Chinese Pork Sliders with Pineapple Slaw


Is ground pork really cheap in your area? I seriously thought the grocery store had made a mistake when they were weighing and packaging the meat. Each package was marked as $1.17 per pound which is pretty impressive compared to the costs of just about any other meat product in the store.

So the first time, I bought 4 packages and froze them. Not too long later, after I had only used two packages, I was in the same store and saw they were still marked at $1.17 per pound, so I picked up 5 more packages. And then I needed to do some searching to figure out what to do with 7 pounds of ground pork.

And then this recipe came along.

Chinese Pork Sliders with Pineapple Slaw
Source: Food Network Magazine
Servings: 4
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    for the chinese pork sliders:
  • 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • shredded romaine lettuce
  • for the pineapple slaw:
  • 1 cup coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mayo
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, remaining tablespoon of hoisin, tablespoons of rice vinegar,bread crumbs, green onion, ginger, salt and pepper. Form into 12 evenly sized meatballs.
4. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes per side and flip once while cooking.
5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the coleslaw mix, pineapple, mayo and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. When the meatballs are done, brush the hoisin/rice vinegar glaze over them.
7. Prepare the sliders by slathering mayo on the top and bottom of each hawaiian sweet roll. Place shredded romaine lettuce on the bottom and the meatball on top of that. Place the top of the roll on the meatball. Serve with the slaw.

I really liked these little sliders and with pretty minimal ingredients and a short cook time, you could easily whip these up for a party. I think I would prefer the meatballs to be grilled or pan fried to get a bit of a crusted outer edge to them to add some texture to the soft sweet roll. 

Weekly Menu 6/28 - 7/2


Hi strangers! I haven't posted the weekly menu in quite some time because I feel like I need to have something to say to go along with it and lately I haven't had anything interesting worth sharing lately.

I still don't, actually but I figured I'd just check in and let you all know I'm still alive and these posts aren't just going up on their own.

I can't believe its almost July. I haven't even been to the beach yet! And there aren't any free weekends in the near future to make that happen either! We're going to D.C. for the holiday weekend because of a concert. Then the following weekend I'm having my wisdom teeth out. I'm actually in denial that it's happening and that I'll need to eat soft foods for a while. Complete denial actually. And then the weekend after that is my mom's big pool party. I suppose I could go to the beach after that, which is probably a good time for us to visit Tom's parents.

At least I do have one long weekend planned at my aunts house in August.

Anyway, food. :)

Sunday: ham and cheese gnocchi skillet 

Monday: spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread

Tuesday: tacos from Taco Love Grill 

Wednesday: chili 

Thursday: pepperoni pizza 

For lunch this week I'm having prosciutto egg cups with bell peppers and lunch will be cobb salads. 

What's Baking: Orange Cream Cupcakes


The theme for What's Baking this month is baking with fruit. I had a really hard time choosing a recipe. There were just so many things that I wanted to make, but when I realized that I had almost all of the ingredients for this recipe already hanging around, it only made sense to choose it.

I was hoping these cupcakes would taste like a creamsicle.

Orange Cream Cupcakes
Source: Le Creme de la Crumb
Servings: 20
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    for the cupcakes:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup oil 
  • 2 tbsp. orange zest 
for the frosting:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream 
  • 4 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. cheesecake flavor instant pudding mix (or vanilla)
  • 2 tbsp. orange zest 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, optional 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer add all of the ingredients for the cake and mix together with the paddle attachment until smooth.
3. Fill each line 3/4 of the way with the batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
4. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by combining the butter, cream cheese and heavy cream together in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until combined. Then add in the orange juice, pudding mix, zest and vanilla until combined.
6. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the icing reaches the desired consistency. Add the salt if the frosting is too sweet. (To pipe on the frosting you'll need a thick consistency of icing.)
7. Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes.

And they do! They taste like creamsicle cupcakes which is just incredible!

Fried Chicken and Cheddar-Scallion Waffle Sandwich


This is a really in depth recipe since you are making the fried chicken and waffles from scratch, but I promise you this is more than worth the wait and all of the ingredients it takes to make it. Chicken and waffles is a pretty popular dish, but this is definitely a variety that you don't want to miss trying out.

