Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Breakfast on the Go - Egg Muffins

There's nothing like a big breakfast at home, and I don't mean just the food. It's having the time to lounge around and enjoy a leisurely breakfast in your PJs while spending time with your family. However, even on the weekends it is rare to have the time for a lazy breakfast.

One of my favorite things to make when I cook a big breakfast is a fritatta, but who has time for that on a busy weekday morning? Just because you don't have the time for a fritatta doesn't mean you need to grab a bagel and run. Instead, turn your favorite omelette or fritatta into a muffin and you have breakfast that will travel easily and reheat well.

You can make these with any combination of ingredients that you like. There are just a few general steps -

  • Beat the eggs (4 extra large or 5 large eggs will make 6 muffins)
  • Saute your meat and veggies
  • Add meat and veggies to eggs
  • Pour into muffin tins
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes
For meat I often use ground breakfast sausage, but you can also use cooked, crumbled bacon or diced ham. My veggies are usually red onion, tomatoes and spinach, but you can really use anything you want - green onions, peppers, kale, arugula, broccoli, small pieces of cooked, diced potato, asparagus, etc. 

Once cooled I wrap them in packs of 2 and will reheat them for breakfast for up to 3 days. To reheat, just pop them in the microwave on medium for 15-20 seconds.


  • 4 Extra large or 5 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp light cream or milk
  • Optional: shredded cheese
  • 1/3 c ground breakfast sausage
  • Chopped veggies, about 1/2 c total
  • Olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Grease your muffin tins or use cupcake liners
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with salt, pepper, and cream. Stir in the cheese, if using.
  • Heat olive oil in a saute pan; add meat until browned. Add veggies and cook until tender. 
  • Add veggie/meat mixture to eggs and stir.
  • Ladle egg mixture into muffin tins, filling to 1/4 inch below the top.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the tops just start to lightly brown.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pork with a Lemon Dijon Pan Sauce

Pan sauces are such a great way to add some flavor to your meat, and to use up all the crispy little brown bits in the bottom of your pan. They are also usually quick dishes to make - perfect for a busy weeknight. Even better, this one had little prep involved.

Because of that I was able to make a creamy mushroom risotto to go along with the pork. Don't worry, we also had a veg. I snapped this pic while the green beans were steaming :)

I first tagged this recipe when I saw it on Kylee Cooks. I love using Dijon mustard in sauces, and I knew mixing it with lemon and Worcestershire would give it both brightness and depth.

We all loved this! The sauce was so amazing that I kept adding more to my pork as I was eating. I made a few minor changes, including adding chicken broth so we'd have more sauce. I also didn't have lemon pepper seasoning so I used freshly grated lemon zest, salt, and pepper.


Pork Chops with a Lemon Dijon Pan Sauce
Adapted from: Kylee Cooks

  • 4 thin sliced pork chops
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 c low sodium chicken broth


  • Combine the lemon juice, Worcestershire and Dijon mustard in a small bowl; set aside
  • Rub the chops with the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper
  • In a large saute pan (I like to use my stainless pans for a good sear), heat butter and oil over medium heat
  • Add the chops and cook 4-5 minutes per side until a thermometer reads 140 degrees. Remove to a plate and let rest
  • Turn the heat to medium high and add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan - scrape up all of those brown bits!
  • Add the mustard/lemon/Worcestershire mixture and stir. Let simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Return the chops to the pan, lower heat, and let simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Serve the pork chops topped with some of the sauce. 

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pork Carnitas

I am slowly starting to use my crock pot a bit more often. So far I am loving it for shredded or pulled meat - beef, chicken, or pork. The crock pot makes it so tender that it just falls apart with 2 forks - barely any effort required!
Last week I made pork carnitas in the crock pot. 5 minutes to get it cooking? Yes, please! Even better, it only requires a few ingredients.

The most important step, in my opinion, was browning and crisping the pork after shredding it. I loved the added texture and crunch from the caramelized brown bits on the pork. Once I browned the pork I served it over rice with some fresh cilantro. Next time I will make some nice street style tacos with the meat, queso fresco, pickled red onions and cilantro.
Pork Carnitas
I cut the recipe in half and used a different cut of meat. The ingredients below are based on how I made the pork.
  • One 2.5-lb pork loin (I prefer using a loin over a shoulder - less fat to deal with when shredding)
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (remove the ribs and seeds for less heat)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c orange juice
  • Season the pork with salt and pepper.
  • Mix the oil, oregano and cumin; rub all over the pork.
  • Place the pork in your crock pot, fat cap up.
  • Top with the onions, jalapenos and garlic, and then pour in the orange juice.
  • Cook on low 8-10 hours or high for 6 hours.
  • Skim off the fat and shred the meat using 2 forks. Keep warm.
  • When ready to eat - heat 1 tsp olive oil in a sauté pan (stainless steel preferred). Add one serving of pork and cook until the bottom side is golden brown and crusty.
  • Serve over rice or in tacos. Use the extra juices if you'd like and top with cilantro.
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Mexican Grilled Corn Salad with Citrus Aioli

One of summer's stars is definitely fresh, sweet corn.

