Blueberry Loaf

love blueberries in my baked goods and I am so excited to share this recipe with you all.
Not only is it easy to prep and bake but it is delicious!

Instructions:

  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine (softened)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 3/4 of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

Note: Blueberries can be substituted for raspberries as well. If using frozen fruit, use without fully thawing to avoid discoloration of the batter. 

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine salt, flour and baking powder. Once combined, mix into creamed mixture.
  4. Gently fold in blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes.

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Enjoy and let me know if you try this recipe!

With love,

– R. Vargas

 

Homemade Pesto

If you’re anything like me, you love Pesto but have always been afraid to make it on your own.
I used store bought for years and finally caved and bought a basil plant a few weeks ago in an attempt to keep it growing and finally make Pesto from scratch.

It is incredibly easy and cheaper than store bought and you can even substitute the pine nuts for chopped walnuts since pine nuts aren’t very easy to find.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (No stems)
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese in a food processor or food chopper.

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Once everything is blended and combined, add salt & pepper to your liking.

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Store in jars and seal tight and keep in the fridge if you are storing for later or use as sauce for pastas, flatbreads, pizza, or toss in pasta!

With love,

-R. Vargas

Slow Cooker Pork Sirloin

Hi everyone!

On today’s blog, I am sharing the easiest pork sirloin recipe with you that’s simple, tasty and budget friendly.
I typically cook at home to save from eating out so much but there are times when I am buying ingredients for a new recipe and it can be costly. This recipe won’t break the bank and you more than likely will already have the ingredients at home.

Ingredients:

  • Pork Sirloin (Mine weighed 1.44 lbs)
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Garlic Salt Seasoning
  • Fajita Seasoning
  • 7 oz. can of canned Jalapeños (Green Pickled Sliced Jalapeño Peppers)
  • 1 small onion

Directions:

Place your pork on a cutting board.

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Make slits in your pork sirloin but make sure not to cut all the way through and then flip over and make slits again but in the opposite direction.

Next you will sprinkle your Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Garlic Salt, and Fajita Seasoning  all over the pork. Make sure you rub and massage seasonings into the slits.

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Once you have finished, slice your onion and place the slices into the slits.

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Place your pork sirloin into your slow cooker and open your can of Jalapeños and pour the juice all over the pork and into the slow cooker. If you’re thinking this will leave your pork very spicy, you are wrong. This adds to the flavor and will help the pork become very juicy. If you are still uneasy about the Jalapeño juice, add 1/4 cup of water or less to help dilute. I also add a few Jalapeños from the can and place them in between the slits as well.

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Cover and place on High for 4 to 6 hours or Low for 7 to 8 hours.
Pull apart with fork and let it absorb all the juice and serve however you would like.
You can add BBQ and make pulled pork sandwiches or add into a baked potato, make tacos or quesadillas, or serve just as it is with a few sides.

With love,

– R. Vargas

Slow Cooker Chili

After reviewing quite a few chili recipes, I decided to adapt a few and make my own. Keep in mind this is a beginner recipe and someday I would like to add chipotle and adobo sauce and tons of peppers but until I master chili, this quick and easy recipe will do for now! This recipe is perfect for potlucks and great for Super Bowl Sunday!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs. of lean ground turkey
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 small clove of garlic,  minced
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 29 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinse & drain
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans, rinse & dried
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I used Fire Roasted tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp. of Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Prepare slow cooker by spraying well with cooking spray or lining with a plastic slow cooker liner.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

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Add the ground turkey to the skillet and cook until brown. Make sure to break up the ground turkey as you cook it and sprinkle the garlic powder on top.

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Drain and add the turkey to the bottom of the slow cooker.

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Add the remaining ingredients on top.

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Stir well and combine then cover with lid and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Once it’s ready and served, top with cheese, chives, and the rest of your favorites.

I used this recipe to enter a Chili Cook Off at work and it was a favorite!

Have you ever made chili? If so, what do you put in yours?

With love,

-R. Vargas

Cajun Chicken Pasta

If you are looking for a quick recipe that has a little spice, this is the recipe for you!

