Tag Archives: garlic

Mexican Pork Carnitas


Who is sick of WINTER? Meee! I cannot wait for it to get into the 40’s and that use to be really cold to me! I am heading to FL in a couple of weeks.  I. Cannot. Wait.  I hope it is at least in the 60’s.  I don’t think I am asking for much, am I?

I made this dish a couple of weeks ago and we all loved it. I was happy to see that pork butt was on sale at the grocery store today. It gave me a reason to make it again and I could take photos and share it with you.

This recipe is really good. It is perfect for tacos and nachos or a great filling for enchiladas, tamales and burritos. I have only used it for tacos and nachos. Oh, and I just ate it right out of the frig the next morning. I love cold meat and pizza…. for breakfast. Weird, I know!

Pork Carnitas

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

  • 3 1/2 – 4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 small onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1  Tablespoon dried oregano ( I used a tad more)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice ( One lime)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 medium orange

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork,  salt, pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Cut orange in half; juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds. I would say 1/4 – 1/3 cup of juice would be a good amount (I had about 1/4 cup). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when poked with fork, about 2 hours.

2. Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick, 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.

3. Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Gently fold pork into reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in a even layer on a foiled lined jelly roll pan. Place pan on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.

All ready to bring to a simmer on the stove top and then pop it into the oven.

All ready to bring to a simmer on the stove top and then pop it into the oven.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as it cooked. It took 2 hours until it was done.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as it cooked. It took 2 hours until it was done.

After breaking the meat apart, reducing the liquid and then tossing the meat with the liquid, it is ready for the broiler.

After breaking the meat apart, reducing the liquid and then tossing the meat with the liquid, it is ready for the broiler.

Meanwhile, I mixed up a Pico de gallo. I really do not have a set recipe for this. Diced tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro, lime juice, salt. This time I added diced avocado.

Meanwhile, I mixed up a Pico de gallo. I really do not have a set recipe for this. Diced tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro, lime juice, salt. This time I added diced avocado.

Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

Tonight I served it on a tortilla with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and shredded cheese. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers tomorrow, but I know it will be good!

Tonight I served it on a tortilla with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and shredded cheese. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers tomorrow, but I know it will be good!

When I first made this, I was unsure about adding the orange.  I don’t even taste the orange, but I know it adds the the flavor. Reducing the liquid and tossing it into the meat and then broiling it, is a must!

~Relish Food & Life


Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese


I went to Sam’s the other day and saw this Brie, I had to buy it!


I have become addicted to Truffles. For those who do not know what truffles are,  truffle are rare, edible mushroom that is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Truffles are among the most expensive of the world’s natural foods and the most valuable of the fungus family. You can find truffle oil and truffle salt in stores. I have never actually seen a whole truffle, just the oil and salt. A little goes a long way so be careful when adding it to a dish.
Uses for Truffle oil or salt:

  • eggs
  • popcorn
  • mashed potatoes
  • deviled eggs
  • truffle salt on French fries ♥
  • pasta
  • google it..ideas are endless
Ugly little things, but so tasty!

Ugly little things, but so tasty!

I started searching for a good recipe to use this Brie in. I found one from The Fifth Time blog,Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese. Seriously, how can this be anything but delicious?

Check out The Fifth Time blog by clicking above. There are some awesome recipes on it…I have a few picked out to try out soon. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese

For the breadcrumbs:

  • 1/2 loaf ciabatta bread (or any bread you have on hand) I used 3 ciabatta rolls that I purchased at Sams
  • 2 4 teaspoons garlic, minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 3 tablespoons olive oil
Notes: I had the rolls and wanted to use those up. 3 made a lot of bread crumbs, so I increased the butter, olive oil and hey who doesn’t like a bit more garlic.

