Sweet Pork Mac N’ Cheese

A few weeks ago Jesse and I went to Long Beach, Wa. If you haven’t read my blog post on it yet, you should because that place is awesome! Any who, we went to this restaurant there called Pickled Fish. It was a fabulous place with cute old rustic decorations, live music and fantastic food. I got a pizza and Jesse got this pork mac n’ cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza, but Jesse’s dinner was AMAZING! AMAZING is really an understatement…. I could have eaten his whole bowl plus 6 more bowls of that heavenly dinner.  I have never had pork in mac n cheese before. It wasn’t just regular old pulled pork, but it kind of tasted like sweet bacon. I have been craving that meal ever since that night, so the dinner I made the other night was inspired by Jesse’s dinner from Pickled Fish. I call it Sweet Pork Mac N’ Cheese. You may be having some doubts right about now, saying to yourself, Sarah, pork mixed with mac n cheese just sounds a little too far-fetched for me….. let alone sweet pork mixed with the sweetness from the cheese may not taste so good….. BUT I’m going to tell you as many times as you need to be convinced that this dish is AMAZING!!! You have to try it, you really must. I have some leftover pork in my fridge right now and I’m thinking about making this mac n’ cheese again today and I just had it two nights ago! 🙂 I used about 3-4 lbs of pork for this dish and I definitely didn’t use all of it for the mac n cheese. Since I have some leftover, like I said, I am going to make this meal again, but I’m also going to eat some of it like pulled pork sandwiches. Try it out, and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

For the Sweet Pork

  • 3-4 lbs of pork butt/shoulder
  • 1 packet of Ol El Paso sauce. This was tricky for me to find, but it’s in the Mexican food isle, near the taco seasoning. It is a yellow packet that has some words on it like ancho chili pepper with garlic sauce. Make sure you get the one that says garlic sauce on it.
  • 1 C Root Beer
  • 2 C Golden Brown Sugar

For the Mac N’ Cheese

  • ½ lb of noodles. Any noodle you like.
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 2 TBS. Flour
  • ½ tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 4 Dashes of hot sauce (I actually used buffalo sauce because that is all I had, either one works)
  • 2 C Whole milk
  • 1 C Shredded Cheese, any you like. I used a mixture of cheddar and Colby jack.
  • 2 TBS melted butter
  • ½ C Italian style bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Place your pork shoulder/butt into a crock pot. Pour the El paso packet, the root beer and brown sugar on the pork and then cover and cook the pork on low for 8 hours. Once it is finished shred the pork and place back in the crock pot.
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  4. When your pork is almost finished, start your mac n cheese.
  5. Cook the half a pound of noodles according to the packaged directions.
  6. While the noodles are cooking, place 2 Tbs. of butter in a medium sized sauce pan on medium heat. Once the butter is melted pour in your flour and stir stir stir those two together.
  7. Then, slowly pour in your milk. Add only a little at a time, stiring constantly until all the clumps of flour are gone.
  8. Once all the milk is in the sauce pan, mix your mustard, hot sauce, salt, and pepper  into it.
  9. Let it thicken up. Once it is thick, take it off the burner and add in your 1 C of shredded Cheese.
  10. Now lets assemble.  Take your drained pasta noodles and place them in a 9×13 casserole dish. Place some shredded sweet pork and it’s juices on top of the noodles. Then pour your milk mixture on top of that and sprinkle more cheese on top of your sauce. Mix together your last 2 Tbs of melted butter and bread crumbs and then sprinkle those on top of your shredded cheese.
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  14. Pop in the 350 degree oven for about 20-30 mins until the cheese is nice and melty.

Enjoy!

