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Southern Date Pudding is a family tradition….It’s been a part of all of our family and holiday celebrations….And it’s always baked in a cast iron skillet.  This is a true Southern recipe and may not be familiar to many people.  But, the ingredients are readily available and it is so easy to make.  You can have this in the oven in less than 5 minutes.  

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet..don’t worry!  You can also make this in a baking dish.   

I visited WBTV Charlotte News Sunday Morning Show and showed how to make this easy and quick dessert.  

Southern Date Pudding in a Cast Iron Skillet

Southern Date Pudding

 

Remember, let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!! 

WBTV Charlotte


02/17/2013 6:30AM

Charlotte,
NC



Easy Stuffed Pork Loin Recipe Will Wow Everyone!

Easy Stuffed Pork Loin Recipe!

Stuffed and Studded Pork Loin

Wow everyone with this Easy Stuffed Pork Loin recipe!  It is easy enough to make for a family dinner but impressive enough for entertaining.  I usually make a 2 pound stuffed pork loin but the photos are of a 4 pound stuffed pork loin so the recipe is easy to adjust for the number of servings you need.  

Quick Tip:

Be sure to get a pork loin roast — not a pork tenderloin.  

Stuffed Pork Loin Recipe:

 

Easy Stuffed Pork Loin Recipe
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lb Pork Loin
  • 1½ cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Slice the pork loin down the middle but do not cut through the other side. Lay open.
  3. Brush the inside of the pork loin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Lay the fresh baby spinach leaves down the inside of the loin. Sprinkle with sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese and a little more salt and pepper.
  5. Chop 2 of the cloves of garlic and sprinkle on top of the stuffing.
  6. Fold the top over the stuffing and using twine, tie the loin together.
  7. Place in a Pyrex dish ( if roasting a 2 lb loin) OR on a roasting pan ( if roasting a 4 lb loin). Brush with additional olive oil and lightly sprinkle the outside of the loin with additional salt and pepper.
  8. Cut the remaining 4 cloves of garlic into halves. With a sharp knife, make small "pockets" or slits alternately down the outside of the pork loin. Insert the garlic clove halves into the slits.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes per pound. ( I like to bring the pork loin to 160 degrees and check with an instant read thermometer).
  10. Remove from oven and "tent" with foil for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Step-By-Step Photos:

Ingredients…

Stuffed and Studded Pork Loin Ingredients

 

Here’s how to slice the pork loin open…

Fillet the Pork Loin

 

Pork Loin

 

Now just brush with some good olive oil and layer the stuffing ingredients on one side of the loin…

Brush pork loin with olive oil

 

Stuffing the pork loin

 

Now fold over the top of the loin and tie it with twine…

Tie the pork loin

 

Slice the rest of the garlic cloves in half.  Make “pockets” or slits alternately down the outside of the pork loin .  Insert the garlic clove halves into the slits.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes per pound.  Remove from the oven and “tent” with foil for 10 minutes or so before slicing.

Tent the pork loin

Try these other Make Life Special pork recipes:

Prizewinning Pulled Pork Recipe

Love Me Tender-Loin

Robust Risotto

Risotto originated in Italy and is a rice dish that is cooked in broth to a creamy (dreamy!!)  consistency.  Risotto can be served as a first course – with some crusty bread – as we are doing  here.  As a first course, it is great paired with a Brut Champagne.  Check out this great pairing at Velvet Palate.

Risotto is typically cooked in a meat, fish or vegetable based broth.  This recipe uses chicken broth ( low sodium) .  Many types of Risotto contain Parmesan cheese, butter and onion.  This recipe uses Parmesan cheese, butter and shallots.  Then we ramp it up to robust by adding 1/4 pound diced asparagus, 1/4 pound sliced shiitake mushrooms and Prosciutto (which is a type of Italian bacon).

You have to use a high starch rice to make risotto and this recipe uses Arborio Rice.  This type of rice has the ability to absorb liquids and to release starch and so it is stickier than the long grain rice varieties.  

While there are many variations on Risotto, the basic preparation remains the same.  

