Category Archives: Recipes

Recipes that inspire me.

For the Love of Pork……Shoulders!

I love to cook with pork in many ways. As part of the NC Pork Council blogger network I was excited to learn our October challenge involved a pork shoulder. The beauty of the shoulder is it’s perfect  for a smoker, crock pot, dutch oven or braising pan.

I took the shoulder and rubbed it all over with the Memphis BBQ Rub from the Savory Spice Shop, in Lafayette Village, Raleigh. Once rubbed, I wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge over night.


Come morning, I took the pork out of the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes while my husband got our Big Green Egg ready. We use both hickory and cherry wood chips for a sweet smoke finish. Any wood is good for smoking except mesquite. I  find it far to smoky with kind of burnt flavor, but that’s just my opinion =)

We aim to get the temperature on the egg up to 225 degrees then set the pork on the grill for 8-12 hours depending on the size of the shoulder. After we’re confident we’ve reached a temperature that will remain throughout the day, we walk away and don’t look back.


The little green cap you see on the ground sits on top of the egg and is what you use to help get the egg to the temperature you want. It has a small opening that you open and close to raise to raise or lower the temperature. It’s pretty nifty.

One of the great things about cooking a pork shoulder in a smoker, crock pot or braising pan, is the finished product translates in to multiple meals. Once shredded you can make tacos, pork sandwiches, pork plate, enchiladas and so much more. What would you make?


pulled pork

Happy Eating, oink oink! =)


Grilled Pork Chops

I love to grill, especially pork. So as part of the NC Pork Council blogger network I was excited to learn our August challenge involved the grill.

With bone-in pork chops in hand and armed with a bottle of Georgia Boys All Purpose BBQ Rub from the Savory Spice Shop in Lafayette Village in Raleigh, I went to work.



I  love a quick and simple meal and this proved easy. I rubbed the pork chops with the spice rub the morning I planned to grill them and let them sit in the fridge for the day. I pulled them out to sit on the counter about 30 minutes before grilling.

When it came time to grill I set my husband to work. He has his way of grilling meats that time and time again works like a charm. He gets the grill hot (medium to high heat), sears each side 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat, then wraps it in foil to rest and finish cooking through. Serve with your choice of sides.

Pork is such a versatile meat and grilling it using this method translated great to small pork tenderloins this past weekend. For a large tenderloin, a more low and slow method works best.

On this  particular occasion I had fresh cauliflower from my Papa Spuds CSA box. I broke it down to florets, steamed them until tender then tossed them in a pan with butter. We also had some leftover salad from a dinner the night before.

Voila! Dinner!


Happy Grilling and Eating

Oink Oink =)

Easy to Make Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

As part of the North Carolina Pork Council blogging network we’ve been asked to create various  meals utilizing pork. Each month is a different challenge. Last month we were asked to put together a pork entree in 30 minutes. I went with Pork Fried Rice, which has now become a family favorite.

This month we’ve moved on to bacon, and as we all know, EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH BACON!! For this challenge I wanted to share the perfect party pleaser, Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos. I’ve used this recipe from Inspired Taste for a few years now but tweaked it here and there to suit our taste buds.

jalapeno poppers

It’s really simple. Decide if you want to grill them or use the oven. grab your cream cheese, bacon and flavorings of choice. I stuck with the chives from the original recipe and added minced garlic. This recipe also doubles and triples up easily if you have a large crowd.


I also like spicy food, so I do keep some of the pepper seeds and mix them in with the cream cheese. This is optional depending on how spicy you want them.

Jalapeno scraped jalapeno membrane

With Father’s Day TODAY,Fourth of July right around the corner, and BBQ season in full swing, these are perfect for a crowd.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers


6 jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded

4 oz cream cheese, softened (this can be done in the microwave for 20 seconds or let the cream cheese sit on the counter for 30 minutes)

2 Tablespoons chives, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 slices BACON, cut in half

24 wooden toothpicks

1 sandwich bag


To prevent toothpicks from burning, place them in water for 30 minutes before using

Slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds and white membrane (The majority of the heat in peppers comes from the seeds and membrane).

In a small bowl add the cream cheese, chives and garlic and mix together.

Now to fill each pepper with the cream cheese mixture. Here you can do one of two things. Either use a spoon to fill each pepper, or place the cream cheese mixture in the sandwich bag, snip off a corner of the bag and pipe the mixture into each pepper.

Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon being sure to wrap it from tip to tip and secure each end with a toothpick.

To Bake:

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parch,end paper

Arrange stuffed peppers on the baking sheet, filling side up

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and paper is tender

To Grill:

Heat grill to medium – high heat.

Arrange your peppers on a grill  basket, slotted grilling pan or aluminum foil directly on the grill. You don’t want your peppers to fall through the grates.

Arrange stuffed and wrapped peppers, filling side up and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the peppers are tender.

Occasionally peppers will char. If this happens, move them to a cooler section of the grill.

EAT EAT EAT, these babies will be devoured quickly, they are that good!

Happy Eating,


Quick and Easy Pork Fried Rice in 30 Minutes

I was recently asked to be a part of the North Carolina Pork Council blogging network to create various types of meals utilizing pork. Each month is a different challenge and last months was whipping together a pork entree in 30 minutes.

The NC Pork Council’s mission “is to promote and educate to ensure a socially responsible and profitable North Carolina pork industry” and as a lover of “The Other White Meat,” I was super excited to take on this challenge.