I have mentioned this in my blog before that every week or 2 in the summer, my dad drives across the river to a small farm stand in NJ. He always comes back with the best tomatoes, zucchini, and of course, corn.

I like corn on the cob, but my favorite way to enjoy this summer treat is off the cob. The other night I decided to take it out of the husks and grill it for a salad.

If you have corn to use, make this salad. I thought it was out of this world good! There are so many flavors going on that just WORK together - the sweet corn, the salty cheeses, the bright cilantro and the bright and creamy dressing - seriously, O.M.G. good!

I made a few minor changes by adding grilled red onion, omitting the melted butter, changing the quantities, serving it at room temp (not hot), and in general changing how it was all put together (I simplified it). I plan on making this for every gathering I have as well as every one I go to for the rest of the summer - it was THAT good! So please do yourself a favor and make this ASAP. You will thank me!
Mexican Grilled Corn Salad with Citrus Aioli
Adapted from: Food and Wine
(serves 4)
  • 5 ears of corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 1/4 of a large red onion, sliced into rings.
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • 1/3 c mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated lime zest plus 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard (or more, if needed, after tasting)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or less - depends on how much heat you want)
  • 1 oz crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 oz crumbled cotija cheese
  • handful each of fresh parsley and cilantro, chopped
  • Make the aioli: mix the mayo, lime zest, lime juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, Dijon, garlic, and cayenne. Season with salt. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
  • Heat your grill to high. Brush the corn and red onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the corn 8-10 minutes until cooked and slightly charred. Let cool before cutting the kernels off the cob and chopping the onion.
  • Toss the corn kernels and chopped onion with the cilantro and parsley. Add in the dressing slowly (I didn't need to use all of mine) and then add in the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Serve immediately.  
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Grilled Lemon-Oregano Chicken and Chopped Vegetable Salad

Lemons inspired part of this meal. I had a bunch to use, so I came up with a lemon, oregano and garlic marinade for chicken. And on a 90 degree day, grilled chicken over a crisp and cold salad is the perfect dinner for me.

My other inspiration came from 2 ciabatta rolls sitting on my counter. My favorite thing in a summer salad - grilled ciabatta bread. Cut a ciabatta loaf (or a roll for a smaller salad/less people), spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until charred to your liking and then slice into bite sized pieces.

Grilled Lemon Oregano Chicken and Chopped Vegetable Salad

The Marinade
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 c light olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
Combine all ingredients and pour over the chicken. Marinate, covered, in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours.  Heat grill to high and grill chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving over the salad.

The Salad

You can use whatever you'd like. My salad consisted of:
  • Mixed greens
  • Sliced red, green, orange and yellow peppers
  • Chickpeas
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Cucumbers
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh basil
  • Grilled ciabatta bread.
  • Salt and pepper
I didn't need to add dressing - the marinated artichokes, basil, salt and pepper added enough flavor.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Grilled Vegetable Pasta in a Garlic Broth with Basil

You know how they say you shouldn't go to the supermarket hungry? Well you also shouldn't try to write a food blog post when you are hungry. I am sitting here staring at the picture of this pasta and the only thought I have in my head right now is how badly I'd love to eat it.
So after giving you one tip, I'm going to let the pictures do the talking in this post. The next time you grill veggies for dinner, make extra so you can chop them up for this pasta dish the next night. Not only will you save time and have dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes, you'll get the great flavor of grilled veggies infused into a light and fresh pasta dish.

Grilled Vegetable Pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Leftover grilled veggies, chopped
  • A few cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 c low sodium chicken or vegetable broth OR 1/2 c pasta water
  • 8 oz pasta
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Optional: fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • Cook pasta until done to your liking; drain, reserving 1/2 c of the pasta water (unless you are using broth)
  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat
  • Add the garlic and tomatoes; sauté 2-3 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic
  • Add the veggies and toss to warm
  • Add the broth or pasta water, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a low simmer.
  • Add the pasta and toss with the veggies.
  • Top with basil and mozzarella

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Lemony Spinach and Chic Pea Soup

