Tag Archives: sweet

Weeknight wonder #2!! Crockpot brown sugar pork loin with balsamic glaze

So for today’s weeknight wonder I have a recipe sure to be the talk of the town, the bell the ball, the cat’s meow. Maybe I am exaggerating a tad but it will definitely be a hit in your house! This is a knockout pork loin with a sweet tangy glaze. My kids all devoured it. They could not get enough. It was the easiest thing to make too. I made this before this whole Cajun Mama thing, when it was everywhere on Pinterest, but not since and I have always wanted to blog this recipe to share with y’all. This is the link I found the recipe on this time http://brooklynactivemama.com/03/2014/slow-cooker-pork-tenderloin-recipe.html. I wondered if it was as good as I remembered it being. The answer to that question is yes. It may have been better than what I remember. Not sure if it is the simplicity that makes it so terrific or if it is the sweet, thick tangy glaze. Maybe it is those two things combined. One thing is for certain, this a pork loin for all seasons. It’s cooked in the crockpot so it is perfect for summer time. It’s delicious and hearty, so it is great for winter time, out of the house all day, come home to a great smelling dinner. Anyway you go, it is all good.

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though he is never hard to please, my baby really ate this roast up!

Crockpot brown sugar pork loin with Balsamic glaze

Stuff you need~

2 pound pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 clove garlic, smashed (I used minced garlic because that is what I had. Worked fine)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

What to do with the stuff~

In a small bowl, mix together the sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Put your tenderloin in the crockpot. Rub that seasoning all over that roast. Now add the first 1/2 cup of water to the crockpot. Put the lid on. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Mine took 6 hours and it was fork tender.

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easy enough? Yes it is! Ok good!

Ok at some point before the hour 6, whisk together in a small saucepan the water, cornstarch, soy sauce, Balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to whisk the mixture until it is thickened. About 4 minutes or so. Remove from heat. For the last hour, brush the sticky sweet glaze over the roast 3 or times as it continues to cook. When done, transfer the roast to a large serving plate. Drizzle the remainder of the glaze all over that tender roast. It will make you drool. It is absolutely as yummy as it looks.

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there you go. You are welcome. Enjoy!!

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Keep calm and make macaroni salad

So I like to fancy myself a Southern girl at heart. Everything looks better with a monogram on it, I love my hydrangeas, and Gone with the Wind is a wonderful movie. None of that may truly make me Southern (though I am by birth and I am proud of it!) but there is such a thing as being Southern at heart. Which I imagine if you follow my blog or Facebook page, you are Southern at heart simply because the majority of recipes I serve up on here are good ole fashioned Southern delights and you probably like to eat some good food!!)
Well, the lovely recipe I have for y’all today is a true Southern dish. Macaroni salad! Oh yes. But friends, not your grandmama’s macaroni salad. No siree Bob. This is macaroni salad for today’s sophisticated Southern palates. It is sweet, creamy and has a little kick. I have always wanted to like macaroni salad. Something about it just draws me in. It is just so…Southern….sitting there in the grocery store deli case alongside the fried chicken (we love the fried chicken at our local Brookshires…it’s fab). It is simply perfect at a potluck and is just always a great summertime side dish. I have to admit I have bought some macaroni salad from our local grocery store. Now, it was not horrible but it just always left me wanting…more. That I can recall, macaroni salad is not a dish my family made often, if ever at all, so I really have no way to gauge what really good macaroni salad is. But I knew that there had to be a great recipe for it somewhere. I have tried several recipes for it, but again, they just left me wanting more. Well friends, I do believe I have found…more. I googled best macaroni salad and first result was a macaroni salad recipe from none other than the lovely Pioneer Woman…y’all know it’s good. Here is a link to that post http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/06/the-best-macaroni-salad-ever/. Of course, it was crucial to me that I share it with my peeps, my homies, my friends on my blog. So that is what I am doing today. I hope you will give it a go. Keep calm and make good macaroni salad. Ha ha!!! I need a Tshirt that says that! ~AMB

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that’s all I’m saying lol!

