Treat Yourself Tuesday- Rosemary Garlic Pork Loin

img_3077Hi Everyone! I know I haven’t been posting much, if you read my previous entry this week, you’ll know I’m struggling with the energy to keep this going on top of work and my recovery. But I’m just going to work on it as I can. I made this awhile ago and I’m excited to share. My parents loved it… although they would probably say they loved dirt if I made dinner haha. So here we go.

Note pork loin and pork tenderloin are actually different cuts of meat. A pork loin is much thicker and comes from the back of the pig. It also comes as different names like top loin roast or center-cut. The tenderloin is Is taken from the muscle situated alongside the backbone of the pig. It’s much smaller. You can also make this recipe with a tenderloin, you’re cooking time will just be different- much less.. but the process of coating it is the same. I’ve made it with both kinds of cute and found the tenderloin dried out quicker, even though both are very lean cuts

What you’ll need:

*note you may need more based on the size of your loin/how many people you’re feeding. The loin I made was 2lbs and would feed at least 4 people.

  • 2 lb pork loin (The butcher will ask you how much. Honestly Just eyeball it.)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If your pork loin came with a large layer of fat, remove it img_3075and just leave the nice lean meat. Rub the loin with olive oil.

On a plate combine the rest of the ingredients on a plate and roll the pork loin in the bread crumb mixture until it’s completely coated. Place on a baking sheet (throw a sheet of aluminum foil on there for easy clean up!) and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes. Pork temperature can vary now. Anywhere from 145 degrees to 165 degrees. I prefer mine closer to well done, and I think this recipe still kept a lot of the moisture in. But if you like yours a little medium, the lower temperature is just fine.


Let the loin rest for a few minutes before cutting and serve! If you’re looking for a few sides try my recipe for Green Bean Fries or Thyme & Honey Glazed Carrots


Treat Yourself Tuesdays- Homemade Crispy Thin Crust Pizza

IMG_2737IMG_2739Mmmmm pizza. Really what else can you say about it? It’s also this week’s Treat Yourself Tuesday. This week’s post was recommended by a great friend of mine! So if you ever have any ideas for a post let me know!

The nice thing about making pizza is you can top it with whatever you’d like. This gives you the opportunity to throw in some veggies and get a little extra nutrition. Treat yourself this week, and enjoy this pizza one night.

My sauce recipe is also perfect for any pasta dish you may want to cook up.

What You’ll Need:

For the pizza dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry yeast (1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup warm water (between 105 and 110 degrees)

(If you have a bread machine, throw all the ingredients in and put it on the dough setting. The wet ingredients should be on the bottom, and the dry on top. The yeast should be the last thing you put in. If you don’t have a bread maker, read on.)

Add the sugar and water in a large bowl until dissolved. Add in the yeast and let sit for a few minutes. The liquid should be foamy. Stir while adding the olive oil.

In a separate bowl, add together the flour and salt. Add the wet and try ingredients together. Knead together until dough forms. (I would suggest dusting your hands in flour). When you get a smooth ball, put it in a oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a clean towel and leave to rise for an hour.

For the sauce:

  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoesIMG_2735
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 very small white onion chopped.
  • olive oil.

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped tomato, stirring occasionally until somewhat caramelized. Add the rest of the ingredients. When it starts to bubble, turn down to a simmer. Leave on the stove for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep tasting and add anything you think it needs.

What you need for toppings:

  • 1 oz package of fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil leaves
  • *any other toppings you desire.

IMG_2734Preheat the over to 450 degrees. When the dough is done rising, roll out into one large pizza, or two small ones. Because this is a thin crust pizza, the dough doesn’t behave as well. Stretch out, or use a rolling pin to roll out the dough extremely thin. Place on a baking sheet. Slice the fresh mozzarella and put it on the pizza. Add whatever other toppings you decide to use. I used sliced peppers. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Take out when the cheese is melted and the edges of the crust begin to brown. Take out of the oven and top with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy your fresh crispy thin crust pizza!




Delicious Summer Recipes!

