Easy Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

My favorite thing to make, when friends come to visit, is anything that will make my house smell amazing while it’s cooking. This recipe fits the bill perfectly!
NOTE: While I roasted this pork in the oven, you could easily make this in a crock pot recipe.

  • Boneless Pork Shoulder – Mine was just under 5 pounds
  • Dry onion soup mix
  • Red wine – I used Boordy Vineyards Cabernet
This is the pork I used for this recipe

Directions:

  • Remove netting from pork shoulder and toss in a gallon ziploc bag with dry onion soup mix and 1/2 cup red wine.
  • Marinate pork overnight.
Pork in marinade of onion soup mix and red wine
  • Remove pork from bag and sear on stovetop in cast iron pot.
  • Once all sides are browned, add another splash of red wine and cover.
  • Place pot in 300* oven to roast.
Pork, after 2 hours of roasting. This is my mother’s cast iron pot.
  • Roast, low and slow, until pork shreds easily.
  • Serve on homemade rolls for a delicious and easy dinner
Easy Pulled Pork, ready to eat!

I love to use my mom’s heavy cast iron pot. This is my favorite pot to use for low/slow cooking (pulled pork, pulled chicken, roasts of any sort) but I also love using it for soups and stews. While there are many options for a large pot, this specific one always reminds me of cooking with my mom.

This recipe is a great one to keep on hand for feeding a crowd. I’ll make it again in a few weeks when my son and his friends come for the weekend, but I’ll add a large pork butt roast so there’s enough food to go around. I like to make homemade kaiser rolls to complete the meal.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – let me know if you ever try it!

Chicken Divan Casserole

I have very fond memories of my mom making Chicken Divan casserole throughout my childhood. The recipe she used was based on one from Aunt Treva, my grandfather’s sister, and had lots of “cream of” soups included to make the sauce. It was always yummy, but I decided that I wanted to create a healthier version.

When searching for a similar recipe as the one from my childhood, I found a fabulous one created by Natasha Bull of http://www.saltandlavendar.com. Her original recipe can be found here: https://www.saltandlavender.com/chicken-divan/ but I needed to adjust the flavors to match what I was trying to recreate. If you’re looking for a cheesy, creamy chicken and broccoli casserole, look no further… this one is terrific.

For me, simply adding curry powder to the recipe above wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I played around with it until I created something that made sense for me. I also trimmed everything down to make an easy meal for two + 1 leftover serving. This recipe will make 3 servings in a 9×9 baking dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Broccoli florets – I used a small bag from the local store
  • Chicken Breast – I shredded two breasts from a rotisserie chicken but you can also use leftover chicken or even turkey
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 3/4 c almond milk – you can use a mixture of almond milk and half & half if you prefer
  • 2 T whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp white wine – use what you have available/open but I also use this wine to thin the sauce before adding the cheese
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese – separate in half
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 10 Ritz crackers (approximate)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 375*F.

Prepare your broccoli for the casserole. After trimming down the broccoli into bite-size pieces, put all the florets in the bottom of the 9×9 baking dish. Lay a piece of paper towel over the broccoli and lightly dampen it with some white wine. Microwave the broccoli on HIGH for 2-3 minutes or until the broccoli is lightly cooked and still crisp. NOTE: if you’re using a metal dish, you can microwave the broccoli in the original bag and layer the cooked broccoli onto the bottom of the baking dish.

Layer your shredded chicken on top of the broccoli.

Make your sauce. Start by melting the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk until combined and the mixture starts to bubble. Let the butter/flour mixture cook until it begins to get slightly toasty. Slowly add your milk and whisk to combine, then cook this mixture until it begins to thicken. Add the cream cheese (I like the whipped version b/c it’s light and combines fairly easily – if you use a block of cream cheese, I would decrease to 1T), whisking to combine. Add in your spices (mustard, Worcestershire, wine, curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder) and taste the sauce, adjusting as needed. Add salt and pepper if desired. NOTE: if sauce is too thick, add a splash of wine or almond milk. I have been known to add 1/4c-1/2 cup of wine to thin the sauce. Be aware that the sauce will thicken when you add the cheese. Remove the sauce from stove top and stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

Pour sauce over the chicken/broccoli mixture in your baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese then crush Ritz crackers over the entire casserole.