Be all end all Macaroni Salad (my name for it…)

serves a bunch of folks

4 cups of macaroni noodles, cooked al dente
1/2 cup diced sweet and spicy pickles *
4 roasted red bell peppers (the jarred kind)
Black olives, chopped fine**
3 green onions, sliced (green parts)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Duke’s…always, at least in my kitchen)
1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 Milk
Plenty of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
Pickle juice (secret ingredient!)
aside.
*(you can buy some or make my recipe for them https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/10/23/cajun-mamas-candied-pickles/) I bought some from target because I was trying to make this last night but I will be making a fresh batch of those babies soon!)
** (to save time, I bought a small can of the chopped black olives and it worked great! Excellent time saver!)

What to do with the stuff

Boil your macaroni noodles. Drain them in a colander and then run cold water over them. You want them cool when you add the rest of this stuff.
Chop the roasted bell peppers, green onion, olives (if you didn’t buy the already chopped ones, show off! :)), and pickles. Set aside.
To a medium size bowl, add your mayo. Whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Add a little black pepper for good measure. Now add a little milk and whisk. Ok now, add a healthy splash of pickle juice to this mixture. Mmmmm. Whisk it good. When a problem comes along, you must whisk it. Oh sorry I got lost in my 80’s music.
Now, add your cold macaroni noodles to a large bowl. Now stir in 3/4 of that sweet and tangy mayo mixture. Give it a nice stir to coat those darling noodles with that sauce. Mmmmm. You can add the rest later if you desire.
Now stir in the chopped olives, red peppers, green onions, and pickles. Give it a good stir. Now splash in a little more pickle juice if you are so inclined (and I was) and stir gently until well combined. Make adjustments according to your taste. Now, naturally this is better if you let it sit in fridge covered overnight but feel free to have some almost immediately. It’s all good. Literally…all so good!! We served this with some magnificent grilled chicken breasts (that recipe will be coming up soon) and grilled corn on the cob. Oh and baked beans. Because my kids and BD are southern too and they likes them some baked beans. It was yum-my!!!!! Enjoy!!!

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ready for that macaroni salad

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I found these Wickles at Target. Quite tasty!

White chocolate popcorn and doing what we can

I found this recipe a while back on Pinterest and made it almost immediately. You find the original post at http://www.the36thavenue.com/2013/11/white-chocolate-popcorn-recipe.html. This dreamy concoction tastes like a cross between rice crispy treats and popcorn. It is the ultimate blend of sweet and salty. Oh my. So good.
As always, we had too much, so for a little treat for my kiddos’ teachers, I wrapped up a ball of this yummy popcorn in some plain ole Saran Wrap and then tied it with some pretty pink twine. It made a nice little pick me up for some pretty special ladies. I have said it before and I will say it again…I am not Martha Stewart. Martha would have had treat boxes to deliver this in and I bet her kitchen would not have looked like a bomb went off after she made this. Mine did though. And I used Saran Wrap. But ya know…I have 4 kids and 2 of them have 3 teachers each. So that is 8 teachers in all. When it comes to Christmas gifts and such, I often fall short because I can not do for 8 teachers for what I might do for one or 2. And it is not a competition. All any of us can do is what we can, with what we have, where we are. So, it was a gesture in the middle of another crazy week where I had something extra to give that took little effort but sent a big thank you to some ladies who are so important in the lives of so many kids. God gave us all gifts and it is up to us to choose how we share with the world. That is all any of us can do. Whatever your gift is, I hope you let it shine for the world to see. You are a blessing to many.~AMB

White Chocolate Popcorn
Serves: 10

stuff you need~
2 bags of microwave light butter popcorn, popped
1 1/2 cups Sixlets
1 (11.5 ounce) bag white chocolate chips
1/2 bag regular size marshmallows
3 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup corn syrup

what to do with the stuff
Pop popcorn according to package instructions and then pour into a big mixing bowl. Set aside. Mix together corn syrup, butter, and chocolate chips together in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring often. Mix in the marshmallows, stirring consistently until they are melted. Pour this mixture over th popcorn and stir to combine well. Gently stir in the Sixlets, taking care not to break them. Sprinkle some more Sixlets over the top, if desired. Set it out and watch it disappear. It’s good stuff, y’all!

*yes the candy. But I found them in the baking section at Walmart not in the candy section and in a bottle not a bag. Also, you can use the pastel colored M&M’s in place of the Sixlets.

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my oldest with one of his wonderful teachers.

