Wednesday, October 07, 2015

#FoodieExtravaganza ~ Pork Schnitzel with a Caper Butter Sauce

Pork Schnitzel with Lemon Caper Butter

Welcome to October's reveal day for #FoodieExtravaganza! Today we are highlighting the deliciously versatile protein: pork. Our hostess this month is Lauren at From Gate To Plate. Posting day is always the first Wednesday of the month. If you are a blogger and you're interested in joining in the fun, visit us at our Facebook Foodie Extravaganza page. You can also visit our past party submissions on our Pinterest Foodie Extravaganza board .

What makes a schnitzel a schnitzel? Apparently it's the method of cooking thinly pounded meat at a fairly high temp in oil / butter to get a crisped exterior with a moist and juicy, perfectly cooked interior (read more about the history of schnitzel, the name, the traditional cooking method and traditional sides at Daring Gourmet). That is exactly what you get with this recipe. We all LOVED it. I tweaked the original recipe which calls for mushrooms to use capers instead and when tasting the sauce found the (cheap) wine taste a little off putting, but when it came together the sauce beautifully complemented the moist, tender, flavorful pork chops. My sister did a fantastic job cooking these beauties - getting dinner on the table in the evenings is definitely a group effort when you have a 2 year old in the house! Lindsey's bedtime is around 7:30pm which means dinner for her no later than 6:00 - 6:15pm, tubby around 6:30 - 6:45pm, teeth brushed, changed into pajamas, maybe a few minutes of a movie if there's time and headed to her room to read a book or two and sing her lullaby by 7:15. It's a pretty set timeline, and she really needs her routine to get a decent night of sleep (which has been an issue since she was a newborn - she is not the biggest fan of sleep). So as you can tell, all of this happens over the course of time when I would love to be settled in the kitchen whipping up something delicious. So, instead we eat really late (like 8:00pm), or I have to turn it over to my most capable sister and 16-year old kitchen assistant when it's time to get Lindsey upstairs for her bath. I'm pretty useless in the kitchen between tubby and putting her down to sleep. Every once in a blue moon we eat before she goes to bed (like on leftover nights, or Papa Johns nights!) but the rest of the time, we all eat together on the couch watching Supernatural once baby girl is down for the night. :)

See all the October Pork #FoodieExtravaganza dishes here: 
BBQ Pulled Pork with Mac and Cheese Flatbread by From Gate to Plate
Chili Verde Pork Posole by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Freezer-friendly Spicy Pork Burrito by Brunch with Joy
Healthy Sausage and Rice by Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Italian Sausage No Crust Quiche by Cookin' and Craftin'
Jamie Olivier's Pork Roast with Crackling by G'Gina's Kitchenette
Mojo Shredded Pork with Black Beans and Rice by Our Good Life
Parmesan Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin by Cooking with Carlee
Pork and Apple Pie by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Pork Chops with Spiced Apples by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Pork Meatball Mini Subs by The Freshman Cook
Pork Schnitzel by Making Miracles
Spicy Sticky Pork Ribs by Food Lust People Love
Sweet and Sour Pork by Tara's Multicultural Table
Thai Basil Meatballs with Peanut-Basil Sauce Two Ways by Caroline's Cooking
Foodie Extravaganza

Thanks for joining us this month and hope you come back to see what we're celebrating next month! 

Pork Schnitzel with a Caper Butter Sauce adapted from AllRecipes

6 boneless pork loin chops, 3/4 inch thick
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
olive oil as needed

Caper Butter Sauce
1/4 pound butter
2 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic paste
1/2 cup dry white wine plus 1 TBS, divided
2 - 3 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
3 TBS capers, drained
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

  1. Pound the pork chops with a flat meat mallet until 1/4 inch thick; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, salt, and pepper. Press the pork into the crumbs to bread thoroughly; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the 1/2 cup white wine and capers. Allow to simmer and combine for a few minutes. Add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Stir together the cornstarch and remaining TBS wine, then add to the butter sauce. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the pork cutlets a few at a time until golden brown and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve with reserved butter sauce drizzled over the top.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

#handcraftededibles ~ Apple Pie Spice Mix

In an effort to make all of her holiday gifts this year, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited some of her favorite foodie bloggers to share recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of the next twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes from libations (last week's theme) to cookie platters. Hope you'll follow along for inspiration.