I’ve been lazy about positing. Mostly because I’m at the beach, and unfortunately I’ve still had quite a bit of work to do here. But here’s something I wanted to share for awhile! I know for many summer might be winding down, but lets face it, it’s still going to be hot for awhile. So if you’re still looking for a great treat here’s some delicious summer recipes for your next BBQ, or just to keep cool.

Summer Berry Sorbet with Homemade Whipped CreamIMG_2506

This is the perfect treat to cool down, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker. (Although admittedly it’s just so much easier. Wish list for Kara: ice cream maker to go with my KitchenAid blender.) It’s only a few ingredients, so prep only takes a few minutes. The whipped cream makes for a really delicious addition, especially when the sorbet begins to melt.


basil watermelon slushWatermelon & Basil Summer Slush

A great drink to cool down with! If you’re planning on having people over on a hot August day, this is the perfect thing to cool them down. (If you really want to have a party just add a shot of vodka 😉 haha.) It’s extremely flavorful and the flavors are perfect for summer. The recipe makes one drink so make sure to multiply if you’re having company!


IMG_1482Seared Tuna with a Chili Soy Blood Orange Glaze

I love this recipe. I’m also a sucker for seared tuna. This works well for summer because it’s still somewhat cold. The edges are seared but its not a heavy or hot meal. Technically blood oranges are a winter fruit, so you may have some trouble finding them. If you can’t, you can always use regular oranges. Crush a few raspberries into the marinade and that will be closer to the flavor of a blood


salmon with border

Grilled Salmon with Ginger Soy Glaze

Fire up the grill. This is another great fish dish for summer. This glaze is incredible and really infuses a lot of flavor into the fish. Add some grilled veggies as a side and you’ve got an entire meal. It’s also much a quick and easy meal to make during the week. This is also a great option for those who want another option for the grill besides meat.

IMG_2510Savory Sweet Potato Burrito

I love sweet potato burritos. It sounds funny, but it’s amazingly good. I first had one at this great place in West Philadelphia. I then tried to replicate the recipe to the best of my abilities. I never thought about a sweet potato burrito before, but really it’s pretty incredible. This is another delicious summer recipe. If you haven’t had sweet potato in Mexican food before, definitely give this a shot.



Image-1-1Grilled Chilies Rellenos

Another great Mexican-inspired dish.  love the added tastiness of the grill, however you can of course do this in the oven. But who doesn’t love the taste of the grill? The mix of the poblano pepper, cotija cheese and chicken thighs is awesome. I think chicken thighs are really underutilized sometimes. This is something a little different than just the typical burgers and fries to throw on the grill.


zuchhini pasta w/ borderZucchini Pasta w/ Old Bay Ship, Heirloom Tomatoes & Fresh Corn

Zucchini pasta is such a great option for summer! It won’t weigh you down in the same way normal pasta will. Plus who doesn’t love Old Bay on shrimp? This is a great light summer dish that’s perfect for dinner. Zucchini pasta is extremely easy to make. You don’t even need one of those veggie pasta makers. I just use my cheese grater! Use all the great summer vegetables in this dish.

bruschetta with borderSummer Bruschetta

I really am not a fan of raw tomatoes. But I love this bruschetta recipe. Fresh tomatoes, corn and goat cheese makes for a delicious summer recipe! This is also such an easy and great option for entertaining. Check out the recipe!


FullSizeRender(3)Egg White Lemon Crepes w/ Berry Filling

A light crepe filled with summer berries! The light lemon flavor really comes through nicely in the crepe. These are really easy and quick to make. Top with some tasty whipped cream and serve it up for breakfast. Great for yourself or the entire family. You can really put any berries in the filling, but take advantage of all the in season berries. They’re so good right now!

IMG_2432Green Bean Fries

This is a great side dish for the summer. If you’re firing up the grill for burgers and want a side of fries, here’s a summer veggie option instead. They aren’t the same as normal fries obviously, but they’re crispy and delicious. A quick breading and they’re off in the oven. So easy to make! Think of this side the next time you’re making dinner or want a healthy snack.