For the cheese/ pasta:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 ounces Marscapone cheese (or cream cheese) (I used Marscapone)
  • 1 pound grated Sharp Cheddar ( I used extra sharp)
  • 1 pound grated Monterrey Jack
  • 4 ounces Black Truffle Brie or 4 ounces plain Brie + 3 T truffle oil
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

For the breadcrumbs: Cube your bread into medium size squares and put it in the food processor for a couple of pulses. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tbsp oil in large skillet overt medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add bread crumbs to skillet a stir until crumbs are slightly toasted – about 5 minuets. Set aside. ***I added my whole garlic to the bread in the food processor, then added the bread/garlic to the pan of olive oil and butter.

For the cheese & pasta: Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than the al dente package directions. Make sure to salt your water. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan heat butter and olive oil until melted over medium high heat. Next, whisk your flour into the butter and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add cream and milk whisking in between to make sure there are no lumps. Bring mixture to a simmer and whisk until desired thickness (close to pancake batter). Remove from heat. Add grated cheese & marscapone and mix until melted. Season with salt & pepper. If using truffle oil – add this to the cheese mixture.

Stir in drained, cooked pasta to the cheese mixture. Transfer to a baking dish and top with sliced brie cheese & then sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese

Truffle Brie Mac n Cheese

Yep, I am having a big scoop of that for lunch, after I run 3 miles 😉

Relish Food & Life!

Maple, Mustard,Garlic & Rosemary Chicken


I was looking for something easy for supper last night, so I went to my boards on pinterest. I had pinned this chicken dish, which said it was a Man-Pleasing Chicken! Mark loved it, so I guess it is!

It reminds me of a pork tenderloin dish I like to make. It has rosemary, garlic, honey & balsamic vinegar in the recipe. So good. I will make and post it in the next few weeks.

This recipe come from Witty in the City. She stated in her blog that the recipe was adapted from Trader Joe’s cookbook. I did a search and could not find the recipe, after a minute, I thought I bet I have that cook book..yep I did! TJ has you flour, salt and pepper the chicken and then brown it in olive oil. Mix honey and basil and pour over the chicken and bake.

This way is so much easier and not as messy! Here is my twist to the recipe, it is slightly different from Witty in the City’s version.

Maple, Mustard, Garlic & Rosemary Chicken

  • 1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Maple syrup ( If you want, I think you could substitute with honey)
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T fresh rosemary, minced
  • 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs ( You could use breast and they both can be bone in. I assume with skin would also be good, especially if you do TJ method above, coating with flour, salt and pepper and browning before you put in the oven)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Line your pan or glass casserole with aluminum foil, this will make it an easy clean up. Mix all ingredients except chicken. Salt and Pepper both sides of the chicken. Place in pan. Pour sauce over chicken. Toss around a bit so chicken is covered on all sides with the sauce.  Bake at 450 for 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure the chicken temp is 165F. Half way through, baste the chicken with sauce.The time depends on what kind of chicken you use and if it is boneless or not. Let rest for a few minutes. Spoon extra sauce left in pan over the chicken.

First, I was making it according to the recipe on the blog. Mix honey and Dijon mustard together.

Then, I thought why add the rosemary after it is done cooking.

As I was stirring in the Rosemary, I was thinking how this reminded me of the pork tenderloin recipe…that is when I decided garlic would be a tasty addition. I was right, it was!

Line your pan or dish with foil: salt and pepper both sides of chicken. Place in pan.

Pour sauce over the chicken, toss it around a bit so all the chicken gets sauce on it. Pop into the oven.

Maple, Mustard, Garlic and Rosemary Chicken. It was really good and sooo easy!

I know sometimes it is hard to get boneless thighs locally, bigger towns seem to carry them. They are becoming a new favorite.

It was a great dinner. I served it with Potatoes with Cipolline Onions and Rosemary and fresh greens beans tossed with a bit of butter and greek seasoning.

~Relish Food & Life!

BBBB Beer Bread & Basil Butter


I have been cooking, just not posting. I hope to get back into the swing of things!

Eryn sent me these recipes and boy am I glad she did. They are super easy and very tasty! I am not sure where she found the Beer Bread recipe. There are a ton of them out there on the internet.