Fried Chicken and Cheddar-Scallion Waffle Sandwich
Source: The Candid Appetite
Servings: 5
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    For the fried chicken:
    • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 1 tbsp. hot sauce
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 tsp. cayenne
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • canola oil for frying 
    for the cheddar scallion waffles:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 tsp. pepper 
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 eggs, at room temperature 
    • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
    • 2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
    • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 5 green onions, thinly sliced 
    for the mustard maple sauce:
    • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
    • 3 tbsp. yellow mustard
    • 3 tbsp. spicy brown mustard 
    optional toppings:
    • tomato slices
    • lettuce 
for the fried chicken:
1. Place the chicken thighs a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk and hot sauce and mix to coat the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Line a large baking sheet with foil and place a wire cooking rack on top. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic. Remove the chicken thighs from the buttermilk and dip into the flour. Return to the buttermilk mixture and then back into the flour to get a good, thick coating on the chicken. Once dipped through both twice, place the chicken on the prepared wire rack. Allow the chicken to sit for about 10 minutes to ensure the batter sticks.
4. Add canola oil to a deep skillet (or cast iron pan) over medium high heat. Gently place the chicken into the skillet and cook for 5 minutes before flipping and cooking an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel to blot excess oil. (Chicken can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven while waffles are prepared.)
for the cheddar-scallion waffles:
1. Preheat the waffle iron. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. (If not already preheated from chicken.)
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.
3. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together. Then pour into the center of the flour mixture. Add the melted butter and buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be lumpy, but no clumps of flour should remain. Gently stir in the crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions.
4. Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop batter onto the waffle iron and cook until golden brown. (I use the waffle plates for a Cuisinart Griddler. For 4 waffles, I used a little less than 1/2 cup of batter and cook for 5 minutes before flipping them and cook for 2 more minutes.)
5. Transfer the waffles to the preheated oven until all waffles are cooked.
for the maple mustard sauce:
1. Whisk together the maple syrup with the yellow mustard and spicy brown mustard.
to assemble the sandwich:
1. Place lettuce and sliced tomato onto one of the waffles. Top with a piece of fried chicken. Brush the maple mustard sauce on top and then place another waffle on top, creating a sandwich. Slice in half on the diagonal. Hold together with toothpicks if serving for a crowd.

You know you want one of these!

Paleo Buffalo Ranch Chicken Stuffed Peppers


Stuffed peppers isn't a dish we have too often. As a kid I wasn't a fan of the texture of the cooked peppers and found the dish to always be dry and overly heavy with rice. I decided to try this Paleo version to see if the lack of rice and few ingredients improved this classic dish.

Paleo Buffalo Ranch Chicken Stuffed Peppers
Source: Primally Inspired
Servings: 5
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for the chicken:
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 onion, sliced 
    • 1 tsp. parsley
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1 tsp. dried chives
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper 
    • 4 pats butter 
for the stuffed peppers:
    • 5 bell peppers
    • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
2. Combine the herbs and spices together in a small bowl. Arrange the chicken and onion on the baking sheet and sprinkle the herb mixture on top. Place a pat of butter on top of each chicken breast.
3. Bake for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
4. While the chicken is cooking, slice the tops off each of the bell peppers and remove the seeds.
5. Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the hot sauce.
6. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Place the chicken, onion and any juices from cooking into a large bowl. Shred the chicken breasts, then stir in the hot sauce until the chicken is fully coated.
7. Place the peppers into a 9x13 baking dish and fill each pepper with the chicken mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender enough for your tastes.

These were pretty tasty! The recipe calls to serve them with guacamole on top, which I did when I had them for lunch that week. I probably could have cooked the bell peppers less since they were going to be reheated in the microwave but otherwise this was good!

Snickers Dip


When my mom invites the family over to come to the pool, I usually make the same things over and over again. I'll bring a watermelon or make a dip for chips or veggies. Nothing too fancy since there aren't that many of us (something I have yet to learn for holidays, since it's typically the same group of family).

But this time I wanted to do something completely different. My mom had mentioned that she didn't make a dessert since it would just be a few of us and I decided to run with that opportunity.

Snickers Dip
Servings: 1 pint
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    • 20 fun-sized snickers bars
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1/8 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup Cool Whip
    • caramel, peanuts, shaved chocolate, etc. for toppings
    • graham crackers or pretzels for dipping
1. Chop the candy into small pieces.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the cream cheese and brown sugar until combined.
3. Stir in the Cool Whip and chopped candies by hand.
4. Drizzle the top with caramel, chopped peanuts, shaved chocolate, etc. for topping.
5. Transfer to a bowl and serve with graham crackers or pretzels (or both!) for dipping.

You can also just eat this by the spoonful and I won't tell anyone because I maybe kinda did the same thing. 

Swedish Meatballs


Would you believe making these Swedish meatballs were the first time I've ever had them? I debated on trying them out at Ikea to see if I would even like them but then remembered Ikea on the weekend is a really trying adventure and I'd probably be safer in my own kitchen just following a recipe.

Swedish Meatballs
Source: Food Network Magazine
Servings: 4
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    • 2 slices white bread
    • 1 tbsp. milk
    • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
    • 1/2 lb. ground pork
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp. onion, grated
    • 3/4 tsp. allspice
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • lingonberry jam, for topping
1. In a large bowl, add the two slices of bread and pour the milk on top. Allow the bread to soak up the milk and drain any excess. Tear the bread into small pieces. Add the ground beef, ground pork, egg, onion, allspice and salt to the bowl and form into 16 1-inch meatballs.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned on each side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
3. Whisk in the flour and then slowly add in the beef broth. Stir in the heavy cream.
4. Return the meatballs to the skillet and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve meatballs topped with lingonberry jam.

