Hot Eats and Cool Reads: June 2012

Jun 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork Sandwiches Recipe

I knew when I first stumbled across this recipe, I just had to make it! I am a huge vinegar lover, especially balsamic and knew it would make a great sauce. I'm always looking for new slow cooker recipes too. My apartment gets so hot in the summertime and it's always nice not having to use the oven.

This recipe is so easy and so flavorful! I love the sweetness from the honey and brown sugar, and richness from the balsamic. It's even better when you top it off with some yummy homemade coleslaw. The sauce is amazing and I know it would also be good thrown on some chicken and baked in the oven. Use your imagination, this one is a winner!!

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork Sandwiches (print recipe)

What you need:
1- 2 1/2-3 pound pork roast
1 cup onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 cup chicken broth

1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Place roast, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme, rosemary, and broth in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 

When pork is almost ready to be pulled start making the sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 

While sauce is simmering, remove pork and veggies from the slow cooker. Drain broth. Pull pork apart with two forks, and return pork and veggies to slow cooker. Mix in the sauce, and cook on low for 1 hour.

Serve on a bun, topped with coleslaw!

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Recipe Source:
Better Homes and Gardens (slightly adapted)

Restaurant Review: Lucrezia Cafe in Chesterton, Indiana

I absolutely adore amazing little restaurants like the Lucrezia Cafe in Chesterton, Indiana. We were on our way out to my sister's house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for an annual vacation, and we decided to stop off in Chesterton to grab a bite to eat. As soon as you pull off the freeway, you see a huge cluster of fast food and chain restaurants. Ish. In the middle of all that mess, I saw this small sign that said "historic downtown" and I knew we had to see what this downtown had to offer!

After driving and passing by a few restaurants and cute little shops, The word Italian caught my eye on the front of this charming little house. I had my Stepmom Monica, pull in the alley, and we walked up to a very nice and cozy patio where we decided to sit after being in the car for hours.

We were immediately greeted by the servers and seated. I especially loved this patio. It was surrounded by beautiful trees and a little fence, making it so relaxing and serene. The inside was very cool as well. The servers were very attentive, refilling the bread basket as soon as it was empty. The olive oil on the table was herbed and so incredible tasting, making it very addicting. They also had a lunch menu available, and since we were seated before 3pm, we were able to take advantage of the half portion lunch meals making it a great value. 

I ordered the Fettuccine with Salmon in Lemon Dill Sauce. It was astounding. The lemon flavor in the sauce was intense, and the salmon was so tender and flavorful. I highly recommend this dish!

 My nephew Michael ordered the Spaghetti with Meatballs and he said they were very good as well.

 Monica, my Stepmom, ordered the special for that day, Fettuccine with Shrimp, Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic in Asiago Cream. She said it was a delightful blend of pasta, veggies and shrimp. I have to agree. (I had to try a bite!)

 Here is Ella enjoying her Minestrone Soup. I swear this little girl could eat soup all day, every day!

 If you are ever in this area, please stop by this unique restaurant. They also have a store next door selling some of their foodie items. You will be very impressed with the great food and service. I am so glad we stopped by!

You can find Lucrezia Cafe here:
428 South Calumet Road
Chesterton, IN 46304

Their Facebook page is here!
Their website is here!

Jun 28, 2012

Creamy Coleslaw with Pickles Recipe

This is my first time making coleslaw. It's just not something I think of making often. Well, I decided to make some pulled pork sandwiches, and I knew I had to come up with a coleslaw recipe to go on the sandwiches. I also remembered my Dad saying he loves Popeye's coleslaw because it has pickles in it, so I knew that was gonna be my special ingredient. 

I absolutely love how this recipe turned out. I initially wanted to use Miracle Whip, but then after I got home from grocery shopping, and realized I had none. I had to go with mayo. It was fabulous and turned out just the way I imagined it would. The flavors are all great together and it topped my sandwich perfectly. This is a great recipe to bring to your next barbeque! Enjoy!!

Creamy Coleslaw with Pickles (print recipe)

What you need:
1- 1 pound bag coleslaw
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup dill pickles, diced
2 cups mayo
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Put the coleslaw, onions and pickles in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, combine mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well. Pour sauce mixture over coleslaw and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Stir before serving. 

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

Book Review: Antebellum: A Novel by R. Kayeen Thomas

Description from Goodreads:
A thought-provoking novel about African-American culture seen through the eyes of a famous rapper who is transported to the days of slavery and forced to experience it firsthand. When Moses is sent back in time, he finds himself a slave forced to live the life of his ancestors. A rapper in current time, Moses must confront the reality of the African-American experience as slavery challenges everything he holds dear from his fellow rappers and their lyrics, to the executives and their motives. Antebellum is the hard-hitting, gritty story of Moses. From rap superstar to broken slave and back, Antebellum will have readers on the edge of their seats and keep them talking long after they put it down.