Fresh Corn & Quinoa Congee

I am sorry to all the people out there who have grown up with congee. This won’t be nearly as wonderful as anything your family used to make. But man this is still a delicious recipe. Quinoa is an awesome substitute for rice, and the fresh corn screams summer. It’s a great breakfast or lunch option. Honestly, I could eat it all day long.


IMG_1791Green Pea and Avocado Soup

This soup is great for summer, not only because of the fresh peas and avocado, but because this can be served hot or cold. I’m not the biggest fan of cold soups, but this is really flavorful and perfect when you don’t feel like eating something hot in the summer heat! Serve alone or with any protein you want. I chose fish. YUM.


So this is the 2016 list. Let me know whether or not there’s anything you like to see, or if you like the recipes or not!

Delicious Mexican Rice

We’ve all used the ready packages of rice at some point or another. Especially if it’s something like Mexican rice. The great thing is making Mexican rice is much easier than you think. It’s a great side dish for any dinner meal.

**To make this dish vegetarian friendly, you can swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth or water. I suggest the broth since it makes it more flavorful.**

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 7.12.06 PM.png

What you’ll need:Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 6.36.43 PM

  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (preferably sodium free)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Heat a skillet coated with olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomato, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the tomatoes break down and the onions and garlic become transparent. It should be about 5 minutes.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 6.35.47 PM

**some people prefer to use salsa or raw tomatoes in their Mexican rice. (Both of these options you would add when you add the chicken broth, but I think you get a much better flavor when you use fresh tomatoes and cook them down.)**

When the tomatoes are cooked down, add the rice and turn up the heat to high. Stir occasionally until the rice is slightly browned. Add the broth, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add a generous amount of salt if you used a sodium-free chicken broth. **IF YOU USED CHICKEN BROTH WITH SODIUM DO NOT ADD ANY MORE SALT**

Cover the pan and stir occasionally until the rice is cooked, and has soaked up all the broth. Taste occasionally, add salt as needed.

And that’s it! Enjoy the Mexican rice in tacos, burritos or as a side dish.Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 7.12.06 PM.png

Fresh Corn & Quinoa Congee

IMG_2445This is the first time I’ve ever attempted to make congee, and honestly it turned out pretty well. It’s a kind of porridge dish traditionally made by cooking rice in water or broth. It can then be flavored in many ways. For the people who grew up with their families making the dish, I know this won’t quite be the same. This variation uses fresh corn and quinoa instead of rice. I had a similar dish at a restaurant in Philadelphia and tried to recreate it. It didn’t pack the same punch, but it still turned out pretty great. It’s a great dish for any time of the day. This makes a lot so it’ll feed you all week.


What you’ll need:

  • 3 ears of corn
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably sodium free)
  • salt (at least 1/4 cup)
  • sugar (at least 1/4 cup)
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • red bell pepper
  • jalapeno

Cut the kernels off all the corn cobs. set aside 1/3 cup of the kernels. Put the rest in a blender or food processor until pureed. There should be enough liquid in the kernels to puree the corn without additional liquid. If you need to add a tablespoon of water.

Put the corn puree, the extra corn kernels, the chicken broth and the quinoa in a large pot with lid on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on the stove, stirring occasionally, for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, or until the congee thickens into a consistency you’re happy with. It should be the consistency of a loose oatmeal or porridge.

Now it’s time to season. Note: if you used a broth with sodium, you will not need as much- or any- additional salt. It’s important to keep tasting until you’re happy. I used a homemade broth without any salt, and had to add at least 1/4 cup to make it taste good. Also add about 1/4 cup of sugar. Once again keep tasting. Add a few dashes of garlic powder and a few generous dashes of pepper. Once you’re happy with the taste, you’re done! Dice some red bell peppers and jalapenos (without the seeds or stems) and add on top. The peppers add some great fresh flavor and an awesome crunch.

Enjoy this fresh summer treat!