Beer Bread

  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can of room temp beer (All of our beer was in the frig, so it was slightly chilled 😉 )
  • 2 T. melted butter, optional (Eryn does not do this step, I seen it used on another recipe and thought I would give it a try. It was tasty.)

Mix everything except the butter;  put in a greased loaf. Drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 for an hour. You can decrease the sugar if too sweet for you.

That is it! How simple is that?

Ingredient Line up for Beer Bread.

Mix beer, self rising flour and sugar.

Pour into a greased bread pan. If you wish, drizzle with butter. Pop into the oven for 1 hour. Simple. Simple. Simple.

Meanwhile, you can whip up a batch of Basil Butter. This is seriously some good stuff! She found this recipe on Foodie Reflections Blog.

Basil Butter

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1 3 garlic clove, peeled (I upped the garlic because I ♥ Garlic)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Get your food processor out. Add the basil and garlic cloves to the food processor. Process until finely chopped, you might need to scrap the sides to make sure everything is being chopped finely. Add the room temp (room temp is a must) butter and pulse until well blended then season with salt and lemon juice. Serve at room temperature or you can roll into a log with parchment paper and freeze. It should last in frig for 3 days or you can freeze it for a few months.

This is so good on the beer bread, but I have used it on lots of things. I spread it on a french bread, then sprinkle the bread with parmesan cheese; broil. It would be good on pasta, potatoes, chicken, fish, steak, veggies…

Finely chop the garlic and basil in a food processor. Add the butter. Pulse until thoroughly mixed. Add salt and lemon juice. Pulse a few time.

BBBB ~ Beer Bread & Basil Butter. So good.

Is your mouth-watering?

Sorry about disappearing for awhile. I shall try to do better!

Thanks for the recipes, Eryn 🙂

~Relish Food & Life!

Smoky Skillet Cacciatore


This past weekend I picked up a copy of Rachael Ray’s Magazine. There are quite a few recipes in there that I want to try out. This is one of them. It was very tasty.

Smoky Skillet Cacciatore

Rachel Ray Magazine

    • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs ( I would get boneless, they will cook faster)
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 teaspoons Extra virgin olive oil ( I used about 2 T)
    • 4 slice  bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced (baby bellas)
    • 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
    • 1 cubanelle pepper, halved, seeded and sliced ( I used Anaheim)
    • 1 small fresno chile pepper, thinly sliced or 1 tsp crushed red pepper
    • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
    • 1 32 ounce can  fire-roasted crushed or stewed tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • chopped parsley or celery topes, for garnishing
  1. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, heat the olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until rippling. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  2. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. (I drained a little of the oil out the pan) Add the mushrooms to the skillet; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion,  pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the wine. Stir in the tomatoes and stock.
  3. Add the cooked chicken and bacon to the sauce and simmer to cook through, 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon from the pan onto plates top.



Pat dry the thighs and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. I used bone in thighs here, but next time I think I will try the boneless thighs.

Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet. Add the chicken, brown on both sides. They should be pretty close to being done. Remove them to a plate.

Add bacon; fry until the fat has rendered. Remove to a plate with paper towels to absorb the grease. Then, I drained a bit of the greased from the pan.

Add mushrooms; saute for a few minutes.

This is an Anaheim pepper.The cubanelle looks quite a bit like this.


Add garlic, onions and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper;  Saute.

Add tomato paste and wine.

This will release all that yummy stuff off the bottom of the pan.

Add crushed tomatoes and stock.

Put the chicken and bacon back into the pan. Simmer until chicken is done and sauce is hot.

I swear there is a chicken thigh in there 🙂 Smoky Skillet Cacciatore

Serve this with some crusty bread to dip into the sauce and a side of pasta ~ Really good.

~Relish Food & Life

Got Tomatoes? Make Bruschetta Chicken!


What a crazy busy summer! It sure flew by! I am done traveling for a bit, time to get cooking again.

