A Pleasant Little Kitchen Recipes

Meet our recipe contributor, Rebecca White, of A Pleasant Little Kitchen. She's a self-taught cook, who through trial and error, has discovered what a treasure tasty and creative home-cooked food can be. Rebecca is a wife, mama and historian who delights in grocery shopping, reading food articles, talking about food and testing new recipes.

Visit her full blog or find out more about her here. 

Red, White and Blue Mini-Cakes


Red, White and Blue Mini-Cakes

Author note: I like to use sprayable white cake frosting for these mini cakes. Keep in mind that the food coloring will vary depending upon what brand is used. Each brand varies. Add more or less coloring to the cake batter to achieve the desired tone. If you do not have a 3 inch pastry cutter, use the top of a drinking glass or a canning jar lid.


2 boxes white cake mix

90 drops red food coloring

90 blue food coloring

white icing

patriotic sprinkles


1) Heat the oven according to the cake directions.

2) Prepare 1 box of cake batter per the instructions. Add the blue food coloring to the mixture. Stir well to combine.

3) Spray a rimmed 12x16 rimmed baking sheet with canola oil. Pour the blue cake batter into the sheet pan. Spread the batter evenly throughout the pan.

4) Prepare the 2nd box of cake batter per the instructions. Add the red food coloring into the mixture. Stir well to combine.

5) Spray a rimmed rimmed 12x16 baking sheet with canola oil. Pour the red cake batter into the sheet pan. Spread the batter evenly throughout the pan.

6) Place both sheet pans into the oven, one on the top rack, another on the third rack. Bake according to the directions on the back of the box.

7) Remove the cakes from the oven once they are cooked all the way through, between 20-30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes

8) Using a 2 inch wide circle pastry cutter. Cut out round cake pieces.

9) Take a blue cake circle and add a layer of white frosting to the top. Take a red cake circle and place on top of the icing. Top the red, white and blue cake with frosting and patriotic sprinkles. Continue this process until all cake circles are used.

Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Kebabs


Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Kebabs

Serves 5-6


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp, deshelled

1-2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed

1 onion cut into bite sized pieces


1) Place the olive oil, oregano, thyme, cayenne, chili powder, cumin and kosher salt into a large bowl. Mix well.

2) Add the shrimp and stir well to coat. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, up to 8 hours before grilling.

3) Heat the grill to 350 degrees.

4) Cut the asparagus into large, bite-sized pieces. Set aside in a bowl.

5) Remove the shrimp from the fridge.

6) Using a skewer (wooden or metal) assemble the kebabs. I like a pattern of onion, two asparagus and one shrimp. I also prefer 3-4 shrimp on each skewer (if the shrimp are medium to large in size. I add more if the shrimp are smaller).

7) Over direct heat, grill the shrimp 3 minutes per side, for a total of 6 minutes. Remove from the grill and serve immediately. Salt to taste.

Pan Seared Rosemary Pork Chops with Cherry Glaze


Pan Seared Rosemary Pork Chops with Cherry Glaze

Yield: Serves 4


4 bone-in pork chops

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, halved

4 sprigs rosemary

1 large shallot (or two small shallots), halved

3/4 cups white wine

2 cups cherries, pitted and quartered

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

chopped fresh parsley leaves, for topping


1) 30 minutes before cook time, remove the pork from the fridge. Evenly distribute 1 teaspoon of salt onto all sides of the pork.

2) Add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of butter, 2 garlic cloves and 2 rosemary sprigs into a large skillet and cook over high heat. Remove the rosemary and garlic when fragrant and beginning to brown.

3) Add two pork chops to the skillet.  Cook 3-4 minutes per side, for a total of 6-8 minutes. Remove and place onto a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with foil.

4) Add an additional tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Scrape up any burning bits and add the remaining two pork chops. Cook as instructed above. If the pan gets too hot, reduce the heat to medium high.

5) Once the pork chops are removed from the skillet, immediately place the shallots and garlic into the skillet. Quickly stir.

6) Immediately pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any brown bits. Once the pan is deglazed, add the cherries, vinegar and brown sugar. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

7) Once the sauce is simmering, place the baking sheet of pork chops into the oven. Cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the pork reaches 143-145 degrees internal temperature. Remove from the oven and cover with foil. Let sit for 10 minutes.

