Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Slow Cooker Chinese Pineapple Pork Sliders

The slow cooker produces a winner once again with this easy slider. Sweet pineapple pork combined with an Asian flair of ingredients creates a finger-licking twist on the old bbq pork slider. Top it with a little Asian slaw and you have yourself a delectable little slider. It comes together easily making it a quick and deceptively simple dinner, or an easy party appetizer that is sure to pack a punch. 

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Slow Cooker Time: 8 to 10 hours
Yield: 12 to 24 sliders


Chinese Pineapple Pork
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 can pineapple chunks (with juice)
3 TB soy sauce
3 TB honey
1 TB srirarcha
1 TB chopped garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch cinnamon
pinch cloves
1 (3 to 5 lbs) pork butt roast

2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup rice vinegar
salt and pepper

slider buns or rolls


1. Combine hoisin sauce, pineapple chunks, soy sauce, honey, srirarcha, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Place pork roast in and turn to coat

2. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours until meat can easily be shredded with a fork. 

3. Before serving, make the slaw by combining shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, cilantro, and rice vinegar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. 

4. Serve shredded pork on a slider bun topped with a spoonful of slaw. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Roasted Beets and Brussel Sprouts

Yes, I did it. And I laughed maniacally the entire time (at least in my head). I brought two outcast vegetables together and married them in a vegetable side dish that is sure to be controversial on the table, particularly for picky palates. I mean, seriously, I can't even rave about how much you'll love this dish because let's face's beets and brussel sprouts. These two vegetables are at the butt of way too many jokes. You might love it, you might hate it. I'm one of those crazy people that loves both beets and brussel sprouts so I was good to go. My husband loved it too, but my kids? Ya, right! They aren't going to touch either. Sometimes I can convince them to eat beets, but not so much with brussel sprouts. That's okay, I'll hoard them on my plate.

Hands on Time: about 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6


3 medium-size beets, tops removed, peeled, and diced
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Spread beets out in a single layer on one-half of a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 TB olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the brussel sprouts on the other half of the baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper.

4. Return baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

5. 15 minutes before the vegetables are done, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until balsamic is reduced into a syrup like consistency, about 10 to 15 minutes.

6. When vegetables are finished, drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve with crumbled goat cheese on top. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pineapple Pancakes with Coconut Syrup

Whenever I'm stumped for what to make for dinner I always at least consider just making breakfast for dinner. It's easy and I almost always have the ingredients. We were about to head out of town for spring break and I was running low on ingredients and had a lot of other stuff to worry about like packing. The idea for these pancakes popped in my head. I wasn't sure how it would work out, or if my kids would even eat it. When a 3 year old pounds 3 pancakes and the 5 year old gobbles his own stack of 4....well, you know you have a hit on your hands. My son declared, "these are the best pancakes in the world!" Seriously kid? I was shocked. He's picky and I was worried that the tropical flavors would be too much for him. Nope. Once I finally got enough pancakes made to have my own plate I completely understood. These pancakes were sweet and soft with the zing of pineapple. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire batch and he keeps requesting more. The pineapple and coconut flavors are subtle so you don't get overpowered by the tropical flavors, but they add just enough flavor to be exciting and different.  And that syrup? I could eat it with a spoon! 

Time to Make It: 20 to 30 minutes
Yield: about 12 pancakes & 2 cups syrup


Pineapple Pancakes
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Coconut Syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla


1. In a large mixing bowl, make the pancake batter by stirring together crushed pineapple, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, and melted butter. Slowly add in flour until you have a nice batter. You want it to remain thin enough to spread slightly, without being runny. 

2. Heat a heavy flat nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Pour pancake batter in 1/4 cup scoops onto the griddle or skillet. When bubbles start to form on top, flip and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Keep warm until serving (a 200 degree oven and a cookie sheet works great for this). 

3. Make the syrup by melting butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, coconut milk, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer 4 minutes. Store in a heat-safe airtight container in the refrigerator. 

4. Serve pineapple pancakes warm with warm coconut syrup. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Edible Pixie Dust

 This post is sponsored by Disney's The Pirate Fairy and BlogHer.

We got our copy of Frozen last week. My kids are in heaven! We sat down to watch the whole thing, starting with the previews. There's an all-new Tinker Bell movie that involves a pirate fairy. I could see the magical wave of enchantment sweep over the faces of my children. My 5-year old son turned to me and said, "Will you keep it a secret that I like princess movies?" I thought he was referring to Frozen and assured him that it was for boys and girls. He replied, "No, I really, really, really like Tinker Bell." Sweet kid! I laughed and assured him that it is definitely okay for boys to like Tinker Bell movies, too. (Note: I got his permission to tell this story on the blog. I didn't just totally betray his trust!)
I was contacted and asked to come up with a recipe inspired by the new Tinker Bell movie: The Pirate Fairy. In the movie a pirate fairy steals the magical blue pixie dust from Pixie Hollow. Without it, the fairies can't fly. I asked my kids if they thought it would be fun to make our own pixie dust. They literally jumped for joy! It was super easy to make and the kids were able to help. 
Time to Make it: less than 15 minutes
Yield: 1/2 cup pixie dust
1/2 cup white sugar
10 drops blue food coloring
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Pour the sugar into a small mixing bowl. Add in the 10 drops of blue food coloring. Use a fork to mix it together until all the sugar granules are blue. (The kids are great at this part).
3. Spread the sugar out onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Use a fork to break up any chunks and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Any color food coloring will work, of course, so play to your children's favorites as desired!
So what should you do with this magical edible pixie dust? Here are a few ideas to get you going:
  • Make a sugar sandwich (spread butter on a slice of bread and dust with pixie dust)
  • Sprinkle it on frosted cakes or cupcakes
  • Let the kids dip strawberries or other fruits into it
  • Dip marshmallows in butter and roll them in the pixie dust

