Monday, December 22, 2014

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Today I'm bringing you a recipe from my cookbook.  It's full of interesting, tasty recipes that are simple to make. The recipes use fresh, whole ingredients (no cream of anything soup!) and require very little prep. This recipe will give you a nice sneak peak into the book with the popular Banh Mi Sandwich. It is super easy to make, and tastes amazing!

Did I mention this is my favorite sandwich ever? Seriously, I can't get enough!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Slow Cooker Time: 8 hours on low
Yield: Serves 4 to 6


1 (2-3 lb) pork butt roast
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
 2 TB fish sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 daikon radish, julienned or shredded
2 large carrots, julienned or shredded
1/4 cup rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime
6 crusty baguettes
1 cucumber, sliced
3 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced


1. Place the pork butt into a 6 quart slow cooker.

2. Pour in chicken broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and stir in ginger and garlic

3. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine daikon radish and carrots. Top with rice vinegar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. When just about ready to serve, shred pork and stir in lime juice.

6. Spoon 1/2 cup meat, hot or cold, onto each crusty baguette. Top with daikon radish and carrot mixture, cucumber slices, cilantro leaves, and jalapeno slices, and serve.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Candy Bar Dip

I discovered something fabulous at a restaurant last week. It was called toffee dip. Where has this been all my life? It tastes like a candy bar! You really can't limit this dip to toffee though. Any crushed up candy bar will do. Butterfingers, Kit Kats, Snickers....the possibilities are endless! You can always go with Heath Bits for a quick and easy traditional version. My husband does have a weakness for Heath bars and Heath Bits are pretty much just crushed up Heath bars. Roll with it however you want it and enjoy your favorite candy bar in dip form. Serve with graham crackers, cookies, apples, or spoons!

Time to Make It: 5 minutes
Yield: 3 cups


8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 oz crushed candy bar (or Heath Bits)


1. In a small mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to whip cream cheese until light and fluffy.

2. Beat in brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined.

3. Fold in crushed candy bar.

4. Serve with graham crackers, apple slices, cookies, or spoons!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mexican Eggrolls

These tasty bites were created several years ago. You can check out the original baked version HERE. They are almost like little burritos filled with chorizo, chipotle peppers, refried beans, queso fresco, and cilantro. We've been eating them for years now, both baked and fried. Fried has become a family favorite. I mean, come on, fried food is delicious. These can be frozen and cooked later, just watch out for any ice chunks. Ice/water and oil is a recipe for disaster.  I have successfully fried them after being frozen without a single burn. They are deliciously awesome and a super fun appetizer/dinner. Serve with this wonderful cilantro-lime crema sauce for an additional pop of flavor.

Time to Make It: 30-45 minutes
Yield: 24 egg rolls


1 package of egg roll wrappers (24)
1 can refried beans
1 log of beef chorizo
1 onion, diced
1/2 can chipotle peppers, drained and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 block queso fresco, crumbled
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups vegetable oil

1/2 cup crema (or sour cream)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp salt


1. Saute chorizo over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Add in the oniones and saute for about 5 minutes more. Remove from pan and put in a mixing bowl.

2. Add the refried beans and chipotle peppers to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3. Layer your egg roll fillings onto your egg roll wrapper: cabbage, bean mixture, cheese, then cilantro. Roll (see cooking lesson below).

4. Fill a large skillet with enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom with about 1/2 inch oil. Heat to 350 degrees, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 350 degrees. Working in small batches of 3-4, fry the eggrolls until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

5. For the cilantro-lime crema, combine the crema, lime juice, cilantro and salt. Whisk to combine.

6. Serve eggrolls warm with dipping sauce. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Southwestern Caprese Bites

You are going to love the combination of roasted red bell peppers, mozzarella, and tomato. It is pretty heavenly and adds a whole new spin on caprese. I've made these a few times now and they are a hit every single time. Once I added bacon and, man, that was delicious. You can serve these with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or just munch on them as is. They are super flavorful and a fun spin on the Italian classic. 

Time to Make It: 10 minutes
Yield: about 20 (or however many mozzarella balls you have)


20 fresh mini mozzarella balls (bocconcini) 
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
20 leaves fresh basil
6 oz roasted red bell peppers, chopped into 20 pieces
20 yellow cherry tomatoes
4 strips cooked bacon, cut into 20 pieces (optional)
20 toothpicks

1. Drain the mozzarella balls of liquid. Pour olive oil over mozzarella and season with red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir to coat.

2. Assemble the bites by using a toothpick to skewer a tomato, basil leaf, roasted red bell pepper, bacon (optional), and a mozzarella ball.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sausage and Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

Are you ready for one of the simplest appetizers ever? 3 ingredients with minimal prep, and a surprise zesty bite inside. This recipe came about at a family Christmas party several years ago. Someone had extra cherry tomatoes in the kitchen and someone else was making stuffed mushrooms. I combined the two and hoped for the best. The result was something quite tasty. The acidic tomato inside provides for a zesty surprise when you bite into it. 

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Yield: 12 stuffed mushrooms


12 large white mushrooms, stems removed
1 lb plain ground sausage 
12 cherry tomatoes


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

2. Lay mushrooms out on a lightly greased baking sheet.

3. Break off a small ping-pong sized ball of sausage and wrap it around a cherry tomato. Stuff the sausage into the mushrooms.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Morning Breakfast Ideas

I obviously have quite the love affair with food. Deciding what to eat on Christmas morning is practically impossible. After staying up late getting everything ready, the childish inability to sleep on Christmas eve, followed by a morning of opening presents, putting together toys, and trying to find batteries....well, I just want breakfast to be special. I want everyone to sit down together and feel the love behind the food as they savor every bite. I'm sure it doesn't ever happen like I imagine it, but there's an expectation around here of eating good food, especially on special occasions. So today I'm sharing with you my list of Christmas morning breakfast ideas. I've included a number of my favorites from here at The Stay At Home Chef, as well as some links to other blogs who have had some fantastic sounding breakfast ideas. 



Gingerbread Cranberry Muffins

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Slow Cooker


Slow Cooker Frittata with Kale, Roasted Red Pepper, and Feta

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal




Baked Eggnog Oatmeal with Apples and Walnuts

"Wife Saver" Breakfast with Peaches and Croissants

Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, and Cinnamon Rolls


Red Pepper and Baked Egg Galettes 

Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes 

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Apple German Pancakes 

Gingerbread Yogurt Waffles with Powdered Sugar Glaze
from Melanie Makes

What are you making this year?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Maple Sausage, Apple, and Sage Strata (Overnight Breakfast!)

Maple sausage, sweet chunks of apple, bits of sage, and the sharp flavors of provolone cheese combine together in this easy dish for a super flavorful breakfast or brunch dish. You can make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight, or whip it up and bake it right away. Either way you are going to end up with a delicious strata. It's a complete breakfast casserole with an elevated flavor. 

Prep Time: <15 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour
**Can be prepped and refrigerated overnight before baking


6 English muffins, halved
1 lb ground maple sausage
1 sweet onion, diced
2 apples, cored and diced
8 sage leaves, minced
8 eggs
2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded provolone cheese 
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with english muffin halves, cutting them as needed to fit. 

2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground sausage with the onion until sausage is brown. Add in diced apple and sage and cook another 3-5 minutes. 

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper. Stir in shredded cheeses. 

4. Stir sausage mixture into egg mixture and pour over english muffins.

***At this point you can cover the dish and refrigerate it over night. 

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until set. 


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