Advertisements

Brown Sugar Crock Pot Pork

13 Dec

Brown Sugar Crock Pot Pork The Tasty Fork

I only post recipes I love. And in this case I really really LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this pork recipe. There isn’t much to it. Excluding the pork, all of the ingredients I had on hand and you should too.

I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love using my crock pot. It makes my life so much easier. I like to put the meal together the night before so it hangs out in the fridge over night. In the morning after I walk the dog and make my coffee, it’s time to grab the crock pot and turn it on. I’m out of the house for the day but dinner will be ready when I get home.

crock pot brown sugar pork via The Tasty Fork

The first thing I do when I come home from work is take a deep breath — the smell coming from the crock pot fills the whole house. When I walked in on Tuesday, I was happily overwhelmed by the smell of brown sugar pork. I ran to the kitchen and took a little bite. I seriously almost melted. The pork was so tender! And the sauce, oh my… it’s a combination of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. All pantry items and it made the most divine tasting sauce. It’s sweet with a touch of acidity. Perfection!

To round out the meal, I whipped up some sweet potato mash. It’s super easy — peel and dice a couple sweet potatoes, boil for 15 minutes and drain, add some butter and brown sugar and skim milk, mash until you get the right consistency. This was an easy week night meal, but I’d make this any day of the week! It’s a great recipe to use if you have guests coming over for the holidays. It makes a lot and leftovers taste better the next day.

I really wanted to name this recipe “OMG Pork.” It’s all I could say when I was eating it. I hope you’ll love love love it as much as me.

Brown Sugar Crock Pot Pork

Brown Sugar Crock Pot Pork

  • 4 lb pork loin (or your favorite cut of pork for a crock pot)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Equal part cornstarch and cold water (slurry)

Directions

  1. Remove excess fat from pork. Using a fork, stab/make holes through out the pork. Season with salt & pepper. Spray crock pot with cooking spray and add onions. Place pork on top.
  2. In a bowl, combine garlic, brown sugar, mustard and vinegar. It will be a paste like consistency. Spread all over pork. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. When the pork is done cooking, take out of the slow cooker and let it rest for 10 minutes. (cover pork with foil) Strain the liquid in the slow cooker into a sauce pan. Save onions. On a medium heat, cook and stir in slurry. The slurry will thicken up the sauce. You may need to repeat this step a few times to get the consistency you want.
  4. Place onions on top of pork and cut into pieces. Serve with sauce drizzled on pork pieces.
Advertisements

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

12 Dec

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

Christmas is less than two weeks away and I’m already entering sugar coma status. Holiday lattes start off my morning. Everyday seems like a cookie swap party at work…and it’s rude to turn away treats people have baked, right?? And for the past few nights, I’ve been having these as dessert — they’re sooo addicting. I know I’ll have to make more once they’re gone.

Since I’m eating so much sugar, I’m really trying to balance out my diet with some healthy meals like this soup. It’s filled with vegetables and has a rich tomato base. If you like tomato soup, you’ll want to try this! By blending a can of diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, each bite you take is full of flavor. Not even a pinch of salt went into the soup!

If you’re a sugar addict like me, make this soup so you can enjoy all the holiday treats the season has to offer.

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can small white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Get the ones that aren’t packed in oil. They come packaged in a resealable bag, can be found in the produce section.
  • 8 basil leaves, torn plus more for garnish
  • 8 oz bag baby spinach

Directions 

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and thyme.  Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  2. Add broth, 1 can tomatoes, and beans. In a blender, add remaining can of tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, torn basil leaves and 1/2 soup liquid. Purée until smooth. Add more soup liquid to get the consistency you want.  Stir mixture into soup, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add baby spinach and simmer 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat, and stir in basil garnish.

Holiday Treat – White Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites with Roasted Almonds

10 Dec

White Chocolate Caramel Holiday Treats via The Tasty Fork

White Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites with Roasted Almonds. I know — a total mouthful… a mouthful of deliciousness!

I was inspired by my bloggy friend Rachel from {I Love} My Disorganized Life. She makes amazing turtles. I pinned the recipe the day she posted it and I’ve been dying to find the time to make my variation of her recipe.

My house has 2 pantry items always in stock. Pretzels & some kind of almond variety. My husband and I have been on a roasted almond kick lately. I love the smoky & salty taste! After reviewing Rachel’s turtle recipe, I made a few tweaks and added my favorite pantry snacks.

The Tasty Fork Holiday Treat

For someone who doesn’t make treats a lot, this recipe was a breeze for me. My only frustration was getting my fingers covered in caramel & almond pieces but I can’t complain too much because I had the fun of eating what was stuck to me. 🙂 If you need to bring a small dessert to an upcoming event, you can make these white chocolate caramel pretzel bites in 30 minutes. I was kind of shocked by how easy this recipe was to make.

