Appetizers/Snacks, Pork

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

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These are a tradition at our house every year at Christmas.  I always had them growing up, and when my kids came along, they adopted the love of these little addictions.  Salty, crunchy, savory and warm they’re the perfect appetizer to throw on any holiday plate.

You can use regular bacon but I prefer the leaner, much less greasy texture of the turkey bacon. This recipe will make two separate batches (the directions will reflect this).


  • 8 cans water chestnuts, drained (whole if you can find them)
  • 3 package turkey bacon, cut into thirds
  • toothpicks
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cooking sherry
  • 2 cups Stubbs BBQ saucce


Preheat Oven 350 degrees

  1. If you have the whole chestnuts, cut each in half then wrap a slice of bacon (a third of a piece) around the chestnut, secure with a toothpick and place in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish or cookie sheet. If you can only find sliced, we usually add three pieces to each piece of bacon
  2. Mix the Worcestershire Sauce and sherry then pour over the wrapped chestnuts.
  3. For the second batch, continue as above and place in a separate dish of the same size then pour the BBQ sauce over each.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the bacon has begun to brown and get a little crispy.
Italian, Pork, Vegetables

Sausage and Zucchini Lasagna

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I didn’t change a thing about this recipe that I found on All Recipes and I’m in love with everything about it!  Lasagna is one of my favorite foods but I do not like the idea of taking all that time to prepare the dish.  For some reason, this recipe seemed extremely simplistic an I was skeptical that it would turn out alright.  I added yellow squash that we’d harvested, with our own hands, from a local farm which may or may not have added to this seriously, ridiculously tasty dish!  No Stouffers required!


  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles, or more if needed
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Pour about 1/4 cup of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the sausage and zucchini until the meat is no longer pink and the zucchini pieces are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain excess fat from the skillet, and set the sausage mixture aside. While the sausage and zucchinis are cooking, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg white, mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in a bowl until well combined.
  3. Place 3 lasagna noodles into the bottom of the baking dish on top of the spaghetti sauce, overlapping noodles slightly if necessary. Spread half the sausage-zucchini mixture on top of the noodles. Spread half the cheese mixture over the meat and zucchini, and pour 1 cup of spaghetti sauce evenly over the cheese mixture. Spread the sauce over the cheese mixture with a spoon or spatula. Repeat layers, starting with 3 more noodles, the rest of the sausage mixture, the rest of the cheese mixture, and 1 more cup of spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the lasagna is bubbling and the Parmesan cheese has browned, about 45 minutes.
Breakfast, Eggs/Cheese, Pork, Sausage

Sausage Frittata


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I made this back in March and it was so good I knew I had to make it again for the picture I didn’t take the first time!  Fresh, easy and full of protein, for me this is a perfect go-to dinner choice.  I made steamed artichokes to go with it and the kids didn’t make a peep other than the sound of their chewing!


  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 tablespoon basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1/2 white onion, diced fine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350


1.  Whisk eggs and water in a bowl and set aside.

2.  Cook sausage through with basil, garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. Drain fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan to cook the vegetables in.  Remove sausage from the pan and set aside.

3.  Add the sliced zucchini and onions to the oil. Sauté for about 5-10 minutes until a little brown; salt and pepper.

4.  Add the sausage & eggs into the pan. Cook over low heat until the edges begin to get firm.

5.  Place entire pan into oven and cook at 350 for about 30 minutes.

After it is cooked, remove from oven and let sit for a couple minutes before cutting and serving!

Mexican, Pork

Easy Crockpot Pork Carnitas


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I decided to try carnitas after Kate, a mom in the Meet-up group I joined when I moved to the Dallas area, convinced me I should try them.  I’d never had them before and they sounded so good I was anxious to try my hand at them.  Unfortunately, my first attempt was a sorrowful FAIL.  Just “meh”, the recipe was deleted from my Menu folder and I was hesitant to try them again.