I started out having a garden this year, but with the drought, it is non-existent. I was fortunate that Melissa brought me over some grape tomatoes. This recipe was great to use them in. I found it on one of favorite sites, The Pioneer Woman. click to see the original recipe.

Bruschetta Chicken

  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 5 7 cloves Garlic,  Minced
  • 1 pint Red Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise ( I used all red)
  • 1 pint Yellow Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
  • 1 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 16  Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  • Salt And Black Pepper To Taste. (Don’t add salt until ready to serve.)
  • 8 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut In 1/2, this will create 2 thin breast out of one.
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Freshly Grated Or Shaved Parmesan

In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute, remove before the garlic gets too brown (it can be golden.) You really need to keep your eye on the pan. It can get brown quickly. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Add tomatoes, balsamic, basil, and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine, taste and add more basil if needed. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two. Add salt before serving. (I added a dash more of balsamic and a splash of olive oil.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then grill or saute them until done in the middle.

To serve, add salt to tomato mixture, stir and taste if it needs more salt. Careful not to over salt. Arrange chicken breasts on a plate then spoon a generous amount of bruschetta topping over the top. Serve with grilled/toasted baguette with extra bruschetta on top.

The  baguette was really good: You can grill, toast in the oven OR browning then in a skillet with butter was really good. I did have a problem with the butter getting too brown. So, you really need to keep an eye on it. The next time, I just brushed the slices with butter and sprinkled some garlic on and browned them in the pan. Sooo, good. If you scroll down on Pioneer Womans link you will see how she made the bread.

Notes: I really like my bruschetta that I make better than this one, that is why I added olive oil and a bit more balsamic to it. But I really liked sauteing the garlic in this one. I will try that next time when making my recipe. Here is the brushetta I make regularly. I served it with garlic or regular toasted baugette.


  • 2 cups chopped plum, grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic varies for me when making it. It can be anywhere for 1/4 tsp to 5 cloves 😉
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • pepper

Combine all ingredients. This can be made a few hours ahead of time. So good.

7 cloves of garlic, minced.

Add garlic to olive oil in a hot skillet until golden, not brown.

These grape tomatoes were huge, so I cut them in quarters. I only had red tomatoes and did could not find yellow ones locally – I am sure this was just as tasty.

Add garlic,balsamic, basil, and pepper to the tomatoes. Refrigerate.

Cut chicken breast in half to make 2 thin ones out of one. Season with salt and pepper. I also sprinkle some Italian seasoning on one side. Grill or saute them until done. I sautéed them in a pan.

Meanwhile, cut your baguette into slices.

Here I melted butter then added them to the pan. Cooked until golden brown on each side. The next time I made them, I brushed each side with butter then cook until golden brown on both sides. Which seemed to work better for me.

Before serving add salt to the bruschetta; stir and taste. Adjust if needed.

Bruschetta Chicken

While enjoying our pool, we had some visitors who also wanted to enjoy it. It was tricky getting them out of there.

Momma and 10 baby DUCKS!

A few more weeks before the kiddos are back into school, enjoy them.

~Relish Food & Life!

Chicken Stew with Olives and Lemon


I am back! I have been a busy girl. I apologize for not posting in a while. I went to Germany for a wedding of a special couple in May. I hope to post on that trip after I get through all the photos.

Sunday, I got back from Las Vegas where we celebrate a 25th Wedding Anniversary. That trip was loads of fun. It was great getting to spend time with some High School friends. The weekend was way too short. They renewed their vows at Graceland Chapel. That was a hoot. Jon Bon Jovi was married there along with other celebrities. We found out the next day Jon Bon Jovi stopped by there to show his son where they got married. That would of been the icing on the cake to see him there. So much fun, great memories were made.

Before I left for Vegas, I golfed in league, this recipe was what we had for dinner after golf. I had to try it at home. It is delish!

Chicken Stew with Olives and Lemon
Adapted from Sunset Magazine – My Recipes

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinned chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons each salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemon
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz  chicken broth
  • 2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-in. cubes
  • 2 cans artichokes, drained and quartered *see note
  • 2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley *see note
  • 2 cup pitted medium green olives

Cut each chicken thigh into 2 or 3 chunks. In a resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Add chicken, seal, and shake to coat.

