#FoodieExtravaganza: Pork


It’s the first Wednesday of the month (OCTOBER – what?!?!) and that means it’s time to celebrate some foodie fun! Specifically, National Pork Month. (Ironically, it’s also Vegetarian Awareness Month…) Thank you Lauren, host of From Gate to Plate, for hosting our piggy party today!

The Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient or theme into recipes to share. 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.

I am sharing a recipe that actually fits two of national food month themes – pork and apples! Quite a classic combination, it only makes sense they share a month, too.

A few years ago – four maybe? – my brother gave me Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen for my birthdayI’ve already shared his Poppy Seed Muffin recipe from this cookbook. This recipe is the very first recipe I made from Tyler’s cookbook, I actually used chicken breasts instead of pork and pumpkin pie spice instead of the mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, and clove because I didn’t have two of those ingredients at the time. According to my notes (it’s surprising I took notes years before this blog was even an inkling) I also had to roast the chicken at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. But, today, I’m sharing the version I made more recently – with pork.

Pork Chops with Spiced Apples

Ingredients for pork chops:

  • 1 gal water
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C sea salt
  • 1 C frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 4 1″ thick, bone-in pork chops

Ingredients for Apples:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 C dried cherries (or raisins, cranberries, or currants)
  • 3/4 C frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of cardamom
  • pinch of ground mustard


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the pork chops, except the pork, in a large pot. Stir until sugar and salt is dissolved. Add the chops, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Note: Do not brine longer than that.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Remove pork from the brine and pat dry. Season with S+P. Sear pork chops 4 minutes on each side in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (Do this in batches if needed.) Place pork in a casserole dish and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F is reached.
  4. Melt the butter in a clean skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and thyme. Cook for 8 minutes. Add the dried cherries, apple juice concentrate, sugar, and spices. Season with S+P. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Stir often, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  5. Serve apples over the pork chops.

*This recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen*

Pork Chops with Spiced Apples for #FoodieExtravaganza from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out the rest of these pork recipes:

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 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

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Smoked Sausage and Brussels Sprouts Soup

It’s October and that means the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are getting cooler. Menus are starting to transform from bright and light salads to warm and hearty soups.

While everyone is already amped up on pumpkin everything, it’s still fairly warm in some areas and they’re just not yet feeling the Fall love. Instead, I am starting the season off with a good transitional soup. Smokiness from the sausage and paprika flavors the broth and the Brussels sprouts add heartiness without heaviness. (Did you know Brussels sprouts are at their peak in October?)

Smoked Sausage and Brussels Sprouts Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz smoked pork sausage, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 5 C chicken stock
  • 2 C diced Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tsp paprika


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute sausage until caramelized on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. In the same Dutch oven, cook the onion until tender. Season with S+P. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until they start to brown. Add the garlic and cook another 1 minute, stirring.
  3. Add the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot. Add the potatoes, paprika, and S+P. Bring soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Return the sausage to the soup and serve.

*This recipe is modified from Ali at http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/creamy-chorizo-and-brussels-sprouts-soup-recipe/*

Smoked Sausage & Brussels Sprouts Soup | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Paprika Pork Tenderloin

When I made the baked beans for yesterday’s #SundaySupper post I needed the perfect entree to serve them alongside. I went deep into the archives (over four years ago) to a favorite I used to make often back in the days before the blog. This pork tenderloin is inspired by something Bobby Flay made on his Food Network show Barbecue Addiction.

On the show Bobby used a 4lb rack of pork and put it in a brine for 12 hours. He then made a rub and grilled it. He also made a barbecue sauce. I altered this. I used a 2lb pork tenderloin, omitted the brining part of the prep, adjusted the rub, and baked it in the oven after a sear. I did make the barbecue sauce though!

When I made this pork last week we got to take advantage of the cast iron skillet – which saved us one dirty dish – woohoo! I also no longer had fennel seeds, but they weren’t missed.

Corn on the cob makes a perfect side to accompany this pork when it’s in season. As do sweet potato fries. And of course, some Whiskey Bacon Baked Beans!

Paprika Pork Tenderloin


  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1-2 tbsp canola oil


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl combine all of the spices. Rub mixture over the pork.
  3. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot sear the pork on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side to create a crust.
  4. Transfer skillet to the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. (An internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F) Let pork rest 5 minutes before serving.

Note: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet or another oven save skillet simply transfer the pork loin to a lightly greased casserole dish.

Paprika Pork

Sherry Paprika Barbecue Sauce


  • 1 C ketchup
  • 1 C cooking sherry
  • 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp mustard (I used El Diablo Texas Chili)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp paprika


  1. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to reduce and thicken to desired consistency.

