Ramen noodles with caramelized pork, roasted acorn squash, carrots and mushrooms


This is one of my new favorite recipes because the cost for the amount of food is very low. And it’s delicious! I love slow roasting meats, so this does take some time, but it is SO worth it.


  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder roast (or butt)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, plus more of needed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup + 2-4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or boullion)
  • 1/4 cup + 2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons thai curry paste (red or green is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, left whole – or button mushrooms, sliced (cremini, button, etc. will work)
  • 4 packs Ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
  • 4 soft boiled or fried eggs, for serving
  • Chopped carrots, sliced jalapenos, cilantro + green onions, for serving

Curry Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 1 medium acorn squash, seeded + diced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (like canola)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I use spicy curry)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


Add the pork to a large roasting dish. Pour the chicken broth, 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce (depending on your taste), 1/4 cup rice vinegar and fish sauce over the pork. Add the thai curry paste, ginger, juice of 1 lime, Chinese five spice powder, black pepper and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Place in the oven at 175 degrees and cook for 7-8 hours.

About 40 minutes before you are ready to eat, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl mix together the oil, curry powder, miso, brown sugar and a good pinch of pepper. Add the cubed squash to a greased baking sheet and pour the curry mixture over the squash. Toss well. Bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing a couple of times during cooking. You want the squash to be lightly browned and crisp.

Meanwhile, check on the pork by using a meat thermometer. When the temperature reaches about 140 degrees, remove from the oven, let the meat cool enough, and using a fork and large knife, cut the meat into cubes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame oil. Once hot, add enough pork to cover just the surface of your skillet, do not over crowd the skillet. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the pork, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, toss. Allow the pork to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir and allow the pork to continue to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes total. Remove the pork from the skillet, repeat with the remaining pork. Keep the pork warm.

Add the veggies to the same skillet used for the pork and cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Bring two pots to a boil and add the Ramen noodles in one, and the eggs in another.  Cook the noodles for about 2-3 minutes, then drain. Cook the eggs for about 8 minutes, cool and peel.

Once everything is ready, mix the noodles with the pork and veggies. Stir in some more rice vinegar, sesame oil and maybe a little sriracha or soy sauce if you have it or prefer it. Spoon the noodles on the the plate, and top with jalapenos, onions, eggs and cilantro.


Turkey lettuce wraps

Turkey lettuce wraps

I love this meal when I’m looking for a light, filling meal. You can adjust based on your serving preferences, like ground beef instead of turkey. Also, if you’re cooking for a group you can also use taco shells for those who prefer it!


  • 1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp bell pepper, minced
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 oz can tomato sauce
  • 8 large lettuce leaves from Iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar


Brown turkey in a large skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add dry seasoning and mix well. Add the onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce and cover. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

Wash and dry the lettuce. Divide the meat equally between the 8 leaves and place in the center of each leaf and top with your favorite taco toppings! I added some avocado and sriracha sauce…my faves!

My Mother’s Day weekend: recipe for pork tenderloin with apricot glaze, roasted potatoes and carrots + a trip to a local Texas winery

Mother's Day Meal

I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend at home with my mother. I wanted to do something special for her so I decided to make her favorite meal of pork and potatoes. Luckily I had Richard to help add his special touch to the recipes. The recipes made a lot of food, and it was a good thing we made a lot because a lot of the family ended up coming over, along with a few neighbors. I really think all the pieces of this meal went together perfectly, the apricot glaze went along well with the fruity salad, which were complemented by the savory potatoes. This is a meal I would definitely make again.

Also, what made the weekend so special was my visit to the Messina Hoff winery in Bryan. My mom went to a Mother’s Day lunch with my Mimi and aunt, along with a group of their friends, so Richard and I decided to explore the winery. I had always passed the sign on my way in from Dallas, but never could have imagined this little gem that was tucked way back there! Richard and I had talked about taking a tour of the Texas wineries near Fredericksburg, but thought this was a good introduction. We bought four of their wines because I had to get a bottle of white for my mom, and a spicy Zinfandel for my aunt since she just got a new grill. The red wine will go perfectly with some red meats she will cook up on there this summer. Richard also really enjoyed their Primitivo Zinfandel and bought a bottle of that. We tried three of their whites and six of their reds. I have to bring my mom back there some time!

Here are the recipes for the meal we made:

Pork tenderloin brine


  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar (we used red wine that had been open for a while and was no longer drinkable
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary

Instructions: Prepare the brine for the pork tenderloin by combining all of the above ingredients into a bowl with the pork, cover, and let sit overnight.

Pork tenderloin Pork tenderloin with bread crumbs and whole mustard seed


  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (can make your own by toasting bread that has been out for a while and crumbling up into fine bread crumbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper


Coat pork tenderloins in more of the whole grain mustard then coat in bread crumb mixture with the remaining ingredients above (the mustard helps keep the bread crumbs on it).

Apricot glaze (for the pork) Apricot glaze


  • 4 apricots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • juice of two limes

Instructions: Cook apricots in oil, then add a bit of white wine and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the lime juice and serve as a topping for the pork tenderloin.

