Sweet & Smoky Pork Quesadillas with Spicy Ranch Dressing

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Quesadillas are always a great idea for a quick meal, even on the busiest of nights. Stuffed full with shredded pork, diced green chiles, avocado, sweet corn, and a blend of Mexican cheeses– these Sweet & Smoky Pork Quesadillas with Spicy Ranch Dressing are a gourmet meal made on a budget, in under 30 minutes.

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Bacon Beer Cheese Dip

Beer, Bacon, and Cheese are standard fare at almost any viewing party, but get your game faces on and get in the zone with this epic dip that combines them all into one fantastic appetizer. It’s sure to be the MVP of your spread. Thick and creamy, topped with freshly shredded melted cheese and extra crispy bacon crumbles, you won’t want to miss out on this Bacon Beer Cheese Dip. 

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Cheesy Potato & Smoked Sausage Casserole

Cheese. Cheese! Glorious Cheese. How can you not like cheese? It is beyond our family’s comprehension. In the words of the infamous Sicilian, The Great Vizzini, “Inconceivable!” So if you’re one of these people who don’t like cheese, whether it’s a texture thing, an animal by-product aversion, I give you fair warning: Look Away. Look. Away. NOW.

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Ham, Egg, & Cheese Toast Cups

Breakfast and Brunch menus usually have a lot to offer, and the range of options for those meals is pretty varied. But when your a busy parent with hungry children to feed in the am hours, the early morning menu is usually pretty basic. And after a while, even when you have the time.to whips up some eggs, and butter a few slices of toast, even that can get a bit boring for everybody over time.

So here’s one of my favorite ways to shake things up when we’re in a rut.

Ham, Egg, & Cheese Toast Cups 3

This is basically just your classic scrambled eggs with a side of toast. But all mashed together; and with cheese and some ham for extra flavor and protein. Ya know, basic. But ( again ) with cheese, because cheese makes everything better. I see it as an easy and convenient way to serve breakfast on the weekends (or on busy morning with a quick reheat) and the kids see it as impressive, and oh-so fancy. They love it, and I always love the giggles I get over them considering us high-falutin folk with our own cuisine.

Ham, Egg, & Cheese Toast Cups 2

Don’t stop here though. Ham and cheese may seem like an obvious choice to fortify your eggs with, but the options are endless. Play around with different cheeses or add any toppings that you would normally add to an omelette or frittata  – peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, green onion, tomatoes – there is no right or wrong way!

One thing’s for sure, these are sure to cure any case of breakfast boredom.

Ham, Egg, & Cheese Toast Cups

Ham, Egg, & Cheese Toast Cups

12 slices of bread
7 eggs
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup ham, cubed
½ tsp garlic powder
½ onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cut crusts off of the bread and roll bread flat.
2. Butter each side of the bread and place one piece  in each muffin tin to form a toast ‘cup’, gently pressing the bread against the sides of the tin and the centers down. Patch any holes you see with another small piece of buttered bread.
3. Combine eggs, garlic powder, onion, salt, and pepper and beat with a whisk until frothy.
4. Pour some into each muffin tin, filling the bread cup approximately 3/4 of the way full. Add a few cubes of ham to each toast cup and top with shredded cheese.

5. Bake the at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

These are freezer friendly, so if you’re trying to get a jump start on weekday breakfasts make a batch, let them cool completely, remove them from the tins and freeze in a zip locking storage bag until ready to use. A quick re-heat in the microwave on a busy morning, and you’re good to go. Literally.

Macaroni & Cheese (with Ham or Bacon) Egg Rolls

If you think egg rolls are only to be found on Chinese take-out menus, or in the Asian section of the frozen food aisle, it’s time to think again. If you’re an egg roll purist who firmly believes this American-iced version of the traditional spring roll should only be hiding a blend of pork, cabbage, maybe a few other veggies, and a bevy of seasoning that’s cool, we have the perfect easy egg roll recipe for you.

Ham Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls 2

But if you can close your eyes and picture that perfectly fried, crispy egg roll shell breaking open as you bite into it, revealing a filling of creamy Mac & Cheese, studded with ham or bacon then you’re on the same level as we are with this recipe.

These just call to the kid in me, the fun foodie, and the carb enthusiast within. Why yes, I’d like some carbs with my carbs. Because, all the carbs. Serve them with a side of your favorite barbecue sauce for dipping.

Macaroni & Cheese (with ham or bacon) Egg Rolls 

Ham Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls

2 cups macaroni and cheese, chilled
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled, or 1/2 cup cooked, diced ham
8 egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil, for frying
barbecue sauce, for dipping

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer, Dutch Oven, or other safe pot to 350 degrees F.
    2. Mix the macaroni and cheese and the bacon or ham together. Spoon about ¼ cup onto each egg roll wrapper. Dampen the edges of the egg roll wrapper with water. Roll up, into a closed egg roll, according to the package directions.
    3. Cover the uncooked egg roll with a damp paper towel until ready to fry.
    4. Repeat the steps with the remaining ingredients.
    5. Working with just a few of the assembled egg rolls at a time, fry them until well browned, about 4 minutes. Place the cooked egg rolls onto a layer of paper towels to drain and get rid of any excess grease.
    6. Serve them warm with barbecue sauce on the side, for dipping.

Like what you see? Check out these other fun ‘egg roll’ ideas…

Breakfast Eggrolls

Breakfast Egg Rolls with Sausage Gravy

Egg Roll Bowl 2

The Egg Roll Bowl

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

 

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with a Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

Why order take-out, when you can make your own perfectly crisped egg rolls right at home and serve them with a yummy side of sauce? Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with a Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce are even better than take out. They’re downright gourmet.