8) Meanwhile, remove the lid from the cherry glaze and increase the heat to medium-high. Let the sauce cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the thickened.

9) Serve the pork chops topped with the cherry glaze and chopped fresh parsley leaves.

Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding


Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding

Yield: makes 6 servings


For the Bread Pudding

4 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups Lucerne half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons instant coffee

6 cups challah bread, crust removed and cubed into 1 inch pieces

chocolate syrup, for topping (see recipe below)

vanilla ice cream, for serving


1) Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined. Set aside.

3) In a small saucepan, warm the half and half and vanilla over low heat for 15 minutes.

4) After 10 minutes of warming the half and half, place the cocoa in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup of warm half and half. Whisk well until the cocoa powder is fully combined to the half and half.

5) Add the cocoa slurry and the instant coffee to the half and half mixture. Stir well to combine. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.

6) Strain the cocoa half and half into a medium sized bowl.

7) While whisking the egg and sugar mixture, add a spoonful of warm cocoa half and half. Continue to whisk to prevent scrambling of the eggs. Continue this process three more times until the custard is warmed.

8) In a steady stream pour the remaining cocoa half and half into the custard, whisking continually.

9) Stir well and set aside.

10) Place the challah into a square baking pan. Pour the custard over the challah bread. Be sure that the tops of the bread are coated by the custard. Place in the oven and cook for 50 minutes, or until the custard is set.

11) Remove the bread pudding. Let cool for 5 minutes.

12) Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup (see recipe below).


For the Chocolate Syrup

1 cup cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 cup water


1) Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan, and make a simple syrup. Cook on low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2) Combine the vanilla and salt into the simple syrup. Stir well.

3) Place the cocoa powder into a large bowl. In three batches, whisk the simple syrup into the cocoa powder. Mix thoroughly.

4) Strain the cocoa mixture back into the pan. Add corn syrup and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

5) Remove from the stovetop and bring to room temperature. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge, up to three weeks.

Slow Cooker Wild Rice with Green Onions

Serves 6-8

Author note: Remember that not all slow cookers are the same. My slow cooker tends to cook a bit faster. The perfect cook time with my slow cooker for this recipe is about 2 1/2 hours. However I cooked this exact recipe in another’s slow cooker and it took 3 hours. Adjust the time according to your slow cooker.



canola oil spray

3 cups low sodium chicken stock

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

2 cups wild rice blend

1/2 cups green onions, finely chopped

parchment paper



1) Spray the interior of the slow cooker with canola oil. Add the chicken stock, salt, butter, onion and rice. Stir well to mix.

2) Cover the top of the stock and rice mixture with parchment paper (cut the parchment to fit the size of the slow cooker).

3) Cover with the lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours. Once cooked, remove the lid and stir in the green onions.

4) Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Asparagus Parmesan Tart

Serves 5-8



canola oil spray

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

16-20 medium-sized asparagus

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 lemon



1) Heat oven to 400°.

2) Remove the rough ends of the asparagus.

3) Place the asparagus in a bowl. Add the oil and salt to the asparagus and toss well to coat.

4) Spray the inside of a 10x10 baking pan with canola oil. Place the sheet of puff pastry inside the baking pan.

5) Top the puff pastry with a layer of all the parmesan cheese and then a layer of all the mozzarella cheese.

6) Place the asparagus evenly across the puff pastry.

7) Place the egg in a small bowl and whisk it to make an egg wash.

8) Lightly coat the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash.

9) Place the baking pan into the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove the tart from the oven.

10) Zest the lemon evenly over the tart. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Pork Loin Roast with Brandy Cream Sauce

Serves 6

for the pork loin


3 pounds pork loin roast

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 1/2 cups orange juice

juice of 1 lime

5 garlic cloves, chopped

2 rosemary sprigs, chopped

3 sage leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil



1) Combine the soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice, garlic cloves, rosemary, sage and dry mustard into a large bowl and mix well. Place the pork loin into the bowl and massage the marinade into the roast. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least eight hours or overnight.

2) An hour before cooking, remove the pork loin from the refrigerator to allow it to come up to room temperature.