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Breakfast Sausage Casserole

This last weekend, Jesse and I were finally able to sit down and enjoy a delicious breakfast together. Jesse has been so busy on the weekends lately that I usually found myself eating breakfast with my pups. Not to complain, they are great company, but I would much rather be having breakfast with my husband haha. So anyway, this last Saturday Jesse and I had no plans! It was beautiful. We slept in and I made this yummy breakfast for him. We seriously ate almost the whole thing in one sitting because it is so very very delicious. I am, and have always been, a fan of sweet things for breakfast. But this, I have got to say, is probably one of my favorite breakfasts I have ever had. I call it Breakfast Sausage Casserole. It has eggs and cheese and sausage and crescents and yummy spices and just everything goes together so well!! I was originally going to make this for Christmas morning breakfast, but some friends of ours opened their house up to us Christmas morning for breakfast so we were all over that invitation! 🙂 I plan on making this breakfast for my grandma when we go back to visit AZ in a week. She loves breakfast sausage so I know she will just love this breakfast casserole. And so will you, so try it out and let me know what you think!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube of refrigerated crescent rolls
  • ~ 1-2 C uncooked breakfast Italian sausage (feel free to add as much sausage as your family likes)
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ C milk
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salt/pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a square casserole dish with some non-stick cooking spray. (Sorry not sure the dimensions of a square casserole dish. All I know is its smaller then a 9×13.)
  3. Place your sausage (if it’s in the casing cut it out of the casing, but I used the kind that doesn’t have a casing.) in a frying pan and cook until completely cooked through.
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  5. Place your crescent rolls in the casserole dish and push the edges together so it forms a crust. I poked some fork holes in the crescents so no air bubbles would form and so the crust could completely cook on the bottom.
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  7. Once your sausage is done, place it on top of the crescents. Sprinkle with as much shredded cheese as you like.
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  9. In a small mixing bowl, mix together your 5 eggs with your milk, and then pour over the sausage and cheese. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano, and rosemary. Feel free to sprinkle as much of those spices as your family likes.
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  11. Pop in the oven for about 20 mins until the crust is nice and brown and the eggs are completely cooked.
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  13. Cut and serve! If there is any leftover, place in an air tight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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Ham and Cheese Bites

This weekend was a nice relaxing weekend for Jesse and I. It was the first time Jesse was able to sleep in since…. I can’t even remember the last time he was able to sleep in…. So while Jesse was cuddling up in our nice warm bed, I was preparing a delicious breakfast for the two of us. (More on that in another post) Finally I think Jesse couldn’t sleep through the delcious smells coming from the kitchen so he woke up and we actually were able to enjoy breakfast together in who knows how long. It was so relaxing and so enjoyable to be in the company of my wonderful hubby! 🙂 We did lots of chores around the house, visited 2 week old puppies, saw Saving Mr. Banks at this adorable old historic theatre, went out to dinner and cooked and baked lots this weekend. I am really looking forward to this up coming weekend already because it’s a three day weekend!! YES! 🙂

but anyway….. on to food now….. 😉

If you are like me, then you get bored of bringing the same ol’ thing to work for lunch every day! It’s either some sort of sandwich, a salad, maybe some leftovers, or on occasion you bring soup…boring!! Luckily, I have started planning out lunches along with the dinner menu I plan every month. I tend to pick things that I can make a bunch of at one time and then freeze so it will last longer, or I just pick things that will last a while in the fridge. This is where my Ham and Cheese Bites come into play. I put these on the menu and Jesse and I have been enjoying them in our lunches for the last two weeks. They stay in the fridge perfectly, but if you make a big batch of these tasty bites, I would recommend freezing some because they keep really well in the freezer. These are so simple to just warm up in your microwave at home or work. You can actually start enjoying lunch at work again!! Try these out; let me know what you think 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pillsbury breadsticks cans (they come in the same type of thing you would get Grand biscuits or crescent rolls)
  • ~2 C diced up ham
  • Shredded cheese
  • Mustard (any kind you prefer)
  • ~ 2 TBS melted butter
  • Coarse sea salt broken into smaller pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Take your breadstick dough out of the can and place on a floured surface. Roll the dough with a rolling pin until you get a good sized rectangle, about 12×4.
  3. Spread the mustard of your choice all over the dough.
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  5. Sprinkle on your ham and cheese.
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  7. Roll the dough up into a log, roll pretty tight.
  8. Cut about 1 inch pieces and transfer to your cookie sheet.
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  10. Place in the oven for about 15-18 mins, until the outside is nice and golden brown.
  11. Once you remove it from the oven, brush your melted butter onto each bite and sprinkle with your salt.
  12. Let cool on a baking rack and place in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. If you would like to store them longer than two weeks, place them in an air tight container in the freezer.