Apple pie spice mix is great for so many uses - liven up pancakes and waffle mixes, add to cinnamon rolls, use in all your favorite apple dishes like pies, donuts, turnovers, fried apples, baked apples, crisps, applesauce, apple butter, muffins and more!

Package these up in pretty little mason jars with homemade labels and a ribbon (along with a few other homemade spice mixes packaged the same way), place in a little basket and you would have an adorable homemade gift idea to hand out this year!

Thanks to these gals and their sensational spice blends!
Next week, check back for our recipes for special diets; dishes that may be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, soy-free, or nut-free. Or check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

Apple Pie Spice Blend from Country Cleaver

¼ cup ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground all spice
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom

  1. Combine ingredients in a small mason jar, or other resealable container. Shake well to combine (you can increase / decrease spices to your personal tastes if desired).
  2. Use in your favorite apple dishes - from turnovers, to pie, to applesauce, fried apples, etc. 
  3. Gift suggestion: bottle in a nice glass bottle with a printed or chalk label and a ribbon wrapped around the lid.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

I really liked this recipe - it brought back many childhood memories for me since my dad used to make a lot of these types of soup dishes with leftover turkey or chicken meat. Rice, chicken, veggies, broth and low and slow cooking for a hearty, thick, creamy dish.

I doubled the recipe as written below for my large slow cooker so I'd have a big batch, with the intention of freezing half, but so far we've kept it in the refrigerator to eat and enjoy! This kind of soup is really perfect for these cooler fall days and the flavors are mild, but unique and for me - just right. That cumin gives just a little something "extra".

I found mine thickened up more than I would have liked once it cooled, so might cut the flour / milk mixture in half next time, or add additional broth if there's not enough "soup" left in your soup!

We heated up a crusty loaf of bread with butter and garlic and it was the perfect accompaniment to this tasty dish.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup adapted from Back for Seconds

6 cups chicken stock (or 6 cups water and 6 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts and / or thighs (I used a mix)
2 bay leaves
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
salt (to taste - I didn't add any)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cups long grain rice (not quick cooking rice)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
10-oz frozen peas (or 1 can peas, drained)

  1. Place chicken stock through cumin in a large crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. 
  2. Add uncooked rice. Cook for one more hour (still on low).
  3. 30 minutes before you're ready to serve, break the chicken up into desired sized chunks and mix in the frozen (or canned) peas. Combine the milk and flour in a small container, cover and shake or use a whisk to blend completely until smooth. Stir mixture evenly into soup. Cover, turn heat to high, and allow to thicken.
  4. Taste test, adjust seasonings if needed. 
Serving suggestion: serve with wedges of crusty bread.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

All-American Barbecue Sandwiches

Here is a quick and easy BBQ style sloppy joe recipe that is comforting and satisfying, and perfect alongside a fresh green salad and some corn on the cob. I had some ground beef thawed out in my refrigerator not too long ago and couldn't really make my mind up about what sounded good so I turned to trusty Pinterest. When this recipe popped up I thought we'd give it a try since we love pretty much anything BBQ, and sloppy joes too.

The ingredients are easy to tweak if you like a little more sweet, or a little more savory in your sauce mixture and I thought the amount of sauce was "just right" - not too messy, but the meat is nice and moist thanks to it's BBQ blanket. I like my sandwiches with a slice of American cheese melting over the meat, and sometimes some pickles, but most everyone agreed they don't need anything extra.

Summer might be over, but you can still enjoy a little taste of it without having to leave your kitchen! We served these with some very tasty brioche style buns from Kroger. They are amazing.

All American Barbecue Sandwiches slightly adapted from Taste of Home

2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cups chopped onions
1 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
6 - 8 hamburger buns, split

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef and onions until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender; drain off any excess grease (if desired, if there's not too much extra you can leave it).
  2. Stir in the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat through. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.
  3. Serve on buns with a slice of american or cheddar cheese if desired.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Sandwiches on Pumpkin Focaccia Bread

This was such a tasty way to enjoy some of the Pumpkin Focaccia bread I shared just yesterday. We'd had a beef roast in the refrigerator thawing for a couple days and I knew I wanted to make an au jus recipe. Well, I kind of messed that up, but it worked out really well anyway!

