Cowboy Crescent Bites

I was recently trying to remember the appetizers that I grew up eating in Texas and thought of sausage balls. Remember those? They are made of just three ingredients: Bisquick mix, cooked sausage, and cheddar cheese. They are pretty good but I thought I could do better. I have to say that my Cowboy Crescent Bites don’t even compare! They are loaded with so much more flavor and are still so very easy!

The combo of cream cheese, cheddar cheese and jalapeno all melted together totally reminds me of queso! If you know me at all you know that queso is my FAVORITE. I have the best recipe for it here.

This recipe makes 32 little cups of deliciousness which is great for holiday family gatherings. The filling could even be made ahead of time then assembled with the crescent rolls when you’re ready to bake. Also, the crescent rolls that come in one big sheet work best but if you can’t find them just pinch the seams together before cutting into squares.

Make these for Thanksgiving and everyone will fall in love (with you AND the food)! You’ll be making them again and again for all your holiday gatherings. I definitely will be! Y’all know that I love simple recipes that are BOLD with flavor. This is my new favorite appetizer and I love that it was inspired by my Texas roots!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale Nov 19-Dec 2: crescent rolls, sausage, cheddar cheese, cream cheese

Cowboy Crescent Bites

  • Servings: Makes 32
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 tubes crescent rolls
½ lb ground pork sausage
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, salt
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Cook and crumble sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Drain on paper towel-lined plate. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine sausage, cream cheese, cheddar, jalapeno, half of the green onions, and spices.

Roll crescent rolls out, pinch seams together, and cut each sheet into 16 squares. Place squares of dough into mini muffin tins. Place a small spoonful of cheese mixture onto each square.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crescent rolls are golden brown. Remove and garnish with remaining onions.

Filled with ooey gooey cheese and sausage! Yum!

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples & Onions

Who loves a one-pan dinner? I sure do! Skillet Pork Chops with Apples & Onions is one of my favorite, weeknight meals this time of year. This week, Lee’s Marketplace is having a great pork sale on their “3 Meal Deal” that includes boneless chops, country style ribs and a loin roast for only $1.69/lb. I love when they do this because my freezer gets stocked!

This delicious meal is loaded with big flavor but has simple ingredients. It tastes like you’ve spent hours but it honestly takes about 30 minutes total. Pork and apples are a classic pairing and are SO perfect together! The onions balance the sweetness of the apples and the fresh herbs are the superstar finish. Seriously, do not skip the fresh herbs! The brightness of the rosemary and thyme make the dish in my opinion and it just wouldn’t be the same or as good without them. Also, anytime you’re cooking pork you NEED an internal meat thermometer. Overcooked pork is going to ruin your dinner and nobody has time for that! Serve this up with a side of mashed potatoes and you will have the perfect dinner. (Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace)

Items on sale at Lee’s Oct 1-7: pork chops, apples, dried sage (Badia brand), and apple cider

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples & Onions

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

6 boneless, skinless pork chops (about 2 ½ lbs)
3 large red apples, cored and sliced
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 ½ teaspoons dried sage
¾ cup apple cider
1 tablespoon “Better Than Bouillon” chicken base
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1-2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

Season both sides of pork chops by sprinkling 1 ½ teaspoons salt, black pepper, and dried sage. Heat a large, deep skillet to medium-high. Add 1 ½ tablespoons canola oil. Add pork chops to skillet and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Remove and set on a plate.

Add apples and onions to skillet. (Add a little more oil if pan seems dry)
Continue cooking on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
Add apple cider, chicken base, and ½ teaspoon salt then stir to combine. Add pork chops back to skillet and nestle into apples and onions. Continue cooking (no lid) until internal temperature of pork reaches 145 degrees (might only take a few minutes).

Sprinkle rosemary and thyme over the top and serve immediately.

**Notes:
1. Bone-in pork chops can be used instead.
2. Gala apples were used in this recipe but any red apple will do
3. Goes really well with mashed potatoes!
4. Do not replace chicken base with bouillon cubes. You need the thickness and flavor from the chicken base.

