Sweet, savory carrots

I am not the world’s best vegetable eater. I know this about myself, but I also know they’re, you know, vegetables; I need to find ways to make them taste good to me.

And friends? I have found the way with carrots. I am in LOVE with these. I’ve eaten them with lunch every day this week. This is HUGE.

I started with bacon, because so many good things start with bacon. I fried it up in a pan, then added some carrots (I used baby carrots because I had them; any kind will do). I poured in some chicken broth I had in the freezer and let them simmer a long time, because I’m Southern and I like my vegetables cooked a long time. I salted them and they were really good, but could maybe use something else, so I was digging around the fridge looking for inspiration and I found it: apricot preserves. Seriously, one tablespoon simmered in with the chicken broth and they were heaven on a plate. Please try it and let me know what you think!

Sweet, savory carrots

Ingredients

  • two slices bacon
  • half pound carrots, cut however you like them
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. apricot preserves

Instructions

  1. In a shallow pan, fry the bacon till crispy, then add in carrots, chicken broth, and salt; simmer, covered, till the carrots are as soft as you like them
  2. Add in apricot preserves and simmer with the lid off, stirring periodically, till preserves are all melted in and sauce is slightly thickened
  3. Serve with a little sauce spooned over the top (these are awesome served over rice so the rice can soak up a little sauce as well)

Tropical Meatloaf

I found this recipe here and was immediately intrigued because it sounded like my favorite burger in the world, the Bob Burger. The Bob Burger there is also sometimes called the Island Burger depending on the day, the direction of the wind, the angle of the sun, and other issues I haven’t quite figured out. Regardless, it involves pineapple and a big ol’ burger and it’s awesome.

I am thrilled to report that this was so tasty! I think it would be even better with a couple strips of bacon across the top of the meatloaf while it cooks (I mean, most things would be better with a couple strips of bacon, amirite?), but even without that this was awesome. The Yankee is a non-lover of meatloaf, and even he liked it! It was great hot with the sauce, and it made an excellent cold meatloaf sandwich the next day. Try it and let me know what you think!

Tropical Meatloaf

Ingredients

For the meatloaf
    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 1 egg
    • 1 small can crushed pineapple, juice drained and reserved
    • 1 tsp. onion powder
    • 2 Tbsp. pineapple juice
    • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1 tsp. salt
For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple juice (or as much as you can get from the can)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup

Instructions

Make the meatloaf:
    1. Mix all ingredients together
    2. Bake at 350F for an hour and 15 minutes, or until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 165
Make the sauce
  1. Stir all ingredients together in a small saucepan
  2. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened; serve over meatloaf

Honey mustard dressing

I have started making, and liking, my own mayonnaise. This is kind of huge, y’all. I try to periodically go back to foods I think I don’t like and try them again. I read somewhere that your taste buds change every seven years or so, so foods you don’t like now you could find irresistible in seven years! That’s kind of cool. It worked with broccoli, after all. So I tried with mayo and had another success! While I am shocked to find I love it just on a sandwich, I am also loving how easy it is to make dressings like Caesar dressing and this honey mustard — and how much better they taste with homemade mayo!

I came up with this one by throwing some stuff in a jar, as I am wont to do, and eyeballing measurements. For y’all (oh the sacrifices) I made a second batch and actually measured.

Honey mustard dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in a jar and shake the heck out of it

I mean, seriously. So easy.

Now, speaking of jars! My love of Mason jars is somewhat legendary. I make coffee in them. I freeze broths and soups in them. I make tea and more tea. I give presents in them! And my friendĀ Vanessa and I spend a significant amount of time hunting the pretty colored ones in antique stores (fortunately we live in Nolensville where antiques abound). So when Vanessa emailed to tell me that Ball was coming out with BRAND NEW BLUE JARS there may have been some squealing. The folks at Ball were kind enough to send me a case of these gorgeous things (and I may or may not have ordered another case; ahem) and I’m just in love. The yellow honey mustard looks so pretty in the blue! The jars are to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ball Brothers’ “Perfect Mason” jar; I agree that they’re pretty dang perfect.

So we’re clear: the jars (okay, half of the jars) were free from Ball. The fan-girl opinions are my own and already well documented. :)

Rotel burritos and a question

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m always looking for more ways to sneak Ro-tel into my life. This is my latest method! It’s insanely quick and easy and quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

Rotel burritos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Velveeta
  • 1 can Ro-tel
  • 1 lb. sausage, browned and crumbled
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cooking spray (like Pam)
  • 1 can Ro-tel sauce (optional, but highly recommended)

Instructions

  1. Essentially, make Ro-tel dip: heat the Velveeta and Ro-tel in a microwave or carefully-watched saucepan, then stir in browned sausage. That’s your filling! If you let it cool a bit it will thicken up and be easier to handle for filling the tortillas
  2. Briefly heat the flour tortillas in the microwave — about 10 seconds — wrapped in a wet paper towel so you can bend them without breaking them. Put about 1/4 cup of filling in each tortilla, roll, and put seam-side down in a sprayed baking dish
  3. Spray tops of burritos with cooking spray (this helps them crisp up in the oven), then top with shredded cheese and Ro-tel sauce
  4. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and cheese on top is melted

And now for the question:

If you read OPK without the use of a reader, you may have noticed that I removed the advertisements from the blog. While there was nothing particularly terrible on the ads, they just weren’t always for food that I would use and I felt weird about that — implied endorsement and all.

I do get offers from time to time for companies wanting me to do a review/giveaway. A lot of these I skip over outright; if it’s not something I’m already using or would use anyway, it’s not going to show up here.

For those that I do or would use, though (like this recipe — I use and love Ro-tel, but this post is not sponsored by them in any way): how do you feel about reviews and giveaways? Fun to try to win something? Icky and you’d rather not see it?

The point of this blog, aside from having a place where my addled-brain self can find my recipes, is for y’all to enjoy and find something to cook, so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you!

Who wants potatoes?

Ohai. I dropped off the face of the earth for a little while, there.

Not really, but I did go to Disney World with a now-four (!) year old for his birthday.

Can I make it up to you with some goodies?

Betty Crocker sent me this pack through My Blog Spark and it’s pretty fantastic. The Yankee loves him some instant mashed potatoes so he was quite pleased. My favorite thing to do with them? Use the roasted garlic flavor for making these yeast rolls — voila, roasted garlic bread!

Who’s up for your own prize pack? My Blog Spark will send you two boxes of Betty Crocker Boxed Instant Mashed Potatoes (one Roasted Garlic and one Homestyle Creamy Butter), a serving bowl, a trivet and a serving spoon. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me how you like your mashed potatoes. As-is? With lots of butter? Cheese? Chives? Lay it on me. I’ll pick a winner via Random.org after midnight, Tuesday the 21st of December.