If you want an au jus style sandwich, make sure to remove the roast and shred the meat outside of the crockpot, on a plate or cutting board. Then strain the juices in the crock pot and you'll be all set. What I did was shred the meat IN the crock pot and it immediately soaked up over half the juice leaving me no "dipping" juices left. It wasn't a bad mistake at all though - actually a very tasty one! It made the meat very moist and juicy, and was pretty much the same idea as au jus, just without the dipping.

We all really enjoyed the way these sandwiches came out. The flavors are wonderful - and I love that the rosemary in the roast is complemented by the rosemary atop the focaccia bread to tie it all together.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Sandwiches on Pumpkin Focaccia Bread adapted from Weary Chef

2 1/2 - 3 pound beef roast
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
Wedges of Pumpkin Focaccia Bread
sliced provolone cheese (optional)


  1. In your slow cooker place the roast and sprinkle the chili powder, rosemary, garlic and onion powders, thyme, and black pepper. Next pour the soy sauce, Worcestershire and water over the top. Toss in the bay leaves, and cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
  2. Option 1 (for French Dip style sandwiches): Remove roast from slow cooker and shred meat with two forks on a cutting board, removing and discarding any remaining pieces of fat. Set shredded meat aside.
  3. Pour broth through wire mesh strainer into bowl or glass measuring cup for easier pouring.
  4. Cut bread in half lengthwise, and fill with shredded beef. If desired, place a slice of provolone on top of the meat, and heat the open sandwich under a lo-broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Assemble sandwich and serve with a dipping bowl of the au jus.
  5. Option 2 (for moister meat, but no dipping sauce): When roast is tender, remove any obvious fat and then use two forks or shredding claws to shred meat. Stir meat into sauce and allow to soak for at least 15 - 20 minutes before serving. Spoon meat onto the bottom half of the sandwich bread and drip a little extra juice over meat if desired. Top with a slice of provolone, and the top half of the bread. Place on a baking sheet into an oven preheated to 350 degrees and toast for about 5 - 8 minutes, or until bread is lightly toasted and cheese is evenly melted.

Friday, October 02, 2015

#PumpkinWeek ~ Pumpkin Focaccia Bread

Welcome to #PumpkinWeek day 5 - the very last day of this pumpkin-filled event for the year! Hosted by Terri from Love and Confections, 19 Bloggers have shared 65 pumpkin-filled recipes over the course of the past week. Be sure to catch up on all the delicious creations - from muffins to cakes, cocktails, breakfast baked goods, savory pastas and stews, and gluten-free recipes too on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

This lovely focaccia bread is the perfect accompaniment to the Pumpkin Chicken Mushroom Stew I shared the other day - or just rip of a chunk warm from the oven; I won't tell!

I just couldn't get over the beautiful color this bread resulted in, perfectly pumpkin! The sea salt and rosemary add a great touch of flavor to the bread, which is tender, chewy, and has just a hint of pumpkin flavor when you bite in. This is really the perfect bread to sop up your favorite fall stew with. You could also use it as really delicious sandwich bread - I think you could make some pretty phenomenal paninis with this stuff!

This dough involves several rises, so make sure you plan accordingly if you want to enjoy it with dinner (or do like I did, and make it the night before, then reheat in the oven the next day)!

I'm so glad I participated again this year with Pumpkin Week; I adore how versatile pumpkin is and this group gives me the chance to get out of my comfort zone and try a few new recipes that I've been drooling over! I hope you've enjoyed all the delicious pumpkin goodies that we've shared with you this past week. And hey, if you want even more Pumpkin Inspiration, check out my Pinterest board where I'm tucking away all the pumpkin recipes I'm coveting.