2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken (discard excess flour) in a single layer and cook, turning once, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

3. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, capers, and lemon zest and stir just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and simmer, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, and chicken and return to a simmer. Lower heat slightly to maintain simmer, cover, and cook 10 minutes.

4. Add artichokes to pot and stir. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced. Stir in parsley, lemon juice to taste, and olives. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, with lemon wedges on the side.

Note: I could not find the Flat Italian parsley at the local grocery. I prefer that kind of parsley to the curly stuff. I bought the curly stuff to put in there…but just could not put it in there. I cannot stand anything curly like that. It gives me heebie jeebies! It tasted fine without it!

The original called for frozen artichoke hearts, I could not find them either. Canned worked out fine.

You can find boneless, skinless thighs in grocery stores. Cut each thigh into 4 -5 pieces.

Put flour, salt and pepper into a plastic bag.

Add the chicken and toss around to coat the chicken with the flour mixture.

Brown the chicken thighs on both sides.

When brown, put on a plate.

While your chicken is browning, zest your lemon.

Mince your garlic and capers.

Add capers, garlic and lemon zest. I think I did this part wrong…but it turned out.

Add the wine.

Scrap up the yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot.

Add the chicken broth, potatoes and chicken. Bring to simmer.

Cover, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the artichokes; stir. Cover and cook until potatoes are done.

Stir in olives, lemon juice. Season with additional salt and pepper.

This was good. I am not a big olive lover, but this was mighty tasty. I even ate the olives 😉

Spinach, Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breast


This is a different twist on my Feta Chicken. I love the combination of spinach, feta, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Yum.

Spinach, Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

  • 4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • Olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 oz bag fresh spinach
  • 1 cup julienne Sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste ( I used about 1/2 tsp pepper and salt)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Greek Seasoning
  • Italian Style Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 T butter, melted

Put around 2 T olive in a heated pan. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add spinach and wilt. Add sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Saute a few minutes.

Pound chicken breast until they are flat and even. That way they will cook the same and you will have  more room for stuffing 🙂

Rinse under water and shake off excess. Dredge in breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish spray with cooking spray. Spoon spinach mixture on half of the chicken, spoon on  plenty of feta cheese. Sprinkle with a little Greek seasoning. Fold chicken in half. Try to use a skewer to close the chicken. It is kind of hard and I did not do it so well, but it turned out just fine. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake in a 400F oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until done.

Saute garlic

Add spinach; saute until wilted.

Add sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper.

Pound chicken breast until they are even and flat. I put the chicken in a plastic bag and bang it. That way the chicken doesn't spatter everywhere. ick!

Rinse chicken under water and shake off excess.Dredge in breadcrumbs.

Fold in half and place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. I only bought 3 breast, but there was plenty of spinach stuffing for 4.

Spoon spinach mixture on half of the breast. Top with lots of feta and sprinkle with a bit of Greek seasoning.

Try to close with a skewer or toothpick. Drizzle with butter. I sprinkled a little of the bread crumbs on the top. Pop into the oven.

Spinach, Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breast

Bacon, Black Bean and Poblano Pepper Chowder


Cold + Rainy = Soup Day!

I cannot even remember what I was searching for, but I came across this recipe on Bitchin Camero’s Blog. It was really good and hit the spot on a cold night.

Bacon, Black Bean & Poblano Pepper Chowder

  • 8 10 sliced bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large Poblano peppers, roasted, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 3 cups chicken broth, divided use
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 cups corn
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
  • avocado
  • cilantro

Set a large pot over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until the fat is rendered and they are nice and crisp, then remove the bacon to a plate.

Add the onions and saute for 5 – 7 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and saute for another minute, then add the roughly chopped roasted poblano peppers, 2 cups stock, black beans and tomato paste. Bring to a slow simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, pulse the soup until all big pepper pieces are gone. Stir in the corn, 1 cup Broth and hot sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes, then stir in the lime juice and salt to taste. Stir in the bacon.