All you need to do is place everything in your slow cooker and boil pasta once everything is ready.

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 Chicken Breast
  • 1 (8-ounce) package of Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can of Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can of Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning (The more you add, the spicier!)
  • Mushrooms (Optional)
  • Bell peppers (Optional)
  • Cooked Penne pasta

Directions:

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  1. Place chicken breast in your slow cooker.
  2. Top with cream cheese and both soups.
  3. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  5. Boil pasta and sauté vegetables.
  6. Stir mixture and serve with Penne pasta and vegetables.

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I sprinkled parmesan cheese on top and served with a salad and French bread. I’ll admit it’s not the prettiest but it taste amazing and it’s definitely one of my favorite slow cooker recipes!

With Love,

-R. Vargas

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding is one of the easiest and most traditional recipes one could make.
It’s one of those recipes that doesn’t require much ingredients so it’s affordable and is perfect for a potluck or any other type of gathering.

This is your basic banana pudding, my family only adds in one special ingredient; Mexican Vanilla. 

Ingredients:

  • Vanilla Wafers
  • 2 Boxes of Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • Milk (For the instant pudding. Follow box for instructions.)
  • Bananas (The more pudding you would like, the more bananas you should get.)
  • 2 Containers of Whipped Cream
  • 2 tsp. of Mexican Vanilla (Optional)

Directions:

In a separate bowl, follow instructions for the Vanilla Instant Pudding, remember if you are making two boxes, you will double up on the measurement of milk.

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Once all combined, let it sit for five minutes.

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Set that aside and get your main bowl ready for layering.

The first layer is the Vanilla Wafers.

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Next you add a layer of your Vanilla Instant Pudding. Make sure the layer is enough to cover all the wafers.

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The next layer will be the sliced bananas.

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Before you add the whipped cream, add one teaspoon of the Mexican Vanilla extract and mix it in the container. You do not have to add the Mexican Vanilla but it gives the pudding an extra something. Again, remember if you are using more than one container of whipped cream, add a teaspoon of the Mexican Vanilla extract to each container.

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Now that you have completed your first full layer, you repeat each step until you reach the top of the bowl you are using.

So remember:

  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • Sliced Bananas
  • Whipped Cream

The last layer on top has to be whipped cream so in case you are running low on the rest of the ingredients, get to a good stopping point and make sure you top off the pudding with whipped cream.

If I have any remaining Vanilla Wafers, I crush them in the bag and sprinkle them on top. Also, if I have any maraschino cherries, I’ll add a few of those too but that is completely optional.

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I tend to use a clear glass bowl when I make my banana pudding solely for the reason that I love to look at all layers.

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Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat!

This is typically a hit at gatherings and one of my favorite go to recipes, what’s your favorite go to recipe for desserts?

With Love,

– R. Vargas

Tonkatsu

Hello everyone!

On today’s blog, I thought I would share my version on Tonkatsu, which is a Japanese dish that consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet.
Since I am not Japanese, this will not be the traditional Tonkatsu you would have in an authentic restaurant or in Japan but it’s still pretty good!

Ingredients:

  • Boneless pork chops, pounded to a centimeter thick (I used 4 boneless pork chops)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup of Panko
  • Oil
  • Garlic Salt
  • Lemon Pepper

Directions:

Season the pounded pork chops with salt & pepper, garlic salt and lemon pepper.

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Dust with flour and make an even coating.

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Add a small amount of oil into your skillet over medium heat. If you throw in a small Panko breadcrumb in and it sizzles, that’s how you will know if it is ready.

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In two separate bowls, prep the egg and Panko breadcrumbs.

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Dip the pork into the egg to coat. Make sure to coat it well!

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Next, take the coated pork chop and dip into the Panko. Toss in a few times or press down to make sure it has a good coating.

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Once coated, lay the pork chops in the skillet with hot oil for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side for another 5-6 minutes.

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After they are fully cooked, place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

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Slice your Tonkatsu and serve with shredded green cabbage, white rice or noodles and enjoy!

With love,

-R. Vargas