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with a Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

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Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa

Do you love a little something spicy with your meat? Maybe throw in a dash of something sweet to boot? The already flavorful pork tenderloin is marinaded in a (gently) spicy chipotle sauce, grilled until it’s gorgeous, and then topped with a very basic, sweet cherry ‘salsa’. The flavor combination is perfect.

 Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with a Fresh Cherry Salsa

They blend seamlessly.

image

She’s a beaut, ain’t she?

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with a Fresh Cherry Salsa 2

1-2 lb pork tenderloin

Marinade

juice of one lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4cup honey
2-3 chipotle peppers, coarsely chopped
3 tsp adobo sauce, from the can of chipotle peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Fresh Cherry Salsa
1 cup sweet, dark cherries, pitted and sliced into quarters
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
2 tsp lemon juice

Directions

1. Combine marinade ingredients. Pour half of marinade into a resealable bag with pork tenderloin; cover and store the other half of the marinade in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill the pork. Marinate the pork for at least an hour.
2. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high. Discard the used marinade and cook the pork over indirect heat, towards the edge of the grill, for roughly 15-20 minutes per side, or until cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.
3. Place cooked pork tenderloin on a sheet of aluminum foil, bringing the edges up around it to form a ‘basket’. Pour the remaining marinade over the pork, and seal the aluminum foil, allowing everything to rest for about 10 minutes.

Fresh Cherry Salsa:
1. Combine all of the ingredients and serve over the pork.

recipe adapted from Sweet Peas & Saffron

Sausage Breakfast Burritos

So if you’ve followed along with us for any amount of time, you know that this mama doesn’t do breakfast. Yes I make sure there are breakfast items available, but All self serve, a la carte style. Hot breakfast? Dad does giant brunches every Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise? It’s pretty much cold cereal ’round these parts.

 Sausage Breakfast Burritos

But I do occasionally take pity on my crew who put up with all my whims, and all my willfulness in the kitchen. What can I say? I run a tight ship, usually it goes my way or the highway, but every now and then I hear a request or two, or I just generally try to prevent a mutiny. And that’s where these handy, dandy breakfast burritos come in.

All cooked up and pre-packaged, all ready to heat and eat.

Sausage Breakfast Burritos

Sausage Breakfast Burritos 2

1 lb ground pork sausage
1-1/2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1/4 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup diced green and/or red pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
12 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Picante sauce and sour cream, optional

Directions

1. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain and set aside. Add the potatoes, onion and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes or until tender. Pour the eggs in and stir, cooking until they’re set. Return the sausage to the skillet and stir everything together to evenly incorporate.
2. Spoon the filling off center onto each of the tortillas. Sprinkle cheese evenly out over the filling. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. Serve with Picante sauce and/or sour cream, if desired.
3. To freeze and reheat the burritos: Wrap each burrito in waxed paper and then again in foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. To use, remove the foil and the waxed paper. Place one burrito on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 2 to 2-1/4 minutes, turning the burrito over once during re-heating. Let stand for 20 seconds before eating. These also re-heat just as well in a toaster oven if a microwave isn’t an option.

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

As the household ‘chef’, or primary cooker of main meals, you’d usually think you have a general idea of everyone’s palates and tastes and going on that info alone, you’d think you’d have a pretty good idea of what recipes will be a hit or a miss. But even with all that information handy, most pork chop recipes have always been more of a miss than a hit for me in the dinner dept. There’s never been anything particular to lay the finger in, just more of nothing being a show-stopper. And apparently that’s the bar I’ve set. So far they guys have only gone ga-ga for them a few ways, breaded, fried, and topped with caramelized onions,  herbed and soaking in mushroom gravy, or my crispy, baked Italian ranch chops. But especially with the hubs, I am so glad that I hadn’t given up! After all, the hubs IS my picky eater.

While smothered may not typically be something I’d enjoy hearing, when it comes to these pork chops, it is essential. Slow cooked, all day long, in their rich, onion-based gravy they’re fall-apart tender and every bite is dee-vine. Topped with a generous bit of crisp, crumbled bacon and parsley? Ohhhhh, yes. We serve them over a bed of mashed potatoes so we can truly appreciate every single bite of gravy.

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops

5 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 tsp brown sugar, divided
4 garlic coves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
2 bay leaves
6 pork chops, quality cuts
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

1. In a large skillet or sauce pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp.
2. Place the cooked bacon on paper towels to soak up the excess grease, leaving bacon fat in pan.
3. Discard all but about 2 tbsp of the remaining bacon fat and add in the onions, 2 tsp of the brown sugar, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring often until the onions have softened and have begun to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
4. Add in 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on browned bits. You want those!
5. Place the mixture in crock pot and add on the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth.
6. Add in the remaining 2 tsp brown sugar, soy sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to combine
7. Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper and add them into the crock pot, pushing them down into the juices.
8. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours. When there’s only an hour or so left, stir in the cornstarch and water mixture to the gravy.
9. Place pork chops on a serving plate and cover with foil.
10. Remove the bay leaves from the gravy and transfer the ‘gravy’ to a bowl to ‘rest’ for 5 minutes. Scrape off as much fat from the surface as possible.
11. Stir in the vinegar and add any additional salt and pepper, if needed.
12. Serve the finished pork chops over a bed of mashed potatoes, or even cooked rice. Ladle a generous helping of onion gravy over the top of the pork chops and top with bacon and parsley before serving.