Luscious Lemon Loaf

I woke up yesterday morning with cooking on my mind.  My kiddos are on spring break, 2 of them are with their grandparents in Arkansas, one is up his daddy’s behind, and the other (my mama’s girl) has been chilling with mama.  So, frankly, I felt a little adrift. Regardless of how many kids you have, it seems like when one or two are away, things just aren’t the same.  I definitely felt their absence, though it has been nice hanging with my sweet girl and having some one on one time with her.    Anyway, I decided that I was going to cook up some stuff and this lemon loaf was one of the recipes on Pinterest that had caught my eye.  But I must say, it was originally called “white chocolate lemon bread” and frankly, it looked so yummy but the name threw me off.  Yes, I will admit I am not a white chocolate fan.  Mama likes her dark chocolate, that is all I am saying.  Always have.  And white chocolate?  Gag.  No really, gag.  But I took a risk.  I love, love, love the lemon loaf at Starbucks.  I don’t love, however, paying over 2 bucks a pop for a slice.  I mean, really?  I truly love lemon and this looked so easy, I figured what did I have to lose anyway?  Nothing.  So I went for it.  I am so very glad I did.  There is nothing white chocolate to it and this loaf tastes so close to Starbucks’ lemon loaf that it is uncanny.  Taking the risk (though with this the risk was small) was well worth it.  Don’t you love when things work out that way?  I renamed it luscious lemon loaf because even though there is white chocolate pudding mix, you cannot taste it.  This is just pure lemon delight.  And the glaze that you pour over it is simply fantabulous.  This recipe truly could not be easier and makes two loaves.  So, theoretically you can keep one and give one away.  Good luck with that.  This stuff is so good, you might consider hiding both loaves under your shirt and running like the wind.  And keeping it all for yourself.  If your family does not beat you to the punch.  It is that good.  You can see the original recipe here http://liluna.com/white-chocolate-lemon-bread.  I made it just like the recipe suggested this time, but next time I will replace the oil with applesauce and the sour cream with Greek yogurt.  I do the applesauce thing in most of my muffin recipes and it works great.  We get a little fruit boost and I can enjoy a slice or um…two…with less guilt.

Luscious Lemon 

Stuff you need~

1 box of lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 small boxes instant white chocolate pudding mix

4 eggs

1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 Tablespoons)

1/4 cup of oil

1 cup sour cream

zest of one lemon

For the glaze:  Mix 1  1/2 cups powdered sugar, juice and zest from one lemon.  Add more lemon juice if it was too thick. I used a big lemon and had plenty.

What to do with the stuff~

Mix cake mix, pudding mix, oil and eggs in a bowl with a beater (or your standing mixer) until well combined.  Now, add sour cream, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Use a spoon to mix at this point.  Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans.  I used a regular size loaf pan and then a pan with 4 little mini loaves.  They were the cutest little things!!

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  If you go the mini loaf route, bake for about 15 minutes.  Let them cool completely.  I removed mine from the loaf pans at this point and set them on a baking sheet or plate.  Now, poke holes in the loaves and drizzle the glaze all over them.  Get ready to curse me and thank me all at once.  You will want to do both.  It’s ok.  I still love ya.  Image

Big ole zested lemon 

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awww…look at those little darlings…so tiny and cute.  I could just eat em up.  he he 

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Sweet tart lemony glaze…so pretty

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Beignets…the real deal

Ok a few things.  The other day I  am scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and I see The Sweet and Savory Sisters’ recipe for real authentic beignets. Not fried biscuits…beignets  out of made from scratch batter.  The real deal.  The full enchilada.     Well, the deal was sealed and I knew right then and there that those babies would be on our table at some point this weekend.  We all love Cafe Du Monde, right?  It is the quintessential NOLA experience.  Well, these babies will take you there.  If you have never been, first of all, bless your heart because you are missing out and second of all, the taste of these beignets very closely mimics theirs’.  Now, naturally, the ambiance that makes Cafe Du Monde what it is, is missing.  But with a plateful of these and a cup of cafe au lait, you can almost close your eyes and make believe.  They are that good.  The almond extract makes all the difference, much to my surprise.  This recipe is very simple and quick to pull together.  You just need basic ingredients and cooking oil.  I had an oil thermometer and it really made the job super easy.  Your oil needs to be at 375 degrees and stay there as consistently as possible.   My beignets came out perfectly browned and ready for all that delicious powdered sugar.  I am pretty sure these will be a Sunday morning tradition in our house from here on out.  And I hate to fry.  So for me to say this, it tells you how little trouble these were.  I encourage you to bring a little bit of NOLA home, no matter where you live.  On a spring day, when the birds are chirping and the morning air is a little crisp, you will almost swear you can hear the jazz music and the church bells ringing at St. Louis Cathedral (you can tell I have usually been to Cafe Du Monde on Sunday mornings).  And best of all…you don’t have to wait for a table!  Get the powdered sugar ya’ll…it is time for some beignets!

