A Royal Presentation – Pork Crown Roast with Fruited Sausage Stuffing

This beautiful Crown Roast come to us from Betty Crocker. Who would have thought it, right? I have a bucket list of recipes I’m dying to try, yet for one reason or another, haven’t. Usually, these shortfalls are a direct result of that undeniable excuse – life. Life gets in the way or circumstances prevent us from checking something off our culinary bucket list. For me, it’s been the Crown Roast. I can remember, a very long time ago, when grocery stores regularly featured a nice selection of Pork Crown Roasts around the holidays. Nowadays, you’ll be lucky to find one in your typical grocery meat counter – holidays or otherwise. Once I spied one sitting all lonely in the meat counter. I can only assume someone had ordered it, then failed to pick it up, so there it sat. Unfortunately, we were leaving town, and I really didn’t want to freeze the beautiful TALL standing roast for later use. Hubby was already bugging me about the amount of freezer space dedicated to a goose, a duck and a Capon Chicken. Heavy sigh, I walked away.

Still, this Betty Crocker sensation is on my bucket list for a Holiday Supper – perhaps a New Year’s Eve dinner or something equally spectacular. I wanted to share this recipe as I dream just a little of champagne worthy foods.

Pork Crown Roast with Fruited Sausage Stuffing
Crown Roast
1 pork crown roast, about 16 to 18 ribs (8 to 10 lb)*
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. On rack in shallow roasting pan, place pork with bone ends up. Wrap bone ends in foil to prevent excessive browning. Insert oven-proof meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of pork and does not touch bone or rest in fat. Place small heat-proof bowl or crumpled foil in the center of crown to hold its shape evenly. Do not add water.

Let Crown Roast cook for about 3 hours. While pork is roasting, prepare the stuffing.

Fruited Sausage Stuffing
1 lb bulk pork sausage
1/4 cup butter
4 medium stalks celery, chopped (2 cups)
3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
6 1/2 cups unseasoned stuffing cubes (16 oz)
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup applesauce
1 cup orange marmalade

Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking sausage apart as it cooks. Drain and set into a large bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter in the now empty skillet. Add chopped celery and onions. Saute until celery pales and onions become translucent.

Add sautéed vegetables to the sausage.

Warm chicken broth. As broth warms, add sage and poultry seasoning. Set aside.

Add stuffing cubes to sausage mixture. Add pineapple, applesauce and orange marmalade. Gently stir ingredients to combine.

Slowly add chicken broth to the stuffing mix until the desired consistency of “stuffing” is reached.

About 3 hours into roasting the Crown Roast, remove from oven. Remove the foil or bowl from the center and fill crown with stuffing mixture.  Cover stuffing with foil, return roast to oven and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

Remove foil from stuffing and return roast to oven one final time to complete cooking. Roast is done when thermometer reaches 145 degrees.

Remove roast from oven, tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let rest for 3 or 4 minutes.

To serve, transfer stuffed Crown Roast to a large serving platter. Remove foil wrapping from bones, and place paper frills on the ends of the bone. Garnish the platter with some greens and strips of orange or even peels of carrots, anything to give contrasting color.

When ready to serve, spoon out the stuffing into a bowl to pass or onto individual plates at the table, then cut roast between the ribs and serve.

Note: Any excess stuffing can be baked in a casserole dish to be served with the roast.

The Heat is On – Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas in a Salsa Verde Sauce

As many of you already know, I am a huge fan of Northern Italian/French cooking. Anything that calls for a few pounds of butter mixed with a gallon or so of heavy cream and I am there! The thing that I like about Italian/French cuisine (aside from all the creamy sauces) is the use of wine. Sip, cook, taste, sip some more. Yeah, that makes for a happy cook in the kitchen.

When it comes to non-American cooking, Hubby is a south-of-the-border kind of guy. And we aren’t talking tacos and burritos here. Oh sure, he can put away his share of both. When in comes to delicious Mexican dishes, my Mexican Roast Beef with Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce is one of his favorites, as is Spicy Sausage Pasta with Mexican Tortilla Salad and Avocado Dressing and Stuffed Pork Chops with Ancho Cornbread Stuffing. The list goes on and on.

