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Sunday Supper Movement

This feels a bit like a cheater post – a list of ingredients with one line of directions. But I couldn’t fit it nicely into my stew post (coming Sunday), so you get two. It makes up a little for my light posting schedule this month, right?

Anyway, homemade stew seasoning takes just minutes to whip up and I’m willing to bet that you have everything in your pantry already. But more than being quick, homemade seasoning means that you know exactly what’s in it – no preservatives or ingredients you can’t pronounce. Don’t make stew much? Simply halve the recipe for an even smaller quantity.

Homemade Stew Seasoning

Adapted from Epicurius and Rachel Cooks


  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs. basil
  • 1/2 Tbs. parsley
  • 1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 Tbs. celery seed
  • 1 Tbs. onion powder
  • 1 Tbs. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Use 2-3 Tbs. mix per pound of meat used.

Yield: This recipe makes enough for 2-3 batches of stew, when 2 lbs. meat are used per batch.


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{Book Review}

The Shoemaker’s Wife

By Adriana Trigiani

In the early 1900s, people who lived in the Italian Alps were struggling to make ends meet. Everyone was poor, and increasingly, people were leaving the mountain to make their fortune in America.

Ciro’s family was one of those families. However, when his father died in a mining accident in America, his mother was forced to leave him and his bother in a convent, unable to take care of them. Ciro and his brother are raised well, but after Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village. The nuns send him to America to become the apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy.

Upon arriving in New York, Ciro has a number of run-ins with Enza, a girl from his childhood on the mountain. While Ciro learns and masters his new trade as a shoemaker, Enza makes a life as a talented seamstress.

The Shoemaker’s Wife alternates between Ciro’s story and Enza’s, from their childhood in the Italian Alps, to living their separate lives a few miles away in New York, to their lives together in a small town in Minnesota.

Review/Recommendation: I cannot tell you how much I loved this book – I might start to sound like I’m gushing a bit (and if so, I’m sorry!). The Shoemaker’s Wife is an absolutely beautiful story – inspired by Trigiani’s own family history – of love, family, and faith. Trigiani did a wonderful job portraying the time period, making her readers (at least this reader!) feel like they were living in the moment. I personally grew very emotionally attached to the two protagonists as well as the set of secondary characters. I’ll admit that I cried more times than I could count (mostly in the last 75 pages).

In Trigiani’s absolutely beautiful writing, the reader experiences not just life in America during the time period, the first half of the century, but also to life as an immigrant. She paints a picture not just of American and Italian culture at the time but of a true Melting Pot of cultures, a sense of community built around shared experiences as foreigners in America and around hard work.

My only criticism of the book would be the time periods. There were several points further into the book where we jumped ahead in time, by a few years. Chapters weren’t dated, which sometimes made it difficult to keep track of time. I’d also have loved more on Ciro’s and Enza’s life together – the bulk of the book (which is still amazing) actually focuses on the period of their life in which they lived separate lives. But this latter comment speaks more to how much I loved the book than anything. I just wanted more, more more!

I can’t recommend this book more, for lovers of historical fiction or fiction in general.





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Better late than never, right?

I know this is being posted waaay too far after Christmas to be considered inspiration, but I like to record big menus for inspiration for myself later on.

We had a wonderful Christmas this year, with both kids being old enough to get excited about the decorations and holidays (even if the Little One didn’t completely realize what was going to happen) and a house filled with out-of-town family for the better portion of a week. I loved being able to create our own family traditions over the past few years, fusing traditions from mine and my husband’s families. We made the peanut butter balls that his mom made when he was growing up, a little piece of his southern tradition. We make my family Christmas cookie, a Polish cookie.

Making my family’s Polish cookies was the part that I cherished most this year – my daughter, myself, my mom and my grandmother at the counter with rolling pins and frying pans. Even Mr. Nutterbutter was at the counter with a rolling pin, pushing the larger one towards my 80+ year old grandfather so that he could roll out the dough too (at least until he started eating flour by the fistful.) I’m so thankful that my children have been able to experience some of my favorite childhood moments, now with their great grandparents.

Anyway, I hope your holidays were merry and bright, filled with happy memories and good food. And without further ado, below is the menu for our Christmas holidays.


Christmas Holidays, 2016

Friday was a little like Christmas v1.0 for us. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew were here for just a night, so it was our day to do Christmas with them.