The best part about these little sweet treats?? They’re so gooood! Sweet, salty and covered in chocolate. The pretzels give a nice crunch, too! I used white chocolate so the red & green sprinkles would stand out but milk or dark chocolate would be just fine to use.

Thank you, Rachel, for giving me some inspiration to explore my sweet side! I’m happy to say I’ve found an easy sweet treat to enjoy all year round.

White Chocolate Holiday Caramel Bites from The Tasty fork

White Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites with Roasted Almonds

  • 11 oz bag Kraft caramel bits
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 10 oz can roasted almonds, pieces
  • 12 oz package white chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp shortening
  • 40 pretzel rounds
  • Cookie decorations

Directions

  1. Unwrap caramels and put in a microwave safe bowl with the cream. Heat in 30 second intervals and stir. This step took me about 3 minutes total.
  2. Put almonds in a ziplock bag and use a mallet to break into pieces. Once caramel is done, add almonds and fold into the caramel.
  3. In a double broiler, heat white chocolate & shortening. Stir until smooth.
  4. On parchment paper, line up pretzel rounds. Add a spoonful of the caramel nut mixture to each pretzel. Let it cool.
  5. Top with white chocolate and cookie decorations. Put in freezer for 10 minutes. Store in an air tight container.

Inspired by{ I love} My Disorganized Life

Follow Friday – Half Baked Harvest

7 Dec

Happy Friday! I’m totally looking forward to my weekend. Do you know what I have planned?? NOTHING! It’s going to be a weekend to relax because after this weekend, the holiday chaos will start. My work life gets busier. I’ll start my holiday shopping. Parties start popping up on the calendar. All great things but a weekend of relaxing is just what I need.

I’m super excited to share my #FollowFriday blogger with you. Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest is a very talented young lady! She loves cooking for her family and sharing their reviews on each dish. Teighan has to be pretty creative to keep everyone happy! Here are 5 of my favorite recipes.

1. Candy Cane Cinnamon Rolls

IMG_9731

How cute is this?? I don’t think there could be a more perfect breakfast for the holiday season.

2. Cranberry, Brie Biscuit Appetizer 

IMG_9583This sounds like a great little appetizer. What a great combination of flavors & ingredients!

3. Pecan Pie Brownies

IMG_8133Pecan Pie & Brownies??!! YUM! I’d put in extra minutes on the treadmill (and not even complain!) so I could eat a ton of these brownies.

4. Gorgonzola Butternut Squash Ravioli

IMG_9189There really is nothing like homemade ravioli and the filling sounds amazing!

5. Baked Chipotle Chicken Taquitos

IMG_7663I pinned this recipe a few weeks ago. I’m thrilled that Tieghan came up with this recipe so I no longer have to buy the frozen taquitos from the store!

Thank you, Tieghan, for all of the great recipes! Be sure to check out Half Baked Harvest. She has some creative holiday treat posts you should make with your family. Here are some ways to keep up with Half Baked Harvest.

Have you missed my past #FollowFriday posts? No fear, I have a pin board with all of the past blogger’s recipes for easy reference. How can you be my Featured #FollowFriday Blogger next week? It’s easy! All I have to know is know about you! Make comments on my blog, get active in Link Parties or take drool worthy pictures. (I’m easily distracted by yummy looking food!) If you are featured, all I ask is for you to tell you fans & followers you were featured on The Tasty Fork.

Have a great weekend! See you on Monday!

Copy Cat Recipe – Taco Bell’s Meximelt (healthy option!)

6 Dec

Healthy Meximelt - The Tasty Fork

I have a secret…About once a month, usually on a Sunday night, I get a craving for Taco Bell. Yes, I know that stuff is just terrible for you but why does terrible taste so darn good?!! And why is terrible so cheap??!

I always order the same items. One of those items being a Meximelt. It has ground beef, pico de gallo and cheese all wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla. The cheese is melted and the pico de gallo has a lot of cilantro. There really isn’t much to it… which got me to thinking, “Why can’t I make meximelts at home?”

Healthy TB Meximelt --The Tasty Fork

You totally can. I made a few changes to make my at home Meximelt a healthy option. It was just as delicious! I’m not going to say I’ll never order a Meximelt again from Taco Bell, but knowing I can get my fix at home is pretty satisfying.

Do you have a favorite copy cat recipe? I’d love to know all about it! Head over to my facebook page and post your copy cat recipes. I’ll highlight the ones I want to try!

Taco Bell Inspired Meximelt

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced (no seeds)
  • 1 jalepeno, diced (remove white ribs and seeds)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 flour tortillas, taco size
  • Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese Blend, shredded
  • Hot sauce, optional

Directions:

  1. In a warm skillet, add oil and ground turkey. Cook until browned, 8-10  minutes. Drain excess liquid. Add taco seasoning to the meat mixture. (I followed the directions on the packet by adding 2/3 cup of water along with the taco seasoning.) Cook with meat for 5 minutes.
  2. Make pico de gallo – combine tomatoes, jalepeno, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. When the taco meat is cooked, take 1/4 cup of meat and add it to the middle of a flour tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cook in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the cheese has melted. Top with pico de gallo.  Add hot sauce, if needed.