As for sides, Hubby is a big fan of rice – Mexican Rice with Chunky Salsa and Authentic Spicy Spanish Rice are two of his favorites. A spicy hunk of meat, some rice, some beans and warm tortillas is his idea of dining heaven. Truth be told, Mexican is my second favorite style of cooking. As for Kiddo, he’s an Italian diner. (When he was five or so, he said he wanted to go to Italy and eat his way across the country!) Mexican is a close second.

Hubby’s birthday is coming up soon. Since he is a fan of most things Mexican, I’ve been shaking out a few recipes for a test drive. We’re doing a big family thing at my sister’s house and I need to make sure my final menu is composed of dishes he enjoys that also travel well.

July has brought a second heat wave to the central California valley. Yesterday we topped out at 107 – with a wind that was like standing in front of a blow-dryer (or sitting inside a convection oven). It’s too hot to be outside, too hot to even think about firing up the grill or turning on an oven. This makes test driving recipes a bit more complicated.

While the Carnitas may take a few minutes under the broiler to finish it off, the fact that it simmers all day in a crock pot keeps the kitchen (and the rest of our home) from heating up. The entire house smells spicy. I’m not sure, but I think even our neighbors can smell something good is cooking in our kitchen.

Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas in a Salsa Verde Sauce
3-4 pound pork shoulder roast, bone in
Salt and pepper
1 Orange, juiced
1 Lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons Brown sugar
1 Jar Salsa Verde
2 Tablespoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Garlic powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Dried Ancho Chili Pod (see note)
1/2 Tablespoon Chipotle Seasoning or to taste (Optional)

  • Note: The dried Ancho Chili Pod will soften as it stews slowly with the pork roast. You can choose to discard pod at the end of cooking, or core and finely chop the soft chili pod, then add it to the shredded pork just before roasting under the broiler. While the pepper will add a little heat, the flavor it brings to the party is wonderful.

Season pork roast well with salt and pepper. Place in a slow cooker set on HIGH. (Set pot for LOW if using cubed hunks of pork).

Cut orange in half, squeeze juice into a medium size bowl.

Place lime in the micro wave and zap for about 10 seconds, just to get the juices flowing. Slice lime in half and squeeze juice into the bowl with orange juice.

Add brown sugar to citrus juices, mix to form a thick paste.

Add Salsa Verde and minced garlic to the citrus/brown sugar mixture.

Season with cumin and garlic powder. Whisk to blend well.

Pour sauce over pork in crock pot. Place dried Ancho Chili Pod on top of pork. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 6 hours.

When pork is fork-tender and cooked through, spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Lift the pork from the pot onto the prepared baking sheet.

With a sharp knife, cut meat away from the bone. Once most of the bone is exposed, wiggle it from the meat.

Cut the pork into small chunks, then shred most of it with a fork or by hand. If using, add chopped Ancho Pepper to the pork, mashing it well into the meat. Spread the pork evenly on baking sheet. Sprinkle with chipotle seasoning as desired. Drizzle most of the cooking liquid over shredded meat.

Place pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until everything is sizzling hot and a little browned.

Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas. Spicy rice, Super Easy Refried Beans make nice sides. For added color, consider a cold, crisp cucumber and tomato salad.

  • While most Pork Carnitas recipes call for a boneless pork roast to be cut into cubes before cooking, mine uses a bone-in roast cooked whole in a slow cooker set to HIGH. The boneless variety is easy to shred, while the bone-in roast takes more work to render the final Carnitas. However, the bone adds a wonderful, rich flavor to the dish that the boneless pork lacks. You can substitute a boneless roast if you like. Simply cube the pork into 3-inch chunks and cook on LOW in your crock pot. Then remove the chunks of meat with a slotted spoon and shred as you would the bone-in roast.
  • Carnitas can be cooked a day in advance. Simply store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container with the Salsa Verde sauce. About 30 minutes before serving, warm everything in a covered casserole dish in 400 degree oven. Carnitas made a day ahead will make for an awesome pork taco filling. Or eaten with flour tortillas. Either way, this well-seasoned pork is delicious.