3) Set the oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy bottomed skillet heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry (make sure it is dried well, or you will not get a good brown on the roast). When the oil begins to smoke, add the pork loin. Brown both side for three to four minutes.

4) Place the pork loin into the oven and cook for about 65-75 minutes, or until the center reaches 145 degrees.

5) Place the remaining marinade into a small sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce for five minutes and remove from heat. Reserve one cup for the brandy cream sauce.

6) Once the pork loin is cooked, remove it from the oven, set aside on a plate and cover tightly with foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes. While the meat rests, make the sauce.

for the brandy cream sauce 


1/4 cup brandy

1 1/2 cups reduced marinade

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons heavy cream

kosher salt

for the pork loin



1) Meanwhile, heat the same skillet you roasted the pork in on medium heat. Add the brandy and with a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits off the skillet. Let it simmer for 30 seconds. Then add the reduced marinade to the brandy and bring to full boil, cook for about three minutes, or until thickened. (If the sauce is having a difficult time thickening, add a teaspoon of flour and whisk until smooth and thickened.)

2) Reduce the heat to low and bring the sauce to a low simmer. Once the temperature has dropped, add the butter and stir. Once the butter has melted add the cream. Stir and heat through. Salt to taste.

Short Ribs Adovada

Servings: 6


5 pounds bone in short ribs

3 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

One onion, chopped

Four garlic clothes, crushed

2 cups low-sodium beef stock

2 cups chili water (see recipe below)

1 12 ounce can of chipotles with adobo sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon honey

1 bay leaf, quartered



1) One hour before cooking, remove the meat from the fridge.

2) Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

3) With 2 teaspoons of salt, evenly season the short ribs on all sides.

4) Open the can of chipotles and remove half of the chiles. Set the can aside to use later.

5) In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over high on the stove top. Once hot add the short ribs and brown for 2 minutes per side, for a total of 4 minutes, and set aside. This should be done in 2 batches.

6) Remove the pan from the heat. Add the onions and garlic and off at the heat for two minutes.

7) Lower the heat to medium and add the pan back to the stovetop.

8) Pour the beef stock into the pan and deglaze. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

9) Add the chili water, half of the chipotle chilies with all the sauce from the can, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cloves, oregano, cumin, honey, and bay leaf to the pan. Stir well.

10) Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the short ribs back into the pan. Cover and place in the oven. Cook at 350 degrees for two hours.

11) Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the short ribs from the pan and place on a rimmed cutting board. Cover the short ribs with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

12) Meanwhile, skim off the fat that has collected on top of the cooking sauce.

13) Serve the short ribs with rice topped with adovada sauce and chopped cilantro.

Chocolate Pancakes with Whipped Peppermint Cream

for the pancakes

Servings vary



1 cup pancake mix

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon sugar

whipped peppermint cream (see recipe below)



1) The additions for this recipe are based on 1c of package mix. If your favorite pancake mix uses more or less, adjust the ratio accordingly.

2) Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat.

3) Mix the pancake mix per the package directions, adding the cocoa powder and sugar.

4) Working in batches, ladle the mixture into the skillet forming pancakes about 3" in diameter. Cook until bubbles form, about 1 minute. Flip the pancakes and continue cooking until fully cooked, about another 1 minute.


for the whipped peppermint cream

Author note: This whipped cream can be made up to 1 hour before serving.



1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon peppermint flavoring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



1) Place all ingredients into a large bowl.

2) Using an electric mixer, whip on high until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes.

3) Serve immediately, or spoon out and place into a container. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

Cornbread Dressing

Serves: 8-10

Author note: The saltiness of this recipe is determined by how salty the cornbread you use is. Adjust accordingly.



2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

6 cups cornbread, cut into bite sized pieces

3 cups white bread, crust removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup half and half

2 cups chicken stock

2 eggs

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves chopped



1) Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Tie the sage, rosemary and thyme sprigs with kitchen twine.

3) Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized skillet. Once melted add the bundle of herbs, onions, celery and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

4) Place the cornbread and white bread pieces onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread out evenly. Place into the oven and toast the bread for 10 minutes.

5) Remove the bread from the oven and place in a baking pan. Set aside.

6) In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, chopped herbs, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, chicken stock, buttermilk and cream. Set aside.

