Cherry Apple Pork Loin: Slow Cooker

By contributing writer Beth

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

There’s something comforting about a juicy, tender pork loin. It’s full of mouthwatering protein and delicious flavor. Pair that with seasonal fruits and you’ve got a winning flavor combination. Impress your guests with this Cherry Apple Pork Loin for your next special occasion or family dinner.

When my husband was growing up, his mother always paired pork chops with applesauce. Even though my family was the meat and potatoes type, we didn’t mix in fruits with our main dishes. But I’ve learned to be adventurous and try new flavor combinations with old favorites. This recipe is a delightful homage to that classic pork and apple taste combination.

The tart apples and cherries help keep the meat juicy and tender while also adding flavor and sweetness to the savory pork loin. The balsamic vinegar seasons the meat and adds a depth of flavor that you don’t want to leave out. And the cinnamon aroma will make your mouth water!

I like to pair this with a green salad, homemade bread, steamed veggies, or garlic mashed potatoes. Whatever way you serve this Cherry Apple Pork Loin, just be sure you keep the recipe. It’s a showstopper!

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

Cherry Apple Pork Loin
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pork loin
  • 1 cup cherries, stems and pits removed
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Place the pork loin in a large slow cooker,
  2. Top with cherries and apples.
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar over the top of the fruit.
  4. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the entire dish.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

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Prosciutto & Arugula Grilled Pizza

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Have I ever told you how much I love pizza? I could eat it every single day. My favorite local pizza place bakes their pizza in a wood fired oven. After trying many different recipes, I’ve found the best way to get that wood fired taste at home is to grill your pizza.

When Bertolli asked for summer grilling inspiration I knew I had to try to recreate one of my favorite pizzas from our local pizza place.

grilled pizza

Bertolli sauce tastes great with pasta (we go through at least two jars a week), but even better on grilled pizza. It is also frequently on sale at Publix, where I usually shop.

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For this pizza, I decided to use Bertolli Tomato & Basil sauce. The tomato basil sauce has such a fresh taste, I find myself craving it, especially during the summer months.

Side note: Another awesome way to use this sauce is with spiralized zucchini. I bake the zucchini, tomato basil sauce topped with sliced buffalo mozzarella for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. SOOOO good!

Back to the pizza…. this prosciutto and arugula pizza is a great light summer appetizer or meal. The key to making this pizza taste amazing is not over cooking the prosciutto. However, it’s easy to bake this perfectly on the grill.

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Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Arugula on pizza??? Trust me, this pizza is so good you don’t want to skip the greens!

Prosciutto & Mozzarella Grilled Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Pizza dough
  • Bertolli Tomato & Basil sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Prosciutto
  • Arugula
  • Cherry tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough into personal pan size servings.
  3. Spray nonstick spray on your grill. (don't skip this step!)
  4. When grill is hot (450 degrees) place the rolled dough on the grill.
  5. Do not walk away from your grill!
  6. In two to three minutes flip the pizza.
  7. Grill another two minutes.
  8. Remove pizza from the grill.
  9. Add sauce, sliced mozzarella, and prosciutto slices.
  10. Grill another 2 minutes.
  11. Remove from the grill and top with arugula and sliced cherry tomatoes.
  12. Serve immediately.

Make sure you roll the dough out thin. The thinner the better on the grill!

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Flip the dough after 2-3 minutes. You will know it’s ready to flip when it starts to smell like a pizza place.

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Look at those fabulous grill marks!! At this point my mouth is watering and I’m having trouble waiting another 7 minutes for the pizza to be done.

grilled pizza 4

Remove the grilled dough from the grill and add Bertolli sauce, sliced mozzarella, and prosciutto. Grill for another 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Remove from the grill and top with arugula and tomatoes.

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Slice, serve and enjoy.

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This pizza is quickly becoming my favorite food. In fact, the day I made it we were eating dinner with friends and they make almost the exact same pizza at home. I guess arugula on pizza is becoming a “thing.”