Herb Rubbed Italian Pork Roast Packed with Flavor

This recipe was inspired by Italy’s popular Porchetta – a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast originating in central Italy. Unlike the “authentic” Porchetta, the fatty pork roast is replaced by a leaner cut, the tenderloin. While it will not develop the same brown crust of the fatty pork butt traditionally used throughout Italy, the leaner tenderloin is still well-spiced and delicious.

During public displays or holidays, sliced pork is typically served as a panino, (a sandwich made with breads other than sliced bread such as baguette, ciabatta or michette). The bread is sliced horizontally, filled with shredded hunks of the pork roast and topped with baby spinach. It is then warmed using a pressing grill (commonly known as a Panini). In Rome, the pork roast is shredded and used as a filling for pizza. The roast pork is also popular in homes, served with green vegetables and warm Italian rolls, or as a flavorful dish for the picnic basket. With all the herbs and seasonings, the roast takes on an almost “spicy” flavor. When sliced, the roast tends to shred naturally, lending easily to a “pulled” Panini sandwich.

In our house, this flavorful, well seasoned pork roast is a wonderful Sunday supper. The prep time is about 15 minutes, with an hour and a quarter cooking window. This gives the family cook plenty of “down” time to prepare other foods or simply relax with the family. Often we serve this with Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli and a simple pasta or rice dish such as long grain and wild rice (a post for another day).

Italian Roast Pork
The Roast –
3 lb Pork Tenderloin roast
5 or 6 basil leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pork Tenderloin weighing more than about a pound is often two loins packaged together, If that is the case with your loin, that’s okay. Simply open the meat as you would a bread bun, turning the top over and exposing the flat interior. Proceed with the “stuffing” and rubbing steps below.

If the meat is not split, that’s okay too. Lay the pork roast in front of you horizontally. Cut the roast horizontally, starting on a long side, stopping 3/4″ from the other side. Don’t cut all of the way through. Lay meat open on your cutting board.

Spread chopped fresh basil down one side of the tenderloin. Season with salt. Set aside.

The Rub –
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon garlic salt
2 Teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried Rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons garlic powder

In a small bowl, place herbs and spices together. Using your fingertips, work the rub into a nice blend.

Sprinkle half of the herb/spice mixture over the basil. Press gently into the meat.

Return meat to its original shape and rub outside of roast with second half of seasoning blend. Using kitchen string, tie roast back together securely every inch or so.

The Roasting Pan –
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons liquid smoke

Pour 3/4 cup water and liquid smoke into a rimmed baking pan. Place a V-rack in the middle of the pan, with roast snugly tucked into the rack. Cover everything tightly with foil.

Roast in preheated oven for about an hour and a quarter, or until cooked through. Uncover roast and let brown for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. (If desired during the browning period, drape with a few strips of bacon to lend a more authentic, fatty flavor to the roast).

Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice as you would a pork roast. If desired, drizzle sliced roast with pan drippings.

Italian Roast Pork (2)

Italian Pork Roast, Herb-Garlic Broccoli and Long Grain-Wild Rice.


Stuffed Pork Chops with Ancho Cornbread Stuffing

One beautiful Saturday afternoon, while strolling down the meat section of my local market, I saw the most awesome thick cut pork chops I had ever seen. These babies had to be nearly 2 inches thick, with a nicely trimmed fat edge on one side and a bone on the other. There were three of these beautiful chops in a package, market for “special” pricing. I can only surmise that a customer had ordered the extra-thick pork chops and then for whatever reason, decided against the purchase after the meat was cut.

Naturally, I could not resist – Hubby, Kiddo and I – three chops were the perfect number for our little family. We carefully packaged the chops for the freezer and there they sat until I could figure out just what to do with them.

I have a great recipe for pork chops baked on top of a spicy cornbread stuffing. It didn’t take long to realize how easily my recipe for Mexican Pork Chops with Ancho Chile Cornbread Stuffing could be adapted to create beautiful “stuffed” pork chops. I could hardly wait – yet wait we had to do. First there was Father’s Day with all the grilling, then came the heat wave, when no one dared to turn on an oven. Finally, the day came and I was ready to give stuffed pork chops a try.

