Tag Archives: holiday

Puff Pastry Pecan Rolls with Bacon Caramel

These sticky buns are quite the guilty pleasure and one that needs to be taken advantage of!  They’re sweet, salty, and unlike your typical breakfast bun, these are made with puff pastry which gives a light and airy crunch to them, a la Baklava!  Plus, they have baaccooonnn!!  To answer the old age question, nothing, I repeat nothing, is better than bacon!

*Make sure to serve fresh and warm as the caramel will harden.  You can reheat them.

**These can also be made using your standard dough recipe for an equally delicious and softer bun!

***They’re also great as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb bacon + grease
  • 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (17.5oz) package puff pastry (freezer aisle)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place a 12-cup muffin tin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cook the bacon slices until almost crispy, but not quite done.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.  Pour the bacon fat into a small pot.  Once the bacon is cool, crumble into small pieces.

Place the pot of bacon grease over medium-low heat.  Add 1 cup brown sugar and cook, whisking frequently, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes (the mixture will look granular).  Slowly stream in the maple syrup and whisk vigorously as the mixture begins to bubble.  Once the syrup comes together, add the cream and kosher salt.  Remove from the heat and whisk until all of the cream is incorporated.  Reserve until ready to use.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Unfold both sheets of puff pastry and arrange the sheets so that the fold lines run parallel to the counter edge.  Generously brush the sheets with the melted butter.  Combine the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the buttered sheets.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup crumbled bacon and some of the chopped pecans over the pastry.  Gently press the bacon and nuts into the sugar mixture with your palms.  Roll the pastry away from you, forming 2 tight logs.  Use a serrated knife to cut each log into 6 equal pieces.

Pour 1 Tablespoon of the caramel into each muffin cup.  Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon each crumbled bacon and chopped pecans.  Place sticky buns cut-side into caramel in each muffin cup and gently press down, maintaining the round shape.

Bake until the caramel bubbles and the buns are deeply golden brown, about 35 minutes.  Work quickly to release the sides of the buns from the muffin cups, using a small knife, as if you wait they will stick.  Carefully invert the muffin tin onto another baking sheet/serving tray.  Spoon any caramel that remains in the muffin tin over the buns.  Serve immediately.

PecanPuffPastry

 

The BEST Roasted Potatoes

Friend!!  These potatoes are like a religious experience…they’re also like a science experiment. lol  “What?” you say…Yes, though easy, they have a couple ingredients you’ve probably never added to make roasted potatoes.  Which is why they’ve never turn out quite like these!  These roasted potatoes have a crunchy coating on the outside and are warm and tender in the center with a beautiful golden brown color, every single time.

A few things you want to remember when making the perfect restaurant-style roasted potatoes are:

  • You MUST parboil.  If you only roast in oven, your potato will almost always be overcooked or undercooked and not be too pretty to look at.  Plus the baking soda in the boiling water creates an alkaline pH that helps break down the potatoes surface, resulting in a starchy paste like exterior that will help make that crunch you’re after.
  • Please cut them in 2-inch (or even 3″) pieces for maximum surface area.  You always want the have a good exterior/interior ratio with roasted potatoes.
  • Russet potatoes are the best choice for this given they will make the crispest crust and fluffiest interior.  Save the Yukon Gold’s for mashed potatoes.
  • Please feel free to play around with the amount of baking soda and cornstarch as you make this recipe through the years.  Also, every oven operates a bit different, so just always watch to see if they need taken out sooner or need to roast a bit longer.

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs russet potatoes, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 hefty teaspoon+ baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (bacon drippings too if you have it)
  • 1 Tbsp+ cornstarch
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Fresh or dried herbs for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (400 if using a convection setting).  Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, along with the 1 Tbsp kosher salt, the baking soda and 2″ cubed potatoes.  Boil for roughly 10 minutes, until a fork can just pierce them.  You don’t want them overdone as they’ll finish in the oven.

Drain the parboiled potatoes in a colander and allow excess moisture to evaporate (a minute or two).  Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, drizzle with the oil/a bit of bacon grease and sprinkle the cornstarch over top.  Roughly toss around in the bowl and a thick “mashed potato-like” paste will seem to build up over the potato cubes.

Finally, transfer to a baking sheet, lined with foil or nothing at all (parchment paper will not allow it to crisp up on the side touching the potato).  Spread them out evenly and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.  At this time, shake the potatoes around (you may need a thin spatula to release any stuck potatoes from pan) and return to oven for another 15-20 minutes and your potatoes are a beautiful golden brown and crisp all over.

Season with more salt and pepper or herbs and serve immediately, enjoy!

RoastedPotatoes

 

 

Brown Sugar & Dijon Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Serrano Sauce

Through all trial and no error, I am fairly certain I have just created a new holiday tradition in my home..We will be eating my new recipe of “Brown Sugar & Dijon Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Serrano Sauce” for Christmas from here on out!   Slightly sweet, a slight bit o’ heat, slighty tangy and a touch of classic savory, this one hit all of the notes in just the right way.  Plus, given that pork tenderloin is an inexpensive cut and just a few other handy ingredients are needed, one can make this festive meal quickly while saving a bit more for extra stocking stuffers!