Then I saw this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.  Easy?  Check.  Very few ingredients?  Check.  Something I can put throw together then go about my day until dinner-time?  Check!  These were juicy, tender, full of flavor and will definitely be made again soon!


  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
  • 16 oz. jar salsa verde
  • 10 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • lime


1.  Place all of the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until pork easily forks apart.  Short on time?  Four hours on high will get the job done too!

2.  Shred pork and squeeze lime juice over the meat.

3.  Place pork (don’t forget the saucy goodness from the crock pot!!) on flour tortillas and top with your favorites: cheese, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream and a squeeze of lime.

Appetizers/Snacks, Easter, Pork, Sandwiches/Wraps

Ham & Cheese Sliders

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Do you have any idea why we eat ham for Easter?  Neither did I.  I thought I did it because my mom did, and my grandma, and her mother before her and so in the interest of tradition, I will generally buy a ham for Easter dinner.  This year, I wondered where the tradition itself came from.

It seems it may have come from the Northern European Pagans who would slaughter and preserve their agricultural animals in the fall to feed themselves through the winter.  Then to celebrate the vernal equinox, the emerging plants, and wildlife and to shed a few pounds for bikini season gain the sought-after state of “altered consciousness” in time for the spring festivals, they would fast.  Then in celebration of the end of their fasting they would eat the last of their cured meats from the winter which would, of course, include pork.*

My plan for these little sandwiches, found at Our Recipe Club, was to use up whatever ham was left over from our Easter dinner.  I decided, however, not to spend a fortune on a huge ham and opted instead for black forest ham from the deli.  Easy!  These turned out as good as the picture makes them out to be with tons of flavor and gooey cheese and salty ham.


I halved the recipe from what’s shown below because I don’t need 24 to feed the five of us – but these would be SO perfect to take with you next time you’re called to bring something with you, they can be assembled a day ahead & kept in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.


  • 24 of your favorite rolls (I used a Sweet Multi-Grain)
  • 24 pieces of black forest ham
  • 24 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy Seed Sauce

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon minced green onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Preheat oven to 350*

  1. Spread Miracle Whip onto both sides of the center of each roll.  Place a slice of ham & a slice of Swiss inside on each roll.  Close rolls & place into a baking dish, smooshing close together.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients then pour (or brush) evenly over all of the sandwiches.  Let sit 10 minutes, or until butter sets slightly.
  3. Cover with foil & bake 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Uncover & cook for 2 additional minutes.  Serve warm.

*Source: Goddess Gift

Breakfast, Eggs/Cheese, Pork

Sausage Apple (Overnight) Breakfast Casserole

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I found this a week or so over at Real Mom Kitchen and knew I wanted to try it this (Christmas) morning!  I’ve never really been a big fan of morning casseroles because they have a strange texture and they’re just…well?  Icky.  So after I completely insulted my mom (I love you mom!!) and told her I never really liked the Christmas casserole she makes I made this and cooked it up this morning.  It baked while we opened presents and beeped just as we were opening the last of the gifts.  It smelled like Christmas morning should smell with the cinnamon apples and the verdict?  YUM!  The flavors melded together well and when I warmed up a plate of it for lunch a few hours later it was even better.  I couldn’t have asked for an easier morning/afternoon meal!


  • 1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Maple Flavor Pork Sausage Roll
  • 6 cups bread cubed into ¾-inch pieces
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • maple syrup, if desired


  1. Brown sausage in a skillet until cooked; drain.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla until well blended.
  3. In another bowl, mix apples, sugar and cinnamon together until well coated.
  4. In a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish,  place half of the bread cubes followed by half the sausage, half the apples, and and 1 cup of the cheese.  Repeat layers with remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour egg mixture over the layers making sure to evenly coat it all with the egg mixture.
  6. Place in fridge and refrigerate overnight.
  7. In the morning, remove the casserole from the fridge and preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cut and serve topped with a drizzle of maple syrup if desired.  Mimosas and coffee optional!!