  • The rice is first cooked in onion ( or shallots ) and butter or olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat.  
  • Then, red or white wine is added and has to be absorbed by the grains.  This recipe uses white wine.
  • When the wine is absorbed, the heat is raised to medium and very hot stock ( I used chicken stock in this recipe) is added in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly ( this process is what creates the smooth creamy-textured liquid).  
  • At this point, it is removed from the heat and the finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is vigorously stirred in to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible.  
  • This recipe adds the cooked asparagus and mushrooms at this point and is then topped with the scrumptious cooked prosciutto for a robust and over the top risotto!             

Robust Risotto
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth, heated
  • 4 ounces diced prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¼ pound asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • ¼ pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine, heated
  • 1 cup to 1½ cups shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Simmer the broht in a saucepan. Keep warm.
  2. Heat the wine in a separate saucepan and keep warm.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to large pan and heat. Saute the prosciutto for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. Add the asparagus and saute 2 minutes. As they begin to get tender, add the sliced mushroom and cook an additional 3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is removed. ( do not include any of this liquid or the risotto will not be creamy!). Remove from skillet and set aside.
  5. Add the additional 1 tablesppon of olive oil to the skillet and sweat the shallots and garlic until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the DRY rice and saute until each grain is coated in oil.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the warm white wine and stir until completely absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Now, start adding the hot broth to the pan in ½ cup increments; simmer and stir frequently until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next, about 45 minutes total.
  8. Lastly, stir in the cooked asparagus, mushrooms and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Season with salt and pepper, top with cooked prosciutto.
  9. Enjoy!!

Be sure to check out Nicole’s Mushroom Risotto which is a more delicate risotto recipe with a creamy cheesy texture.

This Robust Risotto is a little more time consuming than my other Make Life Special recipes but I was requested to feature this recipe.  I think it is really worth the effort because the layers of flavors in this dish are outstanding.  This really is very easy to make.  Here are the how-to photos:

Ingredients….

 

Crisply cooked Prosciutto ….

 

Heating the liquids….

 

Saute the asparagus and then add the mushrooms….

 

Ladle the broth into the rice…

 

Grate the cheese…

 

Ingredients ready to add to the Risotto mixture….

 

Risotto after it has absorbed all of the liquid…

 

Stir in the cheese, asparagus and mushrooms….

Risotto is great to serve as a first course with crusty bread or as a side dish with pork.

Remember,” Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!”  

 

Prime Rib with Herb Blend Crust and Horseradish Sauce

Prime Rib with Herb Crust and Horseradish Sauce is delicious and impressive.  I love to serve this for dinner parties or special family occasions.  Have your butcher cut the prime rib roast for you.  I always bake at least a 5 pound roast.  You can allow 1/2 pound per person when ordering the roast.  If you would like to serve wine with this dinner, The Velvet Palate recommends  Cicchitti – a Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina.  (Tasting Notes)

To view the YouTube step by step tutorial video for this recipe, click here:  Prime Rib with Herb Blend Crust and Horseradish Sauce

Prime Rib with Herb Blend Crust and Horseradish Sauce
 
Serves: 8 to 10
Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 pound boneless prime rib roast ( or larger)
  • ½ cup Kosher or Sea salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoon parsley
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup dried red chilis
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • olive oil to rub on roast
  • Horseradish sauce: Sour cream and horseradish
Instructions
  1. Blend the salt, lemon zest, parsley,sun dried tomatoes, rosemary,dried red chilis, black pepper, dry mustard, dried basil and vegetable oil together and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool. (Note: you can do this step a day or two ahead of time and store the herb blend in a zip lock bag)
  2. Let the prime rib roast come to room temperature and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Coat the roast with the Herb Blend.
  4. Place in a 450 degree oven and bake prime rib for ½ hour then turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Roast for 15 minutes per pound.
  5. It will be perfectly medium rare at the end of the cooking time.
  6. To make the horseradish sauce, combine 1 cup of sour cream with 3 to 5 tablespoons of horseradish. Serve with the prime rib.

Combine the salt, lemon zest, parsley, sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, red chilis, pepper, dry mustard, dreid basil and vegetable oil in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Baked herb blend…..

Let the prime rib come to room temperature and place in roasting pan.

Drizzle with olive oil and pat the herb blend on the roast.

Ready for the oven…..

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Bake prime rib for 1/2 hour and then turn the oven down to 325 degrees.  Roast for 15 minutes per pound.  The roast will be perfectly cooked to medium rare.

To make the horseradish sauce, combine 1 cup of sour cream and 3 to 5 tablespoons of horseradish.  Serve with the prime rib.