Enjoy!!

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Hawaiian BBQ Ham Pizza

Jesse and I just got back from a great anniversary trip, celebrating 3 years of marriage! We went to Portland, Or for two days and then to Husum, Wa for two more days. Portland was so cold. Jesse and I walked everywhere and we nearly froze our nose off! We were happy once we got inside and cold defrost some. We went to a Christmas market on the water, got some yummy VooDoo donuts, met the actor from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, chatted with a homeless man for about a half hour, went to some fancy dinners and enjoyed going to a Christmas lights show. It was so much fun just relaxing and going with the flow. No plans, no schedule to stick to and we could sleep in!

 Then we drove on over to Husum, Wa to enjoy the next two days at the most adorable bed and breakfast. It was right along the Columbia River Gorge, so the views were spectacular!  It was only Jesse and I staying there at that time, so the owner (this extremely cute old man named Jerry) would show us around the farm, introduce us to all the animals and he would sit with us at breakfast and talk to us for hours. His wife is a school teacher so she was gone all during the day so I think Jerry liked having company to talk to. 🙂 It was very cold and snowy at our bed and breakfast. We were on top of mountain, so our little car always had a hard time going up and down the mountain in the snow.  So we mostly stayed on top of the mountain exploring the city, relaxing at coffee shops and hanging out with the house dog and cat. This part of the trip really made Jesse and I so happy! When we were saying goodbye to Jerry he said don’t forget about us and come back! I already miss him 😉

Since I have not been cooking dinner the last few days, I will share a recipe I made about a week ago. It’s really simple. It’s called Hawaiian BBQ Ham Pizza. Super-fast, super easy, and might I add, super delicious!!  Try it out; let me know what you think 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of refrigerated pizza dough
  • ~1/2 C BBQ sauce
  • 1 can Pineapple bites
  • ~ ½ C (or more) of fully cooked ham cut up into bite sized pieces
  • Diced green onions
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder
  • Shredded Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough and spread your BBQ sauce all over, it’s the “sauce” of your pizza.
  3. Then sprinkle on your pineapple bites (as many as you like from the can,) your bite sized ham, green onions and sprinkle on top of everything a pinch of garlic powder.
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  5. Then spread your cheese all over and pop in the oven for about 15-20 mins.

Enjoy!

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Sausage, Potatoes and Sauerkraut

This dinner is inspired by the world’s greatest grandma! Yeah that would be my nany. I lived with her after college and before I got married for a few months and they sure were some of the greatest months! We would regularly sit down and have dinner together and this meal was one of the meals she would make form time to time. I never was a big fan of sauerkraut before, but I love it in this dish. It really brings everything together.  It’s called Sausage, Potatoes and Sauerkraut. Yeah, that is all the ingredients in this meal right there, so simple and easy but so delicious at the same time. Every time I make this meal I think of my grandma and it makes me miss her. Jesse and I always have the greatest time with her because she is just so fun to be around 🙂 I can’t wait until we get to visit her in just a few short months. But seriously, if you are looking for an easy, one-pot meal that will please everyone, try this out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can/jar of sauerkraut
  • 1 Fully cooked Italian sausage; it’s one of those links that’s just one long sausage that you can cut up into links.
  • 2 Potatoes
  • Salt/pepper
  • Ketchup/mustard for serving

Directions:

  1. Peel your potatoes and roughly cut them up into big pieces. Also take your one fully cooked sausage and cut it up into about 3-4 sausage links.
  2. In a big pot fill about ½ way with water and add your sauerkraut, sausage and potatoes. Add some salt and pepper if you like. Occasionally stir everything.

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(I used a different sausage. I used the not fully cooked sausage and it just takes longer.)

  1. Let them all boil together until you are able to poke the potatoes with a fork and they are no longer hard.
  2. Serve with a side of ketchup or Mustard.

Enjoy!