7) Remove the herb bundle from the cooked vegetables. Evenly pour the vegetable mixture over the toasted bread.

8) Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the bread and vegetables. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the bread is golden and the eggs cooked through.

9) Serve warm and salt to taste.

Old Fashioned Root Beer Float

Author note: Whipped cream would make a perfect additional topper.



homemade vanilla ice cream (recipe below)

root beer

sprinkles, optional topping



1) Place two scoops of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of a glass. Pour the root beer on top of the ice cream.

2) Top with festive sprinkles and serve with a colored straw.


Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


1 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar



1) 24 hours before making ice cream with an electric ice-cream maker, place the freezer bowl in the freezer. Check your ice cream maker manual for specific instructions.

2) In a small sauce pan, heat the cream, milk and vanilla extract on medium-low for 15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally and not to let it boil.

3) Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the yolks and sugar. With a whisk, break the yolks and combine with the sugar.

4) Remove the liquid from the stovetop and temper the yolk mixture. To temper the yolks, whisk the eggs quickly while slowly adding the warm liquid (about 1/4 cup at a time) until all the liquid is combined.

5) Cover the bowl and place in the fridge. Let it chill for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.

6) Place the ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker and mix for 20 minutes, or until the ice cream is thickened to the desired consistency.

7) Serve immediately for soft serve, or place in a freezer safe container and freeze for a firmer texture.

Marshmallow Pumpkin Dip

Author note: When marshmallows bake they expand and puff up.



15 ounce can pumpkin

1/2 cup brown sugar

pinch of ground nutmeg

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup half and half

5 teaspoons cinnamon sugar (see recipe below)

10 ounce bag marshmallows (medium-sized)

ginger snaps, for dipping



1) Set the oven to 425 degrees.

2) In a large bowl, cream the pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt, cloves and cinnamon with an electric mixer.

3) Continue to mix and add the eggs one at a time.

4) Next, add the vanilla extract, half and half and cream. Mix well to combine.

5) Pour the spiced pumpkin mixture into a greased pie pan and place into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

6) After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.

7) Meanwhile slice the marshmallows in half and place in a bowl. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of cinnamon sugar on top of the marshmallows. Stir well to coat. Set aside.

8) Remove the pumpkin dip from the oven. Evenly space the marshmallows on top of the dip. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon sugar on top of the marshmallows and pumpkin dip.

9) Place back into the oven and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the pumpkin mixture is cooked through and the marshmallows are golden (total bake time is 45 minutes).

10) Serve warm or at room temperature with gingersnap cookies.


for the cinnamon sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cinnamon stick (optional)


1) Place the sugar and cinnamon into a bowl. Stir to combine.

2) Place the cinnamon stick into the cinnamon sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Reverse Grill Steak

Author note: The amount of steak used will determine your salt and pepper. Be liberal with the amount of salt used. Remove steak from refrigerator for about 1 hour prior to cooking. Reverse sear method works best with thick steaks, about 1” or thicker. The low temperature grilling portion of this recipe can be done in advance, up to an hour or so.



Rancher's Reserve beef tenderloin filet (or your preferred cut of steak)

kosher salt

fresh cracked pepper

1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or more if needed)

1/2 tablespoon canola oil (or more if needed)

instant read thermometer



1) Salt and pepper to taste. Some of the salt will fall off during cooking, so be liberal.

2) Prep grill for indirect heat at 250 degrees. An oven at 250 degrees will also work.

3) Allow steak to cook until desired doneness as indicated by an instant read thermometer. This will take around 1 hour depending on your desired doneness (I prefer 135° for medium-rare).

4) Remove steak from grill and wrap with foil.

5) Set up grill for high heat around 500 degrees. Heat a cast-iron skillet over the grill, allowing several minutes for it to reach temperature. This can also be done on a stovetop burner.

6) Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and ½ tablespoon canola oil to the skillet. When the butter is melted and distributed around the skillet, add the steaks. Cook the steaks for 45 seconds per side. Remove steaks and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Hatch Green Chile Cheese

Author note: This recipe is very similar to pimento cheese. Adjust the cayenne pepper depending on heat preference.


1 cup gouda cheese, shredded

1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups medium cheddar cheese, shredded

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup whipped cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/3 cup onions, diced

3/4 to 1 cup Hatch green chiles, roasted and diced



1) Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Stir well.