Bake casserole, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes. Cheese should be melted, crackers should be browned, and the sauce should be bubbling. Let casserole sit for 5 minutes before portioning out and serving.

Blueberry Lemon Scones

I got to play in the kitchen today…. and chose to experiment with a scone recipe that uses my favorite @JiffyMixes baking mix. Jiffy mix has been made by the Chelsea Milling Company, a family-owned business started in 1901. Since we lived in Chelsea, MI for a number of years, I love to use this product for biscuits, scones, pancakes, or even fried chicken… it’s so versatile. Here’s a photo of the box – look for it in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups Jiffy Mix
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp lemon zest (I use the zest of one lemon)
  • 1/2 heaping cup blueberries, if using frozen, don’t thaw (I use 1 handful of blueberries)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBSP liquid (I used a mixture of half almond milk, half @BoordyVineyards white wine)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375* F
  • In a large bowl, blend Jiffy Mix, sugar, egg, liquids, and vanilla. Add zest and berries and mix thoroughly, but gently.
  • Lay a piece of parchment on cookie sheet and scoop out dough into small scones. I use a medium size cookie scoop and lightly press the dough down to flatten slightly. I like to lightly dust dough with sugar before baking
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until edges begin to brown.
  • Let cool for at least 5 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

If you choose, you can drizzle the scones with a simple glaze made with the juice of one lemon and confectioner’s sugar. In this case, I also added a dash of salt and a splash of fat-free half and half. This is all personal preference, but I think it makes the scones look delicious!

I’ve made this recipe using a lot of different blends of add-ins such as dehydrated raspberries with cocoa nibs and orange zest with mini chocolate chips. The basic recipe isn’t difficult and doesn’t take a huge time commitment, which makes it a winner in my book.

I hope you’ll try this recipe and let me know what different combinations you’ve found to be delicious as well.

Landscaper Muffins AKA “Thank You Muffins”

I call these “Thank You Muffins” because I make them to thank anyone who comes to my house – our landscapers, the mulch guys, the electrician, the plumber, the septic guys, and sometimes even our UPS guy! It’s my personal way of letting them all know how much I appreciate the work these people do to make my life easier… and doesn’t everyone like to know they are appreciated?

I’ve been sharing this recipe for years… and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon. I love having a recipe in my arsenal that uses a short list of ingredients, comes together quickly, and is (in my opinion) fool-proof… this recipe hits every one of those criteria!

Chocolate Thank You Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box cake mix – I used chocolate cake, but you can use any flavor or brand you like best. Sale brands are great to keep on hand for this recipe.
  • 1 can solid pack pumpkin – I typically buy 10 cans at a time, simply so I am always able to whip up a batch of muffins whenever needed
  • A small handful of Mini chocolate chips – off-brands are fine to use – they play a supporting role in this recipe.
  • A small amount of wine – I use red wine with chocolate, carrot cake, or spice cake muffins…. white wine with yellow cake, or anywhere I don’t want that pink hue to show. This is a great way to use up any “leftover wine”.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat your oven to 375*F
  • Cover two large cookie trays with parchment paper.
  • Put your ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. If using a carrot cake recipe, feel free to let the mixture rest a little to allow the dehydrated carrots to plump a bit… it’s not necessary, but can help as you’re doling the mixture onto trays.
  • Scoop mixture onto cookie trays using a small cookie scoop. NOTE: I use the smallest cookie scoop from Pampered Chef, but will occasionally use the medium sized cookie scoop. The only difference will be in your cooking time and the number of muffin balls you can make. If I use the smallest scoop, I can make approximately 25 muffin balls/tray. Using the medium scoop only allows me to make approximately 18 muffin balls/tray.
  • Bake muffins in preheated 375* oven for 15-18 minutes (18-22 min for medium muffins).
  • Remove and allow to cool – I pull the muffins/parchment off the tray so the bottoms of the muffins don’t continue to cook.