Ladle the soup into bowl and top with avocado  and cilantro.

There are only 2 things I ever need from Wal Mart. (I am not a fan of Wal Mart! I will not get on my soap box on why.Call me if you want to know 😉 ) One: is Poblano peppers when the Mexican Store in Breese does not have them. Two: Cajun Trail Mix.That trail mix is the best darn stuff. It is not too spicy, kind of sweet, it is just right. I have turned many people onto that mix!

I wanted to show you what it looked like, so I went to walmart.com and did a search, Great Value Cajun trail Mix. You would have thought it would have been the first thing. NO, it brings up over 1,000 products. I searched through 10 pages and gave up. I went to google and typed it in....got it instantly! Seriously! Anyway, this is really good.

I had to share this.....I asked if they had anymore peppers (the ones out did not look good) in back and she kindly went and got me some. I then told her that this is not spelled right. She said "That does not surprise me!"

Fry bacon in a soup pot until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot.

Add onions to the pot. Saute until soft.

Meanwhile, you need to roast your peppers. I have shown this a bunch of time. It is so easy. Put the peppers on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Broil on high until it is blistering and kind of charring on all sides. You will need to keep an eye on them, turning as needed.

Put into one of your plastic grocery bags for 5 - 10 minutes. My peppers were huge. If you find small ones, you should use 3 or 4.

Peel off the outer skin. Super Easy. Poblano peppers are so so good. They are not as hot as a jalapeno. Just right! Locally, you can find them at the Mexican grocery store or the other place I mentioned. Grocery stores in Fairview heights and St. Louis also has them. You can also grow them in your garden. I have them planted. So excited!

The onions should look like this. Then add garlic; saute a few minutes.

I added the poblanos and sauteed them for a few minutes then added the stock.

Then add the tomato paste. I love the tubed tomato paste. When you buy a can, it seems like you never need the whole can. I can squeeze out what I need and store in the frig until the next time.

Add the beans. Simmer for 15 minutes; covered.

I know I have said this before, get a stick blender if you do not have one. You will love it. This one is my Mom's ♥, who has not been with me for 12 years. She was so up on her kitchen tools! Blend the soup just until the big pieces of pepper are blended.

This is when I decided it was too thick.  Kate made a comment that it was the consistency of re-fried beans….that was all I needed to hear. I hate the thick re-fried beans. This is where I added one more cup of chicken broth. That was a good decision!

After I added 1 cup of broth, I added the corn, that I cut corn off the cob. I am sure you could use frozen.

I also added a squirt of hot sauce. I used Sriracha. It is a great sauce to use to heat things up.

Simmer the soup for 5 minutes. We had an ASA student come over to interview Mark, so I just put the lid on it until we were ready on low low heat. I wish I had taken a photo of her, she was so cute and professional with her recorder and clip board. She had GREAT questions. I hope she will share her report with us.

Add juice of one lime. Again, if you do not have this gadget...you need it. You will not believe how much more juice you get.

Dump the bacon in the pot.

Garnish with cilantro and avocado. Kate and I loved the avocado in it, Mark not so much.

Tomorrow I am going turkey hunting with Mark. Yes, you heard me right!

If I want Mark to go to this with me tomorrow, 4 Hands Food Truck, I need to go turkey hunting with him in the morning! I had rules: it has to light out, half way warm outside and NO snakes! Stay tuned! I am going to bring my kindle and read or listen to 50 Shades of Grey! Holy cow, have you read that book. Steamy!

~Relish Food & Life

Apple, Bacon and Garlic Stuffed Pork Chops


Samantha, my daughter sent me this recipe. She said it was yummy and she was right!