Through great luck (and all of that “hard work of being a food blogger” ;) I have been fortunate enough to be a recipient of a large package of perfect Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries on my doorstep!  This box addressed to me, “Railroad Wife in Texas”, on frozen ice and all, was just screaming to NOT be made into your average pie, relish or smoothie..but into a savory entree!  When one thinks of cranberries their mind often goes to that bowl at the end of the table that all too often gets neglected…not here my friend!  This is front and center and oh so delicious!

To pick up your very own bag of Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries, you can go online to http://www.CapeCodSelect.com to order online/find your location or head to my favorite local pick up at:

Central Market

4651 West Freeway

Fort Worth, Texas 76107

Follow my friends Cape Cod Select at:

https://www.facebook.com/capecodselect/          

https://twitter.com/CapeCodSelect

https://plus.google.com/b/112667579999356431188/+CapeCodSelectEdgewoodBogsCarver/about/p/pub

https://www.pinterest.com/capecodselect     

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp2g4eev6wgHxzYHUFhEMzg

                                                                                                                                             
*If you want an extra kick of spiciness, you can keep all of the seeds and pith in the serrano or hey, even add two of them to the sauce!!  I’m partial to the extra heat, but when my littles enjoy it I will keep it mellow.  The sacrifices I make as a momma….


The Starting Lineup

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin (about always comes in two pieces)
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Sage
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil

Cranberry-Serrano Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries (divided)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 serrano, minced (I seeded only half)
  • 1 2″ piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 lime, zest
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped  

Let us begin!  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees WITH a cast-iron pan INSIDE the oven.  (You can also use a glass or ceramic baking dish, i.e. Pyrex casserole dish.  You just want it hot!!) 

While the oven (and pan) is preheating, coat the pork with a mixture of the brown sugar, Dijon mustard, thyme, sage, salt & pepper.  (The coated pork can stay out and go straight into oven or place in a bag and marinate for 2+ hours).

When the oven is hot and ready, carefully (with an oven-mitt) remove the cast-iron pan/casserole dish and drizzle in the canola oil, followed immediately with the pork tenderloin(s).  It WILL sizzle, drizzle with a bit more oil and place back into the oven.

Roast for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 400 degrees and roast for another 10-15 minutes (internal temperature of 145 degrees).  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, slice and serve with your favorite sides.

Meanwhile…..that most delicious Cranberry-Serrano Sauce!!…

 

In a large sausepan over medium-high heat, saute the diced red onion in 1 tablespoon canola oil until soft.  Next, stir in 1 peeled and grated 2-inch piece of ginger along with 1 diced serrano chile (seed if needed and/or add two depending on heat level) and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar; cook until the sugar dissolves.  Once thickened and “syrupy”, add in 1 cup of the cranberries and cook until the berries pop and the sauce thickens (10 minutes).  Finally pour in the remaining cranberries and cook for 1-2 minute.  Transfer the sausapan off of the heat, stir in the honey, the grated lime zest, salt and pepper. Let cool a bit, then stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

Once your pork has rested, sliced and placed onto a serving platter, drizzle the Cranberry-Serrano Sauce overtop and accompany with delicious homemade mashed potatoes and a flavorful roasted vegetable.

Roasted Poblano Mac n’ Crema

This is the bomb!! (Do people still say that anymore?….ehh, I don’t even care). This pasta salad is my mexican spin on the classic backyard bbq staple and it’s a lot better!  It’s light, but still creamy and has just a bit of heat without overpowering.  Plus, let’s not forget that roasted flavor from the poblano peppers and cumin!  

However, the best part about this dish is that it’s equally delicious served either warm or cold!  Truth!  We’ll often eat the side dish warm on the first night I prepare it and serve the leftovers cold (if there are any) the next day!

*This can be made with gluten-free noodles if desired.

*I prefer to keep the seeds in my jalapeno or serrano pepper, as this makes a large batch, but to each their own.

*I prefer to use the traditional macaroni noodle here, but any short noodle can work in a pinch..as you can see from my rotini below.  Oops! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 16oz elbow noodles (any short noodle can work)
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (or a serrano for more heat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup+ Mexican crema 
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flake
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper (pinch of each) 

   

 
We’ll start by roasting our poblano peppers for this yummy side dish!  You can do this 1 of two ways…either A. Cook the poblanos directly over a gas flame till charred on all sides or B. Place on a baking sheet under your broiler (turning as needed) to blacken.  Onced they’re charred you can place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam for about 10 minutes…*When ready, remove the blackened skin, seeds and stems.  Dice the poblanos up! 

   While the poblano peppers are steaming, go ahead and bring a large stock pot filled with salted water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, cook the noodles to package directions, drain and set aside. 

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add in 2 Tbsps of oil and sauté the chopped onions for 3-4 minutes.  Next add in the roasted poblanos, minced jalapeño (or serrano) followed by the garlic, cumin, chili flake, oregano, salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to low (or remove pot completely from stove top) and stir in the noodles and Crema. 