Here are some photos of the process:

A “large” example of a “handful” of chips.
The dry red wine I used for these muffins: @BoordyVineyards South Mountain Red
Scooping the muffin mixture onto a prepared tray, using the small scoop
Two trays of Thank You muffins go into the oven

Another alternative is to make this recipe into full-sized muffins, using a muffin tin, or even baking it in a 9×13 baking pan and cutting into pieces. The recipe itself is incredibly adaptable, but your baking times will need to be adjusted. I love having bites of cake to share with people, so this is my personal preference.

I hope you find this recipe helpful. I have written it down a few different times and have made many different versions, all of which have been delicious. Feel free to message me here, or on my FromTheBottomOfAWineBottle Facebook page, if you have any questions!

Cookie for one?

Recently, I found a recipe I had saved for a “single-serve cookie”.  Is this even a thing that people do?  I typically make a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, so that I’m able to whip up a batch of cookies in 15 minutes, if we’re expecting visitors or workers (roofers, plumber, electrician, the ADT guy… etc).  I’d never even considered making a single cookie, but I was intrigued.  I was also curious to see if I could make one with a little wine added… because, why not… #amIright?

SingleServeCookie

I have to confess that I was impressed with the final result.  It didn’t have quite the same consistency as I’d like for a traditional chocolate chip cookie, but it was certainly easy and tasty.  Let me know if you ever decide to try this option.  I’d like to add a little scoop of vanilla ice cream, but otherwise, this recipe was one that I’ll definitely keep in my back pocket for time when I just need one cookie.  Enjoy!

NOTE: if you don’t want to add wine, just leave it out and increase the vanilla.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

1 Tablespoon white sugar

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla (2 drops)

1/4 teaspoon red wine (2 drops)

pinch salt

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup flour

2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips (it may sound weird, but I’d actually use less)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and spoon into a microwave-safe ramekin bowl.
  2. Microwave 60-90 seconds.
  3. Top with ice cream or eat straight out of the bowl.

Easy Peasy!  Now, you’re never more than 5 minutes from having a fresh chocolate chip cookie… and that’s not a bad thing, right?

Sausage Balls (Pork and Turkey)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a complete wine blog post – please forgive me.  We moved last year and life got more chaotic than usual.  If you ever want to see what I’m doing with wine, or have any questions, please follow me on this blog’s Facebook page (FromTheBottomOfAWineBottle).

Today, I’m sharing this recipe from my childhood.  My mom found this recipe in our church cookbook and she used to make these sausage balls all the time.  They call for three main ingredients and are easy to bake/freeze for a quick breakfast, an after school snack, or even a light dinner.  I’ve added a little white wine, simply to make the finished product slightly less dense, but you can certainly leave the wine out if you prefer.

SausageBalls

Ingredients:

1 pound bulk pork sausage (I used pork sausage, but you can easily substitute ground turkey sausage, if you can find it)

3 cups Bisquik or Jiffy baking mix (I prefer Jiffy mix since we used to live in Chelsea, MI, where the Jiffy company is located)

10 oz shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

White Wine (I used a white wine from Boordy Vineyard, called Rockfish, but you can use your favorite dry white wine)

Fresh Rosemary (This is one of my favorite flavors with sausage – feel free to omit if you’re not a fan)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375*.  Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Blend sausage, baking mix, and cheese until it comes together thoroughly.  I use a mixer, but this can be made in the same way you would mix up a meatloaf.
  3. Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, form balls of the mixture and place them on the prepared baking sheets.  They won’t spread out as they bake, but I like to spread them out on the baking sheets so air can circulate for cooking.
  4. Bake sausage balls for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  5. Serve warm or allow to cool and put into bags in the freezer.  These make an excellent snack or light dinner and simply need to be warmed up in the microwave.

