Mini Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls with Blackberry Icing

Mini Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls with Blackberry Icing | Easter Brunch Recipes via ApplestoZiti.com

The more I use puff pastry dough the more I like it.

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Spicy Orange-Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

I’m not what you would call a ‘Tofu’ kind of gal. It’s the last thing I would pull off the shelf at the supermarket if I needed to come up with dinner ‘on the fly’.

I mean seriously… like the last thing.

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Lemon + Ricotta = One Delicious Cookie

Today is actually a DOUBLE post day as I have to ‘get a move on’ to make it through Z before baby time…

I’m not sure that’s going to happen but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes I suppose.

The first thing I’m posting are these super light, decadent Lemon Ricotta Cookies w/ Lemon Glaze…

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And the next recipe, you guessed it, I couldn’t make it past ‘L is for Lemon’ without including the classic “Lemon Bars”.

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A savory take on Jam

At first I dismissed the idea of “J is for Jam” altogether because I thought there would be no “dinner” recipes made with jam…

Only desserts came to mind.

Then I realized that jams would make a FANTASTIC glaze for meats… especially chicken or pork. But more on that in another post.

A “jam” that I definitely did not expect but ended up LOVING is the subject of today’s post: TOMATO Jam!

Throw out any pre-conceived notions that just entered your head… you NEED to try this!

Tomatoes are a fruit after all… why not make jam out of them?

This is amazing on a burger!!! Take a look…

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Slow Cooker Honey-Barbecue Pulled Pork

Slow cooker recipes are wonderful…

Nobody can say they don’t enjoy getting everything into one pot, not having to worry about it for 8 hours, and having a mouth-watering final product that will last for several meals as a result. This is just such a recipe…

I’ve made a lot of pulled pork in the slow cooker, but none of the recipes I’ve used have honey in them. I wanted to come up with a barbecue sauce pulled pork that included honey. My first experiment was a success! WHEW!

It’s not super sweet and you can make it as mild or as spicy as you like!

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Honey Cornbread Mini Muffins

When it comes to cornbread, my husband and I agree… we like it sweet!

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I have had some savory cornbreads with ingredients like pancetta or basil or chiles… DELICIOUS!!… but still not my favorite kind. Even if I’m topping my cornbread with chili I prefer the sweet cornbread… the mix of spicy and sweet is right up my alley!

You don’t want over-the-top sweetness because cornbread is often topped with a little honey… or maple syrup if you grew up in my household… but, in my opinion, you need a little sweetness in each moist bite with or without the toppings.

These MINI versions of cornbread are fun little bites for adults and kids alike! You can pop the whole thing in your mouth… it makes eating cornbread a little more fun than the traditional square or slice. Here is the recipe if you want to skip ahead!

QUICK POLL!!

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E is for Egg Burrito (Healthy Style)

Looking for something filling, delicious, and good for you? Look no further!

I discovered this recipe during my second pregnancy and have been making it ever since. If I’m making the recipe for just me (which is often the case), I will make a recipe for four and just add the eggs when ever I’m in the mood for eggs throughout the week. Making it for more than one person is simple too, AND, of course, it’s budget-friendly!

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The hot sauce is optional but I like a little kick now and again with my eggs 🙂

SHOPPING LIST: 1 red onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 can black beans (low-sodium, if possible), 8 eggs, 1/3 cup pepper jack cheese (or cheddar if you don’t like it spicy), 1 large tomato (or two small ones), 1 small avocado, tortillas (recipe calls for 10-inch, burrito size)

Stapes to be sure you have: Canola oil, Chili flakes, Cooking Spray, Salt & Pepper

Some optional items: sour cream, salsa, hot sauce

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E is for Egg-in-a-hole

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe…

I use it for lunch quite often for my girls, and you can cut any shape you want out of the bread so I mix it up and make “Egg-in-a-star”… “Egg-in-a-flower”… “Egg-in-a-heart”… You get the idea 🙂

Here’s everything you need for one serving:

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1 slice of bread (any kind will do), 1 egg (not beaten), butter for greasing the pan, a cookie cutter, and salt & pepper.

Let’s just start off with the cost… only 43 cents for 1 serving! WOOHOO! Sold.

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C is for Coffee-Chocolate Mousse

This is another SUPER simple dessert that you can make ahead! It can be made casual or elegant. Just use the appropriate style of cups or glasses to go with your occasion. The mousse will taste just as good in a paper cup but it will look even more inviting if you dress it up a bit. I think I might even top mine with chocolate shavings or curls next time I serve them! Again, not necessary, but pleasing to the eyes.