     Serve as a side at your next shin-dig and reap in the compliments!  Again, this can be served warm OR cold.  It’s that dang good!

    Guinness Corned Beef Sliders

    Growing up I was quite fond of St. Paddy’s Day. The corned beef and cabbage part, I was not. Since being on my own, I created something along the lines of the traditional American-Irish meal. However, mine is better. At least to me. It is also a crockpot meal, so you can be at work during the day and when you return home all you need to do is eat & have a green beer. 🍀🍻
    The Starting Lineup

    • 3lb+ corned beef
    • 2 small yellow onions, quartered
    • 2 carrots, quartered
    • 1 bottle of Guinness 
    • 1-2 cups water 
    • Bakery slider rolls/potato buns
    • KerryGold Dubliner or Irish Cheddar cheese, sliced

    *I like too add spicy mustard to my finished sliders or this great, simple sauce:

    Tangy Horseradish Cream Sauce

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
    • 1 tablespoon creamy horseradish sauce (you can add more to taste)

    Mix all above ingredients together, cover and refrigerate till use.

     

     

     

     In a large crockpot, spray with non-stick and place in your cut veggies. They’ll act as a rack for the brisket. 

     Layer your corned beef over top. Typically, it will either have the seasoning already on it or you just cut open and sprinkle the attached packet over top the meat. (In a crockpot I like to trim off some of the fat before cooking it. Normally fat is a great thing for flavor, but a crockpot makes meats so tender due to its long cook-time).. Add in the 2cups water and the Guinness over top. 

     Whelp! That’s it for the meat! Cover that baby up and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for about 5-6.

    Dinner time!!!! Serve how you please, but I like to halve potato rolls and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush halved buns lightly with a bit of olive oil, butter or non-stick spray. Place under the ovens broiler for just a couple minutes till golden. Meanwhile, slice up that Irish KerryGold cheese! 

     Assemble the tender, hot corned beef over the toasted bun bottom and top with a slice of cheese or two, creamy sauce and the bun top! Serve with a cold Guinness and repeat! 

    Thanksgiving Waffles

    For real…THIS IS GOOOODD!  When you’re at a loss for what to do on the next after-holiday-morning, have very little desire to cook again and have 2 pounds of stuffing or dressing leftover…I ask you to please give this a try!  It’s so easy and yummy that it’s become a tradition in our home and we’ll often make it more than once!

    Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s easily adaptable to most palates.  Now of course I’m using my cornbread stuffing here, but that goes with sweet OR heat!  So slather on the syrup or the hot sauce..it’s a win-win!!

    The Starting Lineup

    Optional

    • Syrup (for sweet lovers)
    • Hot Sauce (for savory lovers)
    • Cranberry sauce & turkey (for the purists)  

    As stated above, this easy-peasy breakfast or brunch recipe has become a tradition in our home after a prior busy holiday day!  Like, it’s really, REALLY good!!!

    Heat your waffle iron to about mid-temp and place a few spoonfuls of your stuffing/dressing onto each waffle inlay.  Close and allow to do its magic! 

     While the ‘stuffing waffles’ are cooking, cook the eggs to your taste.  *We prefer ours over-hard, but to each their own!  I imagine a runny yolk would be good over this if desired, even scrambled!  …while also crisping up your bacon side!

    Once the waffles have crisped up, layer your eggs on top with the garnish of your choice!  We often like a bit of sliced green onions and Louisiana style hot sauce!  Mmmm….when’s brunch again?? 

     


    Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

    What are two of the most popular party appetizers to you?   Growing up in my household, we always had creamy deviled eggs and spicy jalapeno poppers for every family gathering.  So of course I had to combine the two and what a wonderful combo it is!

    So for your next family grill out, holiday party or football game….make these delights!   My only tip is to possibly double the recipe because they’ll go fast!! 🙂

    The Starting Lineup

    • 6 eggs, hardboiled
    • 3 heaping Tbsp cream cheese, softened
    • 2 Tbsp mayonaisse
    • 3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
    • 1 jalapeno, diced (I prefer seeds in)
    • Salt & Pepper
    • 1/4 cup cooked chorizo (Optional..but delightful)

    Garnish

    • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
    • 1 strip cooked bacon, pieces 

    Start by peeling the outer shell of your cooled hardboiled eggs.  Slice each egg in half and carefully scoop out the yolk.  Lay the sliced egg white on to a serving tray and place 4 of the 6 yolks into a bowl (discard the other two yolks).

    Along with the 4 yolks, add in the cream cheese, mayo, crumbled bacon, diced jalapeno and a pinch each of salt & pepper (add in chorizo here if using).  With a fork, combine these ingredients thoroughly.  You can now spoon into the egg whites or spoon all of the mix into a plastic baggy and pipe into the egg white.  *cut small tip off the baggy to pipe in.

    After all of your eggs are complete (those hot jalapenos are really making the “deviled” in their name come to life huh?) you can garnish them with a thin slice of jalapeno and a small piece of bacon.  These garnishes help your guest know what is inside the yolk filling!

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