Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

A bright spot in our allergy struggles has been that we can all eat bacon. And so we eat bacon a lot. So when I was searching for a recipe for a pork roast I had bought, and came across a bacon wrapped pork roast, I was pretty excited. Turns out, it was for good reason. The roast was awesome and I’m already plotting how long I must wait to put this on the dinner menu again. Next week too soon?? Below is the whole dinner… it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free. I cooked it all in the same oven (once it went to 425), and there were very few dishes (because I lined 2 of the pans). Hope you enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

1 pork loin roast (about 4 lbs)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp spicy mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten free)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (divided)
10-12 slice of bacon (nitrate free)

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil and place roast in it. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
2.) In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, spicy mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Pour over pork roast, making sure it is coated well.
3.) Lay bacon slices over top of roast, overlapping slightly. Tuck them under the roast. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
4.) Remove roast from oven, remove foil and baste the roast with the drippings. Turn the oven temp to 425 degrees and place the roast back in the oven. Bake for about 30 to 45 more minutes, or until internal temperature is at least 145 degrees.

Adapted from Sweet Tea and Corn Bread’s Bacon Wrapped Maple Glazed Pork Loin

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar, Bacon and Maple

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
3 slice of bacon, diced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper

1.) In a small non-stick skillet, fry the bacon until almost crispy.
2.) Place asparagus in a casserole dish, and pour bacon and bacon grease on top. Add vinegar, syrup, salt and pepper and toss.
3.) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley

1.) Place all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag and toss until potatoes are evenly coated.
2.) Pour potatoes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and make sure potatoes are in a single layer.
3.) Bake at 425 for 40 minutes

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My Thanksgiving All-Stars

I typically spend my Thanksgivings alternating between my grandma’s house and Blake’s family. And so while I haven’t hosted turkey day at my home but once or twice,  I’m usually making half a dozen sides to contribute to the meal and so I’ve acquired my favs over the years. My office also has an annual Thanksgiving lunch, and so I get another opportunity to try new recipes and perfect the tried and true.

Ever since I began eating cleaner and cutting out all the “cream of whatever” soups, I’ve been on a quest to find recipes that are just as flavorful, but truly made from scratch. So far so good. I’m still lacking a good green bean casserole, but I’ve got a couple of Pinterest ideas that I may just try next week – stay tuned.

So here’s the list… sorry don’t have pictures for all of them, but trust me, they look as good as they sound!

My Thanksgiving All-Stars:Butter and Bay Leaves Roasted Turkey (see below)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Squash casserole5

Creamed Spinach

Broccoli and blue cheese casserole2

  • Cauliflower Gratin with Gouda and Asiago (see below)

Cauliflower gratin

Mac n cheese

Green Beans

Pumpkin pie slice

  • Chocolate Pie (see below)

Recipes for some of the my unblogged dishes above:

Butter and Bay Leaves Roasted Turkey
Courtesy of my good friend, Glynis

1 turkey (any size)
2 sticks of softened butter
2 tsp salt
10 or more bay leaves

1.) Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towel and set aside.
2.) In a small bowl, mix softened butter and salt.
3.) Rub the exterior and underneath the skin with butter and salt mixture. (I suggest you wear gloves for this, and you will have to do some work to separate the skin from the bird – but do not give up!)
4.) Arrange bay leaves in a decorative pattern underneath the skin.
5.) Bake according to the size of the turkey, basting often.

Cornbread Dressing
Courtesy of my grandma

2 10-inch skillets of homemade buttermilk cornbread
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 cups diced celery
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, diced (optional)
2 tsp ground sage (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
6 to 8 cups turkey or chicken stock (enough to thoroughly moisten cornbread)
2 eggs

1.) In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat and add onion and celery. Sauté until onion is translucent. Set aside.
2.) In a large mixing bowl, crumble cornbread and add onion/celery mix, hard boiled eggs, sage, pepper, salt and stock until it is very moist (but not soupy). If you add too much liquid, you can always cook longer to dry out, but if you don’t add enough liquid your dressing will be dry! Do not add raw egg yet. Taste to make sure seasoning is good and adjust as needed. Once the taste is right, add raw egg.
3.) Pour into a greased 10″x13″ casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown (about 45 to 60 minutes).

Cauliflower Gratin with Gouda and Asiago

2 lbs (or 1 large head) cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk, warmed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded gouda
1/2 cup shredded asiago
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup seasoned panko

1.) Steam cauliflower for 5 minutes, then allow to drain in a colander for at least another 5 minutes.
2.) In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and add flour. Whisk continuously for 1 to 2 minutes and then gradually add warmed milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Continue whisking until sauce thickens.
3.) Remove pan for heat and add gouda and asiago. Stir until cheese melts.
4.) In a large bowl, combine cauliflower with cheese sauce. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with parmesan and then with panko.
5.) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until top is brown and sides are bubbly.

Chocolate Pie
Courtesy of Cooking Chef’s Grandma’s Chocolate Pie

½ c. cocoa
¼ cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix cocoa, cornstarch, beaten egg yolks; sugar and salt and vanilla, then add milk gradually, while stirring in a pot over med-high heat. Cook until thick, beating it smooth. Pour into a pre-baked pie shell (use this homemade version and bake it for 12-15 mins on 375). Put in the fridge to chill.

