Tag Archives: pork

Easter Ham is Better Brined with Cola

Written by Liz –

Baked Cola-Brined Fresh Ham recipe

Easter ham is a tradition for many people on Easter Sunday, and here’s a fresh version using cola to brine the ham. In the South they’ve been brining meat – soaking or marinating meat overnight using a solution containing salt and other ingredients – in cola for a long time. Brining helps the meat stay moist by saturating the cells with the solution before baking it, and cola adds some sweetness and tang to the meat.

Brining is different from braising, although they are both ways to increase the moisture content in meat. Braising  is cooking the meat mostly submerged in broth or liquid instead of marinating beforehand. One delicious pork roast recipe to try your hand at braising is Drunken Pork.

Brining meats, especially pork in cola, has become a popular way to prepare meat in recent years, and this recipe makes for a tasty new flavor to include in your traditional Easter brunch or dinner. This Oklahoma girl will definitely be brining ham with Dr. Pepper – the only soda worth the calories in my opinion – and thinking of home. Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Baked Cola-Brined Fresh Ham

Ingredients for 8-10 servings:

  • 3 bottles (2 liters each) cola or other dark-colored soda (such as COKE or DR. PEPPER)
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 (6 to 8 pounds) bone-in, shank or butt portion fresh ham (half a leg), skin on
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)


COMBINE cola and salt in a medium-size cooler or other 10-quart bucket or stockpot; stir to dissolve the salt.

USING a sharp knife, score entire surface of ham in a crosshatch or diamond pattern, cutting down just through the skin. Place ham in the brine, submerging completely. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

POSITION oven rack in the lowest position and preheat oven to 500° F.

COMBINE parsley, oil, garlic and bouillon in small bowl; stir well.

REMOVE ham from brine. Rinse it well under cold water then pat dry with paper towels. Place the ham wide-side-down in a large roasting pan with a flat rack. Rub outside of ham all over with the bouillon mixture, pressing it gently into scored slices between the skin.

BAKE uncovered for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake until the roast reaches 150° F on an instant-read thermometer (this should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, about 20 to 25 minutes per pound of ham). After the first hour, it’s a good idea to loosely wrap foil around the bone to keep it from burning.

TRANSFER the roast to a carving board and tent with foil; allow the roast to sit at room temperature until the internal roast temperature reaches 160° F (about 20 to 30 minutes). The roast is now ready to carve.


More pork recipes:
Drunken Pork recipe
Drunken Pork
Apricot-Maple Glazed Pork Chops recipe
Apricot-Maple Pork Chops

Start 2012 Right: Top Ten Appetizers & Snacks

Written by Nick – 

Below are some of our favorite apps and snacks from 2011. Whether you’re having a super bowl bash or cocktail party, these bite size recipes will be perfect for all that 2012 has to offer.

 Party Shrimp Skewers

1. Party Shrimp Skewers

The basil pesto salsa above adds a great flavor dimension to these grilled Party Shrimp Skewers. Perfect for outdoor parties or summertime entertaining on the patio.

Layered Monterey Pumpkin Dip

2. Layered Monterey Pumpkin Dip

Enjoy this Layered Monterey Pumpkin Dip and experience unexpected flavors in this version of a traditional layered dip. Good to the last spoonful!

Crostini Aperitivo

3. Crostini Aperitivo

Buon appetito! Add a touch of elegance to any gathering with this tasty Crostini Aperitivo appetizer above. Topped with prosciutto and a delicious goat cheese and pesto spread, you’ve never experienced Tuscany like this before.

Baked Ravioli Bites

4. Baked Ravioli Bites

Baked Ravioli Bites are decorated with artful toppings and are irresistible additions to a night of entertaining.

Party-Perfect Mini Quiches

5. Party-Perfect Mini Quiches

These bite-size, crustless colorful mini quiches above are filled with cheddar cheese, broccoli and red peppers. A delicious and colorful addition to any meal and also perfect as a party appetizer.

Coffee-Glazed Nuts

6. Coffee-Glazed Nuts

Walnuts, pecans and almonds combine in this tasty twist on the classic nut mix. With a sweet and savory coffee glaze, these Coffee-Glazed Nuts are sure to create a buzz!