The Best Lasagna

My dilemma when writing this recipe…what do I call it? Classic lasagna? Traditional lasagna? Perfect lasagna? I finally settled on “The Best Lasagna” because that’s what we proclaim over and over every time we eat it. It’s simply the BEST!

This is a very close version to a recipe I printed back in 2009 for “World’s Best Lasagna” from the Allrecipes site. Yes I’ve been making it for TEN years! It’s one of those recipes that you make for something classic like lasagna and it’s so amazing you never try another recipe. Tried and true! Over the years I’ve made a few tweaks to make it my own. The ingredients are basically the same but the measurements are different. I mean, of course I increased the garlic and cheeses! Ha! I also switched to “oven-ready” lasagna because it’s amazing and it saves a lot of time not having to boil the pasta first.

Make sure to read the notes after the directions! This is not a hard recipe at all but does take some time. Like, 2 1/2-3 hours to be exact, so be prepared. It’s totally 100% worth the effort though because it is simply the best homemade lasagna you’ll ever make. You’ll feel like a rock star when your family “oohs and ahhs” over this at the dinner table!

It’s been forever since I’ve done a recipe for Lee’s Marketplace! I’ve been so busy with the fair but now I’m back to my weekly recipes and am so happy. I love doing them! This one worked out so perfectly because out of 19 total ingredients, 12 of them are on sale this week at Lee’s! Woohoo!

***Here’s what’s on sale Sept 23-30: Italian sausage, ground beef, yellow onion, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, lasagna, ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan (sponsored post)

The Best Lasagna

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
16 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
9 oz package “Oven-Ready” lasagna
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
16 oz mozzarella, shredded
1 cup Parmesan, shredded

Directions

In a large, deep skillet cook ground beef, sausage, and onion until browned. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, then stir. Add sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, fennel, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley, then stir. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl, combine egg, ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons parsley.

To assemble, spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray then ladle in enough sauce to cover bottom of pan. Add 4-6 pieces of lasagna over sauce (it’s ok if they overlap a little). Add 1/3 of ricotta mixture and carefully spread across pasta. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the Parmesan. Repeat layers two more times.

Cover tightly with nonstick foil (or spray regular foil with cooking spray). Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 20-25 additional minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining parsley.

Notes:
1. Give yourself PLENTY of time to make this. You need about 2 1/2-3 hours from start to finish.
2. If you don’t have enough pasta for the final layer, it’s ok. Just place what you have on it!
3. Freezes perfectly! Can easily be made in two smaller pans so that you can stash one in the freezer for later. (Freeze before baking!)
4. If you choose to use traditional lasagna, follow package instructions for boiling before assembling.

Those crispy edges are my favorite!

Pineapple Pork Kebabs

Grilling season is upon us and I have the perfect recipe to get you started! These Pineapple Pork Kebabs are easy, delicious, and sure look pretty on a grill! What more could you ask for?!? If you like a little more spice feel free to add more sriracha to the marinade. With 2 tablespoons, the heat is barely there but noticeable. This is a custom recipe that I created for Lee’s Marketplace. I’m having so much fun creating recipes for them! If you make this or any of my other recipes please comment on them and let me know what you think!

Pineapple Pork Kebabs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 pork tenderloin (2-2.5 lb)
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3 tablespoons sesame oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1 pineapple, cut into chunks
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Remove silver skin and any excess fat from pork then cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a zip top bag.

In a mixing bowl, add soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil, garlic cloves, and sriracha. Whisk to combine. Reserve 1 cup then pour the rest into the bag of pork. Let marinate in fridge for 2-8 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Thread pork, pineapple, pepper, and onion onto skewers.

Place kebabs on grill and cook, turning occasionally, until done. Baste frequently with reserved marinade.

*Note: Cooking time depends on your grill. I used a Traeger smoker and it took 18 min. Internal temp of pork should be 150.