Friday: Lunch for 11

Chicken Soup
Pierogis and Latkes
Leftover Pizza

Friday: Dinner for 11

Beef & Sausage Lasagna
Spinach Lasagna
Garlic Ciabatta Bread

Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday this year. In my family, we follow the tradition of a meatless Christmas Eve. I’ll admit that our menu doesn’t vary much from year to year, due to picky palates and a general love for these dishes. The main course of crab cakes tends to stay the same with the sides and vegetarian option changing.

Saturday: Lunch for 11

Pierogis and Latkes
served with sour cream and apple sauce

Saturday: Dinner for 11

Onion & Fennel Soup Gratin

Crab Cakes with Creole Sauce
Black Bean Burgers with Avocado Cream
Wild Rice
Roasted Butternut Squash

Sunday was Christmas morning. We had a mix of family staying the night or arriving at the house super early to watch the kids open presents, so we had a large brunch followed by an early afternoon supper before people headed for home.

Sunday: Brunch for 11

Mimosas or Sparkling Pamplemousse

Chocolate Chip Scones
Tomato Asiago Frittata
Mushroom, Leek & Parmesan Frittata (adaption of the above recipe, inspired by this recipe)
Fruit, Yogurt & Granola

Sunday: Supper for 11

Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with and without Bacon

Desserts & Munchies for the Week:

7 Layer Cookies
Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Chrust (Polish fried dough cookies)
Sponge Cake
White Chocolate Covered Oreos
Peanut Butter Balls





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Another year comes to a close. It was a busy year and I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked to –  I read less than two dozen books last year, which is really quite pitiful for me. Hopefully 2017 will give me more time to get back into reading.

Here you’ll find some of my favorite books read (not necessarily published) in 2016, with links to the reviews I wrote on each. The books are listed in the order in which I read them. It’s a very short list, limited to a handful of books (each in different genres) that I couldn’t put down.

What were some of your favorite books read in 2016?


My Favorite Books Read in 2016

In the Kingdom of Ice

In the Kingdom of Ice (by Hampton Sides) – I picked this one up because of a book I had read years ago by Sides, and loved. This non-fiction book about a voyage to discover the North Pole did not disappoint. It was absolutely fantastic.

Orphan X

Orphan X (by Gregg Hurwitz) – This suspense novel was one of my favorite books read this year. The story-line was unique with lots of plot twists and turns. Plus, there was a depth of character that surpassed what one usually finds in novels of this genre.

Book Review: The Magnolia Story

The Magnolia Story (by Chip & Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino) – A short little book about the costars of HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper. The book tells the story of how the couple met, fell in love, and got their start in business. A must-read for fans of the show. I definitely walked away liking them even more after reading their story. (This was also the book review that received the most visits from readers in 2016.)

Follow me on Goodreads!




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A few months ago, my parents came to visit with a gift – a bottle of liqueur in a lovely shade of pink. It was a grapefruit liqueur that they had (on the rocks) at a friend’s house and instantly fell in love with it. They promptly convinced the owner of their local liqueur store to order a case, one bottle of which made it down to my house. My parents raved about how light and sweet the liqueur was, my mom asking me to see if I could find a fun cocktail recipe to try it in. However, their visit passed before we were able to open the bottle.

Fast forward a few months, I decided to crack open the bottle and try it for myself. It was as deliciously light and sweet as my parents said, but I knew immediately that I would enjoy it more as a compliment to something else. Adding just a little bit to Prosecco created a slightly sweet cocktail that was perfect to enjoy with brunch. (Add 1 oz. for just a touch of sweetness, 2 oz. for a sweeter cocktail.)

Easy to make and something so very different than most cocktails that appear on brunch menus, I know that I’ll be serving this cocktail this week, as I entertain a gaggle of out of town relatives for Christmas.

Sparkling Pamplemousse

Makes 1 Cocktail


  • 1-2 oz. Pamplemousse grapefruit liquor
  • 3-4 oz. Prosecco
  • Grapefruit wedge or peel for garnish

Add 1-2 oz. Pamplemousse to a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit or a grapefruit peel and serve immediately.

More easy recipes to make your holiday entertaining a bit easier. Thanks to Caroline at Caroline’s Cooking for hosting such a fun event, perfect for this time of year!




Finger Foods


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.






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If you haven’t lived in Maryland, you probably don’t know how crazy the weather can be. We’ll have days or weeks of really warm weather, and then a day of really cold weather. Or vise versa. The whacky weather seems to be the worst in those months when fall transitions to winter – one day I’ll be bundled up in my winter coat but the next I’ll be outside in just a light sweater. I remember Christmas last year. We had house full of people and it was too warm inside. The heat was off, all of the windows were open, and we were hanging out on the back deck.