Pesto Party Dip

7. Pesto Party Dip

This Pesto Party Dip is perfect on veggies, crackers and bread sticks. It is a delicious crowd-pleaser with creamy texture and robust pesto taste.

Peanut Butter "Cheese Ball"

8. Peanut Butter “Cheese Ball”

It’s a fact! Peanut butter and cheese top the list of kids’ favorite foods. Try them together in this unique recipe for Peanut Butter “Cheese Ball.”

With a shell of swirled morsels, this creamy, peanut-buttery snack is perfect for dipping graham cracker sticks and apple slices — a tasty addition to your child’s party menu.

Treat the little ones (and you too!) to this ever-so-delicious twist on the traditional cheese ball.

Smokin’ Almond Blue Cheese Dip

9. Smokin’ Almond Blue Cheese Dip

Smoked almonds paired with creamy Carnation are the secrets to this extra-special blue cheese dip. Use in place of the typical Ranch dip to serve with chicken thighs or wings, fresh veggies, or hearty crackers. It’s the perfect addition to any party buffet table.


10. TOLL HOUSE® Party Mix

Don’t wait for the next football game to enjoy one of your favorite party appetizers. TOLL HOUSE® Party Mix is great for any occasion.

Bachelor in the Kitchen: Stuffed Italian Sandwich

Written by Nick

Stuffed Italian Sandwich

This time of year it may be too cold to cook outside, your barbeque is packed away for the winter and you’re grilling meats sealed in the freezer (or if you’re like me you just brave the cold). So where is a bachelor to turn, without the barbeque? How about a sandwich?

Well I’m a bit embarrassed to say, that even with my love for sandwiches I let National Sandwich Day, November 3rd, slip by without any sort of celebrations. So, to appease the Sandwich Gods and celebrate National Sandwich Day with the fanfare it deserves, I turned to Meals.com to find the most glorious of sandwiches, a sandwich so huge and stuffed with goodness it must be shared – the Stuffed Italian Sandwich.

I had the Buitoni Refrigerated Pesto and the Parmesan Cheese on hand, but everything else required a trip to the store. The recipe suggests stopping at your local Italian grocer but since I have none, I stopped by Whole Foods and found all the delicious Italian meats and cheeses. When I was building (and I mean building) the sandwich I knew there was no way I could keep this sandwich a secret. So I invited some of my closest friends to share the goodness. And I’m glad I did, even with 5 full-grown men we still had leftovers!

I thought it was a bit much to seek out a sandwich recipe; usually I just put deli meat between bread. But when I saw this I knew it was going to be something special. And special it was! Friends pleased, brother pleased, and Sandwich Gods appeased.

Stuffed Italian Sandwich

Ingredients for 10 Servings:

  • 8 ounces mild Italian sausage, cooked and sliced
  • 1 large round hearty bread loaf, unsliced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian dressing
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 ounces salami, sliced
  • 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 slice red onion, 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 slices mortadella
  • 6 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • 6 pepperoncini, drained and sliced
  • 3 ounces pancetta, cooked and sliced
  • 4 ounces sliced turkey
  • 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons BUITONI Refrigerated Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon BUITONI Refrigerated All Natural Pesto with Basil


PLACE bread on baking sheet. Remove top one-fourth of loaf. With fingers, hollow out bread top and bottom without breaking through crust.

SPREAD Italian dressing evenly inside bottom of loaf. Place half of provolone cheese slices across bottom of bread. Layer the following ingredients: salami, olives, sausage, onion, mortadella, pizza sauce, pepperoncini, pancetta, turkey, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, pesto and remaining slices of provolone.

REPLACE top onto bread. Place another baking sheet on top of bread and top with a 5 to 10 pound weighted object. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Sandwich should be compressed, but not smashed. Cut into wedges and serve.


Related recipes:

Italian Sausage Sandwich Casserole
Italian Sausage Sandwich Casserole
Stuffed Sourdough Sandwich
Stuffed Sourdough Sandwich

Perfect for Dad’s Day & Summer: Grilled Sticky Ribs + Asian Coleslaw

Written by Chris

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Celebrate Father’s Day and kick off your summer festivities with these succulent ribs. They are first baked then grilled with a sweet chili glaze for a delightful Asian-inspired finish. With only 20 minutes of preparation time, and mostly-unattended cooking time, this meal is hard to beat!