Although it's spring I still love to make soup for lunches. I look for lighter recipes using a lot of vegetables and fresh flavors, like lemon and cilantro.
This soup that I came across in Cooking Light sounded like the perfect spring soup, and it was. It was filling for lunch and was healthy, too, so I felt good about it. I loved the lemon with chic peas and spinach - a new perfect flavor combination for me!
I made only a few changes to the original recipe, including using less orzo so it wouldn't be packed with pasta. Enjoy!
Lemony Spinach and Chic Pea Soup
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 c uncooked orzo
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 15oz can chic peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • Optional: 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • Heat a large saucepan over high heat.
  • Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  • Add garlic and onions; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add chicken broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil.
  • Add orzo, lemon rind, and chickpeas. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until orzo is done.
  • Stir in oregano and next 4 ingredients (through spinach).
  • Ladle 1 3/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 4 teaspoons cheese.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Creamy Pasta with Bacon

If I'm going to make a comforting pasta dish, I'm really going to go for it and forget about low carb, low fat, etc. It has to be creamy, rich and hearty, cheesy, and the addition of bacon never hurts.
Whenever my friend Jen comes to visit I always make a creamy pasta dish one of the nights, and since it was still freezing cold when she was here the last time, I was excited to make a comforting dish.
I was inspired by this recipe for Pasta with Mascarpone, Garlic, Spinach and Crumbled Bacon from the blog Week of Menus. I changed up a few ingredients and some of the steps and was so happy with the final dish - it was exactly what I wanted it to be.
Note - the mascarpone doesn't have much flavor, so if you are going to use it as a base for your sauce, I suggest using a second cheese and also some stock instead of the reserved pasta water.
Creamy Pasta with Bacon
Adapted from: Week of Menus
  • 1 lb of bowtie pasta
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 c frozen peas
  • 1/2 c mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 c low sodium chicken stock
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper
  • Cook pasta until done to your liking; drain and set aside.
  • In the meantime, heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Discard all but 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease.
  • Lower the heat the medium and add the olive oil. Add the garlic; sauté 1 minute.
  • Add the peas and mix, followed by half of the broth
  • Whisk in the mascarpone until creamy, adding broth if it gets too thick
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and black pepper to taste
  • Add the pasta, tossing to coat
  • Top with the crumbled bacon and serve immediately.
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Guinness Pulled Pork

My rarely-used crock pot may start to get a workout after it was used to make this pork. We just had it last week and I already want it again - it's that good. So good that I had 2 sandwiches at dinner, as did my husband and best friend.

The pork starts with a simple rub - I added a few things to the original recipe to spice it up a bit and also increased the quantities. Then you layer sliced onions in the bottom of the pot, top with the pork and then pour in the Guinness. I think I spent 8 minutes on the prep.

Here is the pork before I poured in the Guinness -

I used a pork loin sliced into large chunks. It became so tender while cooking that I didn't even need to pull it out to shred it - I just used a fork and my tongs and barely needed to use any effort to make it fall apart.
The three of us all built our sandwiches differently - I put some cole slaw on the bottom of the bun followed by the pork and then some Sweet Baby Ray's original BBQ sauce. My friend kept it simple with just pork and sauce while my husband layered his with cole slaw, pork, and dill pickles.
Guinness Pulled Pork
Slightly adapted from: So Tasty, So Yummy
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 4 pound boneless pork butt, shoulder or loin cut into chunks so it lies flat in the pot
  • 1 (14 oz) can Guinness
  • Lay the onion over the bottom of the pot
  • Mix together all of the spices and then rub generously over the pork.
  • Place the pork over the onions and then pour in the Guinness
  • Cook on high for 6 hours and then turn to low for 2. Shred and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Serve with pickles, BBQ sauce and cole slaw.
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Grilled Thai Chicken Salad

Grilling season is finally here in the Northeast! This opens up an endless number of meal options as we grill everything - meat, fish, veggies, potatoes, even noodles in a foil packet.
I tend to eat healthier when we grill. No creamy, cheesy sauces; no breaded chicken or chops, and nothing fried. My favorite grilled meal is marinated chicken with a hearty salad, like this Thai Chicken Salad. I actually made this one last fall and can't wait to fire up the grill to make it again soon.
Grilled Thai Chicken Salad
The Marinade -
  • 1/2 c rice vinegar
  • 1 packet duck sauce from leftover Chinese take-out... because I didn't have any hoisin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • A few dashes of cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce

The Salad
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 head of bok choy, chopped (except for the top 2-3 inches)
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • Optional: cilantro
The Dressing
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp spicy Thai chili sauce
  • Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. Marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
  • Mix the salad ingredients; keep cold until ready to serve.
  • Make the dressing shortly before dinner - just mix everything well, taste and adjust.
  • Grill the chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from the grill and let rest at least 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

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