Ham and Peas Mac N’ Cheese

I have another winner dinner here! It’s called Ham and Peas Mac n’ Cheese….that totally rhymes…haha! It’s that time of year when ham (like my totally favorite meat!) goes on sale and I love to cook anything I can with this delicious meat. I bought a pretty big chunk of ham and I just cut off any amount that I need for my particular meal, and I put the rest in the freezer. I know for Thanksgiving, most people enjoy a turkey for dinner, but if I had my choice I would eat ham and nothing but ham all night long…ok ok my obsession is not that sever, I just never get to have ham except for this time of year. 😉 One of Jesse’s favorite vegetables is peas and I thought peas and ham would taste great together so I threw it together in pasta, and voila, a delicious, speedy, dinner that people of all ages will devour! Seriously Jesse and I were fighting over who would be able to take the leftovers for lunch the next day because we both loved it so much. Try it out and let me know if you like it as much as Jesse and I did. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb. pasta noodles
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 2 TBS Flour
  • 1 C Milk
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • ~2 C Shredded Cheese (add more if you like)
  • ½ C Plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 C Frozen Peas
  • 1 ½ C Ham, diced into bite sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cook your pasta noodles according to package directions.
  3. While the noodles are cooking, melt your butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Once your butter is melted, add in your flour and mix mix mix really well until the flour is all dissolved into the butter and there are no more chunks of flour.
  4. Then once you have that all mixed together well, keep mixing and slowly add in your milk. Once all your milk is added in turn your heat down to medium low and let the milk thicken up. I like to add the salt, pepper to the milk at this point.
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  6. Once your pasta noodles are done, drain and place back in the pot, make sure the burner is not on where the pot is.
  7. Pour your thickened milk mixture, peas, ham, shredded cheese, cinnamon and Greek yogurt in the pot with the noodles and mix everything together.
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  9. Place your pasta into your baking dish, sprinkle some more shredded cheese all over the top, and pop in the oven for about 15-20 mins. Just until the cheese is nice and melty and your peas and ham are warm.

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(He is a good helper, chopping up ham for me!)

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Enjoy!

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Sausage and Zucchini Pizza

If you love pizza, and let’s get serious, who doesn’t like pizza….then the dinner I made last night is sure to be on your dinner menu next week! I made a Zucchini and Sausage pizza. It’s a delightfully healthy alternative to your regular Papa John’s or Domino’s pizza and you are guaranteed to have dinner on your table in about 30 mins! You can’t beat that right?! Healthy, fast, refreshing, easy and ooooo so tasty!

I actually got this recipe from a lady I took a cooking class with. It wasn’t a fancy cooking class or anything, just a simple lecture based class at my local library, and it was FREE! The class was about making dinner healthier, and swapping out not so healthy ingredients in meals for better ones. It was a really fun class and I definitely learned a lot of helpful ideas. Both of the teachers were registered dieticians and you could tell, both of them loved to talk about food ha! When I heard the teacher give out this recipe for pizza, I was all over it, and knew I would be making this pizza for dinner regularly. Try it out; let me know what you think!

 Ingredients:

  • 1 pastry puff, usually found in the freezer section in the grocery store
  • 2 sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1 Zucchini, diced
  • 3 TBS Dijon mustard
  •  Salt/pepper

Directions:

  1. Set out your pastry puff and let thaw, once thawed, set on a baking dish and poke some holes in it with a fork.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  3. Peel off the outer skin on your sausage links so they are easy to crumble up. Cook the sausage crumbles in a well-oiled frying pan on medium heat.
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  5. Once the sausage is cooked all the way through, remove from the pan and set on a paper towel to drain the excess grease.
  6. In the same frying pan, place ¼ C water and the diced up zucchinis. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook on medium heat for about 4-5 mins.
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  8. While your zucchinis are cooking, spread your 3 TBS of Dijon all over your pastry crust. This will be your sauce, so if you would like to add more mustard then I say, go right ahead!
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  10. Once your zucchinis are done, place them on a paper towel to get rid of any excess liquid. Then spread them all over your pastry crust, along with your sausage.
  11. Pop in the oven for about 20-25 mins.

Enjoy!

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