Slow Cooker Pork and Potatoes

Yesterday I discovered yet another new reason to love the slow cooker! I didn’t think I could appreciate this kitchen appliance more, but turns out, it was/is possible.

I am very excited that I have the opportunity to stay home and raise my son. I feel very lucky and blessed that my husband is supportive of my decision and that together we can make it work. I absolutely love being able to see my son changing every day. Even the bad days are good. All it takes is one little smile to melt my heart and remind me that I made the right decision for our family.

When I was working I loved the slow cooker so that I wouldn’t have to prepare dinner when I got home. As much as I love to cook and be in the kitchen, after a stressful day at the office sometimes standing at the stove would be the last thing I wanted to do.

IMG_2748Now that I’m home during the day I feel like the slow cooker possibilities have multiplied! Have you noticed that there aren’t too many recipes that cook for more than 8 hours?! But now! Now I can cook something on high if I can’t get into the kitchen until later in the day!

Sure that’s all sunshine and daisies, but the real new reason I love my slow cooker is that while Stuart was at CrossFit instead of getting dinner going, I was able to sit on the couch and watch Chopped while my little man slept in my lap after a feeding. I didn’t have to play the dangerous game of putting him down in the hopes he didn’t wake up to get into the kitchen. These are the moments I live for.

Slow Cooker Pork and Potatoes


  • 4 gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 C cooking sherry
  • 1/4 C Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 pork chops (I used boneless pork tenderloin chops)


  1. Place potatoes in the slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl whisk together soup, sherry, mustard, paprika, Italian seasoning, and S+P. Pour over potatoes.
  3. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with S+P and sear on both sides for a couple minutes. Place on top of potatoes. Cook on high 3 hours or low 6 to 8 hours.

*This recipe is adapted from Laura at http://www.thecookingphotographer.com/2011/10/slow-cooker-pork-chops-in-dijon-paprika.html *

Slow Cooker Pork and Potatoes

Creamy Chorizo Pasta

L&K visit

Before we left Florida, my brother and his fiance came to visit so they could meet my little man when he was 3 weeks old. My brother used to have a fear of holding babies. The man (can I just say that’s weird to say, he’s my little brother!) that came over showed no fear, had no hesitation, and had no intention of ever putting his nephew down. I was sure that as soon as Wesley started to cry he’d be hastily handed back to me, instead Louie walked around, bounced him, talked to him, and climbed up and down the stairs. He’s a natural!

When you’re about to move the last thing you want to do is make a big grocery trip. Our last couple weeks’ dinners in Florida where comprised of whatever we could scrounge up at the house and eating out. Because we had company, I wanted whatever I made to not only use what I had in the fridge, but also be delicious. The Creamy Chorizo Pasta dish that resulted was a hit by all.

An Original Recipe

Creamy Chorizo Pasta


  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1/2 lb Mexican chorizo
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 2 C chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3/4 C heavy cream


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat brown chorizo, breaking up into bits. Add the shallots and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Toss gently.
  3. Strain any fat, if desired, before adding in the heavy cream. Let sauce come to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and let thicken to desired consistency. Add the cooked spaghetti and coat in the sauce.

Creamy Chorizo Pasta

Red and Blue Berry Sauce

Our first night home with Wesley we were welcomed by our parents and Stuart’s sister with a beautiful home cooked dinner of mashed potatoes, asparagus, and pork chops. My mom made her mashed potatoes, Stuart’s mom made the vegetables, the dads grilled the pork chops, and Audrey made a beautiful berry sauce to put atop the pork. It was a wonderful dinner to celebrate the birth of our first son and the first grandchild on both sides of the family.

Red and Blue Berry Sauce


  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 C white wine
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 C blueberries
  • 2/3 C raspberries
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp honey


  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring shallots, wine, vinegar, thyme, and cinnamon to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, or until reduced by more than half.
  2. Add berries, butter, and honey. Cook 2-4 minutes.

*This recipe is modified from Melissa at http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/12604/salmon-with-agrodolce-blueberries.html*

Red and Blue Berry Sauce

Grilled Pork and Pineapple

Before the summer disappears and the weather gets too cold for grilling you have to give this recipe a try! This dinner is ready in under 20 minutes and according to Better Homes and Gardens is under 320 Calories with only 7 grams of fat. So before you’re switching your menu to comfort foods, enjoy this summer meal.

Grilled Pork and Pineapple


  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into rings
  • 1/2 C yogurt
  • 3 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1/4 C cashews


  1. Season pork with S+P. Grill pork over medium heat for four minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  2. Grill pineapple.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and marmalade.

*This recipe is adapted from http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pork/grilled-pork-and-pineapple/*

Grilled Pork and Pineapple

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies

After a month of quilting posts it’s time for the return of Mexican Monday.