More about the book from the author:

 My Thoughts:
I am a huge fan of books about slavery, so when I first read the description of this book, I knew that I needed to read it. R. Kayeen Thomas does a great job combining urban fiction with historical fiction in this novel. 

Moses, the main character, who's also known for his very controversial name, is a popular rapper who lives life for music, women, drugs, drinking etc. The fast life is leading him down a very rocky road. He gets shot by a rival rapper's crew and during his coma he gets transported back into slavery.

I cannot even describe the torture and pain Moses had to endure as a slave. It is so heartbreaking to know these horrible things happened in our history and how some of these brave souls survived. Life on the plantation was well described and very real feeling. I also loved how the past and present time were tied together. Overall, I thought this book was phenomenal and I cannot wait to read the sequel. The author did a great job!

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars

*I received this book from the publisher, Strebor Books, to read and review. The opinion is my own, and not influenced in any way.*

Jun 26, 2012

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas Recipe

I am on a huge spinach kick lately! This is my third recipe in the last few weeks using it! This recipe turned out so good. The combo of the chicken and spinach, along with the Mexican spices were perfect. I also loved the white sauce instead of the traditional red sauce. It had a unique flavor, and is really quite healthy compared to typical cream sauces. I hope you enjoy!!

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

What you need:
1 pound ground chicken
1- 10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and liquid strained
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus extra for garnish
3 cloves garlic, minced
1- 16 ounce carton sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin, divided
2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 4 ounce can diced green chiles
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
12- 7 inch flour tortillas
2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook chicken, green onions, garlic, 1 teaspoon each chili powder and cumin, salt and pepper until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and mix in spinach and 1 cup cheese. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix sour cream, yogurt, salt, 1 teaspoon each chili powder and cumin, milk, green chiles, and cilantro until thoroughly mixed.

Mix half of the sauce mixture with the chicken and spinach mixture. Take one tortilla, and spread chicken and spinach mixture across the tortilla, and roll it up. Place seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Spread remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with green onions sprinkled on top and with your favorite salsa on the side.

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here

Jun 24, 2012

Magic Crust Custard Pie Recipe

This easy Magic Crust Custard Pie is great for holidays or last minute company. These ingredients are easily found in your fridge and pantry and it turns out perfect every time!

Jun 21, 2012

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe From Scratch (No Cream Soup!!)

I have been craving a good, creamy chicken and rice dish for awhile now. This one turned out great and even better, you don't have to use any canned cream soups to make it! It's all from scratch!! Woo-hoo!

Starting this blog almost a year ago has brought many changes to our eating habits. I have cut out most processed foods and try to make almost everything from scratch. It is so much easier than I ever thought and we eat so much better than before. I love it!! Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Chicken and Rice Casserole (print recipe)

What you need:
2 cups raw chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/2 cup shredded carrots 
1 cup white minute rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 cup onion, diced
5 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a glass 9x13 baking dish, combine chicken, carrots, white rice, 1/2 cup cheddar and parsley. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add milk, salt, and pepper, and heat cooking for about 4-5 minutes or until mixture slightly thickens. Pour milk mixture over the contents in the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until chicken and rice are cooked through. 

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest here!

This recipe was shared at:
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Piece O Cake at Loving This Crazy Life
Recipe Linky at Newlyweds
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Toot Your Horn Tuesday at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Makin You Crave Monday at Mrs Happy Homemaker
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Mix it Up Monday at Flour Me With Love
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Weekend Potluck at The Better Baker

Jun 18, 2012

Apricot Fruit Tart Dessert Recipe From The Disney Channel

This post contains affiliate links. HECR will make a small commission from purchases through these links at no cost to you!

This Disney Channel summertime dessert is delicious and easy! It's a kid friendly recipe and the kiddos just love to make it!

Apricot Fruit Tart Dessert Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads! This Disney Channel summertime dessert is delicious and easy! It's a kid friendly recipe and the kiddos just love to make it!

If you have a child who watches the Disney Channel often, then you've probably seen this recipe on a TTI commercial. My daughter has been begging me to make these for last month or two, so we finally got all of the ingredients and made them! 

Jun 17, 2012

Easy Garlic Cheese Bread Recipe

I'm always looking for and trying new garlic bread ideas. This recipe is easy and has great flavor too! I love the convenience of using refrigerated pizza crust. It's a huge time saver! The prep is quick and within 20 minutes, you have a great side dish or appetizer. We also love making these for a snack. Enjoy!!

Easy Garlic Cheese Bread (print recipe)

What you need:
1- 13.8 oz tube refrigerated pizza crust
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil or parsley, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press dough onto a cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, and basil or parsley. Spread butter mixture evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and browned on top. 

If you liked this recipe, follow the Hot Eats and Cool Reads board on Pinterest, here!

Jun 14, 2012

Cheesy Sausage and Vegetable Egg Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole Recipe

This egg bake casserole is great for Sunday morning breakfast, brunch or serve for the holidays! Simple to make and enough to feed the whole family!

