Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

Sweet & Sour PorkA little while back, I made Sweet and Sour Pork because I had an extra pork tenderloin on hand. No, it’s not as strange as it sounds. I made Simply Recipes’ Panko Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce and I only used one of the tenderloins that came in the package. I always forget that they usually sell them in pairs. They’re so squished up in the vacuum sealed package that you can’t tell what you’re buying! BTW, that recipe is DELICIOUS and easy. I will be making it when we have company over for dinner because it looks like it took a lot of effort but it doesn’t.

Back to the stir fry…So I had a pork tenderloin and decided to make one of Curt’s favorite dishes. As I Googled recipes, I couldn’t find one that I liked, so I modified this Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe. I like to put a lot of veggies in my stir fry so that is the main modification from the original (aside from the fact that I’m using “the other white meat”). I didn’t account for the increase in volume of ingredients compared to the amount of sauce. For me this wasn’t a problem, but Curt said it needed more sauce. Yes, he’s a sauce man.

In the recipe below, I’m doubling the amount of sauce from the original. If you think it’s too saucy, well, you can suck it. HA.

First I took my tenderloin and cut it into 1″ cubes. I put it in a bowl with the egg white and cornstarch. I let it hang out on the counter while I cut up the vegetables and measured out the other ingredients.

Sweet & Sour Pork - Tenderloin

Sweet & Sour Pork - Tenderloin Marinade

Sweet & Sour Pork - Sauce

You will have twice as much sauce as seen here.

I mixed the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt and brown sugar in a measuring cup. Remember, I should have doubled the recipe (which I did in the list below). Your measuring cup will be twice as full – yep, that’s double.

Then I cut up an onion, red pepper, celery, and garlic. I grated the ginger with a micro-plane.

Sweet & Sour Pork - Chopped Vegetables

I busted my wok out of the depths of my cupboards and got it nice and hot. I added the oil, tested the temperature with a splat of water and then added half of my pork. After a minute I turned the pork and let it cook another minute or so. The idea is just to sear, not thoroughly cook the pork.

Sweet & Sour Pork - Tenderloin Saute in Wok

Put the pork on a plate and cook the other half of the pork. The amount of oil in the ingredient list is a guideline and you will probably need more. I had to add more oil for the second batch of pork and then more oil for the vegetables.

Sweet & Sour Pork - Pork Seared

The first time you cook the pork, the idea is to get it nice and crusty on the outside, not cooked through.

Once the second batch of pork was done, I turned the heat down to medium and sautéed the onions and celery for a few minutes, then I added the red pepper, garlic and ginger. After a few more minutes I added the pineapple pieces and sauce.

Sweet & Sour Pork - Vegetable Saute

Crank the heat and put the pork and any juices on the plate back into the wok. Cook for a few minutes until the pork is done…which the USDA now says is an internal temperature of 145°F. At this temperature your pork will be a little pink. If the sauce looks too runny, add a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water.

Sweet & Sour Pork - Pork Vegetable Sautee

Serve over rice. I sprinkled some chopped chives on top of mine because I thought it needed some color.

Sweet & Sour Pork

The recipe is below. Use organic ingredients whenever possible. The least you can do is buy antibiotic and hormone-free pork.

Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: American-Asian
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 pound of pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 organic egg white
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons organic cornstarch (plus 1 tablespoon if sauce is too thin)
  • 1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
  • ½ cup juice from the canned pineapple
  • ½ cup organic white vinegar
  • ½ cup organic ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons organic brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons organic vegetable oil
  • 1 small organic yellow onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks organic celery, sliced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon organic minced garlic – about 3 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh organic ginger
  • 2 tsp Organic Chives or Scallions for garnish (optional)
  1. Combine the pork, egg white, salt and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir to coat the pork evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Mix the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and brown sugar in a measuring cup or bowl.
  3. Heat a large frying pan or wok on high until a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Add the oil and swirl around the wok. Add half of the pork in one layer. Fry until the bottoms are browned, about a minute. Flip the pork and cook another minute. The pork is not cooked, we’re just searing. Put the pork on a plate and cook the other half using the same method. Add more oil to the pan if it looks dry. It’s ok if there are bits of the coating stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of cooking oil. Let the oil heat up and add the onion and celery. Fry for a minute then add the bell pepper, garlic and ginger. Fry for another minute and add the pineapple chunks and the sweet and sour sauce.
  5. Turn the heat to high after adding the sauce, then add the pork and juices back into the wok. Simmer for several minutes, until the pork is cooked.Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature. Add more cornstarch if the sauce is too thin.
  6. Serve over organic rice and top with chopped chives or scallions.