Only a few minor adjustments needed to be made to my Mexican Pork Chop recipe. The pan used to sear the chops went from a non-stick skillet to an oven-safe grill pan. The casserole dish was done away with completely  – which was fine – less cleanup. The oven temperature was kicked up just a little. And the bake time needed to be monitored. After all, these were some mighty thick chops. As it turned out, with the increase in oven temperature, the thick stuffed chops cooked up in about the same amount of time as the original pork chop recipe. Not bad for “guessing”, especially timing the half-way point. This adaptation worked out well. Having never stuffed a pork chops, it was all guess-work. How hard could it be? Make stuffing, cut pockets in chops, stuff, close, sear and bake. Seemed simple enough. I am thrilled to say it was simple and so delicious!

While we only had three chops to stuff, the stuffing mixture could have easily accommodated a fourth pork chop. No need to adjust the recipe.

Stuffed Pork Chops with Ancho Cornbread Stuffing
1 Dried Ancho Chile*
Boiling Water
Chicken Stock as needed
2 Tablespoons Butter
½ Cup Onion, chopped
½ Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
3 Cups Cornbread Stuffing Mix (1 box Stove Top)
4 Bone-in Pork Chops, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper To Taste

Note: If you can’t find the Ancho Chili, use 2 teaspoons Ancho Chili powder and a pinch of red pepper flakes instead.

Butterfly pork chops from fat side to bone, creating a large “pocket” for the stuffing. To butterfly, place pork chops on a cutting board, bone side down, meat side up. Starting at the thickens part, closest to the “top” of the chop, slice down to the bone. Follow the bone the length of the chop, then press open. The bone should be exposed. Close chops until ready to stuff. Season chops with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Remove stem and most of the seeds from chili. Place chili in a small bowl, add just enough boiling water to cover chili. Let stand 10 minutes or until chili is softened. Remove chili from water, reserve water. Finely chop chili.

Heat oven to 375-degrees.

Spray a grilling pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place on burner over medium heat – you want the pan sizzling hot.

Dump cornbread stuffing into a large bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, chopped chili and bell pepper, cook and stir 2 minutes.  Add to the stuffing mix.

To reserved chili water add enough chicken stock to make 1 cup of liquid. Add liquid to stuffing mixture; mix well.

Spoon stuffing into prepared pork chops. Fill as much as possible without over stuffing. Pull chops closed and secure with toothpicks.

Grill chops in hot pan, about 5 minutes to create nice grill marks and sear outside. Gently turn chops over and sear other side.

Add about 1/3 cup of chicken stock to pan to create a “steaming” liquid. Cover pan well with foil and place in the oven.

Cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, check for doneness – you want the chops to be at about the half-way point. Turn chops over, add a little more chicken stock if necessary. Cover with foil and return to oven.

Continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until pork chops are cooked through.

To serve, plate chops on individual plates over a bed of skillet corn. Drizzle chops with pan drippings and serve.

Colorful Mexican Pepper Skillet Corn
1 Can Corn, drained
1/4 Cup Bell Pepper, chopped (red or orange)
2 tablespoons Jalapeño Pepper, chopped
2 Tablespoons Butter

Drain canned corn and place in a small bowl.

Core and chop bell pepper. (Baby peppers will work fine, adding a rainbow of color). Add chopped bell pepper to the bowl with the corn.

For the Jalapeño Peppers, either Nacho Jalapeño Peppers or whole roasted peppers can be used. Including the seeds will increase heat. If less heat is desired, use a fresh pepper, core and discard seeds before proceeding.

Chop Jalapeño Peppers and toss with corn mixture.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to foam. Add corn mixture sauté until heated through, about 6 minutes.




Super Awesome Chorizo-Bean Burritos with a Spicy Spread

I love Chorizo. I love it with scrambled eggs, in rice dishes, as a filler for everything from Omelettes to Tacos. I’ve share several recipes utilizing Chorizo meat as a filler for Burritos. (Grilled Spicy Chorizo-Bean Burrito Supreme and Grilled Beef and Chorizo Spicy Burritos are two of our favorite). Recently, I wanted to make my Chorizo-Bean Burritos, but with even more “kick”. That’s when I remembered a spread that I’ve used with Grilled Cheese Quesadillas that rocks. It’s a mixture of mayonnaise and spices that is so easy to make and really kicks things up a few degrees.

