Pork Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are easy enough to buy frozen at the grocery store or pick up by the dozen at your local Chinese restaurant, but they’re really not that hard to make. Like most things, they taste even better when made hot and fresh at home.

Here’s an Americanized version of quick-ish pork egg rolls, using prepared materials that you assemble and cook at home. They taste and look like you worked really hard.

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Pork Egg Rolls

  • 1 package egg roll wrappers
  • 1 pound ground pork or mild pork sausage*
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce or Sriracha (optional, if you want them a little spicy)
  • 1 small bag Cole slaw mix (dressing packet not needed)
  • 1 small bag bean sprouts
  • 1 tsp cornstarch stirred into ¼ cup cold water

In a wok, cook pork, garlic, and ginger until the pork is browned. Mix in soy sauce, 5-spice powder, and chili garlic sauce, if desired; stir until blended. Add in veggies, stirring frequently, until warmed through but not wilted. Place pork mixture in a fine colander and drain any excess liquid.

Place one egg roll wrapper with a corner facing you (diamond-shaped) on preparation surface. Using a slotted spoon, spoon ½-cup pork mixture onto egg roll wrapper. Fold corner over filling, fold in sides, and roll. Spoon a tiny bit of cornstarch water on the remaining corner and seal. Place prepared egg rolls on a cooking sheet, seamside down.

Heat oil in skillet or deep fryer. Gently place egg rolls in hot oil; cook until lightly browned, turning as necessary. Drain egg rolls on paper towels or place on a rack on a baking sheet in a 325° oven for several minutes to remove excess oil. Serve hot with soy sauce and Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce.

* You can leave out the pork altogether for vegan egg rolls, or substitute ground chicken or shrimp.

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Award-Winning Homemade Salsa

Our go-to recipe for making salsa at home, this restaurant-style salsa is super easy to make. In fact, it’s so easy that in the summer when tomatoes are plentiful, we make it every day.

This salsa is a winner: It won 1st Place in our parish men’s salsa cook-off. Woo-hoo!

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Award-Winning Homemade Salsa

  • 5 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 white onion, quartered
  • 1-2 jalapeño or Serrano peppers, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • handful of fresh cilantro, washed

Combine first five ingredients in a food processor; process until blended. Add in cilantro; pulse 3-4 times.

Serve salsa with tortilla chips.

 

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil

Warm weather necessitates lighter fare and provides opportunity to showcase homegrown garden vegetables.

This pasta dish features fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden; of course, store bought are fine. These simple ingredients yield surprisingly rich flavor.

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Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 12 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 large basil leaves, julienned
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package spaghetti, cooked
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oil in a large skillet and add onions; cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to carmelize, about 20 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, and cook, stirring frequently, until juice is let and cooked down.

When sauce has thickened, season with sea salt and pepper; stir in basil. Pour over hot, cooked noodles, and stir gently until blended. Top with Parmesan, if desired. Serve with garlic bread and a salad.

Pico de Gallo with Fresh Pineapple

On Fridays, our family often enjoys a pre-dinner appetizer while we relax from a hectic work and school week. Chips and salsa are a mainstay in this Texas household, as is good, fresh pico de gallo.

This recipe calls for fresh pineapple, but it’s just as good with fresh mango. Serve it cold with tortilla chips or as a topping for grilled chicken.

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Pico de Gallo with Fresh Pineapple

  • 1 whole pineapple, peeled and diced
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1-2 Serrano or jalapeño peppers, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ½ -1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients except cilantro, stirring to blend. Toss in chopped cilantro. Serve chilled with tortilla chips.

Coconut-Cream Cheese Pie

The weather’s warming up here in Central Texas, so it’s time for lighter fare. This pie is perfect for warm springs days or your Easter table.

Though Coconut-Cream Cheese Pie is a quick fix, it has a rich flavor that betrays its ease of preparation. It’s well-loved by those who like coconut. Don’t serve it to folks who don’t like coconut because it’s got a whole lot in it.

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Coconut-Cream Cheese Pie

  • 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut (divided)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 325°. Spread softened butter around a pie plate (don’t use a deep dish). Press 1 ½ cups coconut into butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and lemon juice and zest until blended thoroughly. Stir in 1 cup coconut. Transfer to prepared pie shell.

Spread remaining coconut around the edges of the pie. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs

When they eat chicken, most people prefer chicken breasts. But the real flavor is in the dark meat.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs is an inexpensive meal that’s packed with flavors.

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Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs


Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Olives, and Fresh Herbs

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only (no stems)
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup black kalamata olives
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • freshly cooked pasta

Combine oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and fresh herbs in large mixing bowl. Add in chicken thighs and stir to cover. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Transfer thighs to greased baking pan. Arrange olives and tomatoes around thighs. Pour any remaining marinade over thighs, olives, and tomatoes. Bake 30 minutes, and then increase temperature to 425°. Bake for another 10 minutes, browning chicken.
Serve thighs over freshly cooked pasta, spooning sauce over chicken.
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Homemade Oven Fries

McDonald’s has it right: There’s no better accompaniment to hamburgers than French fries. But if you’re trying to avoid fried foods like we are, you have to say no to all that grease.

Here’s a compromise: Oven-fried French fries. They’re just as tasty but a bit healthier too.

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Homemade Oven Fries

  • 6 russet potatoes, washed and cut lengthwise into 8ths
  • 1/4 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper

Combine oil and seasonings in a large mixing bowl. Add in potatoes and mix well, ensuring seasoning gets on all sides of the potatoes.

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with Pam. Transfer potatoes individually to baking sheet, trying to get potatoes to “stand up” on the wider, unpeeled side. Pour any remaining marinade over potatoes.

Place potatoes in oven and cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned and tender. Serve hot.