Green Bean Fries

IMG_2432These are a great side dish… and super easy to make. They’ll go well with a sandwich or a burger as an alternate to fries. Although let’s be honest… there’s nothing quite like a good french fry sometimes. These green bean fries are crispy and satisfying. They’re also a little spicy since I add some cayenne pepper… of course if you’re not as big of a spice fan as I am, then you can just take it out.




What you’ll need:IMG_2426

  • 2 cups of green beans
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 egg whites

IMG_2431Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Trim the ends off all of the green beans and set aside. In a bowl add the egg whites and a splash of water. Mix together. In a separate bowl, add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix together. Coat the green beans in the egg wash, and then in the bread crumb mixture. Put on a baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Watch the green beans very carefully and check on them frequently so they don’t burn. They may need a little less or a little more time.

Enjoy this quick and easy veggie side dish!

Almond Coriander Baked Chicken


In my journey to find a more balanced lifestyle (and I want to emphasize balance. I’m not dieting), I thought about using the large amount of chicken broth currently in my freezer. After marinating on it for awhile (pun intended), I decided on using it to bake a basting liquid to cook chicken in. I then turned that liquid into a sauce. The outcome was pretty amazing. Granted I’m a sucker for bone-in chicken.. and wine. The coriander adds really nice floral notes, and the almonds add a great nuttiness.

It’s so easy to make, and really doesn’t dirty too many dishes in the process.

What you’ll need:

  • Skin on, bone in chicken. (You can use a whole chicken broken down, or what I did, which was two large breasts and a pack of thighs)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • coriander
  • paprika
  • flour

(all of the spices will be dashes, or to taste. I feel like the best way to cook is just to taste as you go… which may be why I’m not a great baker haha)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the pieces of chicken. Season both sides with salt, pepper, coriander and paprika. Coat a pan with olive oil, and put on medium-high heat. Place the pieces of chicken skin side down in the hot oil. Brown on both sides and remove from the pan. IMG_2425-1

When the pan cools a little, add the white wine, garlic and almonds. Simmer until the wine reduces some and thickens (it can still be fairly loose). Stirring occasionally. Then add the chicken broth. Once again allow the liquid to reduce. Stirring occasionally. There’s no thickening agent so it won’t become super thick, but when it reduces some and thickens a little take off the heat.

IMG_2429Put the chicken in an oven safe dish, and pour the chicken broth mixture on top of the chicken. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-35 minutes (the thighs take closer to 25 but the breasts take as long as 35. Just keep an eye on it). After about 20 minutes, take off the aluminum foil and allow it to finish uncovered.

When the chicken is finished, take the liquid at the bottom of the pan and put it back into a pot on the stove, and put on medium heat. Whisk in a few pinches of flour until it thickens into a sauce consistency. (**note: you have two options here. Either put a little bit of the broth with the flour beforehand and make a paste before mixing it into the rest of the broth mixture, OR be very very careful and gently sprinkle the flour into the broth while it’s heated on the stove. If you put too much in at once, the flour will clump up and not mix in evenly.**)

Once you get the sauce the correct consistency, drizzle it over the chicken and serve. It’s a really delicious and satisfying dish. Great protein. If you pair with a vegetable then it’s a complete meal!IMG_2430

Grilled Salmon w/ Ginger Soy Glaze

salmon finishedIt’s summer so it’s grill time! I’m by no means a grill master but it gives such an amazing taste! And nothing says summer like grilling out. I don’t have a grill so I’ve commandeered my parents’. This recipe is really flavorful. Pair with some grilled veggies and you’ve got yourself a delicious and healthy dinner.

Calories: 210 per serving (about 4oz of salmon)

What you’ll need:

2 tbsps soy sauce

2 tbsps brown sugar

2 garlic cloves

1 lemon

1/4 tsp ginger (powdered or minced)

1 salmon fillet (preferably with the skin still on)

Mince the garlic as fine as possible. Put in a bowl. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce and ginger. Cut the lemon in half and give one good squeeze of the lemon. Mix together. Taste the mixture… if you want a stronger ginger flavor add some more in.

IMG_1732IMG_1734Next coat the salmon with the glaze. Place skin-side down on the grill. It will really cook quickly so make sure you’re watching it. Flip once… GENTLY. You don’t want the fish to break. The skin may come off…. that’s ok. When finished, the fish should be a light pink color. DON’T overcook. Salmon can really dry out. But it’s delicious when it’s moist, and I think the glaze really adds something.


Turkey Bacon Quinoa Hash w/ Poached Eggs & Avocado

IMG_1626So on The Secrets I talk about how much I LOVE quinoa. If you’re a big rice or grain eater, it’s an awesome substitute. In my opinion, it absorbs flavor so much better than rice. So It’s great for stir fry. I wanted to do a hash, but wasn’t really interested in using potatoes. So Instead I took some liberties and decided to make and quinoa “hash” with turkey bacon and veggies. And of course a poached egg…. I do love a runny yolk. Add some avocado and I’m sold. So here we go.
Calories: 580 (It’s a little higher than what I normally post… but note this makes a TON of hash and includes two eggs and HALF an avocado. if you want to make half the amount of hash it’ll be around 440… that still includes the egg and avocado… just less of the breakfast hash. I’m working overnights right now and breakfast is my dinner, so I’m usually looking for something a little heartier when i get home from work.)
What You’ll Need:
2 eggs
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers (any/all colors)
2 strips turkey bacon
1/2 avocado
1tbsp white vinegar (for poaching the eggs)
garlic powder
chili powder
(I’m not giving an exact amount of herbs/spices. It’s going to have to be pretty aggressively seasoned. So just keep tasting until you’re happy!)
In one pan, saute the broccoli and bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Chop up the turkey bacon and throw in a separate pan. Saute until done. Add the turkey bacon into the pan with the broccoli and bell peppers. Add the quinoa. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, basil and oregano until you’re happy with the taste… That quinoa can really suck up flavor! Poach two eggs (see below for instructions). Slice the avocado Take the hash, put it on a plate, top with the poached eggs and avocado. Enjoy!
If you’ve never poached an egg before, don’t worry it’s super easy! I was intimidated at first but it’s not that bad. Take a pot (pretty big pot. should be fairly deep), and fill with two inches of water. Add a tablespoon of vinegar and bring to a boil on the stove. Take 2 eggs, put each in a separate small bowl (I use custard cups). When the water is rapidly boiling, turn the burner OFF. Take a large spoon or spatula and stir the water until you get a whirlpool. (Don’t be shy… the water should really be spinning, the egg whites need to wrap themselves around the yolk. this is why you need a deep pot.) One at a time, take the eggs and SLOWLY lower the egg into the center of the pot. DO NOT DROP IN THE EGG. Get as close to the water as possible and slowly lower it in. Once you’ve done this with both eggs (no you don’t have to re-stir in between eggs… they should be fine) cover and let sit for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the eggs from the water. It’s easier if you have the hash already plated. You can just put the eggs directly on top. I promise it’s easier than it looks!

Garlic Rosemary French Fries

IMG_1574French fries. A favorite, and one of the first foods to give up when your’re on a diet. But there’s no reason you have to, especially if you use your oven instead of a fryer. And I’m Italian, so I have a special love of garlic. 30 minutes in the oven and you’ll have great fries that are satisfying, and a little healthier. This is a single serving recipe for when you need a great side, but if you’re entertaining or making it for your family, just multiply the recipe by the number of people you’re serving. These fries would be a great side for my Turkey Burger w/ Avocado & Roasted Red Peppers!

Calories: 180

What you need:

1 medium sized potato.

1 clove of garlic

A couple dashes of dried rosemary

A couple dashes of salt

Olive oil (preferably in cooking spray form)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (or drizzle with olive oil). Chop up the potato into standard fry shapes (about a quarter inch thick.) I use a mandolin. Makes it a lot easier. But knives work just as well. Spread out the potatoes on the baking sheet. sprinkle the garlic, rosemary and salt on the fries. Put the fries in the oven. After about 15 minutes, flip the fries. Bake for another 15 minutes.

They won’t be quite as crispy as they’re fried counterparts, but they do get a nice little crisp on them.