All I can say is oh wow! If (and that’s a big if) you happen to have a burrito or two left over, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and stick em in the fridge. These warm up nicely in the microwave for a great lunch the next day. If you wanted to, you could make up a batch of these burritos on the weekend to enjoy on the go later in the week.

Super Awesome Spicy Chorizo-Bean Burritos a Spicy Spread
Ingredients – Chorizo-Bean Filling
1 lb Chorizo, bulk
1 Can Refried Beans

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook chorizo meat, breaking it into small pieces as it browns (like ground beef). Once the chorizo is cooked through, lower heat and add 1 can spicy refried beans. Stir well to blend and heat through.

Note: Only use good quality, bulk Chorizo. The best Chorizo meat can be found at a good Latin Market with a meat counter. If you have the time, make your own Chorizo Meat several days in advance. (See my recipe Home-Made Chorizo Tacos – Oh My! for details).

Ingredients – Spicy Spread
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
2 Teaspoons minced Jalapenos
2 Teaspoons Jalapeno Juice, from jalapeno jar
¾ Teaspoon Sugar
½ Teaspoon Cumin
½ Teaspoon Paprika
Pinch or 2 Cayenne Pepper
Pinch or 2 Garlic Powder
Dash of Sea Salt

Combine sauce ingredients and stir until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: This spicy spread is best when allowed to meld the flavors for several hours before using.

Ingredients – Burrito Filling
1 Cup Nacho Cheese Sauce
2 large tomatoes, diced
6 Flour Tortillas, Burrito Size
Cooking Spray, as needed

Spray cooking spray on a flat griddle pan over medium heat. Place a tortilla on griddle and spray side up with additional cooking spray. Heat through until tortilla is warm and pliable, about 30 seconds per side. As tortillas warm, stack on a plate for assembly. Repeat until all the tortillas are warm.

To Assemble: Spread about 1 tablespoon Spicy Spread over one side of the tortilla. Spread a line of Nacho Cheese down the tortillas, about 1 inch from the edge. Spoon some chorizo-bean mixture over cheese. Top chorizo mixture with some diced tomatoes.

Fold tortilla over filling, tuck under and fold in ends. (Creating an envelope to hold filling). Roll/fold into a burrito. Place on the griddle to grill. Repeat with next tortilla. When ready to place on griddle, turn first burrito over to grill other side. Repeat with third burrito. Remove first, turn second and place third. This is a nice, steady rhythm of fill, grill, roll, remove.

If desired, serve with Mexican Rice or Spicy Spanish Rice  and enjoy.

Sweet Sassy Caramelized Apple-Onion Pork Chops

Pork – the other white meat. We sure do love our pork – especially chops and roasts. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to serve up pork chops. Some of my favorite recipes have got to be Simply Pork Chops with Country Gravy or Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish. As a kid, it seemed we had our pork chops one of two ways – either barbecued or Filipino-American Adobo Style. Now that I’ve been puttering about in the kitchen more years than I care to admit, I adore pork chops just about any way you can think of – from the smokey pleasures of the American-Grilled to the exotic flavors of the Orient.

These yummy, sweet yet sassy center cut chops are no exception. The sweetness of the apple and the sassy bite of the onion make a winning combination. Couple this with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and everything melds so beautifully. Given the sweet, fruity flavor of the chops, this dish is best served with an equally flavorful side dish such as rice pilaf. A green vegetable such as Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli or Stewed Green Beans French Style will round out the plate beautifully.

All I can say is get ready for some impressively good eats!

Caramelized Apple-Onion Pork Chops
6 center cut pork chops, 3/4″ thick
4 Honeycrisp apples
1/2 white onion
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon. ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh ground black Pepper to taste
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, core and slice apples into wedges. Set aside.

Peel onion. Cut in half. From half the onion cut slivers about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide. Toss with apples and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.

Lightly rub pork chops with olive oil and then generously season both sides with salt and pepper. Place pork chops in the hot pan and get a nice sear on both sides, about 3 or 4 minutes per side. While chops are browning, in a small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside until ready to use.

Place seared pork chops in a 13″×9″ baking dish. Set aside. To the now empty skillet, melt butter. Once the butter begins to foam, add brown sugar mixture. Stir constantly until brown sugar melts into the butter. Add apple and onion mixture. Heat over medium heat. Spoon brown sugar sauce over apples and continue to cook, stirring every few minutes, until apples and onions have softened.

