Monday, January 26, 2015

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Garlic Brown Butter Sauce

Beef Tenderloin is the perfect cut for any celebration or special occasion meal. This is the piece of meat that filet mignon comes from so you know it's good. This roast will melt in your mouth. Sure, it is a pricey piece of meat somewhere around $20 a pound, but you can make a meal that will serve a crowd with it for way less than you'd ever spend for this same dish at a restaurant. And yes, you can make this just as good as any restaurant. 

Beef tenderloin doesn't require much in the way of spicing or sauces because the meat shines on its own. Make sure you are generous with the salt and pepper on the outside of the roast. For this recipe I've used a garlic brown butter sauce. It really helps the meat sing. Seriously though, it's butter. How can you go wrong? 

Time to Make It: 50 minutes
Yield: Serves 8 to 10


1 (5 to 6 pound) beef tenderloin
salt and pepper
2 tsp sugar.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Cut roast in half. One half of the roast should have a thinner end that tapers off. Fold the thin end up against the rest of the roast and use kitchen twine to tie it together, creating an even thickness in the roast.

4. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper and sugar. Sear the roast on all 4 sides until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

5. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven until desired done-ness is reached, 120-125 degrees for medium-rare.

6. Let meat rest for 15 minutes before serving.

7. While meat is resting melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once butter melts, add in garlic cloves. Continue to cook over medium heat until butter begins to bubble and foam, stirring constantly. The color of the butter will begin to change. As soon as it gets close to reaching a dark golden brown, remove from heat an poor into a heat-safe container. Remove garlic cloves. .

8. Slice the roast into 1/2-inch slices and drizzle with brown butter. Serve immediately.

This post is part of a series on Catering Your Own Wedding sponsored by Plugra Butter.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cater Your Own Wedding (Part 1)

This post is sponsored by Plugra Butter. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Next weekend my little brother will be marrying this wonderful woman and they will begin their lives together. Aren't they so stinkin' cute? We just love both of them. They've asked me to cater their rehearsal dinner. Being a member of the wedding party and also being in charge of the food can seem like a nightmare, but it doesn't have to be. This is the second time I'll have done this in less than a year, as I catered my little sister's wedding last summer. Let me tell you, it can be done! 

Last summer I did a buffet style luncheon with a menu that included smoked pulled pork with three different flavors of barbecue sauce, green beans, macaroni and cheese, cornbread muffins, and a full lemonade bar with 6 different flavors of lemonade. It went off without a hitch and everyone was happy with the food, including the bride and groom (which is really all that matters). I even catered the bridal shower on that one. You can check out all the decadent dessert recipes for my "Love is Sweet" bridal shower HERE

This wedding is more formal. The bride wants a gourmet plated dinner and I am happy to oblige! I aim to both please and impress. I did my test run this week so I can give you a preview. I'll be sharing the recipes for the main course this week as we count down to the actual wedding day. We are pretty excited for this wedding! Don't worry, I'll also follow up with a post about how it went that includes photo from the rehearsal dinner as well as the wedding. You'll get the complete love fest!

Without further adieu, here's the menu:

First Course

Main Course
Beef Tenderloin Roast Medallions with Garlic Brown Butter Sauce
Bone Marrow Potato Puree
Prosciutto Wrapped Green Beans


All of the dishes are going to be made with delicious gourmet Plugra Butter. Plugra has a Gourmet Club which will actually feature a few of these recipes. What's a gourmet dinner without a few pounds of butter, right?

So yes, I'm really doing this. And I promise it isn't even that hard. Most of the food can be made ahead and warmed before serving. Stay tuned this week for the recipes for the main course and I'll follow up with the promised pictures from the wedding as well as sharing all my secrets for how in the world I will pull this off!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chipotle Sweet Potato Burritos

Sweet potato burritos are addictively amazing. I've been eating them for years and they are totally delicious. In this recipe I utilize the smokiness of the chipotle which complements the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the saltiness of the black beans. Sweet, salty, and smoky. Yum! And, hello, the cheese! These are great for a freezable lunch and just need to be popped in the microwave for a minute or two for reheating. I usually serve it with a side of sour cream, though I just was eating one with some guacamole Enjoy this wonderful meatless meal!

Time to Make It: 50 minutes
Yield: 8 burritos


2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tsp cumin, divided
1 tsp chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 white or sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2  chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced or diced
8 (10-inch) flour tortillas 
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. 

2. Place cubed sweet potatoes in a resealable plastic bag. Dust with 1 tsp cumin, and chili powder. Pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil and seal the bag. Give the bag some good shaking so that all of the sweet potato cubes get coated with spices. Spread sweet potatoes out on the prepared baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft. Keep the oven on. 

3. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add in the minced garlic, chipotle peppers, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin and saute for about another minute to release the flavors. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans and set aside. 

4. Assemble your burritos by first putting on a scoop of sweet potatoes down the center, then a nice helping of the beans, some avocado, then a fistful of cheese. Fold burrito style. Place the assembled burritos on another baking sheet. 

5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve hot with sour cream or guacamole. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Apple-Glazed Roasted Pork Loin

We were in a restaurant a couple of weeks ago celebrating my in-laws 40th anniversary. That's a long time people. We had a lovely dinner with lots of good conversation and yummy food. My husband ordered the Apple-Glazed Roasted Pork Loin. It was delicious. It was one of those moments where I wanted to pick up the plate and lick it clean. That's when you know you have to replicate the recipe at home. It's actually quite easy to make. The key to this recipe is a meat thermometer. Overcooked pork is just so dry, you really want to make sure you get the temperature right so you end up with a moist, juicy roast. Drizzle that apple glaze over it and you'll have a dinner at home worth licking the plate clean. 

Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Roast Time: 40+ minutes
Yield: Serves about 4


Pork Roast
1 TB olive oil
1 (2 lb) pork loin roast, trimmed and tied
salt and pepper
2 TB dijon mustard
1 TB apple cider vinegar

Apple Glaze
2 TB butter
1 TB cornstarch
1 cup apple juice
1 TB dijon mustard
1 TB brown sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet, over medium-high heat. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Sear the loin in the skillet until all sides are browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. Brush over pork roast. Place skillet in the oven and cook pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 40 minutes. Use a probe thermometer for accuracy.

4. Remove pork from oven and let rest about 5 minutes before cutting.

5. Meanwhile, make the apple glaze by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in cornstarch until all specks of white are absorbed. Pour in apple juice and whisk in dijon mustard, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. Continue to whisk until sauce is thickened, which should only take a couple of minutes.

6. Slice meat and serve hot drizzled with apple glaze.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Smoked Pork Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Sauce

I'm kind of in love with slow cooker smoked pork. It is so dang easy to make I end up making it all the time. I use it in all sorts of things including these killer quesadillas that we absolutely love. It actually got me thinking about a lettuce wrap version. It's healthier and all that. These wraps are delicious! Not only are they healthy with vegetables and all, but they are so easy to make and tasty at that. You can make your carrot veggie mixture at any point during the 8 hour slow cooker time. Just refrigerate until you are ready to use. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Slow Cooker Time: 8 hours, low
Yield: Serves About 6 


1 (2-3 lb) pork butt roast
3 TB liquid smoke
1 TB sea salt
2 carrots, shredded or julliened
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julliened
3 TB rice vinegar
12 romaine lettuce leaves
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup hoisin sauce


1. Place the pork roast into a 5 to 8 quart slow cooker. Pour liquid smoke over pork and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook on low 8 hours until meat shreds easily with a fork. Shred before serving. 

2. Before serving, combine carrots and cucumbers in a mixing bowl. Pour rice vinegar over and toss to coat.

3. Serve shredded pork on lettuce leaves, topped with some of the carrot mixture, fresh cilantro leaves, and a drizzle of hoisin sauce. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Slow Cooker "Dang Hippie" Vegetable Soup

I've been making this soup for quite a few years now. My brother once referred to it as "dang hippie food" and the name just sort of stuck. No meat, tons of veggies....I guess it kind of is hippie food! It is vegan after all (when made with vegetable broth) We love Dang Hippie Soup in our house.  It is definitely one of my favorites and always hits the spots on those cold, dreary days of fall and winter. This slow cooker version is a handy favorite and we actually prefer the extra softness of the vegetables that comes with the slow cooker. You can always make it on the stove top as well for a quick and handy dinner. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours on high, 6 to 8 hours on low


4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp paprika

2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3 celery stalks, sliced
2 pounds sweet potatos, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 T soy sauce

1 bay leaf
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed


1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onionand saute for 5 minutes. 

2. Add in the garlic, paprika, ground mustard, basil, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Toast for 1-2 minutes. 

3. Scrape all contents of the skillet into a slow cooker. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and give it a quick stir to combine.

4. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or high 3 to 4 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving. 

**Note: You can skip steps 1 and 2 in this recipe and just put all ingredients immediately into a slow cooker. I like the added touch of sauteeing the onion and toasting the spices before hand because it gives an enhanced flavor. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Vegan Tropical Smoothie Breakfast Bowl with Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative

It's January. Like many of you I'm trying to eat a little healthier. It isn't so much of a New Year's resolution as it is an I-feel-gross-after-December sort of deal. Breakfast is often the sore spot in my day. I either skip it, eat something atrocious, or every so often actually eat a balanced meal. I don't eat dairy for breakfast. I don't claim to have any rhyme or reason to it. I just like how it feels. My stomach just doesn't do dairy for breakfast anymore. So when Silk wanted my to give their new Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative a try I was on board. Scared, but on board.

So, let's not sweep the scare factor under the rug. The idea of dairy free yogurt kind of freaked me out. But guess what? Dairy-free yogurt alternative is totally good! Not scary at all! It is smooth, silky, and creamy. Delicious people! It's made from cultured soy, with real fruit, and has 6 grams of protein per serving. Love it! Seriously, nothing to be afraid of. This stuff is legit. 

One of my favorite breakfasts is a smoothie bowl with fresh fruit and granola. It's a fairly simple formula:

1 cup liquids
1 1/2 cups frozen fruit
1/2 cup yogurt (optional)
1 to 2 TB sweetener

Then you just need toppings. I prefer fresh fruit and granola. You can also do plain nuts or seeds of your choice.

I was sent their Tropical Pineapple flavor and immediately knew I'd be making a tropical bowl. It's the middle of winter and there is snow on the ground at my house. This tropical bowl had me feeling like I was on a beach somewhere instead of bundled up for a snow day. 

Time to Make It: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 to 2 servings


1 cup coconut milk
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 (5.3 oz) container Tropical Pineapple Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative
1 TB agave

1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup coconut quinoa granola


1. Combine coconut milk, strawberries, mango, yogurt alternative, and agave in a blender.

2. Blend until pureed. Smoothie should be quite thick.

3. Scrape smoothie into a bowl. Top with fresh pineapple and granola.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.


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