We’re hosting Christmas again this year, and this time, I’m going to be prepared with some easy recipes in case we have unusually warm weather again. That means grilling as much as I can, instead of simmering, baking, and roasting. And since I know there will be a lot of sweets, regardless of the temperature, I plan to stash some light, healthy recipes for the holidays.

Enter: Grilled Balsamic Chicken & Strawberry Kabobs.

Pairing a lean protein with fresh fruit – what could get easier than that? Lucky for me, Florida Strawberries are available all winter (November through April) long. Strawberries are light and healthy. I’ve known that the low-calorie fruit was packed with Vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium, but I didn’t realize that strawberries are one of the healthiest food choices around. The fruit earned the top score (100) in the Overall Nutrition Quality Index, a system that ranks food based on its nutrient density (the greater the score, the greater the amount of vitamins and minerals with the least amount of calories).

With all that cancer and heart disease-fighting goodness, fresh Florida strawberries are the perfect addition to any course you’re planning for the holidays. Don’t just set them out as part of a fruit and cheese tray – let them shine as a part of a main dish, like these grilled chicken and strawberry kabobs (grilling the strawberries brings out a sweetness that is just incredible), take a starring role in a less traditional appetizer or side dish, or be the best dessert on your holiday table.


Florida Strawberry is also hosting a giveaway this season. Take a photo with Florida strawberries and submit it via social media using #FLStrawberryCap or upload it directly to the website between tomorrow, December 12, and February 12, 2017. Everyone who enters will receive a free Florida Strawberries cap. Caps are limited to one per household, but you may enter to win the grand prize as many times as you’d like. Florida Strawberry will select their favorite photo (so be creative!) to win a grand prize of a trip to TradeWinds Island Resort in St. Pete’s Beach for up to 3 people. Airfare, accommodations, and a tour of a strawberry farm in Plant City will be generously provided.

Interested in learning more about Florida Strawberries? Follow Florida Strawberry Growers Association on social media:


Grilled Balsamic Chicken & Strawberry Kabobs

By Books n’ Cooks

Serves 4-6


  • 1-1/2 lb. chicken, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb. Florida strawberries, cored but left whole

Prep & Marinade:

Set 8 wooden skewers in a long dish. Fill with water, just to cover skewers. Allow to soak for at least an hour, so that skewers don’t burn while grilling.

Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning to a gallon-sized baggie. Shake to combine. Add chicken. Seal, removing the air from the bag and ensuring that chicken is covered by marinade. Refrigerate and allow to marinade for 1-2 hours.

Assemble & Cook:

Preheat grill, set to medium heat.

Remove soaked skewers from water. Assemble kabobs, alternating chicken and strawberries. There will be roughly 6 pieces per skewer. You may not use all of the skewers. Cook kabobs on preheated grill, 4-6 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes, until chicken is cooked throughout.

Serve chicken-strawberry kabobs hot, drizzled with extra balsamic vinegar if desired.


This post is sponsored by Florida Strawberry in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Get inspired with more Florida Strawberries recipes from the #SundaySupper tastemakers.



Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.




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November was supposed to be a quiet month for me. October was crazy but November was completely open. It was supposed to be a chance for me to relax and recharge before the Christmas holiday season kicked into gear.

As hard as I tried to keep the month open, my plan didn’t really work out. I’m not even completely sure how the month got so busy, or what, exactly, we did. We had a houseguest for a couple days, that we didn’t previously plan, but I think that other than that, it was just very busy with some long days (including weekends) at work, a week of sick kiddos, and struggling to keep up with housework. As the month ended, I ended up feeling more exhausted than refreshed.


The crazy month is why this recipe has taken a bit longer than I wanted to post. This lasagna is a go-to recipe for me, particularly for cooler weather and large-scale entertaining. While it is a good bit of work (it probably takes an hour or so to put together), it has 3 qualities that make it a favorite.

1) It can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen.
2) It makes a huge dish and can easily serve 8-12 people. Or, it makes a lot of leftovers for weekday lunches or busy weeks when leftovers are all that we have for dinner.
3) Everyone loves it.

Unlike a lot of other lasagnas, it’s light on the cheese and full of meat. Also a little different from other recipes, I added a few extra layers – for a total of 4 layers of noodles – as we like a nice, thick slice.

This recipe has been heavily adapted from my mom’s old Good Housekeeping cookbook, Step by Step.

Make Ahead: This recipe can be made in advance, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and frozen for at least a couple of months. Lasagna should be allowed to defrost completely (about 2 days in the fridge) before baking according the the instructions below. If lasagna isn’t completely thawed, keep covered and bake until lasagna is hot throughout, before removing foil and cooking uncovered for the last 15 minutes.