Now, the other thing is that I love the Sweet and Savory Sisters.  These girls have roots in Avoyelles Parish, which makes them just a little more precious to my heart.  My good friend, Angie, turned me on to them.  Like with many of my good friendships, Angie and I both love to cook and she loves good recipes.  I knew we were destined to be close when she barely knew me and emailed me a recipe for the best roast for poboys I have ever had.  Makes a poboy so close to the ones in NOLA that you will swoon.  You will want to slap your mama even if she is the most precious lady you know.  So, she continued to forward me their recipes.  I finally started getting their Facebook feed…that was a game changer.  These girls are flipping hilarious, love to cook and have a good time, yeah Cher!!  My kind of chicks.  So, maybe check them out.

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the grease is gettin’ hot baby!

Beignets (from http://www.thesweetandsavorysisters.com)

Stuff You Need:

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

3 cups of all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

oil for frying

powdered sugar

What to do with the Stuff:

Mix water, milk, egg, and almond flavoring.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar; mix until smooth.  Drop by spoonfuls into 2 inches of grease heated to 375 degrees.  Turn once to ensure even cooking.  Cook about 2 minutes on each side, depending on size it may take longer.  Drain well on paper towels and sprinkle (ok..douse) with powdered sugar.  OOOOH WEEEE!!!  Talk about good!!!

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Mixing up that sweet beignet batter…

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Just scrumptious…bringing NOLA home 

Pappaw’s sweet potatoes

So Pappaw was Big Daddy’s grandfather.  His daddy’s daddy. He was a very big man in stature (very tall) but he had a meek, quiet demeanor about him that made him so lovable.  He had a way of laughing that was absolutely endearing and boyish.  He was a bossy fellow at times and yet always remained humble.  How that is even possible I don’t know.  That man was something else.  He was 94 when he passed away last Thanksgiving day and he is still missed so much.  He was a wonderful cook.  I spent a good bit of time with him and he taught me quite a bit.  I can still remember when his friend would bring him a big ole box of sweet potatoes.  Boy was he ever proud of those babies.  They were a certain kind and I cannot remember the name…I just know he would get very excited.  After he passed away, Big Daddy went up to the Lodge with his brother and brought back his sweet potato pot. That thing is probably one of my most treasured possessions.  But what I treasure more are the memories of the time when Pappaw would stand in front of the stove and cook his delicious sweet potatoes.  These sweet potatoes are in many ways just like Pappaw was…sweet, simple but yet just enough.  These sweet potatoes are not bothered that they are simple…they rather it that way.  They are equally at home on your holiday plate next to turkey and dressing as they are next to pork chops.  My precious mother in law took over making these when Pappaw finally relinquished his role well past 90 and she does a great job.  Still, Pappaw is missed.  We make them very much like Pappaw, but still…he is missed.  My kids absolutely love this side dish and request for nearly every holiday meal.  They are as much of a staple at our house as Momou’s mac and cheese.  I have always been a candied yams with marshmallows kind of gal because that is what I was raised on.  I still love them and I cannot promise you I won’t be making a small dish of these as well on Thanksgiving day, but Pappaw’s sweet potatoes are really something special.  I hope you will try them and smile when you think of Pappaw.  Such a great man who made such great sweet potatoes.  Pappaw…another one of the many blessings in my life.

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Pappaw listens intently as his great grand tells him all about it…

Pappaw’s Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

2 Tablespoons vanilla

2 sticks of butter (yes 2 sticks)

2 1/2 cups of sugar (Pappaw would say make sure the package says Pure Cane Sugar…I always do)

1 heaping Tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

In a big ole skillet or pot, melt your butter over medium heat. Add your peeled and sliced potatoes to the melted butter.  Stir in the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Make sure the potatoes are coated with the butter, sugar mixture.  Over low fire, with the lid on, cook the potatoes until they are tender.  Stir the potatoes almost constantly to ensure they don’t stick.  When you can stick a slice with a fork and it breaks off, they are good and done, about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Serve hot.  Repeat every time you want a good heaping helping of down home cooking.  Oh and Pappaw always liked to serve these with purple hulls and  cornbread.