#PumpkinWeek Day 5 Recipes:

Pumpkin Focaccia Bread from A Dash of Sanity

1 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water (warm, 105 to 115 degrees) more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to grease bowl/pan
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 - 2 tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary, crushed
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, coarse

  1. In large bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix yeast, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup warm water until combined. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside until bubbly, about 5 - 20 minutes. Add all remaining dough ingredients, including pumpkin.
  2. Mix on low speed (number 2 on Kitchen Aid) until the dough comes together. Switch to dough hook attachment and increase speed to medium (number 4 on Kitchen Aid); continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (The original recipe calls for a full cup of water, but when I used even 3/4 cup of water I had to add quite a bit more flour to get the appropriate dough consistency, so don't add additional water until you've combined all the ingredients and then decide if it needs additional moisture based on consistency).
  3. Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat with the oil, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm, draft-free area until dough is puffy and doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. With wet hands (to prevent sticking), press dough flat onto a lightly oiled silicone baking mat atop a baking sheet. Cover dough with lightly greased or oil-sprayed plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft-free area until dough is puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. With two wet fingers, dimple risen dough. For the topping: drizzle dough with oil and sprinkle evenly with rosemary and coarse salt.
  6. Bake until focaccia bottom is golden brown and crisp, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly. Cut into desired shaped wedges and serve warm.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

#PumpkinWeek ~ Pumpkin Carrot Cake

Welcome to #PumpkinWeek day 4 (I might cry - tomorrow is the last day)! Hosted by Terri from Love and Confections, 19 Bloggers will be sharing 65 pumpkin-filled recipes over the course of the week. Be sure to come back every day to see all the delicious creations - from muffins to cakes, cocktails, breakfast baked goods, savory pastas and stews, and gluten-free recipes too. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

This cake came out so pretty! I couldn't be happier with the luscious, smooth cream cheese frosting and the tender, moist cake packed full of tasty goodies. Using a combination of homemade applesauce (the original recipe calls for oil, but considering the other ingredients I thought applesauce would sub very well in this recipe, and it did - plus I still have a couple small mason jars of the homemade stuff left in my fridge), pumpkin puree, crushed pineapples and shredded carrots results in a WONDERFULLY tender and moist cake! I had to include a picture of the frosting in progress - because a huge pile of fluffy sweet cream cheese frosting atop those beautiful cake rounds made me happy.

I think this beautiful cake would look even more stunning with the recommended coconut and walnuts to adorn it, but my sister doesn't like crunchy things in her cakes and cookies, and is not a fan of coconut - so I left them out this time around. I left the suggested amounts per the original recipe linked below; if you are a fan of texture and those flavors give them a try!

My baby taste tester gets so excited when I put things on the bench for picture taking - she comes running in from her playroom (which opens to the dining room where I take my pictures) and straight over to the bench to eyeball whatever might be getting my attention at the moment. She loved the cream cheese frosting and stole a couple little finger swipes before I finished up. She held her little frosted finger out to me and said "Taste?" Cutie patootie.

The pumpkin puree adds extra moisture, a deeper color, and a lovely little something "extra" to this fantastic carrot cake. Carrot cake is one of those things I love, love, love but have only made a handful of times during the past 17 years I've spent running my little kitchen. This recipe is definitely going in my keeper file, and I look forward to making one the next time a special occasion calls for a cake - this one is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

#PumpkinWeek Day 4 Recipes:
Pumpkin Carrot Cake from Gold Medal Flour


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated fresh carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional - I omitted)
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut (optional - I omitted)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flaked coconut (optional - I omitted)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional - I omitted)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon - whisk to combine.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs, oil and vanilla and beat until smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture on slow speed. The dough will be very thick at this point.
  4. Fold in the pineapple and pumpkin by hand until well combined. Fold in the carrots and then the nuts and coconut (if using) until just combined.
  5. Split the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the cakes are browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully turn them out onto the wire rack and allow them to cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter, cream cheese and milk on high speed until smooth. Gradually incorporate the powdered sugar until frosting is light and fluffy. Fold in the coconut and walnuts by hand if using.
  8. To frost the cake: Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Use a spatula to cover with a thick layer of frosting. Stack the other cake round on top of the frosted layer. Cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Garnish with additional walnuts, if desired.