Mini Frittatas Recipe

Mini Frittata PlatedI take a lot of the food I make to J’s playgroup. We will often get together at a park or someone’s house in the morning and make it a pot luck. I’ve been making these mini frittatas for quite awhile now. It’s become my de facto dish.

My recipe is based on Giada De Laurentiis’ mini frittata dish, but I alter quite a bit. Click that link and you’ll go to her original recipe.

I usually make two kinds of frittatas. The first is just egg and cheese. To the other half of this mixture, I’ll usually add something like sausage. I typically use vegetarian sausage…I get a big box of Morningstar Farm’s sausage patties (not the maple flavor – yuck) from Costco. However this time I had leftovers from making Sausage, Mushroom and Broccoli Calzones so I used some of that. It was delish!

Here’s my soapbox disclaimer…use organic ingredients whenever you can!! Substitute conventional if you must, but I’m really trying to cut back on my GMOs!

Greased Muffin Tin

This pan may look like it has enough cooking spray in it, but it doesn’t!! I forgot to spray the sides and it was a real b*tch to clean.

Get out your 24-cup mini muffin pan and liberally spray it with cooking spray. I didn’t spray enough and it took forever to clean the darn thing. (Thanks to my husband for scrubbing the pan for me!)

Crack your organic eggs into a large bowl and add salt and freshly ground organic pepper.

Frittata Cracked Eggs

Remember to crack your eggs in a perfect circle/flower shape. KIDDING!! I didn’t even realize this was how I cracked them until I loaded this picture onto my computer.

Whole milk for the frittataMeasure out a half cup of organic milk, pour it in and whisk everything together.

This is where I stopped the process to make both kinds of frittatas. I poured half of the mixture into a 2-cup pyrex and then added a handful of shredded cheese. Pouring the eggs into a measuring cup makes it very easy to fill the muffin tin.

Pour the egg mixture for your frittata into a Pyrex.

I poured the egg and cheese mixture into as many tins as it would fill. The cheese sinks to the bottom of the measuring cup so you may have to scoop a little out to make sure each frittata has cheesey goodness inside. Side note: I ended up overfilling them (keep reading for further clarification).

Then I poured the remaining eggs from the large bowl into the pyrex and added about a half cup of the calzone mixture. I chopped it up into small pieces. Once added to the eggs, I put in a handful of shredded mozzerella cheese. You can use almost any filling in these frittatas. I hate to waste food so this was one way to use up my left overs.

Frittata sausage filling from leftover calzone

Now we see the result of overfilling the trays. Giada’s recipe says it makes 40 mini frittatas. HA! This time I got 23. In hindsight, I do fill the cups almost 3/4 full and that’s too much. I’d say 1/3 full would be better.Frittata Filled Tray

Frittata Cooked

This picture was taken as soon as them came out of the oven and I set them on the counter. Already the plain egg and cheese frittatas are deflating. The sausage filled ones don’t puff up as much.

Bake at 375° until the center of the eggs are not shiny. The original recipe says to bake for 8 – 10 minutes but mine took 14 minutes. I set my time for 8 minutes, checked them and saw how uncooked they looked. I put them in for 3 more minutes…checked again and decided they needed 3 additional minutes.

When you first take them out of the oven, they will be puffed up and beautiful. Then 5 seconds later they deflate.