2) Place in the fridge and let chill for at least one hour. Serve cold with crackers, on toast and sandwiches or with veggies.

Strawberry Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes

Serves 4-6


5 ounces of fresh lemon juice (juice from about 4 ½ lemons)

1 1/2 cups simple syrup, cooled (recipe below)

4 cups water

pinch of salt

strawberry puree (recipe below)

blueberry ice cubes, (recipe below)



1) Combine lemon juice, simple syrup, water and salt into a large pitcher. Stir and place the lemonade in the fridge to chill.

2) Fill each glass with 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree and blueberry ice cubes.

3) Pour lemonade into each glass and stir. Serve immediately.


Simple Syrup

Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Heat through and stir until sugar has dissolved.


Strawberry Puree

16 ounces strawberries, leafy ends removed

2 tablespoons simple syrup

Cut the strawberries in half.


1) Place the ingredients into a food processor and puree until the fruit is a smooth, soup-like consistency.

2) Place in the fridge and chill before using.


Blueberry Ice Cubes

Place 2-4 blueberries in each compartment of an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and place in the freezer. Freeze for 24 hours or until solid.

Cherry Jam

Author note: This recipe is easily halved. If cherries are not in season, frozen cherries also work, but require a bit more simmering time. Serve on your favorite biscuits, vanilla ice cream or PB&J sandwich.



3 pounds fresh cherries, pitted

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick



1) In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Stir and cover. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2) Remove the lid, stir the mixture and increase the heat to medium or medium-high. Cook for 35-45 minutes (the cherries should maintain a steady boil). Stir frequently to prevent burning. When the mixture is reduced, thickened and coats the back of a spoon it is finished cooking.

3) Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge.

Deviled Egg Sandwich

Author note: This is a basic deviled egg recipe. Add your preferred finishing touches. I enjoy ground curry and a touch of caviar. Fresh herbs like thyme or dill also work well. Salt at the end, because the amount of salt will vary depending on the brand of mustard and mayonnaise used. This recipe can be easily halved.



1 dozen hard boiled eggs

1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

6 tablespoons sour cream

5 teaspoons dijon mustard

5 teaspoons mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt



1) Remove the yolks from the whites, saving 8 of the 12 egg whites. Place the 12 yolks into a medium-sized bowl.

2) Chop the 8 egg whites.

3) Add the sour cream, dijon and mayonnaise into the bowl with the yolks. Mash with a fork until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

4) Add the chopped whites and shallots to the mixture. Salt to taste.

Lemonade with Pineapple Whipped Cream

Serves 4-6



5 ounces of fresh lemon juice (juice from about 4 ½ lemons)

1 1/2 cups simple syrup, cooled (recipe below)

4 cups water

pinch of salt

pineapple whipped cream (recipe below)

maraschino cherries, for topping

fresh pineapple slices, for topping



1) Combine all ingredients into a large pitcher. Stir and place in the fridge to chill.

2) Serve over ice and topped with pineapple whipped cream, maraschino cherry and pineapple slice.


Simple Syrup

1) Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Heat through and stir until sugar has dissolved.


Pineapple Whipped Cream

Author note: I prefer to use the juice from canned pineapple. To chill it, I place the can in the fridge about 3 hours before I need to use it.



1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup crème fraiche

5 teaspoons sugar

3/4 cup chilled pineapple juice



1) Place all ingredients into a large bowl. With an electric mixer, whisk at a rapid speed until the cream is airy and fluffy. Place in the fridge until ready to be used. This can be made up to a day in advance.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Author note: Two mixing bowls are required for this recipe. If you prefer a non-spicy option, omit the cayenne.



3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup chopped chives

1 pound shrimp


chopped cilantro, for toppings

sliced radishes, for toppings

queso fresco, for toppings

lime wedges, for toppings 



1) Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2) In a medium sized mixing bowl place 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne, ¼ teaspoon of paprika and the lemon zest. Stir well to combine.

3) In a second medium sized bowl place 1 tablespoon of of oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne, ¼ teaspoon of paprika, juice of 1 lemon and the chives. Stir well to combine and set aside.

4) Add the shrimp to the first bowl (the bowl without the chives) and turn the shrimp several times to coat.

