. Serve with pita wedges or naan.
Snickerdoodles have always been a family favorite. What do you do when you want a Snickerdoodle but too lazy to make individual cookies? You find a Snickerdoodle Bar recipe. I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. This recipe is easy and uses ingredients that are in most pantries. Another recipe that will be made over and over again.
1/2 c.Butter, room temp. (can use Vegan butter)
3/4 c.Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp.Cream of Tartar
1/4 tsp.Baking Soda
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
Allow butter and egg to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
Add vanilla and egg and stir until fully mixed.
Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Fold into the butter mixture until combined. Evenly spread the batter into the baking dish.
In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of the cookie batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and cutting into 16 squares.
Wonderful, yummy Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale is a new favorite. I first enjoyed this soup at a Bunco gathering a few years ago and I asked for the recipe. The source, Pinch of Yum, is a favorite site for my daughters and I and this recipe doesn’t disappoint.
The title says ‘spicy’ but with one chopped jalapeno, it was not hot at all. If you truly want it hot, I would suggest adding 2+ jalapenos. With this batch, I only added the curry powder, but next time I will add the tumeric.
This soup is Vegan and Vegetarian. If you would like protein, adding some shredded chicken would be delicious. It’s fall y’all, and I’m cooking up a soup storm!
SPICY PEANUT SOUP WITH SWEET POTATO & KALE
2 tablespoons olive oil
half an onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes1
14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry and/or turmeric
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup peanut butter
1–2 cups kale, stems removed, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Saute until soft and fragrant.
Add sweet potatoes. I like to brown them a little bit with the aromatics to get them nice and flavorful.
Add tomatoes, coconut milk, water, spices, and peanuts. Simmer until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
Add peanut butter and kale. Simmer until everything is thick, creamy, and delicious. Top with more peanuts and a little cilantro if you’re obsessed like me.
Instant Pot: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on high pressure for about 3 minutes with a quick release. (Sometimes I reduce the liquid when I make it in the Instant Pot by a cup or so, and then just add more as needed when it’s all done. But that is optional – it should work fine either way.) Stir in the peanut butter and kale after cooking. Voila!
Slow Cooker: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on low for 6 hours. Stir in the peanut butter and kale. Don’t cook the sweet potatoes too long or they’ll fall apart on ya! Just cook until they pierce easily with a fork.
One last note. This recipe is inspired by an amazing West African recipe called maafe, or groundnut soup. I did what I always do and changed/added some ingredients based on what I love and what I had on hand (kale, jalapeño, coconut milk, cilantro, etc.) making it more of a cultural mash-up. That’s why I’m not calling it a proper West African peanut soup even though those are its roots.
Freezer Meal Version
3 cups chopped sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen
2 jalapeños, minced
half of an onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
Instant Pot Instructions: High pressure 8 mins + 10 mins natural release
Slow Cooker Instructions: High setting 6 hours
Final Step: Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, and 1-2 cups chopped kale. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!
Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake is absolutely yummy! I’ve served it multiple times with great reviews and requests for future events. This is a definite favorite in my recipe box!
CINNAMON APPLE PIE CAKE
6 to 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon- sugar (1 1/4 T. sugar + 1/4 t. cinnamon)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups superfine white sugar (see *Tips below)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil (see notes below!)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-Purpose Flour
more cinnamon-sugar to sprinkle on top (same as above)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 1/2 to 10-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and then spray again.
Layer the apple slices in the pan until they come about 2/3 of the way up the side. (I went a little higher than that and it worked out fine). Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the apples.
Prepare the batter by beating the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil (see notes below about the amount of oil called for) and the vanilla and beat well, then stir in the flour. Pour the batter on top of the apples, and sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to allow the batter to sink down and around the apples.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool *completely* in the pan. If you try to remove the cake from the pan while it is still warm, it will tend to break apart. I refrigerated my cake before slicing, and that worked out well. Serve slices with ice cream (warm individual slices in the microwave, if desired).
You want “caster sugar” for this recipe: It is a finer grind than table sugar, but not as fine as powdered. Look for “Baker’s Sugar” at the store, or simply put regular white sugar in your food processor and give it a few whirls to create superfine sugar.
NOTE: In the original recipe from this cookbook, the author calls for 1 1/2 cups of oil. Although my pie cake turned out just fine the way the recipe was written, when I make it again… I will definitely try using 3/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup applesauce instead. Some readers have noted that this has worked well for them.
Who doesn’t like chocolate cake? I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan. We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.
This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy! I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!
Chocolate Cake…Vegan &Delicious
3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch
1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached
Fresh, sweet pears have always been a favorite of mine. Rarely have I baked with pears but this recipe sounded too delicious to resist. It has a wonderful texture and so very moist!
YOGURT CAKE WITH PEAR AND DARK CHOCOLATE
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks.
Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter (I found the recipe made too much for one loaf pan–I made an 8 inch loaf and a small loaf pan).
In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
OMG Scrambled Eggs were an experiment, a gamble that paid off. ‘OMG’ was the first thought that came into my head when I took the first bite. Adding the coincidentally roasted fresh tomatoes and peppers was a fantastic addition.
I also made this recipe combining the tomatoes and peppers into the egg cups and loved them as well.
The recipe could be adapted easily to add more bacon, cheese, pesto or whatever floats your boat. Worth trying! I may be dreaming of this tonight.
OMG SCRAMBLED EGGS
3 slices bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 bunch swiss chard (or kale) stemmed and chopped
1 dozen eggs, whisked
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
roasted tomatoes and peppers (optional)
Sauté the bacon in a non-stick skillet until cooked about half way.
Add onions and cook through. Drain most of the bacon fat off.
Add Swiss chard and cook until it wilts.
Add the eggs, salt and pepper, and pesto.
Stir the eggs often to assure they cook through.
Add cheese when eggs are about half way cooked.
Serve with warm roasted tomatoes and peppers.
MUFFIN EGG CUPS: Mix all ingredients together, including the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers. Grease muffin tins and bake egg cups at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until done in the center and golden brown.