Mini Frittatas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American, Italian
Serves: 24 - ish
  • Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 8 large organic eggs
  • ½ cup whole organic milk
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground organic black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • ½ cup chopped sausage or other filling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk, black pepper and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Pour mixture into a measuring cup and add the cheese and sausage (or other filling) if using.
  5. Fill each cup about ½ full.
  6. Bake at 375°F and check after 8 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on your ingredients and how full you make the muffin tins.

Sausage, Mushroom & Broccoli Calzone Recipe

Sausage, Mushroom & Broccoli Calzone PlatedThis is a hybrid of other calzone recipes found online and also born out of necessity and my lack of ingredients. It’s the day before Halloween and I have the ingredients to make pizza. Only problem is that we’re having pizza with friends tomorrow night so I’m trying not to duplicate dinner two nights in a row.

I figured calzone would be a good alternative. Only problem being that most recipes call for ricotta to make it moist inside. Well, I have cream cheese…couldn’t be that bad as a substitute, right?

First, I took my pre-made pizza dough out of the refrigerator and cut it into four equal pieces. I use a bench scraper to cut the dough but a knife would work just as well. I use the scraper to clean the pizza stone too. (This is probably not a recommended use, but it’s better than dulling my cooking knives and it works great!) I placed the pieces of dough on a lightly floured pizza peel so they could come to room temperature and rise a bit. (I forgot to take a picture of this step.)

I also preheated my oven to 475° F and put my pizza stone in the middle rack. The secret to pizza with a crispy bottom crust is a hot pizza stone. Same goes for calzone. Sometimes I forget to turn on the oven and heat the stone because I’m so anxious to cook (riiiight). But don’t you do that!

I sliced a package of organic crimini mushrooms and threw them into a small non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil. You could use button mushrooms if you don’t have brown. I french cut a small organic yellow onion and added that to the mushrooms. I let them cook on medium-low heat until the mushrooms started to soften. Then I added a cup of organic broccoli florets. After a few minutes I added three cloves of organic garlic (chopped), a teaspoon of dried organic basil, a teaspoon of dried organic oregano, a pinch of kosher salt and a few turns of fresh cracked organic black pepper. I let everything cook until the broccoli was soft, a few more minutes.

Calzone - sauteed mushrooms, onion and broccoli

Side note: I have a small pan that I use for sauteeing ALL. THE. TIME. It’s the only thing I purchased from “As Seen on TV” that was not a gag gift. In fact, I got the deal where you get two pans and only pay S&H for the second pan. I gave the extra to my good friend she still uses hers. This was several years ago!

And now back to calzone…while the vegetables were cooking, I mixed about a half cup of organic spaghetti sauce with 4 oz of organic cream cheese, softened. It combined fairly easily, but looked pretty gross. I thought of dog barf. I don’t own a dog. Remember, this is my hack since I didn’t have ricotta. If you have it (ricotta), go ahead and use it.

Calzone Cream Cheese and Spaghetti Sauce

I remove the vegetables from the pan and added four sliced pre-cooked italian sausages. If you have fresh sausage, go ahead and use it. Squeeze it out of the case and break it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. I browned the sausage and then added it to my bowl of veggies.

Calzone Sliced Sausage

I let the veggies and sausage cool for a few minutes, then I added the dog barf, umm, I mean cream cheese and sauce mixture.

Calzone Sausage Cheese Mixture

Now it’s time to assemble!

I took one of the pieces of pizza dough and stretched it out to about a 1/4″ thick oblong disc. Maybe a little thinner. Make sure there are no holes in the dough. Add as much filling as you can to half of the disc while leaving enough room to fold the dough over. Add a handful of shredded organic mozzerella cheese to the mixture. Fold over the dough and pinch the edges together. It will look like it’s about to burst.

Calzone Assembly

Repeat for all remaining pieces of dough. You may end up with extra filling. I did and I put mine in the refrigerator. I hate to waste food so I will find a way to use it. I’m making mini-frittatas tomorrow and I may add the mixture to my eggs.

Carefully place the four calzones on the pizza stone. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with warmed spaghetti sauce.