This pizza makes a great appetizer (cut up in smaller slices) or eat the entire thing yourself for lunch.

Enjoy!

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Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

If you're feeding a large family or a small army, this delicious Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole is sure to please Even your meat-and-potatoes hubby will love it!By contributing writer Beth

If you’re feeding a large family or a small army, this delicious Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole is sure to please Even your meat-and-potatoes hubby will love it!

I’m sure you’ve seen those casseroles made with “cream of” soup, but this casserole is completely different. Aside from the tater tots, it’s all from scratch and homemade – yum!

You can make this dish with a variety of ground meat. I used pork and beef for a deliciously moist texture. Chicken and turkey would be a great lower fat alternative. If you’re going the reduced fat route, you could also use skim milk instead of whole milk. I would caution against using reduced fat cheese. It just doesn’t melt right for it to work in this combination.

I used a regular 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. You can use a larger pan if you’re worried about it bubbling over. I didn’t have that problem, but your experience may vary and nobody likes to have to clean the oven after a mess.

If you're feeding a large family or a small army, this delicious Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole is sure to please Even your meat-and-potatoes hubby will love it!

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ pounds ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 20-ounce package of frozen tater tots
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.and spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large pan, brown the ground meat over medium heat until thoroughly cooked. Crumble the meat as you cook it so it is in small pieces when it's done. Do not drain the meat.
  3. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, thyme, and mustard. Stir to completely combine.
  4. Stir in the butter and Worcestershire sauce. Continue to cook over medium heat. Stir to melt the butter completely.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir in. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat.
  6. Stir in the milk slowly and bring back to a very low simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in half the cheese. Blend until melted.
  8. Pour the meat mixture into the prepared casserole pan, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Arrange the tater tots over the top of the cheese.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees for 21 - 25 minutes until mixture is bubbly and tater tots are light golden brown.

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Cheeseburger Pasta

There's nothing better on a busy weeknight than dinner on the table in 30 minutes. That's what makes this Cheeseburger Pasta dish the perfect supper for your hungry family.By contributing writer Beth

There’s nothing better on a busy weeknight than dinner on the table in 30 minutes. That’s what makes this Cheeseburger Pasta dish the perfect supper for your hungry family.

This recipe was inspired by my family’s love for macaroni and cheese. Yes, sometimes we make it from those blue boxes, but mostly I make it from scratch. Adding ground beef takes it from a side dish to a main dish.

You can add more garlic, ground mustard, or even toss in a tiny touch of horseradish to the cheese sauce to make it have a little more complex flavor.

It’s so much fun to put out the condiments on the table when I serve dinner. You can put out:

  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Barbeque Sauce
  • Thousand Island Dressing
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Lettuce
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Hot Sauce
  • and even MORE Cheese!

Throw on anything that you’d put on a cheeseburger.

This dish can be thrown together in a flash. Make the most of your time by putting on the water to boil first. Then start browning your ground beef. This overlap in cooking will shave off minutes from your meal prep time. I can get this meal on the table in less than half an hour.

Note: I recommend a sharp cheddar cheese for the shredded cheese in the sauce. For our test version, we tried a three cheese blend that included cream cheese shreds. It was delicious and creamy and perfectly smooth!

There's nothing better on a busy weeknight than dinner on the table in 30 minutes. That's what makes this Cheeseburger Pasta dish the perfect supper for your hungry family.

Cheeseburger Pasta
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 8
 
Macaroni and cheese with a delicious twist! Your kids will adore this fast and easy meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (sharp recommended)
  • 12 ounces pasta, uncooked
Instructions
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is being prepared, brown the ground beef along with the onion, salt, pepper, and garlic.
  3. When the beef is completely cooked do not drain the grease. Stir in the flour to coat the beef. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a low simmer over medium low heat. Do not boil.
  5. When the milk mixture is beginning to bubble gently, stir in the cheese. Stir until all the cheese is melted. Turn off the heat.
  6. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and place back into the pot it cooked in.
  7. Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta and serve with mustard and ketchup drizzle and chopped tomatoes.

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