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork


DSC_6393 copyI love cooking pork tenderloin and generally only cook it in the crockpot or barbeque.  I was pretty skeptical about how moist this would cook up but needed some new ideas so when I found this on My Kitchen Cafe, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I followed the simple directions exactly and it was very, very, easy to cook up in my cast iron skillet, going straight from stove-top to oven.  When it was ready to cut I was shocked at how it fell apart!  Super tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned!  Instant favorite!

Rub Ingredients:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/2 lb. total), each tenderloin cut into two chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil

Glaze ingredients:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 6-8 cloves)
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat the pork with the spice rub. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet that is ovenproof (I used my cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in the skillet. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, brown the pork in a skillet and transfer it to a foil-lined baking pan (like a 9X13-inch). I’ve done both and either method works great.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in the middle of the oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 160, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, then transfer pork to the center center of a piece of tin foil and bring both ends to the center and fold them tightly together, leaving air space between the folded foil and the meat (like a tent).  Let it sit for about 10 minutes to reabsorb the sauce, making it extra tender.

Slice on the diagonal and serve, spooning the sauce from the skillet on top of the pork.  I served this with sweet potatoes and a handful of raw sugar snap peas.

Pork, Sandwiches/Wraps

Pork Tenderloin Bagel


DSC_1080 copyRemember the yummy Sweet & Smoky Pork Tenderloin that I gave you back in September?  Well, I do because I’ve made it bunches of times since then and enjoyed every scrumptious bite!  This last time, knowing that we’d be headed out the door for a summer infused “concert on the square”, I wanted something fast, easy and that required zero cooking.  Since I had a small chunk of the tenderloin left I decided to scour my refrigerator for ingredients to put atop the Everything bagels that were begging to be eaten!


the leftover meat of your choice

Everything bagels




Miracle Whip

Dijon mustard


Really?  Do you need directions?  Really? Ok…put everything on the bagel and enjoy! 🙂

Grilling, Pork, Salads

Teriyaki Pork Salad

DSC_0448 copyI had intentions of cooking Teriyaki Pork for dinner this week but when I pulled up the recipe I decided to (ask The Man) grill the pork and make it all into a salad instead.  It was a gorgeous blend of colors, flavors and SO good I made it a second night with the leftover pork steaks!


  • 6 thick cut pork chops


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • juice of one navel orange


  • 10 oz bag Spring Salad mix
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • juice of one navel orange
  • sugar snap peas
  • tomatoes (I used one Roma per person)
  • 2 11 oz. cans Mandarin oranges
  • Italian blend cheeses, grated (or Mozzarella/Parmesan etc)

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag with pork. Marinate for at least an hour (longer for best results; up to 24 hours) and grill.

Layer salad and cucumbers on each plate then liberally drizzle juice from one of the oranges over salad and cucumbers.  Continue to layer the peas and tomatoes.  Add pork, mandarin oranges and sprinkle with cheeses.  I served this up with garlic toast and we all headed outdoors to enjoy dinner in the shade of our backyard!

Appetizers/Snacks, Pork, Vegetables

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms
My mom gave me this recipe so I can’t take credit, but these are always a hit with the mushroom lovers!

  • 4 8 oz. packs whole mushrooms
  • 1 lb. Jimmy Dean Sausage
  • 1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped


  1. Rinse mushrooms and de-stem.  Reserve 12 stems, chop and set aside
  2. With a small spoon, or the dull side of a butter knife, carefully hollow out the gills of each mushroom.  Place mushroom caps in a heavy microwave safe dish and cook in microwave for about 2 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  3. Brown sausage & chopped stems then drain.  Mix with cream cheese and onions.  Place all the mushrooms on a large plate, then stuff with sausage mixture.
  4. Heat in the microwave just until hot, 2-3 minutes.  Or, you can store in the fridge until ready to use – heating through to serve.