Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mac and Cheese with Ham and Broccoli

Hold onto your hats people I have yet another mac and cheese recipe for you. This one is friggin’ awesome!

I had some left over baked ham in the fridge and a craving for mac and cheese so I slapped them together with some fresh broccoli for the health factor, of course and ended up with pasta perfection!

What you need, 

8 oz. dried pasta, I used cute little spirals but use what you like
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups ham, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups fresh broccoli florets cut into small pieces
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, I used 2%
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup crushed cracker crumbs, I used plain Ritz

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish with butter.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until el dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot heat the oil over medium high heat. Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the butter to the pot and stir until melted. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until slightly golden brown and the mixture starts to smell a little nutty.

Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Cook for 5 or so minutes stirring all the while until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and pepper, then the mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
Slowly add the Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese, whisk until smooth.
Stir in the cooked pasta and ham and stir to combine. Fold in the broccoli florets.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the cracker crumbs.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the mixture is hot and bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.

Let the pasta stand for 5 minutes before serving, so you don’t burn your tongue off!

You can never go wrong with mac and cheese but this was a great twist on the traditional. We gobbled it up! Plus it made a great left over lunch the next day.



Friday, June 27, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 79 - Fitbit

For my birthday a few weeks ago my in house taste tester bought me a Fitbit. It is  a small device that you wear on your wrist like a watch and it tracks how many steps you take. It also calculates how far you have walked, how many calories you burn and how many minutes you are very active. 
It will also track your sleep patterns, which is super cool! It even has an alarm feature. 

With some input you can also track your weight, how much water you drink, what you eat, your blood pressure and glucose levels. 

You set your own goals, it starts with 10,000 steps per day. I thought it would be really hard but it's not! It's shocking how far you walk just doing normal day stuff. I love that when you reach your daily goal the bracelet buzzes and the little lights blink, it's like a high five! 

I find it really does motivate me. If I am short on steps I feel guilty so I walk around until I get my goal.

You get daily stats that look like this. 

You can get the reports on your computer or smart phone. 
Also you get a weekly email with your whole weeks stats! 

You can friend other Fitbit users and see how they are doing. Which is kinda cool, it's kinda like having a work out partner. If your buddy hits their goal it might encourage you to get out there and hit your goal too. 

I am really enjoying my Fitbit. I have walked well over 100km few weeks I have had it!
If you are into walking as your main source of exercise it's a great tool.

Have a fabulous weekend!!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cuban Sandwich

So I promised you a fantastic left over pork tenderloin recipe and here it is, a Cuban Sandwich! I am here to tell you that this is one of the best sandwiches I have ever had!

I have always wanted to try one and when I had some left over pork tenderloin I knew exactly what I was going to be having for lunch the next day.

The sandwich is simple but it has so many flavors and textures it was awesome.

What you need,

2 slices of rye bread, or if you can find a Cuban loaf use it!
3-4 slices of left over grilled pork tenderloin
1 tbsp. butter, softened
2 slices of deli ham
2 slices of Swiss cheese
1 large dill pickle, sliced lengthwise
2 tsp. yellow mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. On one slice of the bread layer on a slice of Swiss cheese, the ham, the pork the pickle and a second slice of Swiss cheese. Spread the mustard on the second slice of bread and place it on top.
Butter the outside of the bread like you would for a grilled cheese and cook on both sides until golden brown and crisp.

This sandwich is to die for! I am so glad I finally got to try one. I will be making grilled pork tenderloin again soon, just so I can have one of these amazing sandwiches‼



Sunday, June 22, 2014

Spice Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin

With grilling season is in full swing I am always trying to think of things to grill besides the usual burgers and dogs.

I love a grilled pork chop so I decided to give a pork tenderloin a try. I rubbed it with a great spice mixture and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Then grilled it to perfection, the rub gave the pork a great crispy crust and a ton of flavor.

What you need,

2 1lb. pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat and silver skin
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. paprika (I used sweet but you could use hot or smoked)
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

In a small bowl stir together all the spices until well combined. Liberally sprinkle the rub all over the tenderloins and rub it in well. If you have any leftover rub, store it in a small airtight container.

Place the rubbed tenderloins into a large zip top bag and place them in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Heat your barbeque to medium high heat (approx.425 degrees).
Place the tenderloins on the grill and cook covered on the first side for 7 minutes, then flip and cook for another 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook another 5 minutes. The internal temperature of the pork should be 160 degrees, so you may need to adjust your cooking time depending on the thickness of your tenderloin and the temperature of your grill.

Rest the pork for 5 minutes before slicing.

This pork tenderloin turned out great. The spices were perfect, the tenderloin stayed tender and juicy.  The left overs were fantastic too; I have a great recipe coming later this week for you. It will make you want to grill a pork tenderloin just for the left overs.



Friday, June 20, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 78 – Tovolo Silicone King Ice Cube Tray

I love cold drinks, like really super cold drinks! I don’t even drink a glass of water without ice in it. I use 2 or 3 trays of ice cubes a day.
I know I am weird!

When I saw this huge silicon ice cube tray I snatched it up right away.
It makes 6 HUGE ice cubes. They are perfect. Your drinks stay super cold and it takes the ice longer to melt than with normal sized cubes.

They are made by a company called Tovolo and they have all sizes of ice cube trays plus a ton of other really cool kitchen gadgets.

If you like your drinks COLD, I would suggest picking up one of these giant ice cubes trays, I love it!

Happy weekend everyone! Have a good one!