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.
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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place onions on top of pork and cut into pieces. Serve with sauce drizzled on pork pieces.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add baby spinach and simmer 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat, and stir in basil garnish.
I’ve taken “Meatless Monday” to “Let’s eat meat free till the weekend.”
It’s summer time. Produce in the mid-west is at it’s very best…. so why not take advantage of it. Instead of making the typical tomato sauce for pasta, I decided to change it up a bit. I made a Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato sauce for my whole wheat spaghetti. SO GOOD!!
If you have a picky eater or kids in your home, an easy way to sneak in veggies is to puree them into a sauce or soup. Besides roasted red peppers & sun-dried tomatoes, I added carrots, onions, basil and garlic to the blender to make a full flavor pasta sauce. Once it’s pureed, it will be a little thick. You can thin it out with stock or some of the water your pasta cooked in.
To add some “meat” to this pasta meal, I sautéed sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Add it to the cooked pasta and throw in some spinach. The heat from the warm pasta and mushroom mixture will slighty wilt the spinach but it will still maintain some crunch.
Another great thing about this recipe, it’s on the table in 30 minutes. Very quick & easy with depths of flavor. It’s a tasty mid-week meal!
Roasted Red Pepper & sun-dried Tomato Sauce with Whole Wheat spaghetti, serves 4 to 6
- 1 lb (uncooked) Whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 medium onion, diced and divided
- 3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 5 -8 basil leaves
- splash of cream
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- basil for garnish
- Cook spaghetti according to directions. Reminder — You might want to save some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if you don’t have stock on hand.
- Saute half of the diced onions & garlic with olive oil. Add carrots and cook until onions are translucent. Add to blender along with roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes & basil. Puree until smooth. Add water or stock until you get the consistency you like. Finish sauce by adding a splash of cream.
- In a saute pan, pour in a splash of olive oil and add the rest of the onions and garlic. Toss in sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes have evaporated. Add this mixture to cooked spaghetti. Fold in spinach — it will wilt but not overly cook it.
- Pour pasta sauce into the noodle mixture. When you’re ready to serve, garnish with torn basil leaves.