Seriously, my kids are so excited. It is so fun as a mom to be able to bring magic into their lives. 
Disney's The Pirate Fairy
Own It On Blu-ray™ and Digital HD Apr 1 
You can buy your own copy here and get more information on Facebook here!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lamb Meatball Gyros

Lately I've been heading to the grocery store with no list. This is a big deal for me. I am a total planner. My grocery lists are usually detailed and organized by location in the store. But, I've been feeling a lack of inspiration for new recipes. It's an art and it can't be forced. I've been heading to the store with no list so that I can just let the ingredients speak to me and see if inspiration finds its way to my plate. That is how ground lamb ended up in my grocery cart with all the fixings for gyros. (We've covered this on the blog before, but let's get the pronunciation right. It's a Yee-row. Glad that awkwardness is over). The funny thing is I only planned on making the lamb meatballs. It wasn't until I got home that I started making plans to turn them into gyros. The result was inspiration on a plate. The lamb meatballs are juicy and flavorful while the garlic sauce adds punch and acidity. Roll it up in a flat bread and you've got yourself a mean little sandwich. Wait, did I say little? These are actually huge and quite filling. I stuffed myself silly and was quite happy about it. It's a great way to enjoy ground lamb. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 sandwiches


Lamb Meatballs
1 lb ground lamb
2 TB chopped fresh parsley
2 TB chopped fresh mint
2 TB chopped fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Garlic Sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 c greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp salt

4 pita flat breads
Toppings as desired (sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, sliced red onion, fresh cilantro)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 glass baking dish. 

2.  In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine ground lamb, parsley, mint, cilantro, garlic, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt, allspice, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and ginger. Knead together until well combined. 

3. Form meat into 12 balls. Place in prepared pan. Bake until cooked through, approximately 25 minutes. 

4. Meanwhile, make the garlic sauce by combining garlic, greek yogurt, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl.

5. Serve meatballs hot on a pita flat bread with desired toppings and drizzle with garlic sauce. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

I was browsing the isles at Costco, minding my own business, when I was tempted by one of those alluring free samples. It was King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Those sweet soft rolls tantalized my taste buds for weeks. I couldn't get them out of my mind. The next time I went to Costco I couldn't resist buying a large package. Last week I got a hankering for them again and decided to give a go at making them myself. I altered my usual roll recipe to accommodate the added sweetness and pineapple that are signature to King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. These rolls are sweet, tender, and just as tantalizing. They practically melt in your mouth!

Prep Time: 10 minutes + 2.5 hours rising time
Bake Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Yield: 1 dozen rolls


1/3 cup milk (warmed to the touch)
2/3 cup crushed pineapple
1 TB yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
4 TB butter, melted
1 egg
3+ cups flour
1 TB butter, melted (for brushing)


1. In the bowl of a  stand mixer, combine milk, pineapple, yeast, brown sugar, salt, melted butter, egg, and 3 cups flour.

2.. Knead on a low speed until ingredients combine, then increase speed to medium. Add more flour if necessary to form a dough ball. Dough will be slightly sticky, but shouldn't be unmanageable. 

3. Let rise in a greased bowl, covered with a tea towel, for 90 minutes. 

4. Form into one dozen 2.5 ounce rolls. A kitchen scale is helpful, or you can just eyeball it. Roll into balls on a smooth surface.

5. Place in a greased glass 9x13 pan. Cover with a tea towel and rise 1 hour.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Brush with additional 1 TB melted butter. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

India Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

I love making drumsticks for dinner. It is one of my go-to items for nights when I don't have a lot of prep time. Throw on some seasonings and pop them in the oven and you are practically done. I served this with rice. I want to say I put out a vegetable too, but it'd be a total lie. Such is life. Sometimes I just buy those lettuce mixes and put them on the plate and call it a balanced meal. This time I decided to go with an Indian inspired variation on my drumsticks. We loved this! The skin gets so crispy and is covered in spices so it is like a crispy explosion of flavor in your mouth. Yet, the flavors are familiar enough that it feels like a comfort-food meal. Seriously delish!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 4


8 chicken drumsticks
1 lemon, juiced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
4 TB butter
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan with nonstick spray.

2. Line up drumsticks on the prepared tray. 

3. Squeeze lemon juice over the drumsticks.

4. In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, salt, garlic powder, ginger, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over drumsticks. 

4. Put a dab of about 1/2 tablespoon butter on the top of each drumstick, on the part that is most meaty. The butter will melt all over the meat and skin, keeping the meat juicy, and making the skin crispy. 

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven.