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. 


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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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

Ingredients:

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)

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

3 pounds fresh cherries, pitted

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup crème fraiche

5 teaspoons sugar

3/4 cup chilled pineapple juice

  

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

tortillas

chopped cilantro, for toppings

sliced radishes, for toppings

queso fresco, for toppings

lime wedges, for toppings 

 

Directions:

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.

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.


Spicy Shrimp Tacos

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

 

Ingredients:

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

tortillas

chopped cilantro, for toppings

sliced radishes, for toppings

queso fresco, for toppings

lime wedges, for toppings 

 

Directions:

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.

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.

 

Ingredients:

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

 

Directions:

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.