This dinner was the first dinner I made after having my son. My mom was back for two weeks to help out and spend lots of time with her first grandchild, and then we had friends make dinner for us, and I had a couple freezer friendly slow cooker dishes prepared.

It may have been a little ambitious to tackle something this time consuming, but my husband was home and able to help keep our son satisfied. I was able to make the dough and get the sweet potatoes in the oven before needing to feed Wesley. And while he was napping I cooked up the chorizo. Later in the day, after the dough had chilled I started assembling the hand pies. I did have to swap out with Stuart so Wesley could eat – and I am thankful for his help in assembling!

The original recipe suggested using a 5-6″ round cookie cutter and folding the hand pies in half moons. I don’t have a round cookie cutter, so I used a glass – which I do with pierogi. But because there’s more filling in these hand pies than in my pierogi, I wasn’t able to fold them into half moons. So I created full circle hand pies by placing another circle of dough on top of the filling. (Good thing I doubled the recipe!)

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies 1

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies


  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided use
  • 2 sticks butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 lb chorizo
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 egg


  1. Make the pie crust: In a food processor pulse together the flour and 1 tsp salt. Add in the cubed, cold butter and pulse until it becomes crumbly. Stream in the cold water until the dough comes together around the blade. Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill in fridge at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Poke holes with a fork in the sweet potatoes. Place in oven and bake 40-50 minutes, until soft. Remove and place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until cool enough to touch. Peel away the skin and mash potatoes. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.
  4. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown chorizo. Breaking up with a wooden spoon. When cooked through, drain fat and set aside.
  5. Make egg wash by beating the egg with 1 tsp water.
  6. Roll out dough on a clean, floured surface to 1/8″ thickness. Using a cookie cutter or glass cut out circles. Top dough with sweet potato, chorizo, and shredded cheese. Rub egg wash around the edge of the dough and either fold into half moon or top with another circle of dough. Press hand pie closed with a fork. Cut a slit in the top of the hand pie, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.

*This recipe is adapted from Kelley at http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2014/03/sweet-potato-and-chorizo-hand-pies/*

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies 2

BBQ-Pineapple Pulled Pork

Thanks to the invention of the slow cooker there couldn’t be any easier dinner than pulled pork.

It’s great for a crowd and fool proof. And all you need are two essential ingredients – pork and barbecue sauce. From there you can add even more flavor with a dry rub if you so desire. And sometimes it’s fun to add an extra ingredient or two.

In this instance, the addition of pineapple juice into the barbecue sauce! My mom actually made this and pureed some fresh pineapple in place of the juice. Dad said that he could actually taste the pineapple. When we made it using juice I couldn’t pick out the pineapple, but I’m sure it added to the sweetness.

Another wonderful thing about pulled pork, is that it makes for fabulous leftovers whether you simply reheat and place on a bun for more sandwiches or re-purpose it in a quesadilla like I did. Other great ideas include stuffed baked potatoes or pizzas!

BBQ-Pineapple Pulled Pork


  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 2 1/2 lb pork loin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C pineapple juice or pineapple puree
  • 1 C barbecue sauce
  • hamburger buns


  1. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, S+P. Rub over pork.
  2. Place pork in a lightly greased slow cooker.
  3. In a small bowl combine garlic, pineapple, and barbecue sauce. Pour over pork.
  4. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. (If you’re home, flip pork loin halfway through cooking time)
  5. Shred pork and serve atop hamburger buns.

*This recipe is adapted from Danelle at http://www.letsdishrecipes.com/2013/08/slow-cooker-pineapple-barbecue-pulled-pork-sandwiches.html*

BBQ-Pineapple Pulled Pork

Chipotle Pulled Pork Tacos


So… I forgot to post on Mexican Monday yesterday…

As a result, you get the more popularly known Taco Tuesday.

Stuart picked out this recipe off of foodgawker to have on one of our Mexican Mondays, but I altered it by taking advantage of my slow cooker and using pork instead as it was on sale and chicken was not.

On this particular Monday we both had a long day at the office (due to the fact that we carpool), so the decision to use the slow cooker was even more clutch! And because we got home late and were very hungry, photos were not taken. I did think enough to snap a photo with the trusty iPhone. Please accept my apologies for the sorry photograph.

Chipotle Pulled Pork Tacos


  • 2 lb boneless pork roast
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
  • lime


  1. Place pork in slow cooker, fat side up. Trim some of the fat if desired.
  2. Top pork with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and chipotle peppers.
  3. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours.
  4. Shred the pork and return to the sauce and squeeze with the lime. Keep warm until ready to assemble tacos.

Chipotle Pulled Pork Tacos