Asian Coleslaw recipe

Asian Coleslaw recipe

I like to serve this with the Asian Coleslaw above, and here’s a little tip: If you have leftover glaze from the recipe below, use it in the slaw dressing; you only need 2 tablespoons. Just replace the sweet chili sauce with the glaze. Mmm, finger-licking good I tell you!

Grilled Sticky Ribs, shown at top

Ingredients for 5 to 6 servings:

  • Aluminum foil
  • 2 racks (about 4 pounds total) baby back ribs
  • Garlic salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup MAGGI TASTE OF ASIA Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)


PREHEAT oven to 300° F.

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Using a knife, remove the membrane (that’s the shiny white coating) from bone side of ribs. This step is very important for tender ribs. You basically just need to get that knife under the membrane to loosen it and then start easing the membrane away from the meat. If the membrane feels slippery, use a paper towel for a good grip. If you are lucky, the membrane will come off in one piece as shown above. Just keep working at it, it will come off. 

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

PAT ribs dry with paper towel; season both sides liberally with garlic salt and black pepper as show above. Place ribs in a large roasting pan, overlapping as needed. Add about ½ cup water to pan. Cover tightly with foil.
BAKE for about 3 hours or until meat is very tender but not quite falling off the bones. (If you are short on time, just make sure the ribs bake at least 1 ½ hours.)

For the Sweet Chili Glaze:

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

HEAT oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute. Stir in sweet chili sauce, Juicy Juice and rice wine. Reduce heat to low; cook for 8 minutes or until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup. It should be thick and sticky as shown above. 

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

PREHEAT grill or broiler. Brush glaze over tops of ribs. Grill over medium flame for 4 to 5 minutes or broil about 4 inches from heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce caramelizes as shown above. Cut between the bones to separate; serve with any remaining glaze.

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Happy Father’s Day to all the sweet (and spicy) dads and husbands out there! 


Related recipes – make it a meal:

Mini Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Fresh Mint Ice Cream recipe
Mini Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Fresh Mint Ice Cream
Asian Coleslaw recipe
Asian Coleslaw (don’t forget to add sticky rib sauce!)

Quiche! Traditional, with a Twist & a Pie Recipe Contest

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche recipe

I am so looking forward to viewing (and tasting!) all the entries to our Pie Recipe Contest (worth $1,000) now running on Facebook. Don’t forget to enter your favorite pie recipe and we’ll be tasting your pie very soon.

As you can see from my previous posts, I love pies. Quiche falls into this category. I have to credit my college friend Kim with introducing me to the world of quiche many years ago. She was having a dinner party and I arrived early to help with the preparation. Kim put me to work shredding Swiss cheese, crumbling bacon, sautéing mushrooms, whisking eggs and adding pinches of nutmeg! The house soon filled up with the wonderful aroma of them baking. The party soon moved to the kitchen (funny how that happens). It took only one forkful to hook me on this savory delight.

Here is a short history lesson: Quiche Lorraine, now a classic dish of French cuisine, originated in the German-ruled medieval kingdom of Lothringen. The French later renamed Lothringen to Lorraine. The word “quiche” comes from the German word “küchen” which means cake. Original recipes call for the crust to be made of bread dough and the filling of egg, cream and smoked bacon. Cheese was added later on and the bread crust evolved to a short or puff pastry-type crust.

Carnation Quiche Lorraine recipe

If you like traditional-style quiche, I encourage you to try our Carnation® Quiche Lorraine, shown above. Perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner and a favorite in my household. It is certainly one of my “go to” recipes when I am at a loss for what to prepare.
For those who like a twist on a classic quiche recipe, the Pepperoni Pizza Quiche shown at top is it. The hardest part of making this quiche is waiting for it to bake and cool! It is easy to assemble by using a frozen pie shell and pre-shredded cheese. The evaporated milk brings richness and creaminess and none is wasted as a whole can is used.

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) frozen pie shell
  • 2 cups (8-ounce package) shredded Italian-blend cheese, divided
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni (about 20 to 30, 1 1/2 to 2-inch diameter slices), cut into quarters, divided
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk or Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder


PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche recipe

SPRINKLE 1 cup cheese and half of pepperoni pieces onto bottom of pie shell.