Shepherd’s Pie

I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl, so Shepherd’s Pie is right up my alley. I grew up eating it and have made it dozens of times, but never before like this. This is the kind of Shepherd’s Pie I’ve enjoyed at authentic Irish pubs. And while I’m not knocking what I grew up on (which was ground beef, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and cheese all served with ketchup), the Shepherd’s Pie I’ve been craving as of late is of the meat with gravy, peas and potatoes variety…. this Shepherd’s Pie.

It took me about an hour to prepare (cooking time included). I served it with drop biscuits and sliced tomatoes and it was really a great meal. The kids (and hubs) enjoyed it, and I’m thrilled to have come up with a solid go-to Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Meat Layer
1 1/3 lbs ground beef
1 stalk of celery, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
1/2 a large sweet onion, diced small
8 oz mushrooms, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
3 tbsp flour
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup frozen peas

Potato Layer
2 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (to top, not mix in)

1.) Place potatoes in a large pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.) While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When meat is almost browned, add celery, carrots, onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and continue cooking until meat is fully cooked. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir well, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add beef broth and stir again. Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and simmer for about 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in frozen peas.
3.) Once potatoes are fully cooked, drain and return to pot. Add butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper and onion powder. Use an electric mixer to whip until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add egg yolk and whip for about a minute longer.
4.) To assemble, use a deep dish pie plate and place the meat mixture in the bottom. Next add the potatoes and top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

As I mentioned, I served with drop biscuits. They are from my Chicken Pot Pie recipe, but do great on their own. I mixed them up after I put the Shepherd’s Pie in the oven, and then cooked them along side it (at 400) for about 15 minutes.

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Drop Biscuits

(Real) Lemon Pepper Chicken

Lemon pepper. Nothing too crazy. I’ve cooked with it many times, but never have I prepared chicken (or anything else for that matter) with real lemon pepper.  So last night I decided to use the zest and juice of a lemon mixed with freshly ground pepper to do the trick. It turned out great and was much more flavorful than the seasoning mix I used to use.  The co-stars of my lemon pepper chicken were lemon and garlic roasted brussel sprouts and parmesan mashed potatoes. So, so yummy. One of my co-workers was making fun of me at lunch today saying how every time I post a recipe I go on and on about how good it is. Well, my response to her is that I only post the things that (to me) are really, really good. If I can’t get excited about it, I don’t post it. Might I add that soon after being made fun of, I let her try this meal… and she loved it. So this one is double certified blog-worthy. I hope you enjoy as well.

Lemon pepper chicken

Lemon Pepper Chicken

2 lbs chicken tenderloin (or breast, but it will cook longer)
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper (or more to taste)
2 tsp dried minced onion

1.) Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and toss to mix thoroughly. Let sit for about 30 minutes.
2.) On a hot grill, cook for about 5 minutes on each side.


Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs red potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes (skin on)
3 tbsp butter
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1.) Boil potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, or about 10 to 12 minutes.
2.) Drain and place potatoes back in pot. Add butter, sour cream, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mash with a potato masher. Taste and adjust (or add) ingredients as needed.


Lemon and Garlic Brussel Sprouts

1 lb brussel sprouts, quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Preheat oven to 425. Toss all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and mix thoroughly.
2.) Place brussel sprouts in a casserole dish and bake for about 20 minutes.

Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Cornbread

Pot roast. Umm. One of my favorite fall/winter dishes. It is the epitome of a Sunday meal. This beauty cooks low and slow and fills my house with one of the best smells to come out of an oven. I used to make this with carrots and potatoes cooking along side the meat, but decided to make this with just carrots since I prefer mashed potatoes.  So I made Thanksgiving-quaility whipped potatoes so that every forkful could be a heap and potatoes and a piece of tender meat. Yum, yum, yum. And when I make a pot roast, I have to make some buttermilk cornbread. Have to. The way I eat this (it may sound weird, but just hear me out) is to put my cornbread in a bowl and pour the beef broth from the pot roast over it. I soak it. There is something about those two together that is just perfection. Enjoy!

Pot roast with mashed potatoes and carrots

Pot Roast

2 1/2 lb chuck roast
Salt, pepper, onion powder
2 tbsp oil
1 large sweet onion, cut into 8 large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups beef stock
1 tsp dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb bag of baby carrots

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Liberally season chuck roast with salt, pepper and onion powder. Heat oil in large dutch oven over high heat.
2.) Sear each side of roast. Add onions and celery to pan around meat. Deglaze the pan with beef stock. Add thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover pot and place in oven. Bake for 2 hours. Set carrots out so they are not cold when you add them later.
3.) Remove pot from the oven and add carrots. Bake for an additional 2 hours (or until carrots are done).

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Mashed Potatoes

2 to 2 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used large red)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half (plus more to achieve desired consistency)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

1.) Boil potatoes for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until you can easily insert a fork into them. Strain and return to pot.
2.) Add butter, half and half, sour cream, cheese, salt, garlic powder and pepper and whip with an electric mixer until completely smooth.
3.) Taste and add more half and half/sour cream/cheese/salt/garlic powder as needed. I rarely measure, I start by adding roughly the above amounts and then taste, and usually add a little more.

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Buttermilk Cornbread

1 3/4 cup self-rising cornmeal
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp + 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

1.) Add 2 tbsp oil to a cast iron skillet and swirl around the pan. Set oven to 450 degrees and place skillet in the oven to heat the oil as the oven preheats.
2.) In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, buttermilk, butter, vegetable oil and egg. Stir well until fully incorporated.
3.) Pour batter into hot skillet and return to oven. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
4.) Placing a plate on top of the skillet, delicately turn skillet over to transfer cornbread without breaking.

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