FOR TURKEY SAUSAGE BALLS:  If you prefer to use ground turkey instead of ground pork, here are a few photos from that option.  I also adjusted them to a smaller size, using a 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) scoop.  Here’s a photo of them, in all their cheesy goodness:

TurkeySausageBalls

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  As an alternative, I like to make this recipe into even smaller balls for appetizers.  You can turn up the heat by using a hot sausage or you can make it even more savory by adding other herbs.  It’s a great basic recipe to have on hand to share with friends.  Have fun with it!

Summer Watermelon Salad

It’s summer!  The time of fresh fruit and lazy days… the time when you want to be able to go outside and enjoy your friends and family… the time for easy or starter recipes…  This is when I like to have a few recipes on hand that make my life a little easier, especially on those days when the temperature is high and my energy is not.  For those days, I give you the Summer Watermelon Salad!

PicMonkey Image

This recipe couldn’t be easier… four ingredients and easy to adjust for the number of people you’re feeding!  This is actually one of my favorite lunches… light and simple, it just screams “SUMMER” to me.

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon – cut into bite-size pieces.  Use as much or as little as you like, but this is your *main* ingredient.  I typically use about 3 cups.
  • Feta cheese – I like to use crumbled *light* feta, but you can use whatever type makes you happy.   I dump in some from the container – about 1/2 cup.
  • Basil – if I have fresh, I take a small handful and cut into a chiffonade (little ribbons).  If not, I take a generous pinch of dried.  I’ve done both and fresh is definitely better in this – it’s a wonderful flavor!
  • White wine – I use what I have in my fridge, about 1/8-1/4 cup total.  I’ve used dry (Chardonnay and Pinot Gris/Grigio) and I’ve used semi-sweet/off-dry (Vidal Blanc and Viogner)… use what you like!

Directions:

  • Cut watermelon into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and basil.  Toss lightly and adjust amounts as needed.
  • Thumb 1/8-1/4 cup of white wine over the salad and allow time to marinate before serving.
  • I typically drain a bit of the liquid off before serving.  This ends up being a mixture of wine and watermelon juice that isn’t really necessary.
  • Enjoy!

This is a great example of how I use “The Force” when cooking… so many variations to make this salad and it’s always delicious.  Hope you’ll try it and come up with your own favorite way to make this salad!

Mimi’s Peas

You’ve had the traditional “Green Bean Casserole“, right?  It’s the one on the back of the Campbell’s soup can…. the one that has been around forever… the one that everyone makes for holiday meals.  What would you think if I told you that we make this same casserole with PEAS instead of green beans?  THIS is a game-changer, people.  It’s absolutely amazing and is a staple on almost every holiday menu (or at least Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter) in our family.

mimispeas

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Peas (1- 1 1/2 16oz bags)
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 can French’s Onion Rings (reserve 1/2-3/4 cup for topping)
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I like a dry or semi-dry wine)
  • 1 packet G. Washington Brown boullion *Trust me, this stuff is worth finding.  LOVE it and use it in so many ways!

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together, topping with the reserved Onion Rings.
  2. Bake in greased casserole dish at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until bubbly.

This is our family’s “must have” recipe on any holiday table.  It also works well when mixing with turkey, stuffing, and gravy (and topped with mashed potatoes) to make a leftover turkey shepherd’s pie.

Give it a try sometime… you may find that you like this even better than the standard recipe!

Easy Red Beef Stew

I was headed out to do some holiday shopping recently and decided that I wanted to make a simple crockpot dinner so that I wouldn’t feel pressured to rush home and make something that evening.  I had a nice piece of beef in the fridge and had picked up a package of baby potatoes at the store, so this was a really easy dinner to create.redbeefstew

Ingredients:

  • Beef – I don’t know much about cuts of beef, but I knew enough to get a “chuck roast”.  The one I chose was on sale, so I grabbed one that was on the smaller side so we wouldn’t have much waste.
  • Flour – I tossed some into a plastic bag to coat the beef before putting it into my crockpot.  Don’t honestly know how much… just enough to coat the meat.
  • 1+ onion – I cut this into thick chunks and used one whole vidalia onion and one half a red onion that I had in the fridge
  • 1 packet country gravy
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 package (or similar amount) of baby potatoes (see photo of what I found at the store… this one included a few cloves of garlic and two sprigs of rosemary)
  • Red wine – the original recipe simply called for water, but that won’t cut it in my house.  WHY USE WATER WHEN YOU CAN USE WINE??
  • Frozen peas – I didn’t measure, but you could use whatever vegetable you like best here.  NOTE: If you’re planning to use carrots, I would allow them to cook with the beef instead of popping them in at the end.