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C is for Coffee in the Afternoon

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When I drink coffee I usually like it black.

Adding in milk and sugar is delicious, but I really like the flavor of the coffee itself without any extras. When I add them in I can’t taste the coffee itself. However, there does come the occasional afternoon when I’m craving something sweet and I need some caffeine to recharge my day. This is one of those HAVE to do laundry, mop the floor, do the dishes afternoons and I need a little kick (coffee + sugar) to get me going.

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C is for Coffee-Molasses Pork Chops

As you may know, I’ve been doing very little blogging lately. The good news is… I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking! Just in time for the holidays I have some yummy recipes for you to try in our “C is for Coffee” line up.

The first recipe is for dinner: Pork Chops!

This is a wonderful recipe because you can throw the pork chops in the marinade the night before! This leaves you with just a few steps to getting the pork chops on the table, and leaves you free to make any sides you might want to make.

For the marinade:

Wait… what is a marinade?

It is liquid that is seasoned with herbs, spices, salt, and/or pepper. Putting meats or other foods in the marinade allows them to absorb the flavor. For some meats a marinade helps to tenderize them. You will see some type of acid (wine, lemon juice, or vinegar) in meat marinade recipes that are intended to tenderize. Our recipe calls for Apple Cider Vinegar (made from fermented Apple Cider). This will help tenderize our pork chops!

You need a gallon-size zip-top bag. I always set mine inside a bowl just in case it leaks. It’s a much smaller mess on your counter or in your fridge when it’s contained in a bowl!

Here’s what you need for the marinade:

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To the gallon bag add 1 cup Strong Coffee (cooled down), 6 oz Molasses by weight (this is about 1/2 cup liquid measured), 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard, 2 Garlic Cloves (minced), 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 6-8 sprigs of Fresh Thyme. The only thing left out of the picture above is the pork chops! If you’re making the full recipe you need 4 bone-in, 1 inch thick pork chops. We only used 2 pork chops to feed our little family and saved the other two in the package for another night. Throw them right into the bag with everything else, seal it up, shake and massage the ingredients around for a bit, and then stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight!

Here are the marinade steps: (Just click on the first photo to see the close ups and to click through the slideshow)

When you’re about 20-25 minutes from being ready to grill your pork chops, take them out of the marinade. Put them on a plate to take the chill off. DO NOT pour out the marinade or throw it away! Pour ALL of it into a small saucepan and put it over high heat. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-high and reduce the sauce for about 12-15 minutes. It will be about 1/2 liquid when you are done. Stir it gently every couple of minutes to keep the bottom liquid from burning. After reducing it, REMOVE the sprigs of thyme. Pour this into a ramekin or gravy boat of some kind. You will use it to glaze the pork chops after they cook. You can serve the extra on the side for extra dipping sauce. It would be wonderful drizzled over mashed potatoes if you used them as a side dish for this recipe!

What is “reducing“? In simple terms: boiling a liquid until it becomes a smaller amount of liquid by evaporation. The liquid will thicken and it will heighten the flavors in the liquid. The reduced liquid is called a reduction. So, if you see “white wine reduction sauce” on a menu, you now know the chef reduced white wine (and possibly a few other ingredients) to create that sauce!

It is REALLY important you reduce the marinade before using it to glaze the pork chops. First of all, it will thicken the marinade (making it a better glaze) and it will intensify its flavor. But secondly, it kills any germs left by the raw pork chops that were in the marinade. Don’t skip this step… you risk getting sick! Yuck.

TIP: Allowing food to rest at room temperature before throwing it on a hot grill is a good rule to follow. If you allow it to come closer to room temperature it will cook more evenly and according to recipe times/instructions. Removing food from the fridge about 20 minutes or so before cooking is a good rule of thumb! 🙂

Pre-heat your grill to medium-high (this is about 400 degrees F on a gas grill). You can do this before reducing the marinade to be sure your grill is nice and hot when you’re ready to grill!

The recipe says to cook the pork chops for about  3-4 minutes per side but it took ours a bit longer than 4 minutes. I think 5 1/2 or so… I don’t know if they were a little thicker than the 1 inch that is called for, but they were DEFINITELY not done at 4 minutes! You can test this by using a meat thermometer. The pork chops should be at least 145 degrees F in the center of their thickest part to be considered safe.

When the pork chops are done, put them on a plate and let them rest for about 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute and will make the meat more juicy! Nobody likes a dry pork chop.

Brush or drizzle the marinade reduction over the pork chops. Serve some on the side for extra drizzling and dipping!

Here’s the final shot:

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Click here for the official recipe from Alton Brown!

Happy Eating!