BBQ Meatball Sliders

5 Dec

BBQ Meatball Slider The Tasty Fork

I may have a slight obsession with meatballs…but can you blame me? I have yet to meet a meatball I didn’t like.

Meatballs are easy to make. You can mix & match ingredients and know it’s always gonna taste good. My favorite part about making home-made meatballs — they bake fast and clean up is easy as long as you remember to line your baking sheet with tin foil. (please don’t forget this step!)

BBQ Meatball Sliders @ The Tasty Fork

I made BBQ Meatball Sliders for dinner the other night, but sliders are the perfect party sized snack! All of the prep work can be done before guests arrive and the meatballs go under the broiler for just 12 minutes.. so they’re super quick to pass around when guests are getting hungry. Not to mention, I’m sure you’ll get a lot of enthusiastic “oohs and aahs” when offering this slider to party goers. Let’s give two scenarios – The Everyday Slider vs. BBQ Meatball Slider.

Scenario #1

You – “Hi Uncle Bob. Would you like to try this slider?”

Uncle Bob – “Oh sure. Thanks.”

Scenario #2

You – “Hi Uncle Bob. Would you like to try a BBQ Meatball Slider.”

Uncle Bob – “BBQ Meatball Slider??!! I love meatballs! Ooohh my!”

Obviously, scenario #2 will generate the praise every party host wants and you can be happy you’ve made an amazing party snack people will talk about for years. Ok, “for year”s might be slightly over exaggerated but I’m sure you’ll get requests to make BBQ Meatball Sliders again.

Or you can be like me and eat BBQ Meatball Sliders on a random Monday just because they taste good. 🙂

BBQ Slider The Tasty Fork

BBQ Meatball Sliders, makes 12 meatballs

For the meatballs:

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & Pepper

Coleslaw Recipe:

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage mix
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp celery seed
  • Salt & Pepper

Additional Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • You favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 12 dinner rolls or slider buns (I used Hawaiian Bread Dinner Rolls. Perfect size for a slider!)

Directions:

For the Meatballs: 

  1. Combine the bread, onion, parsley, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the milk and Worcestershire, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the beef, eggs, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and gently combine. Form into 12 meatballs (about 1.5  tablespoons each)
  3. To cook immediately: Place the meatballs on foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Broil for 10-12 minutes, or until no longer pink.

For the Coleslaw:

  1. Toss the cabbage and scallions with the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and celery seed; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.

When you’re ready to assemble the slider, place meatball on the slider bun and top with BBQ sauce & coleslaw.

Inspired by Real Simple

Creamy Mushroom Chowder with Bacon

3 Dec

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Something really exciting happen to me. Pillsbury’s social media team shared my Biscuits, Sausage & Gravy Casserole on their Facebook & Twitter pages. The amount of activity I got on my blog and Facebook has been so amazing! I’m so thankful for all of my new visitors. I can not stop smiling. 🙂 It’s really nice to be recognized and know people love my recipes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Creamy Mushroom Chowder with Bacon @ The Tasty Fork

For all of my soup lovers, I got a great chowder for you to try. And guess what? You won’t find a touch of cream in this recipe. (just reduced fat sour cream.) The chowder get’s it thick consistency by adding diced potatoes and using an immersion blender. I’d say it’s healthy but the night I made this I was craving bacon….which is like every night. If you’re vegetarian or looking to cut calories, you can omit the bacon.

Like most of my week night meals, this soup will be ready for you to eat in less than 40 minutes. I enjoyed this chowder with some crusty bread. It’s great for dipping and rounding out the meal.

Creamy Mushroom Chowder with Bacon The Tasty Fork

This chowder has everything I love — Veggies & bacon. Creamy texture. Lots of flavor. Quick ready meal.

I hope you give it a try!

Creamy Mushroom Chowder with Bacon

  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 oz container sliced mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups stock (I used beef)
  • 2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Crusty bread

Directions

  1. In a large cast iron dutch oven or stock pot, cook bacon pieces. When the bacon has browned, remove pieces and set on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add onions to the bacon fat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue to stir & cook for 5 minutes. Pour mushrooms and cook until slighty soft.
  3. Add potatoes and stock. Add more stock if the potatoes aren’t covered with liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, puree half of the chowder. (You can also use a blender if you don’t have an immersion blender.) Add sour cream. Stir to incorporate into soup. Add bacon to the chowder. (I saved a couple pieces to garnish.) Taste chowder, add salt & pepper if needed. When you’re ready to serve, garnish with parsley and warm bread.

Creamy Mushroom Chowder with Bacon via The Tasty Fork