Cheesy Sausage and Vegetable Egg Breakfast Casserole

This breakfast casserole is great for Sunday morning breakfast, brunch or serve for the holidays! Tons of flavor from cheese, sausage, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, hash browns and onion. Simple to make and enough to feed the whole family!

This post contains affiliate links. Hot Eats and Cool Reads may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no cost to you! Thanks for the support!

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Jun 12, 2012

Rhubarb Cream Cake Recipe

This spring Rhubarb Cream Cake recipe is pure comfort food just like Grandma used to make!

This spring Rhubarb Cream Cake recipe is pure comfort food just like Grandma used to make! This recipe is tried and true straight from Grandma Maurer's kitchen in central Minnesota! Such a family favorite!

Jun 9, 2012

Best Ever Roasted Potato, Spinach, and Parmesan Salad Recipe

This best ever spinach salad is a perfect fall or winter lunch or dinner! It goes great with chicken or beef, sandwiches or soup!

Best Ever Roasted Potato, Spinach and Parmesan Salad

This best ever spinach salad is a perfect fall or winter lunch or dinner! It goes great with chicken or beef, sandwiches or soup! The sauce gets all it's amazing flavor from garlic and lemon zest!

This post contains affiliate links. Hot Eats and Cool Reads may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no cost to you! Thanks for the support!

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Bing Cherry and Strawberry Mojitos Recipe

It's been such a long time since I've posted a new cocktail recipe! Now that summer is here, I have to take advantage of all the yummy fruits and make cocktails more often. 

This Cherry and Strawberry Mojito turned out so good!! The combo of strawberries and cherries were perfect, and it was even better because the strawberries came from my local farmers market. YUM! This is a great drink to bring to a party, or for a night where you are hanging out with a couple of friends. Everyone will love it! Enjoy!!

 Bing Cherry and Strawberry Mojitos (print recipe)

What you need:
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 pound bing cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 pound strawberries, sliced
lemon lime soda or sparkling water

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and lime juice and heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and place in fridge or freezer to cool.

After syrup has cooled completely, combine it with the cherries and strawberries and let sit for at least an hour before using. 

Jun 6, 2012

Recipe and Product Review: Gold'n Plump Hot Italian Chicken Sausage and Bean Ragout

Chicken is something we cook with alot at my house, and Gold'n Plump is the brand we use most often because I like to support local companies and the quality is always great. They also offer such great coupons through their website, email, and newspaper. I was so excited when I received an email from Gold'n Plump asking if I would like to try their new line of Chicken Brats, Sausages, and Breakfast Sausages. I jumped at the chance to try and review them!

We loved the chicken brats, so next I decided to try the Hot Italian Chicken Sausages. Normally I'm not much of a spicy sausage eater, but it was perfect with this recipe. I decided to remove it from the casing and brown it to break it up some. The spiciness was just right, not too hot at all. My daughter even ate two bowls and she typically doesn't like spicy foods. This dish is so perfect with the combo of tomatoes, beans, pasta and the chicken sausage. We really loved it!

This is a product I would definitely buy. The flavor is great and you can use it with so many different recipes. I would love to add it with lasagna or even chili. Chicken sausage is so much better for you than the traditional pork sausage or even most ground beef, so it's a great substitution without losing any flavor. They are also gluten and nitrate free!

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage and Bean Ragout (print recipe)

What you need:
2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease
1- 19 ounce package Goldn' Plump Hot Italian Chicken Sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2- 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1- 15 ounce can great northern beans, or any white bean, drained and rinsed
1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
5 ounces fresh spinach
1/3 c. shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, brown sausage, onion, and garlic in olive oil until chicken is cooked through, breaking sausage into small pieces while browning. 

Add broth, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Next, add the elbow macaroni and reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until noodles are almost cooked through. Add the spinach, basil, and cheese within the last couple minutes of cooking and remove from heat when spinach starts to wilt. Serve with additional parmesan cheese on top. 

Jun 4, 2012

Slow Cooker Barbequed Beans With Ground Beef and Bacon Recipe

It's been almost a week since I last posted! What have I been up to?? My brother Shaun got married last weekend! We've been super busy with wedding festivities and my sister, Shannon and her family, are here visiting from Michigan too! With all this fun stuff going on, cooking and blogging have been on the back burner for a few days. I can't wait to get back in the kitchen!!

This recipe for slow cooker baked beans is a favorite of mine!! I made this for a Memorial Day weekend BBQ. I especially love it because it's so easy to put together, and the flavor is great. You can add your favorite beans in place of the ones I chose to use. Either way, the sauce is what ties it all together. This is sure to be a hit at any BBQ this summer!

Slow Cooker Barbequed Beans With Ground Beef and Bacon (print recipe)

What you need:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1- 5.5 ounce can of spicy v-8 juice or 2/3 cup tomato juice
1- 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1- 16 ounce can butter beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper, to taste


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