Pretzel Cheese Sauce

When I made pretzels last week, I served them with Rhubarb Mustard and Pretzel Cheese Sauce.  I wasn’t very excited about the recipe that was part of the epicurious pretzel recipe and went looking for something that was more exciting.  I came across this recipe from the Smells Like Home web site and decided to go with this.  It turned out great and complemented the pretzel bites well.  I would recommend, however, that you use fresh grated cheese, as opposed to buying the pre-packaged pretzel dip.  Even better, I used the leftover cheese sauce to make macaroni and cheese with some leftover pasta I had!

Pretzel Cheese Sauce

Continue reading

Advertisements

Pretzel Bites

When going out with friends after work, one of our go-to sides to order is a soft pretzel.  I never used to like pretzels, but they have grown on me quite a bit.  So last week, when I was having some friends over after work, I thought that it would be fun to try making soft pretzels.

Of the batch I made, about half of them turned out.  I think my inexperience with bread making as a whole is part of why only about half of them turned out in a way I was willing to serve them, but this recipe from epicurious was a great starting point.  I used a recipe for cheese sauce from another site, which I’ll post in a day or two.

Pretzel Bites

Continue reading

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

With the heat we’ve had lately, I wanted to make something that didn’t involve using the oven for when my friends and their kids swung through last week.  We had fun doing experiments (baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, and a little science), playing in the hammock, and harvesting the sweet peas which were ready to come off the vine at that point.  To maximize playing time together, a crockpot/slow cooker seemed like the way to go to reduce last minute meal prep.  This time I found myself making a recipe from Real Life Paleo.  I adapted it for the slow cooker and ingredients I had on-hand.

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

Continue reading

Grilled Vegetables

One of the best ways to make vegetables in the summer is on the grill.  Last night some friends were in town and I wanted a relatively low-key meal.  So, in addition to some other recipes on the docket, I decided to go back to the never too-old for it grilled vegetables.  Plus, with moving into the season of garden items being here, it was time to start that process.  These are super easy to make and just require a little inventiveness on the part of the cook.

grilled vegetables

Continue reading

Pork Chops, Vegetables, and the Grill

Last week I mentioned I had been doing some cooking and would have recipes to post in the near future.  I thought I’d start by talking about one of these meals.  Since it has finally gotten nice and we have enjoyed the weather outside (although this week it’s gotten hot and humid), we’ve been able to spend quite a bit of time outside on the porch.  It’s been absolutely delightful.  Last week I invited my summer student staff member over for dinner.  It has been great to work with Dan this summer.  He has quickly become one of those students who helps us as student affairs professionals remember why we do the work we do.  His positive attitude is contagious as he comes to work and brings forward ideas.  He asks good questions, and since it has been some time since I have had a student employee who is with me on a daily basis, it is a flurry of seeing lightbulb moments.  I love it.  In my daily gratitude journal, Dan more often than not makes the list of people and things for which I am grateful.

vanilla maple pork chopsWhen Dan came over, I decided to fire up the grill.  We had two things I loved and one item which did not taste satisfactory to me.  I made:

  • Vanilla Maple Pork Chops (win)
  • Grilled Vegetables (win)
  • Grilled Sweet Potatoes (not a win)

I think the grilled sweet potatoes could have a future, but I maybe did not give them the right seasoning or oil or other things which could improve their flavor.

I used a family favorite for the grilled vegetables.  When I found my grill on craigslist in April, I knew one of the things I needed to acquire was a grilling basket.  I looked at a few different options, but eventually settled on the same grilling basket my parents have.  It’s always worked great and is nice and deep, to allow lots of grilled vegetables to be a part of the meal.  In this case, I used mushrooms, asparagus, and peppers, but I use a lot of different things to make sure I’m getting vegetables in my diet.  By tossing them with Italian dressing, I then put them in the basket and put them on the grill for about 45 minutes, or until they are cooked.  Delectable.  While they are best right then and there, I’ve also brought leftovers for lunch and reheated them in the microwave to my satisfaction.

grilled vegetablesFinally, I made Vanilla-Maple Pork Chops.  These turned out as good or better than my wildest dreams could have imagined and I will definitely make the recipe again in the future.  I used the recipe from TGI Paleo and made them almost spot on.  I did grill them instead of baking them in the oven.  I seasoned them and grilled them.  After they were cooked, I utilized the vanilla-maple glaze and brushed it on the pork chops to add a hint of flavor to caramelize them at the end of the grill.  Those around the table enjoyed, with most of us having more than one, which for me, is a great reflection of how people are enjoying the food.
Overall, being outdoors and enjoying good company helped me to feel like it was a good kickoff to the summer starting and deliciousness being had.  I’ll definitely make the pork chops and vegetables again, and I’ll keep searching for a way to improve the sweet potatoes!

Vanilla Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Serves: 6ish
Ingredients

6-8 boneless pork chops
1 tsp seasoned salt
4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla

 Instructions:
Sprinkle the chops with salt on both sides.  Heat the grill.  Cook pork chops on 8 minutes per side.  Whisk the vanilla, cinnamon, and syrup together.  Brush pork chops with mixture, turn pork chops and repeat.

Chocolate-Pecan Sheet Cake

Today I needed to make a cake for a funeral.  It’s not often that someone my age passes away, but she was clearly a beloved member of the community.  When the call came for salads and desserts from the church, I knew I needed to contribute something.  I looked through a few cookbooks for things with ingredients I had on hand and some ingredients I needed to purchase and came across a recipe for a Chocolate-Pecan Sheet Cake in The Good Neighbor Cookbook.  Since the cookbook is designed to have food for individuals to take to their neighbors, it seemed like the appropriate recipe to take as a comfort food item to the funeral.

chocolate-pecan sheet cake

Continue reading

Southern-Style Deviled Eggs

Last week I made Classic Deviled Eggs from Saveur’s The New Classics Cookbook, but what I didn’t share was that my intention had been to make Southern-Style Deviled Eggs on the same page.  It was after I realized I had picked up pickle relish but not used it that I remembered I was going to do this recipe.  So, over the weekend, I decided to mix up the southern-style deviled eggs.  Both were great.  I like the Dijon-mustard these eggs offered and the sweetness of the pickle relish.  I’d make either recipe in the future.

Southern-Style Deviled Eggs

Continue reading