Spring salad with grapes, melon, beets and candied pecans Grape beet and melon salad with candied pecans


  • one package of spring mix lettuce
  • 1 cup grapes, halved
  • 1 cup watermelon, diced
  • 1 cup cooked beets, diced
  • 1 cup candied pecans

Instructions: To prepare the candied pecans, mix the following ingredients so the pecans are well coated.

  • 1/4 cup butter (or 2 oz) at room temperature so it’s soft enough to blend with ingredients
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • honey
  • 2 cups pecans

Then bake in oven at 400 degrees until caramelized brown, or about 20 minutes, so they look like this:Candied pecans

For the beets, bring a pot of water to a boil, add the beets and reduce to low and let simmer for 45 minutes or until beets are fully cooked. Let them cool off before peeling and chopping for the salad. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl with the raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Salad dressing


  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Instructions: Blend the ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree, then serve over the salad.

Carrots Roasted carrots


  • 3 pounds carrots, peeled
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Toss carrots with garlic, paprika, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add to the baking pan, cover tightly with foil, and roast for 30 minutes. Uncover the roast an additional 20 minutes longer or until carrots are tender.

Potatoes Roasted potatoes with thyme and rosemary


  • 2 pounds red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Instructions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (250 degrees C). Grease a pan and turn the stove on medium-high heat. Pan fry the potatoes to sear the edges, and cooke for about a minute. You may have to do this in batches. Place potatoes in a large roasting pan and toss with more oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary until evenly coated. Spread out potatoes in a single layer. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

Here are some more photos of the flowers I got for my mom, and the Messina Hoff winery. Flowers Mother's Day Messina Hoff Wine Tasting Richard Messina Hoff Messina Hoff Vineyards Us at Messina Hoff Messina Hoff Zinfandel

Pork tenderloin with roasted acorn squash

pork and acorn squash

I had been waiting to try this acorn squash recipe, and found a good pork recipe that would help cut the sweetness of the squash. The two together paired quite well, and this is an easy meal you can make on the week night as it does not require much preparation time.

Pork serves 6-8, squash serves 3-4, but you can double the recipe to match the number of servings for the pork.



  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper, cracked
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 acorn squash, halved
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In small bowl, combine all rub ingredients well and apply to all surfaces of the pork roast. Place roast in a shallow pan and roast in the oven for 1 hour (20 minutes per pound), until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove roast from oven; let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Turn acorn squash upside down onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven until it begins to soften, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove squash from the oven and turn onto a plate so that the flesh is facing upwards. Place butter and brown sugar into the squash, and place remaining squash over the other piece. Place squash in a baking dish (so the squash won’t slide around too much) while baking.

Place squash in the 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven and bake another 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately. You can cut the halves into quarters to make 4 servings.

Quinoa “fried rice”

photo 1

Once again, I’ve neglected my blog due to other life events getting in the way! :/ A lot has happened since my last post. After coming back from Las Vegas work has kept me super busy, but then I got a week of relaxation in Mexico with Richard – all thanks to my grandparents who hosted us in their timeshare. Immediately after my vacation I moved into a new apartment with a new roomie! We’ve enjoyed cooking with each other, I just haven’t had a chance to share all the recipes.

One of the recipes I’ve made recently that really stood out to me was quinoa fried rice. I love quinoa and so I try incorporating it into my meal every week. When I saw this idea I knew I had to try it. You can really customize the recipe according to how much spice or protein you want, but I love all of the above, so I incorporated a lot of both!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Choice of protein like cooked and shredded chicken, or tofu
  • Sriracha and crushed red pepper, for serving


If using tofu, remove from package and drain water by pressing with paper towels. Shred the tofu and set aside. If using chicken, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and cook chicken breasts 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked all the way through.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add eggs and fry until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side, flipping only once. Let cool before dicing into small pieces.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

Add broccoli. Cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Add corn, peas, carrots and quinoa. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.

Add ginger and soy sauce, and gently toss to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Stir in green onions, eggs, salt, pepper and protein.

Serve immediately, drizzled with Sriracha and crushed red pepper, if desired.

Turkey and veggie skillet with mozzarella and basil

photo 5

My mother is a pretty simple person when it comes to food. She loves anything I cook for her and is not hard to please. However I am constantly looking for recipes that are meat or veggie based that she will still love as much as her pastas or scalloped potatoes 🙂 This one did just the trick. I was planning on the dish being more of a skillet dinner, but the juice from the turkey combined with the juices from the veggies made a beautiful, delicious, soup-y broth. That’s what I love about cooking. You don’t have to be so precise, and sometimes you might just surprise yourself and it may come out better than expected! It’s all about trial an error. Now go try this one out for yourself!

  • 1 package ground turkey
  • 1 small to medium zucchini, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar sweet or sunshine tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 heirloom tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil and salt and pepper
  • basil, chopped

Drizzle a little olive oil in a skillet and heat to medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until brown. Add the zucchini and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and sauce. Cook until the tomatoes are big and bursting, zucchini is tender and everything is hot, about 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and add the lid to help melt the cheese, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve with fresh basil and more salt and pepper if needed.