5) Pour the shrimp mixture onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread the shrimp out into an even single layer.

6) Place the shrimp into the oven and cook until pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.

7) Remove the shrimp from the oven and with a slotted spoon place the cooked shrimp into the second bowl.

8) Turn the shrimp several times to coat well.

9) Warm the tortillas, in the microwave, on the stove top or in the oven.

10) Once the tortillas are warmed, add the shrimp, chopped cilantro, sliced radishes and queso fresco. Top with a spritz of fresh lime juice. Salt to taste.

Loaded Fries

Serves 4-6

Author note: Be creative with toppings for these fries. Guacamole, pimento cheese, brown gravy or fried onion strings could also be decadent toppers. If serving a crowd, set up a bar of toppings and let each guest decide how they want to top their french fries. There are no measurements listed on the amount of cheese to give you the flexibility to add as much as you would like.


1 bag frozen Signature Kitchens Crinkle Cut French Fries

Lucerne shredded cheese

1 package of bacon, fried and chopped

1/2 red onion, diced

Lucerne sour cream

1 bundle of green onions, chopped

1/2 bundle of cilantro, chopped

hot sauce



1) Cook the french fries according to the instructions on the back of the package (about 35 minutes at 425 degrees).

2) Once the fries are cooked, lower the oven to 400 degrees and top the fries with a generous amount of cheese, bacon and red onions.

3) Place back into the oven until the cheese is melted. Finish the fries with dollops of sour cream, green onions, cilantro and hot sauce.

Black Beans and Rice

Author note: This meal can be prepared in about 15 minutes. There is only one item to chop, which is half an onion. United's pre-made guacamole or pico de gallo from the Fresh Cut section are excellent additions to this quick weeknight meal. Serve with tortilla chips or in a flour tortilla.



For the Beans

3 cans black beans

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup water

cooked rice (see recipe below)

sour cream, for topping



1) Place all ingredients into a sauce pan (except cooked rice and sour cream), stir and bring to a simmer. Let simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

2) Serve over rice, topped with sour cream.



For the Rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 of 1 onion, diced

1 14 ounce box of instant brown rice

3 1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt



1) Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the onion. Cook over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

2) Add the instant rice into the pan. Stir to coat with butter.

3) Add the chicken stock and salt, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender, about 10-12 minutes.



Mini Peppermint Pancake Muffins

Author note: To make these mini pancake muffins a bit more “minty” add a drop of peppermint extract to the batter.



3/4 cup candy canes, crushed (about 7-8 candy canes)

2 cups pancake batter (use your favorite mix)

cooking spray

chocolate syrup, for topping

maple syrup, for topping

whipped cream, for topping

sprinkles, for topping



1) Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2) Add the crushed candy canes to the pancake batter. Mix well.

3) Coat mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill the tins about 2/3 of the way.

4) Place in the oven and bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden on the edges.

Pork Sugo

Author note: If you do not have a large enough pan to brown the whole pork shoulder, cut the pork into 4 pieces. Brown in two batches. This recipe makes a ton and will feed a very large crowd. You can also use the meat in sandwiches, tacos or nachos. This recipe is freezer friendly.



3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 teaspoons kosher salt

7 pounds bone-in Smithfield pork shoulder

2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes

1 1/2 cups dry white wine (I prefer Pinot Grigio)

1 cup heavy cream

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

5 thyme sprigs, tied with kitchen twine

fresh chopped parsley to top



1) Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

2) Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven, over medium high heat.

3) Evenly cover the pork with 3 teaspoons of salt. Add the pork to the pan brown for 8 minutes. (3 minutes per larger sides, 1 minute per smaller sides).

4) Remove the pork and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.

5) Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery to the pan. Stir well and scrape up any browned bits. Cook for 5 minutes.

6) Add the wine and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

7) Add tomatoes, cream, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt and pork shoulder. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Cover, place in the oven and cook for 3 hours.

8) Remove the pan from the oven and place on the stovetop. Remove the pork and place on a plastic cutting board. Let cool for 10 minutes and then shred.

9) Simmer the tomato sauce for 20-30 minutes. Add the shredded pork back into the tomato sauce and stir well.

10) Serve on top of pasta or gnocchi.