Directions:

  1. Slice onion into chunks and put in the bottom of a large crockpot.
  2. Toss the meat in a plastic bag with some flour and then shake to cover.  Place meat on top of onions to cook.
  3. Open package of potatoes (or chop up large potatoes to fit around roast) and lay them around the meat in the crockpot.
  4. In a separate bowl, open the packets of gravy and onion soup and mix together with red wine.  I did not measure the amount of red wine used – I simply poured the wine and mixed it with the dry ingredients until it looked like enough.  I have a habit of adding too much liquid to my crockpot recipes, so I went a little lighter than I might have otherwise, which ended up working out well.
  5. Pour liquid over the roast.
  6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  7. During the last half hour (or 15 minutes before serving), stir the roast a bit and add your frozen peas.  These won’t take long to cook and you don’t want them to disintegrate into the gravy.
  8. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the gravy… it’s delicious!

This was one of the most simple of meals but such a crowd pleaser.  If your family is picky about onions, feel free to slice them a bit smaller, but I liked the chunks of onion with the bites of meat and potato.  Feel free to experiment with other vegetables or seasonings… it’s your meal for your family, so use what you like!

Enjoy!

Fish in a Flash

I’ve written this recipe a few times, but wanted to update it a bit for everyone.  This is one of the easiest and fastest three-course meal recipes I’ve ever written and I love that it’s also incredibly versatile.  The basic premise is the same but the specific ingredients can be adjusted, depending on your preference and what you have available.  I hope you love this recipe as much as me!fishinaflash

  • I call this recipe “Fish in a Flash” because you’re only going to need 15 minutes to make this three-course meal for your family.  It’s full of flavor, cost-effective, and adjustable… what more could you want in a recipe?

Ingredients:

  • Fish (Feel free to use whatever fish is on sale or what you happen to have in your freezer)  In this case, I used two tilapia fillets, but I’ve made this dish with flounder, haddock, or any other light, flaky fish.  I haven’t used salmon, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t!
  • Crackers (Ritz crackers, Cheese crackers, club crackers, saltines, etc) crushed
  • Salt, Pepper, and any favorite seasoning (I like Paprika)
  • White wine (use whatever you have on hand or you can substitute water)
  • Broccoli flowerettes (I used a half bag of Broccoli-Wokly from the local grocer)
  • Bag of microwave brown rice (or your favorite starch)

Directions:

  • Spray a microwavable dish with cooking spray and arrange your fish fillets on dish.
  • In a small bowl, crush the crackers and mix in your seasonings.  Sprinkle fish with seasoned cracker crumbs.
  • Using your thumb as a stopper, gently “thumb” wine over the crumbs to lightly wet them  to create a coating on the fish.  You can also spoon the wine (or water) over the fish.
  • Top fish with broccoli flowerettes – I did them in a decorative fashion for these photos, but I typically just add a layer of broccoli over the fish.
  • Wet a paper towel and lay on top of the broccoli – this will help to steam the veggies.
  • Pop your dish into the microwave and cook on high for 10-12 minutes, until the fish is flaky and well-cooked.
  • Remove the fish from the microwave and allow to sit for 2 minutes.
  • Cook the 90-second brown rice in the microwave.
  • Remove rice and divide onto individual plates.
  • Serve meal with brown rice on the plate, topped with fish and vegetables.

This has been a staple in our menu selection for most of my 28-years of marriage.  I’ve adjusted and altered the recipe to the point where this is the cleanest and most simple rendition.  The original recipe (from my first year of marriage) included a half stick of butter and lots of lemon juice… this version is much healthier and the flavors really seem to pop.

I hope you’ll try this recipe and see how your family likes our Fish in a Flash.  It might just become a favorite in your house too!