I thought these were really good, the combination of beef and pork together makes for a much softer meatball. Tom wasn't a big fan so I had leftovers for lunch. 

SRC: Coconut Pineapple Mini Muffins


For this month's Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to Secrets from the Cookie Princess. Colleen is the face behind the words of her blog and...girlfriend likes to bake. Seriously. If you check out her about me section, one of the first thing she tells you is that she baked 163 dozen cookies as Christmas gifts.

One hundred. Sixty three. Dozen. Cookies. 

I can't even comprehend what that many cookies looks like. Pretty awesome, I'd imagine. So knowing that little tidbit about her, you can probably assume just how difficult it was for me to chose a recipe to make. Scrolling through her recipe archives, I was stopping every 10 seconds to look at a recipe. How I ever made it to the muffins category is beyond me, but when I saw this recipe I knew it was the winner.

Of all the muffins I've made and ate in my lifetime, I've never had ones with pineapple.

Coconut Pineapple Mini Muffins
Source: Secrets from the Cookie Princess 
Servings: 48* mini muffins
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    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 1 egg 
    • 2 tsp. orange zest 
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar 
    • 1/2 cup shredded coconut 
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt 
    • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
    • white sanding sugar, for topping 
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a mini muffin/cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, egg and orange zest.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, coconut, baking powder and salt. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour and stir until combined, then fold in the crushed pineapple.
4. Divide the batter into the muffin pan about 1 1/2 tbsp. to fill to the top. Sprinkle each with sanding sugar.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the muffins are lightly golden and spring back when pressed. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

* I think there is a size difference between a mini muffin pan and a mini cupcake pan. I have a cupcake pan and got 48 of this mini muffins. Colleen listed hers as a mini muffin pan and ended up with 36 muffins, so depending on the actual pan you have, you may get more or less of these muffins.

So you know how individual items, like muffins and cupcakes and whatnot are supposed to be great for portion control? Yeah...not these muffins. They're so sweet and tasty that I found myself repeatedly popping them into my mouth. They taste like summer and tropical paradise, who could blame me?

But to save my waistline further distress, I portioned these out and took some into work and had Tom take in some as well. It was safer that way. :)

Caramel Macchiato Crescent Bites


Caramel has always been one of my favorite flavors. I might even like it more than chocolate in most cases.

I had an extra can of crescents in the fridge and was browsing around the internet trying to figure out what to do with them. I have to confess, dessert wasn't on my mind but when I found this recipe with only four ingredients, I couldn't pass it up.

Caramel Macchiato Crescent Bites
Source: Tablespoon
Servings: 8
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    • 1 can crescent rolls
    • 16 caramel candies, unwrapped 
    • 3/4 cup chocolate frosting 
    • 1 tbsp. coffee 
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Unroll the crescents and place each on the baking sheet. Slice the caramels in half and arrange 4 caramel bits down the long side of the crescent dough. Roll up to form the crescent shape.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crescents are golden brown.
4. Meanwhile, add the chocolate frosting and coffee to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir together then transfer the frosting to a piping bag with a small tip (or into a zip top bag with the corner cut off). Drizzle the chocolate frosting over the crescents.
5. Serve warm.

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Butter-Chive Pasta and Arugula Salad


It's not very often that I find a recipe in a magazine where I want to make the entire dish. Usually I either want the protein from one recipe and the side dish from another or some strange combination. Not this time. I read this recipe and thought "I'm making that dish exactly as is."

And then I made it more than once, which doesn't happen all that often, so that really should tell you just how delicious this dish is. Oh and the fact that it takes just about 30 minutes is a total bonus.

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Butter-Chive Pasta and Arugula Salad 
Source: Cooking Light, May 2015
Servings: 2
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    • 2 skinless chicken cutlets 
    • salt and pepper 
    • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 2 eggs, whisked 
    • 1/3 cup all purpose flour 
    • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 2 tbsp. canola oil 
    • 2 oz. linguine 
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 2 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
    • 1 cup arugula
    • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley leaves
    • 1 tbsp. fresh mint leaves
    • 1 radish, thinly sliced
    • 1 small carrot, chopped
    • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes 
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1. Place chicken cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound out to an even thickness, no more than 1/4 inch. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Arrange 3 shallow dishes in a line. Place the Panko in one dish, the eggs in another and the flour and paprika in the last dish.
3. Dip chicken cutlets into flour first, shaking off the excess, then into the egg and finally into the Panko. Place coated chicken on a plate and set aside.
4. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
5. While the pasta is cooking, toss together the arugula, parsley, mint, radish, carrots and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and toss until vegetables are coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper, set aside.
6. Add canola oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high until the oil is hot enough to fry the chicken. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through.
7. While the chicken is cooking, toss the drained pasta with the butter and fresh chives, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Place the fried chicken on a paper towel to absorb excess oil while plating the salad and pasta on each plate. Add the chicken and serve hot.

I seriously could eat this every day for a week and not get tired of it. If only fried chicken reheated nicely enough in the microwave that I could take this for lunch. 
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