Sausage, Mushroom & Broccoli Calzone Plated

Sausage, Mushroom & Broccoli Calzone Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 1 package organic crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small organic yellow onion, frenched (chopped would be fine too)
  • 1 cup organic broccoli florets, small pieces
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic basil
  • ½ cup organic spaghetti sauce
  • 4 oz softened organic cream cheese (or ½ cup ricotta)
  • 4 pre-cooked italian sausage links (or fresh)
  • 1 cup Shredded organic mozzrella cheese
  • Spaghetti Sauce for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 475° F.
  2. Cut pre-made pizza dough into four pieces and place on a lightly floured pizza peel or cutting board.
  3. Saute mushrooms and onion in olive oil until soft. Add broccoli, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cook until broccoli is just softened. Remove from pan.
  4. While vegetables are cooking, mix spaghetti sauce and softened cream cheese (or ricotta) in a small bowl.
  5. Add sliced sausage (or uncooked sausage) to the pan and brown. If using fresh, cook thoroughly. Add the browned sausage to the vegetable mixture and let cool a few minutes.
  6. Stir the cream cheese into the vegetable sausage mixture.
  7. Stretch dough into discs and add the sausage mixture to one half. Sprinkle mozzerella on the mixture and fold the dough over to form a pocket and seal the edges.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving with warmed spaghetti sauce.


Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing & Spider Cookie Details

Once you’ve made your sugar cookies, it’s time to decorate! As I mentioned in my sugar cookie recipe post, you can make the cookies ahead of time and store them in an air-tight container for a week or so or freeze them. I’ve also frozen the dough and thawed overnight in the refrigerator.

If you’re not familiar with royal icing, it’s pretty neat! It dries hard so you can stack decorated cookies or package individually and not worry about the decoration getting smooshed. In terms of flavor, of course, a butter-based frosting would be tastier, but then I don’t think it would be considered icing…that’s why it’s called frosting. Anyway, I think the cookie and icing together tastes pretty good. Alone, the flavor of the icing just tastes like sugar.


Last year, Bridget from Bake at 350 said my spider cookie was “adorable”. SQUEEE!!!!!

I learned everything I ever wanted to know about royal icing from Bake at 350. Bridget’s tutorial is here. I love her cookie designs and last year I even sent her a picture of the spider cookies I made (inspired by her design). She wrote me back and said my cookies were adorable. I’m officially **star struck**. :D

The recipe for royal icing is pretty simple. Again, I use organic ingredients whenever possible so in this case the powdered sugar and corn syrup that I use are organic. I won’t go into the instructions for making the icing because Bridget does such a great job. Here’s her royal icing tutorial link again.

The icing also freezes well, so if you have leftovers, don’t pitch it. It keeps for a couple months and is great to have on hand when your preschooler demands “fancy cookies.”

Halloween Spider Cookies 2014This year’s spider cookies were decorated in two evenings. The first night I covered each cookie with white royal icing and then orange flat dots. I let them dry overnight.

The second night is when I added the web and spider. I used a number 2 round tip on a tube of store-bought black icing for the web and legs. Yes, I could make my own black icing but it takes a disgusting amount of food coloring and in this case ignorance is bliss. I don’t want to think about what goes into making it black so I just unscrew the cap and I’m none the wiser.

While a number 1 round tip would make a more delicate web, I must admit that my hand cramps up way too much when using this tip. I made spider man cookies earlier this year with the small tip and thank god I only made a dozen or so. My hand felt like it had been squashed under a steam roller when I was done decorating.

To make the spider’s body I use a number 6 round tip and squeeze a blob of icing onto the cookie. Dip your finger in water (it should be damp, not drippy) and gently pat the black blob until it looks like a circle. You can do the same with the spider’s legs if the end of the icing pokes up.

Finally, I take two white sprinkles and with (clean) tweezers, I carefully place them into the spider’s body. Creepy and cute at the same time!

DIY Sugar Cookies – Better Than Store-Bought!

Cookie_CollageI’ve been making sugar cookies for a few years now, but only for special occasions. This means I don’t make them all the time and I get a little rusty, but it’s kind of like riding a bike…once you do it you don’t forget how…or at least you remember most of what needs to be done.