Holiday recipes + donation to Feeding America

Oh, how I love the holiday season! I have been blasting Christmas music (sorry neighbors), decorating and holiday shopping since before Thanksgiving. Now that we’re well into December I’m sure there is a lot on everyone’s mind, especially the thought of what you’re going to cook when the family gets together! I thought I would help you along with your planning by providing you with some of my favorite holiday recipes.

Starting with an appetizer, here’s a full menu idea (recipes below):

  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Marmalade-glazed ham
  • Goat cheese potato gratin
  • Cheesy grits souffle
  • Peanut brittle
  • Pecan-pumpkin pie

Another great tip is to make as much as you can ahead of time. And plan, plan, plan! Read your recipes a couple of days in advance to see how long each dish takes so your recipes can all come out at the same time and still be warm when you are ready to serve! Some parts can even be made the day before, or even the week before if you can freeze and store until you are ready to finish baking or cooking. You can also assign different activities to different people. I have also included a sample time-table below.

As an added bonus, the company I work for, GolinHarris, just launched their holiday site, GHoliday.com. Every time someone submits a recipe, they will donate to Feeding America. So share your favorite recipes – it’s for a great cause!

Stuffed mushrooms


  •  1 lb cremini mushrooms (small, bite sized mushrooms that are good for stuffing)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Remove the stems from the mushrooms by gently turning the stems and pulling them out. Chop the stems up and save for the next step. Chop the green onions and bell pepper. Melt the butter on the stove over medium heat in a 12 inch skillet.

Add the chopped mushroom stems, bell pepper, and onions to the skillet and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

If you want to make ahead of time, you can stop after this step and pick up with the next when you are ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use remaining butter to grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Place mushrooms, open side up, in the pan. Fill each mushroom with the mixture. Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

Total time: 30 minutes

Marmalade-glazed ham


  • 3/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 cooked, spiral-sliced, smoked bone-in half ham

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together marmalade, sugar, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and rosemary. Place ham in a 9×13 inch roasting pan. Brush the mixture all over the ham. Place in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted horizontally in the bottom portion of the ham (not touching the bone) reaches 140 degrees. Transfer to a platter and garnish with herbs and fruit if you like!

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Goat cheese potato gratin

goat cheese potatoes

  • 2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping cup soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Chives or green onions, chopped, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease an 11×7 inch baking dish.

Slice the potatoes very thinly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, garlic, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish overlapping them slightly. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes, then repeat the layers two more times with the remaining potatoes and cream.

Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the potatoes are cooked through. Allow to stand at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chives or green onions and serve.

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cheesy grits souffle


  • 6.5 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 large eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking dish.

In a saucepan, bring water, margarine, salt, and 1 1/2 cup of milk to a boil. Whisk in grits. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Whisk well, then stir in nutmeg, cayenne, remaining 1 cup milk, and the Cheddar cheese. Whisk in 3 egg yolks; discard the remaining yolks. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat all 6 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add one-third of the whites to the grits mixture and stir until blended. Fold in remaining egg whites, stir gently, then transfer to a souffle dish. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until puffed and golden brown on top.

Total time: 1 hour

Peanut brittle

peanut brittle

  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Grease a baking sheet, and set aside. In a glass bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook in microwave for 6 to 7 minutes on High (700 W); mixture should be bubbly and peanuts browned. Stir in butter and vanilla; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Quickly stir in baking soda, just until mixture is foamy. Pour immediately onto greased baking sheet. Let cool 15 minutes, or until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Total time: 30 minutes

Pecan-pumpkin pie


  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash salt
  • 2/3 cup light or dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 prepared deep dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 350°.

In small bowl, combine one egg, pumpkin, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Spread in pie crust.

In medium bowl, beat remaining two eggs slightly. Stir in corn syrup and remaining 2/3 cup sugar, the butter and vanilla; stir until well blended. Stir in pecans. Carefully spoon over pumpkin mixture.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until filling is set around edge. Cool pie completely on wire rack.

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Time table

Day before:

  • Make peanut brittle
  • Make pecan-pumpkin pie
  • Prepare the filling for the stuff mushrooms and store in the fridge over night

Day of:

  • 10:00 am Before guests arrive, set the table, set out wine glasses, etc.
  • 12:00 pm Assemble the stuffed mushroom, bake, then serve for guests
  • 12:30 pm Mise and place – Prepare the glaze for the ham
  • 12:40 pm Mise and place – Prepare the ingredients for the goat cheese potato gratin
  • 1:15 Put the ham in the oven to cook
  • 1:15 Put the potatoes in the oven to cook
  • 1:20 pm Mise and place – Prepare the ingredients for the cheesy grits souffle
  • 1:40 pm Put the souffles in the oven to bake
  • 2:30 pm Remove the ham from the oven and let rest
  • 2:30 pm Remove the potatoes from the oven
  • 2:30 Remove the souffles from the oven
  • 2:35 Serve!

I would love to hear about your favorite recipes – share them here and also on GHoliday.com!