Lean Grilled Al Pastor Skewers

To begin preparing, add the dry chilies in a sauce pan with the ½ cup of chicken stock. Bring to a
boil and reserve. Once it cools down enough to touch, remove seeds and stems from chilies.
In a blender, add the vegetable oil, spices, salt, vinegar, garlic, chipotle paste, sugar, ½ cup of
sliced pineapples, lime juice and chilies with the chicken stock. Blend until well incorporated.
Taste and adjust flavors as needed. Reserve marinates.
Meanwhile, pork is in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and slice into
1/8-inch-thick strips.
Combine pork strips with marinate, tossing well so every slice is marinated. You should
refrigerate for at least 3 hours for more flavor; or it can be refrigerated overnight.
Once ready, thread the piece of pork onto skewer, piercing a couple of times to make sure meat is secure. Next, pierce the pineapple piece; repeat until you have about two inches left of skewer.
Make sure everything is tight.
Grill skewers on your grill until pineapple pieces are lightly charred and pork is cooked through.
It should take about 5 to 8 minutes.
Transfer skewers to a platter, add lime and cilantro. Serve with tortillas and Salsa Verde and

Pork Chop Spice Blend

Mix all dry ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.  

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Pat the pork chops dry and sprinkle ½ tsp of the seasoning mixture on each pork chop, making sure to season both sides.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tsp of canola or avocado oil.

Add the pork chops to the skillet and press them to ensure full contact. Sear for 2-4 minutes per side.

Transfer the pork chops to a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork chop reaches 145°.

Let the pork chops rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition information per pork chop210 calories; 12.6g total fat (3g saturated); 0g carbohydrates; 22.8g protein; 393mg sodium  

Brown Butter & Maple Glazed Ham with Pears

Preheat oven to 325° Unwrap ham from packaging and place in a large baking dish. Pour water into the bottom of the dish. Cover ham and baking dish tightly with foil, and bake in pre-heated oven for 60-90 minutes, until ham is warmed through (100-110° when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part).  When the ham is nearly warmed through, start the glaze. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Continue to cook butter, stirring frequently, until butter starts to become a golden-brown color and smells nutty, about 1-2 minutes. Add brown sugar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and garlic, stirring to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened slightly and fragrant. 
Once the ham reaches 100-110° as above, remove from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 400° Arrange peeled pears in the baking dish around the ham. Brush half of the glaze mixture over the ham and pears. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the oven and brush the remaining glaze over the ham and pears. Baste with accumulated juices in the bottom of the pan. Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste with accumulated juice in the bottom of the pan. Return to the oven and bake another 5-10 minutes, until ham reaches at least 140°, glaze is thick and beginning to caramelize, and pears are tender. Remove from the oven. Baste with accumulated juices in the bottom of the pan. Let sit for approximately 15 minutes. Cut pears into desired portions, then serve with ham slices.

Thank you to Melissa Wright at @thewrightfamilytable for the recipe

Baked Ham with Apricot-Orange Glaze

Stick the cloves into the ham throughout, spacing as evenly as possible. Place ham in a foil-lined baking dish and place in preheated oven.

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the orange juice and wine to a simmer. Stir in the mustard and seasonings, then add the jam and the sugar and bring back to a simmer. Let simmer for about 8 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter.

Once ham has been baking about 20 minutes, drizzle or baste some of the glaze all over the exterior of the ham. Repeat every 10 minutes for 1 to 1½ hours or until the ham registers an internal temperature of 155°F. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Elementary School Lunch

Place 2 slices mortadella on a cutting board. Place 2 slices provolone on each slice mortadella. Cut each round in half vertically. Beginning at the bottom, roll each piece into a round. Skewer with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining mortadella and provolone. Place in a small container with a lid.

Place Babybel cheeses, cucumber, ranch dressing, edamame, and blueberries in their respective small containers.

Glazed Carrots with Pancetta

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a rectangular baking dish or rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add carrots and season with salt and pepper. Dot pats of butter over carrots. Sprinkle pancetta, brown sugar, and cumin over carrots.

Roast in oven, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender and pancetta is crispy, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with black pepper before serving.

Italian Wedding Soup

Preheat oven to 425°.

To make the meatballs, in a bowl, add pork, breadcrumbs, egg, oregano, thyme, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper and combine. Roll into 1” balls. In a large pot over medium heat, brown meatballs in batches. Remove meatballs and set aside.

To make the soup, in same large pot over medium-high heat, add oil, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook until tender, 5-6 minutes. Add broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Add pasta, return to a boil, and cook according to package directions. Reduce heat to low, add meatballs and kale and allow kale to wilt, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between soup bowls and top with parmesan cheese and ribbons.

Go-To Smoked Pork Butt

This recipe is courtesy of Christy Bouska with Vande Rose Farms.

What I love about this pork recipe is that I can make a wide variety of meals throughout the week including:

• Pork and potato hash •  pork tacos •  sweet and sour stir fry pork • Pork, strawberry, pecan, and goat cheese salad

Tip: I have found by using the coarse salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper, the meat has time to absorb the flavors during the smoking process.

Equipment needed: Thermometer, Heavy-duty foil, Heavy-duty oven mitts or gloves, Tongs to move meat, Large pan with sides to marinate in and another large pan to hold cooked pork after you take it off the smoker, Smoker with favorite wood/pellets

Pat pork butt dry with paper towels, then rub mustard all over pork. Sprinkle sugar, all-purpose seasoning, and salt and pepper generously on all sides of pork. Let rest while smoker reaches 275 degrees.

Place pork directly on center of smoker and close lid. After 4 hours, take pork temperature. There should be a beautiful ruby-brown color to meat. Close lid.

Tip: Sometimes wind and smoke can turn meat dark. If you think it is getting too dark, wrap entire shoulder in foil and return to smoker. Then it will keep that delicious bark without getting too dark or dried out.

After another hour, check color and temperature again. Carefully sprinkle on additional 2 tablespoons of seasoning over pork then completely wrap in foil. Place immediately back into smoker for remainder of cooking time. You are looking for the “golden temperature” of 195 degrees, where pork is tender and bone can fall away from pork.

Note: Depending on your smoker and size of pork butt, you may have to shorten or lengthen your smoking time.

Pressure Cooker Ribs

In a bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic and onion powder. Add ribs and coat thoroughly with rub.

Place round rack in pressure cooker pot insert. Add chicken broth and ribs.

Secure lid, making sure the vent is closed. Press “High Pressure” button and set to 35 minutes. When cycle is complete, let naturally release for 10 minutes, then turn vent to quick release, being careful to not to get burned from steam.

Carefully remove ribs from pressure cooker and set on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with barbecue sauce. Broil on high until bubbly on one side, 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over, brush with barbecue sauce and broil again, 3-5 minutes.

Spinach and Pancetta Salad With Dried Cherry-Sherry Dressing

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries
and dry sherry. Bring to a simmer, and remove from heat and allow cherries
to reconstitute and swell in size, about 15 minutes.

In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil shimmers, add pancetta and cook until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat.

Add shallots and garlic to pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves, and add pancetta and cherry mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble, place spinach in a large salad bowl. Drizzle a little dressing over salad onto leaves. Divide spinach between plates, and arrange pancetta and dried cherries over salad.