Pour apple mixture with brown sugar over pork chops. Spread evenly until all the chops are covered. Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil and continue to bake for about 10 minutes longer or until pork is tender and cooked through.

To serve, place pork chops on individual plates.  Top with some of the apples and onions, then drizzle sauce over everything.

Serve with Rice Pilaf and green beans for a wonderful supper.

Old-Fashioned Glazed Ham – Not Just for the Holidays

Last week was Easter. Instead of serving up the traditional Ham Dinner, my family enjoyed an Easter Brunch with all sorts of yummy “breakfast” foods. It turned out wonderfully. The food was great and the company awesome. After all, it isn’t what you eat but that family gather to break bread and enjoy one another whenever possible. In this day and age, that is easier said than done. Which is why holidays are so special.

In the days leading up to Easter, I noticed a trend on my blog – most visitors were checking out my recipe for Creamy-Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes. When I mentioned this trend to Hubby, he commented that my Au Gratin Potatoes were a favorite with him, especially as part of a Ham Dinner. Hum, who said you needed to wait until the Holidays for a great Ham Dinner? Who said Ham Dinners are reserved for Sundays? So this weekend, on a Saturday, with just my guys at the table, I made a supper fit for the Holidays.

It was great for a number of reasons. Not only was the food delicious, but we lingered together at the table. It wasn’t until we started clearing the table that I noticed we had spent over an hour sitting together, laughing, talking and just taking our time. Now that’s what family suppers should be about – the company you keep. It was magical.

Now you can make this ham with a honey ham, but I prefer the salty, smokey flavor of a smoked ham. Ours was large – 12 pounds – with the bone-in (great for soup later or to add to a pot of beans), and a thick layer of fat. Rather than trim the fat, I scored it diamond-cut and let the fat melt away during the cooking/warming. This helped to keep the ham nice and moist while adding a wonderful flavor.

Old-Fashioned Glazed Ham
1 Smoked Bone-in or Spiral Cut Ham (10 to 12 lbs with bone)
1 20-ounce can pineapple slices, juice reserved
15 to 20 whole cloves (optional) or toothpicks
1 small jar maraschino cherries
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Preheat the oven as directed on the ham package and follow the instructions for warming the ham.

The goal is to reheat the ham without drying it out. The best way to do this is to place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Add water to the bottom of the pan and cover the whole thing tightly with foil. Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and just enough of the reserved pineapple juice to make a thick glaze.  Set aside until ready to use.

About 30 minutes before serving, remove ham from the oven. Unwrap the ham and apply the glaze. (If desired, trim the fat from the meat). Decoratively arrange pineapple rings with a cherry in the center of each ring around the ham. Secure rings/cherries with whole cloves, if using, or wooden toothpicks. (I prefer the toothpick method).  Increase the heat to 400 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes longer until the glaze thick and sticky.

When ham is heated through, transfer to cutting board. Remove pineapples and cherries, set aside. Slice ham for serving and arrange fruit on platter for a “pretty” look.

Grilled Spicy Chorizo-Bean Burrito Supreme


A little while back, while Hubby was out-of-town on business, I enjoyed a good old-fashion sleep-over with a good friend of mine from work. We talked all night, went for coffee and pastries in the mornings and just had a great time.  For dinner one night, we picked up some Mexican food (tacos and refried beans) from a little strip-mall taco shop. One of the best things about the refried beans is that it contained chorizo – adding both texture and flavor to the beans. Since then, I’ve made it a point whenever possible to throw a little chorizo into my refried pinto beans.

I’ve made Grilled Beef and Chorizo Spicy Burritos and on meatless Fridays, plain bean burritos. Then it occurred to me – combine the Chorizo and Refried Beans to make a spicy Chorizo-Bean Burrito. They were quick, easy and very tasty. My guys gobbled ’em up. Served with Mexican Rice with Chunky Salsa for a complete, satisfying supper that will take no time to prepare, perfect for busy week nights. Maybe a simple salad of green-leaf lettuce and tomato wedges just to round things out.

For a little extra “kick”, refried beans containing jalapeno peppers will do the trick.