She tries to follow the Paleo Diet when possible. I think she does a pretty good job at sticking to it. It is  known as the Caveman diet. The Paleo Diet consists of all the lean meat, seafood, poultry, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables you can eat without having to portion your food or count your calories.  You do have to stay away from cereals, legumes, and processed food. There are several blogs that just give Paleo recipes. This one came from Paleo Parents. I am thinking a diet that lets you eat BACON, that diet is for me 😉 I wish potatoes were on the list! I think you can eat sweet potatoes, but I seriously cannot give up potatoes. I would take a good ole baked potato before a sweet.

You can click on Paleo Parents above to see her recipe on her blog or on Paleo diet for more info on the diet. Below is my version of the recipe, which I think I might have cross the paleo line.

Apple, Bacon & Garlic Stuffed Pork Chop

  • 6 1″ thick pork chops
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil if needed
  • 2 medium baking apples (I used Gala), peeled, cored and diced
  • 10 strips of bacon, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup chicken Broth
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  1. Pocket your pork chops. You can have your butcher do this for you. I just did it myself.
  2. In a large oven proof pan or dutch oven melt  over medium-high heat cook apples, bacon and onion until onion is softened and bacon is crispy, about 8 – 10 minutes
  3. Add garlic, sage, paprika and lemon juice and toss for 2 minutes
  4. Remove stuffing from heat, transfer to bowl and set-aside
  5.  Salt and pepper the top side of the pork chop, stuff it with as much stuffing as you can fit and use a skewer or toothpick to close.
  6. Add a little olive oil to the pan. Approximately 2 T. Let it get hot, which will not take very long.
  7. Put pork chops salt and peppered side down into the hot pan to sear on each side, cook each side of the chops for 5 minutes or until browned in hot pan over medium-high heat. Before flipping to the other side, salt and pepper the pork chops.
  8. Transfer pan/dutch oven to 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for 30 – 35 minutes or until done. Baking time will depend on the size of the chops, so keep an eye on them.
  9. Remove the chops from the pan onto a serving platter. Cover to keep warm.
  10. Put pan on stove top on med/hi heat….remember the handle is hot! I forgot! Add the leftover stuffing.
  11. Add the wine and broth to the pan to deglaze the pan; scraping the bottom/sides to get all the good stuff off.
  12. I took 1 T of cornstarch and 2 spoonfuls of the hot liquid and mix that together well. Then added it to the sauce to thicken it up a bit. Salt and pepper and you are ready!

Pocket the pork chops.

Chop one red onion.

Peel, core and dice 2 apples.

I also diced the bacon. Add Apples, onions and bacon to the pan. Cook until bacon is getting crispy.

4 fresh sage leaves. If you live in my area, I have some growing in my yard, Please call me for some.

Mince the garlic and sage.

Add garlic, sage, paprika a lemon juice to the pan. Toss around for a few minutes. Remove stuffing from pan into a bowl. Doesn't that look yummy?

Stuff your chops with the stuffing.

Use a toothpick or skewer to close the pocket.

Add a bit of Olive oil to the pan if needed. Place salt and peppered side down. Salt and pepper the side that is up. This pan is huge and they almost did not fit.

Brown; flip to the other side and brown.

When brown, remove from the oven.

Remove the chops to a platter. Try and skim off any fat.

Add the leftover stuffing to the pan. Let the pan get hot.

I couldn't decide to use wine or broth, so I used both. Add the wine and broth. Scrap bottom and sides to loosen the yummy stuff.

Simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture.

That was yummy! I just ate one for lunch while writing this 😉

My chop was perfect, Mark said his was a little dry. His was a tiny bit thinner than mine. So, that could have made the different. You just need to watch it. We were waiting for Grace to come home. I did cover it for about 5 minutes after the 35 minutes of baking. I am thinking it might be a good idea to cover it the last 10 mins. of cooking. That might keep them all moist.

Apple, Bacon and Garlic Stuffed Pork Chops. Thanks Samantha!

After all that bacon, head on over to Comprehensive Care Pharmacy and get some Ocean Blue Omega 3’s. It suppose to help lower your cholesterol 😉

~Relish Life & Food