Beef & Sausage Lasagna

Makes one large (9×13) lasagna

Serves 10


  • 1-16 oz. package lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 1 Tbs. minced or crushed garlic
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbs. dried basil
  • 1-15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 c. (8 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Make the Meat Sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef and both sausages, using a wooden spoon to break up any large chunks. Add onion and garlic, and continue to cook until translucent. Discard any excess fat, and add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, kosher salt, sugar, Italian seasoning, and basil. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and lower heat, simmering for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package. When done, use tongs to remove noodles from water and lay noodles flat on a clean dishtowel on the counter. Allow to cool until you’re able to handle them with your hands.

Make the Ricotta Layer: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg and parsley.

Assemble the Lasagna: On a clean countertop, line up meat sauce, lasagna noodles on the towel, ricotta, a small bowl filled with the shredded mozzarella, and a large (9×13 at least) baking dish. It will make assembly easier and cleaner if everything is in one single work area.

First, spread a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce (I like to avoid the meat chunks for the bottom later) across the bottom of the baking dish, so that lasagna noodles don’t stick. Next, add a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by one-third of the ricotta, about 1/2 c. of the mozzarella, and about a quarter of the meat sauce. Do this two more times, so that you have 3 complete layers.

Add the final layer of lasagna noodles. If you have extra ricotta, you can add it here. Otherwise, top with remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella, and the grated Parmesan cheese. Feel free to add a little extra of either or both cheeses, if lasagna is not sufficiently covered.

Bake covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted and starting to brown. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve hot with a side salad and your favorite fresh bread or garlic bread.





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Fall Happenings, 2016

I know that technically, there’s still another 3 or so weeks of fall, but for me, December signals the start of winter. I become all about the Christmas holidays and staying cozy in the house – unlike fall where I plan a zillion Halloween-related activities for the family and gravitate to enjoying the cooler weather outdoors.


In The Kitchen

My hubby and I have continued to try to eat healthier. For me, that means cooking more often, which is a challenge with full-time work and kiddos that come home from school hangry every night. I’ve been trying to cook in large batches so that I could cook less frequently, especially during the week. It’s worked out well with the changing weather. Comfort foods are definitely better for this lifestyle, rather than the fresh cooking that we gravitated to all summer. Some of my favorite recipes from this fall include:

  • An Italian Meal for 12 featuring two of my favorite lasagnas.
  • Salisbury Steak Meatballs – These were so good that we made them several times, making a double batch each time. They take a fair bit of prep time, despite being a slow cooker recipe, but worth it.
  • Cinnamon Hot Toddy – I tried this recipe when I was suffering from congestion which turned into sinus headaches. It immediately cleared my head and made me feel better. I’ve made it with brandy, but particularly enjoy it with Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum.
  • White Chocolate Oatmeal Cream Pie Fudge – I was sooo excited about this recipe and was sooo terribly disappointed in it. It was just unbearably sweet. I had one bite and that was it. Even my sweet-loving hubby didn’t like it as much as he expected to, given the promise behind the title.

Book Review: The Magnolia Story

On My Bookshelf

Most of what I’ve read this fall has been blog posts and catching up on the huge pile of magazines that has been on my bookshelf forever. (I wanted to clear off the bookshelf so that I could move the shelf out of the room before the holidays arrived!)

The one book I did finish was The Magnolia Story, the story of Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. I had the book on preorder and flew through it. Love Chip and Joanna, love Fixer Upper, and I loved their book.

While on a short weekend getaway, I also started Girl on the Train. Yep. I’m the last person in the world to read it. I’m about halfway through it and enjoying it so far, but my reading has slowed down substantially now that I’m home, back at work, and back to the daily grind.


This fall I’ve been knitting up a storm. My bestie was due with her second child shortly before Thanksgiving and as I did with her first, I wanted to make Baby Boy a blanket. After starting and tearing out almost a dozen failed knitting and crocheted attempts at a chevron pattern, I went with a very simple striped pattern. And I love it. That beautiful aqua color… I couldn’t get enough of it, so of course Baby had to have a matching hat.


As I mentioned this summer, Miss. Hazelnut has been asking for a hat and scarf, so after finishing the baby blanket, I got to work on that. I love the way the scarf turned out, with a little pocket to tuck the end through, but I’ve been dragging my feet on finish the hat. Instead, I’ve started a shawl for myself and a knit pillow case, for the church pew that’s soon (spring?) to show up in my front hallway.