Grilled Spicy Chorizo-Bean Burrito Supreme
1 lb Chorizo, bulk
1 Can Refried Beans
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced
6 Flour Tortillas, Burrito Size
Cooking Spray

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook chorizo meat, breaking it into small pieces as it browns (like ground beef). Once the chorizo is cooked through, lower heat and add 1 can spicy refried beans. Stir well to blend and heat through.

Spray cooking spray on a flat griddle pan over medium heat. Place a tortilla on griddle and spray side up with additional cooking spray. Heat through until tortilla is warm and pliable, about 30 seconds per side. As tortillas warm, stack on a plate for assembly. Repeat until all the tortillas are warm.

Spread about 1 tablespoon sour cream over one side of the tortilla. Sprinkle a line of cheese down the tortillas, about 1 inch from the edge. Spoon some chorizo-bean mixture over cheese. Top chorizo mixture with some diced tomatoes. Fold tortilla over filling, tuck under and fold in ends. (Creating an envelope to hold filling). Roll/fold into a burrito. Place on the griddle to grill. Repeat with next tortilla. When ready to place on griddle, turn first burrito over to grill other side. Repeat with third burrito. Remove first, turn second and place third. This is a nice, steady rhythm of fill, grill, roll, remove.

If desired, serve with Mexican or Spanish Rice and enjoy.

Saucy Potato Pork Chops with Tarragon

Made a few changes to a family favorite that I’d love to share.

Rosemarie's Kitchen

March 2014, three months into my “blogging career”, I shared a recipe born out of necessity. Thinking I had Cream of Mushroom Soup in the pantry, I had planned to make Pork Chops with a Cream of Mushroom Soup sauce. Turned out, what was in the pantry was a can of Cream of Potato Soup. Oh well, what the heck – you never know until you try it, right? The Pork Chops were delicious! And the addition of Tarragon simply elevated the whole dish, bringing an interesting level of sophistication to an otherwise simple dish. (By the way, the sauce is great over Mashed Potatoes!).

It’s been a few years since I’ve last shared what I consider a nice, simply recipe. Way back in March 2014 this gem of a recipe received almost no attention. Personally, I think it’s worth a second look. Here’s to hoping you agree . …

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San Francisco Pork Chops

My favorite city in the world is San Francisco. I’m not big on cities in general, but if I had to pick just one place, it would be San Francisco. The first time I heard the lyrics “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear a flower in your hair” was on a school bus, driving through the Haight. Beautiful flower children stopped our bus, handing out flowers and beads while the radio played the 1967 hit by Scott McKenzie.

I have always had fond memories of San Francisco. Fog horns and big ocean liners. The cry of sea gulls. Waves crashing against jagged rocks. But it was at that moment, way back when , that my heart was forever stolen by the city by the bay.

As a teenager, and into my early twenties, I loved to head to the city. Walk along Fisherman’s Wharf (back then, pier 39 with all its tourist traps did not exist), pick up a warm loaf of fresh sourdough bread, jug of wine and steamed crab. Build a fire on the beach to keep warm (the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco – famous words NOT uttered by Mark Twain), sip the wine, eat the bread and suck down the crab meat. Life was so simple.


I remember many moons ago, Hubby and I had a romantic Valentine’s Day Weekend in San Francisco. We stayed at the Sir Francis Drake. It’s one of those old hotels. We had a fire escape just outside our sitting room window. I climbed out onto the landing and sat for the longest time, eyes closed, listening to the rhythm of the city. The clanging and banging and sirens seemed a strangely beautiful symphony to my ears. Hubby thought I was nuts. All he could hear was the noise of a city and not the rhythm of its beating heart.

San Francisco Pork Chops
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (3/4 inch-thick) boneless pork chops, trimmed
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Green Onions for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown chops in hot oil, about 5 minutes per side; remove pork to a plate, reserving oil in skillet.

Cook and stir garlic in reserved drippings until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, dissolving brown sugar. Return pork chops to skillet and pour soy sauce mixture over the chops. Bring sauce to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to low. Simmer chops until tender, 30 to 35 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.

Transfer chops to a serving platter and keep warm. Whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth; stir into pan juices and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Cut pork chops into 1-inch or so thick slices for serving. Spoon sauce over chops and garnish with green onions just before serving.