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche recipe

WHISK evaporated milk, eggs, flour, basil and garlic powder in medium bowl until blended. Pour mixture into pie shell. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche recipe

DECORATE top with remaining pepperoni pieces. Here is where you would add a 1/4 cup of any other topping you like, such as chopped onions, red or green peppers or sliced black olives. I opted to keep this just with pepperoni. Place quiche on baking sheet to help with the baking of the bottom crust and to make it easier to remove out of the oven. If you are using your own pastry and a glass pie plate, no need for the baking sheet.

BAKE for 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche recipe

Now here is a quiche everyone in your house, even the men, will enjoy!


Related Quiche Recipes:

Crustless Broccoli & Cheddar Mini Quiches recipe
Crustless Broccoli & Cheddar Mini Quiches
Ham and Swiss Quiche recipe
Classic Ham and Swiss Quiche

Pesto Possibilities for Mother’s Day: 5 Delicious Ways to Use Pesto

Crostini Aperitivo recipe

Mother’s Day is just days away. Going out to eat has become an American tradition, with restaurant industry stats showing it as one of the busiest days of the year. Well, on this day, I actually prefer to stay in (and yes, this is coming from a mom of three eight-year-olds). I prefer simple, delicious food prepared and eaten at home.

Since my mother and mother-in-law are local, effortless entertaining is essential. After all, it’s my day, too. So in the spirit of keeping things simple and homemade, I wanted to share five delicious ways to use Buitoni All Natural Pesto.

Buitoni Pesto is made with fragrant basil, pungent garlic, pine nuts, aged Parmesan and Romano cheeses and extra-virgin olive oil. Friends, this is as close to homemade as you are going to get! Plus, you don’t need to clean your food processor (that’s huge in my book).

Make a quick crostini appetizer

Add a touch of elegance to Mother’s Day without spending much time in the kitchen with this tasty appetizer, Crostini Aperitivo, shown above. Toasted bread slices are topped with a delicious goat cheese and pesto spread, and then topped with thinly sliced prosciutto. Roasted asparagus or peppers, chopped dates, sliced apples and shaved cantaloupe also pair well with the spread.

Watch the video below to see just how easy it is.


Pesto Kale Chips recipe

Make Pesto Kale Chips

Kale Chips have been quite the rage lately. I did a Google search and found a number of creative recipes. I decided to try a version with pesto, shown above, and landed on something truly unique and absolutely delicious! Finished with a sprinkling of fine sea salt, it’s really difficult to stop with just one handful.

Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti with Vine-Ripened Tomato Tuscan Soup recipe

Drizzle over soups

Vine-ripened tomatoes, marjoram and garlic are combined with a fragrant broth to make this beautiful vine-ripened tomato soup. And to heighten it even more, Buitoni Riserva All Natural Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti (pasta filled with a blend of creamy whipped ricotta cheese, fontina, Parmesan and authentic Italian Grana Padano) is added. It’s then topped with homemade croutons, a handful of arugula and a spoonful of Buitoni Pesto. This would make a perfect Mother’s Day lunchtime meal.

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Pesto Mayo recipe

Spread on sandwiches

Looking for something a little more casual? Try this recipe for Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Pesto Mayo. Perfect for simple entertaining, these sandwiches offer a classy, yet casual approach to mealtime.

Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Kebabs recipe

Use as marinade for meats and fish

Grill up some wholesome fun with this flavorful recipe for Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Kebabs. Marinated in a pesto sauce, these skewers of chicken pieces and seasoned vegetables make a colorful and appetizing entrée.

Of course, you can also just toss pesto with pasta, add to pizza, dips and dressings. Pesto possibilities are really endless.

However you decide to celebrate this day, please take time out for you. I am constantly reminding myself of this. With simple recipes like these, it’s that much easier to find time.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!


Related pesto recipes:

Insalata Caprese with Pesto Vinaigrette recipe
Insalata Caprese with Pesto Vinaigrette
Olive, Pesto and Bruschetta Cheese Torta recipe
Olive, Pesto and Bruschetta Cheese Torta
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