I don’t take credit for any of my designs. I’m good at copying so when the need for fancy cookies arises, I search the internet for inspiration and then I copy as best I can. This means that you, yes – YOU – can make these cookies too! I’m a self-taught baker and cook so I really believe anyone can do this with a little practice and determination.

First off, the sugar cookie recipe. This is the only recipe I use, and I swear by it (and so does everyone that eats my cookies)! It’s from Sweetapolita and includes instructions for making cookie pops. I started out by making pops, but then got lazy and realized people were as equally impressed by a decorated cookie as there were by a decorated cookie on a stick. Click here for the original recipe or keep scrolling to see my version at the bottom of this page. It includes my shortcuts and changes as well as some other tips. Most importantly, I cut the recipe in half because my stand mixer almost jumped off my counter the first time I made the recipe. The dough climbed up my mixer attachment and it was a mess!

The recipe and tips for decorating with royal icing are in my next post.

I don’t deviate from the ingredients in the recipe! And, I always freeze for 10 minutes before baking. If you don’t, well…ever see this picture on the interwebz? That really will be your cookies if you don’t freeze your cut dough shapes before baking!

Sugar Cookie Fail

The other change that I make is rolling the dough to 5/8″ thick instead of 1/4″. You will need (clean) dowels for this. I love the taste of the cookie and I guess I like a slightly larger cookie to icing ratio. Of course, by rolling thicker cookies you won’t yield quite as many per batch as Sweetapolita does. The other thing I do is use a postal scale to precisely measure the weights (in grams) of all of my ingredients. This seems pretty anal, but perfection does require a little extra effort. ;) If you don’t have a postal scale (really, who does?) then a reliable kitchen scale will work. You can get one here.

If you get hooked into cookie making, I suggest buying a bunch of cookie cutters. You will invariably need to buy more, but something like Wilton’s 101-Piece Cookie Cutter Set will get you off to a great start.

As I say with all of my recipes, I prefer to use organic ingredients whenever possible. Of course, substitute for conventional ingredients so you can get your daily dose of GMOs (wink wink).

Sugar Cookies - Better Than Store-Bought!
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: snack, dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 18 - 20 cookies
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose organic flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon (4 g) salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted organic butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) organic sugar
  • 1 large organic egg, cold
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract - organic
  • ⅛ teaspoon pure lemon extract - organic
  1. In large bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg.
  3. Add vanilla and lemon extract and mix until incorporated.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. *Do not overmix! Once the dough comes away from the side of the bowl, turn off the mixer.
  5. Remove ½ of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter. Make a disc about 2" thick and cover with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes in the refrigerator.
  6. Remove discs and let sit on the counter for 10 minutes. This softens the dough enough to make it easy to roll, but still keeping it cold. If you are super strong (not me), go ahead and roll it right out of the refrigerator. I cannot seem to do this successfully!
  7. Place disc on top of a large piece of parchment paper. I put the parchment on a large cutting board on top of our kitchen table. We have tall counters and I get better rolling leverage when placed on the table which is shorter than our counters. Place two ⅝" wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.
  8. Roll dough so it's even with the dowels. You should not see any speed bumps in the dough. If you do, keep rolling until it's entirely smooth and an even thickness.
  9. Cut your shapes and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer. Re-roll excess dough. Waste not want not! Place the cut shapes in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  10. Preheat your oven to 350° F. I find that by the time my oven is hot, my cookies are semi-frozen.
  11. Remove cookies from freezer and place on another parchment (or silpat) lined cookie sheet. Place cookies at least 1" (one inch) away from each other and away from the edge of the cookie sheet.
  12. Bake 14 - 16 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Sometimes the edges of my cookies do not brown, but the bottoms do. It may take a little trial and error to find the right baking time.
  13. Cool sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.
  14. Cookies can be made ahead of time (without decorating) as long as they are stored at room temperature in an airtight container. They will last 2 weeks. You can also freeze them.


Looking for the royal icing recipe? Click the link.

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