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Pappaw’s trusty sweet potato skillet…lots of delicious food cooked in there. I am so honored to have it.

PW’s meatloaf and BB’s honey carrots

I love meatloaf.  I love meatloaf sandwiches.  I am speaking out today on behalf of meatloaf lovers everywhere.  This post is for you. My mama always made cheese stuffed meatloaf and I always loved it but when I moved out, I could never quite make it as well so I found other recipes and tried them out.  They just didn’t hit the spot.  Then I had kids and meatloaf making kind of went by the way side for a few years.  Then they got a little older and my oldest and my pickiest eater loved meatballs, burgers, and hamburger steak so I had a hunch he might like meatloaf.  I found a Paula Deen recipe and he loved it.  Definite winner.  Sadly, when we moved last year, I lost the magazine that the recipe was in and I have tried to find it again but I can’t.  I have googled it, searched pinterest for it.  Nothing.  To be honest, he loved that recipe, but I could go either way on it so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to branch out and find some new meatloaf recipes.  Boy did I find a good one.  Oddly enough, I have Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks and I know I have seen this recipe but I never made it until Big Daddy told me he had a hankering for meatloaf the other day.  So I set out and sure enough…this recipe came up when I googled best meatloaf recipes.  Yep, apparently google knows good meatloaf.  Big Daddy almost made himself sick on this meatloaf.  I am not lying.  It went so well with some mac and cheese and BB’s honey carrots (as my kids call them and BB is what they call her).  Now, my oldest did not try it.  He decided to pass, which is not unusual for him with a new dish.  The majority of the fam liked it so I considered it a win.  I think he found the bacon on top off putting.  None the less, whether or not you or your family care for meatloaf, if you are just wanting to experiment and are wanting an awesome meatloaf in your repertoire, this is a great place to start.  Oh and the leftovers make a delicious sandwich for lunch the next day.  Can’t beat that.

I made a few additions to this recipe and I have a few suggestions for what I will do next time, but this recipe can be found on The Pioneer Woman’s website/blog and in her cookbook.

Pioneer Woman’s favorite meatloaf 

2 lbs. ground chuck

1 cup whole milk

6 slices of white sandwich bread

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

3/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley (I omitted this as my kids tend to find any “green stuff” in their meat off putting)

*I add some Mexi-cajun seasoning to mine.  My friend Shelley makes it and it is so good.  I put about 1/2 tsp. in my meat

4 whole eggs, beaten

10 slices thin (not thick cut or center cut) bacon

1 1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

a few shakes of Tabasco or LA hot sauce or to taste

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, pour milk over the bread slices.  Allow the milk to soak in for a few minutes.  Prepare your 9 x 13 baking dish by covering the bottom and sides with aluminum foil. Trust me on this. If you have a rack that fits in your baking dish or pan, use it.  It will allow the fat to drip down.  Again…trust me.

In a separate bowl, add your ground chuck, Parm, seasonings and milk soaked bread.  Pour in the beaten eggs.  With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.

Lay bacon slices over the top.  Tuck the ends of the slices under the meatloaf.

Make the sauce:  add ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard,and hot sauce in a mixing bowl.  Whisk this together.  Pour 1/3 of this mixture over the top of the bacon.  Spread with a spoon.

Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes and then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Slice and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

BB’s Honey carrots (an all star side if there ever was one.  Tasty and sweet, but still carrots and your kids are eating carrots so that makes them healthy…ish…healthier than say french fries…so score one for you!!  And they have honey for the main ingredient and how can that be bad?)

Stuff you need~

1 pound bag of carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2-1/3 cup of honey

2-3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon butter, optional (this just makes them a little richer but not necessary at all)

Add carrots to a medium sauce pan.  Cover with water plus a little more.  Add honey and sugar and butter if you are using it.  Bring to a boil uncovered.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and let them cook until fork tender and some of the water has evaporated out.  Perfect.  These goes great with baked chicken and rice and gravy as well.  Just saying.  Enjoy.

 

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Is your mouth watering?  Mine is and i just ate the rest last night.  You won’t be disappointed.