Finally, I’ve had a couple of scrapbook dates with a girlfriend. I’m almost finished with the paper scrapbook I have been making for Miss. Hazelnut’s first year – one page per month, with a few extra pages in there for her Christening, Christmas, etc. My intent was to digitally scrapbook each year for both the kids, but also have a paper scrapbook to hold photos, papers, cards and other memorabilia that I didn’t have digital copies of. I’m horribly behind on both types of scrapbooks and really need to do more before I get to a point where it’s just impossible to keep up.

Speaking of which – my photo management is a disaster. Between photos pulled off of our phones, out of email (daycare reports and sent from friends), and ones we take on our camera, I can’t keep up with downloading them, nevermind organizing them. Anyone have any suggestions?


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Welcome to #CranberryWeek, hosted by Caroline’s Cooking and A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. We’ll be sharing cranberry-inspired creations all week long in celebration of national cranberry day. Search #CranberryWeek to keep up to date and follow the #CranberryWeek Pinterest board for more cranberry inspiration. But first, see all the other cranberry recipes being shared today:


Several years ago, a friend had visited and cooked dinner for my hubby and I. He made pork chops which were the inspiration for this recipe. Those pork chops were brined for several hours and grilled instead of baked – a little too time-intensive and not really appropriate for the cold weather we’re having. Those pork chops were also stuffed with a dried cherry filling, but I tend to prefer dried cranberries, especially during this time of year.

So instead of grilled cherry and cornbread-stuffed pork chops, you have my version that been adapted for the season. My hubby and I enjoyed the tart bursts of cranberry paired with savory cornmeal, sage, and walnuts. It’s a recipe we’ll be making again for sure this winter. Enjoy!


Cranberry & Cornbread Stuffed Pork Chops

By Books n’ Cooks

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Pork Chops:

  • 4 pork chops, thick-cut if possible (I used boneless but feel free to use bone-in)
  • cooking spray
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk or whole milk

Ingredients for the Cranberry & Cornbread Stuffing

  • 1 c. crumbled cornbread, homemade or store-bought (from about 2 muffins or slices of bread)
  • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • buttermilk or whole milk

Prep: Preheat oven to 400F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack on top. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Make the Filling: In a small bowl, combine cornbread, walnuts, cranberries, pepper, salt, and sage. Add just enough buttermilk or whole milk so that filling comes together.

Make the Pork Chop: In a shallow bowl, combine sage, salt, pepper, cornmeal and breadcrumbs. Set aside. In another small bowl, place egg and buttermilk or whole milk. Lightly scramble with a fork and set aside.

Cut a horizontal pocket into each pork chop, cutting deep but not all the way through. Stuff each with a quarter of the stuffing.

To bread, carefully dip stuffed pork chop in egg/milk mixture, followed by the cornmeal breading. Place on prepared baking sheet. Spray tops with cooking spray and bake until pork chops reach a internal temperature of 145F, about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with roasted vegetables (pictured above, roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon) or your favorite side.




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Welcome to #CranberryWeek, hosted by Caroline’s Cooking and A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. We’ll be sharing cranberry-inspired creations all week long in celebration of national cranberry day. Search #CranberryWeek to keep up to date and follow the #CranberryWeek Pinterest board for more cranberry inspiration. But first, see all the other cranberry recipes being shared today:


For me, Thanksgiving time is cranberry time. It’s not about pumpkin or pecan pie (although I loved these pecan pie truffles) at Thanksgiving dinner, but instead I make a mean cranberry-pear tart. If I’m hosting, I might make scones packed with dried cranberries and nuts for overnight guests or a quick bread to have around for snacks. But it’s all about the cranberries.

So you can imaging I was excited when I heard about #CranberryWeek. I jumped at the chance to participate, and I knew immediately that a baked brie would be one of the items I made for the week. The cranberry-orange topping I created has just the right might of sweet and tart, and it pairs beautifully with the strong flavor of the brie. Serve it on a hunk of crusty fresh bread and you have yourself a wonderful, seasonal appetizer.

Note: Cranberry orange topping can be made ahead, and refrigerated until ready to top and bake the brie.

Cranberry Orange Baked Brie

By Books n’ Cooks


  • 8 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 1 Tbs. Cointreau or other orange liquor
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1-16 oz. wheel brie

Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, Cointreau and kosher salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, so sauce begins to thicken.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. Place brie in a large baking dish (I used a round, high-sided pie dish). Top with cranberry sauce. Bake for 20 minutes, until warm throughout.

Serve hot with your favorite fresh bread.



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