Sweet Corn and Bacon Empanadas

These tasty little guys pair perfectly with the awesome steak chili. They are a little time consuming but can be made the day before and refrigerated or up to a week before if frozen. This, along with the chili came from the geniuses at Cuisine at Home Magazine. The recipe makes a generous amount of filling. The empanadas can’t be over filled or you won’t be able to seal them, yet the recipe makes twice what you’ll need. So, either get twice the pie crust and make more, make half the filling, or make  something else with the leftovers. I can’t wait to make an omelet tomorrow with my leftovers. You are supposed to get 16 empanadas from this recipe.

  • 2 Anaheim chile peppers
  • 3 strips of bacon, diced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced scallions
  • 1 pkg. purchased pie dough
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • smoked paprika

Roast chile peppers over a gas burner until they’re blacked and blistered. (If you do not have a gas stove, roast them at 400 degrees in the oven for 20 minutes, turning once. I personally find the oven method easier, the chilis peel easier, and prefer it with or without a gas burner.)

In a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, steam chiles for 15 minutes. Peel chiles: discard skin. Slit chilis lenghtwise, scrape out and discard seed. Remove stem and dice chiles, set aside.

Fry bacon in a saute pan over med-high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set on a paper towel lined plate.

Pour off all but about 1 Tbsp. fat from pan; add corn; saute over med-high heat until edges of corn begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in bacon, chiles, cheese, and scallions. Chill filling thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Unroll 1 sheet of pie dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, cut circles from dough; repeat with remaining dough, rerolling scraps as needed. If you don’t happen to have a biscuit cutter, the top of a martini shaker is exactly 3 1/2 inches and works perfectly.

Place 1 Tbsp. filling in the center of each round. Fold rounds in half, pinch to seal, then crimp edges with fork to ensure they stay sealed while baking. At this point, freeze if desired.

Blend egg yolk with water and brush on empanadas. Sprinkle empanadas with smoked paprika and bake until golden, about 15-18 minutes.

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Raspberries have been on sale in the markets for 3 weeks now. Its the end of summer surplus, so why not take advantage of these fruits along with the newly in season apples and soon to be pears? There is no better way than a fresh salad, mixed greens, lots of fruit, a great dressing and add pork chops or chicken breasts to create a complete meal. Soon, it will be soup weather (it probably already is for you East coasters!) and there is nothing better than hot soup, fresh salad, and home made bread.

There is no reason to ever buy an expensive bottle of salad dressing. It seems like the less expensive brands are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, sodium and other unhealthy additives, and to avoid those ingredients, you can easily pay $6-7 for a little bottle. I have many dressings up my sleeve and have already shared several. Here is one more, and my crystal ball is telling me there will probably be more in the future of this blog!

  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (use 1/4 tsp if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 3/8 cup olive oil (canola oil would work, too)

In a blender, combine all ingredients except for oil. Blend at medium speed for 1 minute. With blender at medium speed, pour oil in very slowly.

Toss with whatever you want! I went with apples, raspberries, red onion, glazed walnuts and pork chops over mixed greens.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Roulade

In case you haven’t noticed based on my recipes so far, a few of my favorite things are shallots, walnuts, goat cheese, and thyme has to be one of the greatest fresh herbs known to man. If you happen to be crazy and not like it, you can use rosemary in this recipe instead and I bet feta or Gorgonzola would also be a good substitute for the goat cheese. I love to serve this on a warm spinach salad for a light summertime dinner. You could throw it on the grill outside or do it on the stove top, either way you will love this simple, fresh and delicious pork recipe. This recipe is once again brought to you by my handy dandy Cooking Light subscription.

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cooking spray

Prepare grill to medium heat. Slice tenderloin lengthwise, cutting to but not through other side. Open halves, lay tenderloin flat, place tenderloin between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with a mallet until tenderloin is 1/2 -inch thick.

Sprinkle shallots, cheese, walnuts and thyme on tenderloin.

Roll up the tenderloin starting with the long side, secure at 1-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Coat grill with cooking spray and place pork on grill. Grill for about 30 minutes or until internal thermometer reads 155F, turning after 13 minutes.

Remove from grill; lightly cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes, cut into 8 slices, yield 4 servings.

Gourmet Mac and Cheese. Need I Say More?

My husband grew up near Seattle and when we got engaged his dear aunt threw me a bridal shower. I got this awesome cookbook as a gift and one of the first dishes I learned to make after getting married is the mac and cheese from this book. It’s so good, lots of warm cheese, a crispy bread crumby top. Need I say more? But this mac and cheese is way more than your average cheddar and elbow noodle, from the spiral pasta, salty prosciutto and variety of cheeses, especially the distinct bite of the Gorgonzola, its easy to see why this is the best mac and cheese ever.

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 3/4 cup Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces gemelli or other spiral pasta
  • 1/2 bread crumbs, fresh or dried will do
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped, fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 13×9 baking dish. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender and aromatic, about 5 minutes. While the butter is still bubbling, add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in milk and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and turns thick, about 3-5 minutes. Take pan from heat and add 3/4 cup Parmesan, Gruyere, fontina, and Gorgonzola, whisking until cheese is melted into sauce. Stir in prosciutto, cayenne, salt and pepper, set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook for 5-7 minutes. Pasta should remain uncooked in center.  Stain, rinse with cool water to stop cooking and drain well. Stir pasta in with the cheese sauce and pour into prepared dish.

Stir together bread crumbs, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan and sprinkle mixture over top of pasta.

Bake until pasta is heated through and browned on top, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

*Update* My little brother is serving in Afghanistan and a few months back he came home on leave. We decided to have a huge bash to celebrate his safe return and asked him what he wanted. Pork! They don’t get to eat a whole lot of that in the Middle East! So everyone made pork, something pork. I made this, but because of the time the party was, and not wanting to get up in the middle of the night to start cooking, I started the day before. It was way better. So, if you want to do it the short, still tastes good way, this unedited version will do. But try it my new way! Its much better. Now if I could only figure out a way to ship him a pot of it to enjoy before he gets home for good…


I have a very biased view on slow cookers. I hate them. I know there are people that swear up and down that they are the greatest thing since the microwave oven but I beg to differ. I have one, and have tried about 15 different slow cooker recipes and have hated almost every one of the mushy, soggy, under or over cooked disasters that resulted. I guess if you like to muddle your groceries they are great, but I am a food separatist and slow cookers go against every one of my taste bud’s beliefs. Until I found this recipe, that is.

  • 4 lb. shoulder pork roast give or take a half lb
  • any sort of dry rub
  • 3 onions (2 thinly sliced, one diced)
  • BBQ sauce, homemade or your favorite jar of store bought
  • 1.5 cups of water or beer
  • french rolls or hamburger buns

Put the dry rub on the pork. Thinly slice 2 of the onions, put one onion on the bottom of the crock pot, place in the pork shoulder, add the rest of the sliced onion.  add water or beer. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours*.

*Updated Version: Cover and cook on low for 12 hours.

When the 4 hours are up, strain pork and onions. Discard liquid. Pull pork from bone in large chunks, return meat and onions to crock pot.

Add BBQ sauce and the last onion, diced. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 more hours, stir occasionally and continue to pull the large chunks into bite sized pieces as the meat becomes more tender.*

*Updated version: Cover and cook on low for 2-4 more hours. Stir occasionally, but the large chunks will already be shredded because the meat will be much more tender. After the 2-4 hours, just keep it on warm until ready to serve.

Serve on hearty rolls or buns. Or you could go Mexican, serve with corn tortillas, beans and rice.*

*Updated version: Try on homemade buns and with fresh cole slaw!