 

Enjoy this prime rib with a wonderful dry red wine.

Praline Topped Brie

Praline Topped Brie is a decadent appetizer that can be whipped up in 5 minutes and is sure to impress your guests!  What could be better than the gooey savory flavor of warm brie hot out of the oven – topped with the sweet delight of orange praline topping!

To view the YouTube step by step cooking tutorial for this recipe, click here:  Praline Topped Brie


Praline Topped Brie
 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 8 oz OR 13 oz round of brie cheese
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • Crackers or toasted baguette-style French bread for serving
Instructions
  1. Place pecans in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to toast.
  2. Trim top rind from brie round .
  3. Place brie in baking dish.
  4. Mix the orange marmalade and brown sugar together in a small bowl, Spread on top of the cheese.
  5. Sprinkle with toasted pecans.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly softened and topping is bubbly.
  7. Serve with crackers or bread slices.

 

Place the pecans in a baking dish and lightly toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Trim the top off of the brie round.

Place the round in an ovenproof baking dish.

Mix the orange marmalade and brown sugar together in a small bowl.

Spread the topping on the brie.

Sprinkle with toasted pecans.

Bake in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly softened and topping is bubbly.

Remove from oven and serve.

Praline Topped Brie hot out of the oven:

Serve with crackers or hot bread.  Enjoy!

Remember, let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  

 

Success Secret: How to Scallopini

Scallopini.  Don’t be fooled by recipes with the word “scallopini ” in the name.  It may sound like it would be too fancy to make at home, but that is not true!  In fact, to prepare chicken breasts or veal scallopini-style just means to pound the pieces of meat into thin, quick cooking servings and then coat them with flour and saute quickly in a skillet for about 3 minutes on each side.  Recipes like my Cheese & Garden Herb Stuffed Chicken Breasts and my Chicken Piccata use this scallopini-style method. 

 

Here is my Success Secret for how to pound the pieces of chicken breasts or veal into scallopini-style servings.

 

You will need one large zip lock freezer bag for each piece of meat.  Using kitchen scissors, cut one side of each bag open.

 

Place one piece of meat into each zip lock bag.  

Use the flat side of a meat mallet and pound each piece of meat until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  ( I like to place a dish towel under the bag to protect the counter top) 

 

And here’s a make ahead tip —

The pounding step can be done ahead of time and the meat can be placed in the refrigerator in the zip lock bags until you are ready to cook.

 

Crock Pot Spaghetti

This Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe is so easy – don’t wait long to make it!  The spaghetti sauce cooks all day in the crock pot and when  you get home, you’ll be greeted  by the wonderful aroma of homemade goodness!  The best part is –  you add the dry spaghetti the last 30 minutes and it cooks to perfection in the sauce.  No extra pans to wash!  This recipe makes a lot and we always look forward to leftovers.  


Crock Pot Spaghetti
 
Recipe type: Pasta
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground chuck, browned and drained
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 29 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 6 cups tomato juice
  • 16 ounce package thin spaghetti - broken in half
  • Grated Parmesan cheese ( optional for serving )
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except the dry spaghetti and the cheese in a 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or HIGH 3 to 5 hours.
  3. Turn to HIGH during the last 30 minutes and stir in the dry spaghetti.
  4. Note: If you use anything other than thin spaghetti, you may need to continue cooking another 10 minutes.

Video: Crock Pot Spaghetti


This Crock Pot Spaghetti is so easy to make! The sauce cooks all day in the crock pot and when you come home you add the dry spaghetti the last 30 minutes!

To view the complete how to video, click here:  


 Ingredients:

2 pounds ground chuck, browned and drained

1 cup onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic – minced

29 ounce can tomato sauce

3 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

8 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained

6 cups tomato juice

16 ounce package thin spaghetti

Grated Parmesan cheese – optional, for serving

Combine all ingredients except dry spaghetti and cheese in a 6 quart slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or HIGH 3 to 5 hours.

Turn to HIGH the last 30 minutes and stir in the dry spaghetti.  If spaghetti is not fully cooked, continue cooking another 10 minutes.

 

Remember – Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!

To download the printable recipe with the how to photos – click here:   Crock Pot Spaghetti

 

Make Life Special
2 Cypress Rd Litchfield, IL 62056 US
Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com