I found the easiest was to go about creating this meal was to look for products at the grocery store that would ensure I could meet the challenge. I used pre made packages of rice (really good actually and may be my new “go to”) and frozen veggies to cut down on the cooking time.



This recipe was adapted from Southern Living’s recipe website. Original Recipe can be found here.



1 pound boneless pork chops, cut into strips

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided

1 small bag, frozen veggie of choice, thawed

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups cooked long-grain white or jasmine rice, chilled
1/4 cup soy sauce


Total: 30 Minutes

1. Season pork with pepper. Cook pork in 1 1/2 tsp. hot sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat 7 to 8 minutes or until done. Remove pork from skillet.

2. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil in skillet; sauté  onion and garlic in hot oil 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender and garlic fragrant. Stir in green onions, and sauté 1 minute. Remove mixture from skillet. Wipe skillet clean.

3. Melt butter in skillet. Add eggs to skillet, and cook, without stirring, 1 minute or until eggs begin to set on bottom. Gently draw cooked edges away from sides of pan to form large pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute or until thickened and moist. (Do not overstir.) Add pork, veggies and rice  to skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in soy sauce. Serve immediately.

Note: Chilling rice will help keep it from clumping while stir-frying. Use leftover rice, or prepare 1 (8-oz.) pouch ready-to-serve jasmine rice according to package directions, and chill.

And Voila a delicious and healthy meal in 30 minutes!


Come see Whole Foods Market’s cheesemongers cut open an 85 pound wheel of cheese on 3/7!


Ever noticed those huge wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano in the Whole Foods Market cheese department? Come see one of these 85-pound wheels get “cracked” in the cheese section on Saturday, March 7, at 3 p.m (Durham event is at 2pm) when the Whole Foods Market cheesemongers will simultaneously crack into more than 85-pound wheels of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano company wide.


These cheesemongers are true experts, and they love talking cheese, so join them in the annual “Crack Heard around the World.” This event will include tastings and pairings and is free to the public.

Love Parmesan Reggiano? Share your favorite use of it in the comments section for a chance to win a $50 Gift Certificate to Whole Foods Market.



· Parmigiano-Reggiano Party Mix
· Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto Toasts with Balsamic Glaze
· Chicken Noodle Soup with Parmigiano-Reggiano Broth
· Kale Caesar Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano
· Parmigiano-Reggiano Crisps with Chocolate and Sea Salt
· Parmigiano-Reggiano Baked Eggs with Swiss Chard
· Roasted Kale Chips with Parmigiano-Reggiano



· Each year Whole Foods Market‘s cheese experts visit the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and select wheels from just four producers.
· Each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano carries proof of its authenticity with an impressed rind and brand.
· Each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is 85 pounds and requires special knives for cheesemongers to “crack” it open.
· Only cheese made in area specific area in Northern Italy — Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua – can bear the Parmigiano Reggiano name.
· Parmigiano Reggiano is the pride of an Italian food tradition dating back nine centuries.
· Every wheel at Whole Foods Market is aged 24 months (this is the best age in terms of flavor and texture; it cannot be called Parmigiano Reggiano until it is aged at least 12 months).
· Its flavor profile is toasted, salty and nutty with subtle crystal-like texture and a little goes a long way.

Don’t forget to comment below about your favorite use of this great cheese for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods Market. I personally love eating it when mixed with a good gooey cheese  in grilled cheese and scrambled eggs =)

Say Cheese!!


Johnsonville “Brat Crock” Recipe

logo The Super Bowl is not just about “The game” in our house. It’s about good friends and good food. My husbands three best friends (and others) arrive Saturday for our pre-game day party of food, drink and good times and then wake up (barely) Sunday morning to play their annual golf tournament, a ritual that has lasted close to 20 years. As the years have progressed, our Super Bowl pre-party has really become the “it” party. In the last few years most of our “boys” head directly home after golf and the hubs and I curl up on the couch to watch the game. This year however, the two of our three boys are staying in with us and I’m stoked (I love to cook for a crowd). We have leftovers from last night: Gaucamole, Bean Salad, Wings, and Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers. To top off the meat factor,  I am incorporating some delicious Johnsonville Brats. fiveEightyNine   Thanks to the kind folks at JohnsonvilleI am making their delicious indoor tailgate recipe for a Brat Crock.” This is easy to make and are the perfect grab and eat delight throughout the game. Few ingredients are needed, nor is it labor intensive. If you are out and about shopping today, consider this fast and fabulous recipe for your indoor tailgate. Johnsoville Brat Crock Hot Tub Johnsonville Brat Crock What You’ll Need: · 1 large slow cooker · 3-4 cans (12 ounces each) beer (depending on the size of your slow cooker) · 2 tablespoons butter · 1 medium yellow or white onion, sliced into rings · Johnsonville Brats What to Do: · Pour in the beer, add butter & onions first, then turn slow cooker on high · Heat a grill pan or heavy skillet to medium high and grill or sear the brats on all sides (Brats are fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 160F) · Add your Johnsonville Brats to the slow cooker and heat until the brats are cooked Place through, about 2 hours · Reduce heat to low to keep the brats hot throughout the game · When folks are ready for seconds or thirds — or even when stragglers show up late –grab a Johnsonville Brat out of the “Brat Crock” and enjoy! Doesn’t get much easier does it! So grab a brat and enjoy the game. Happy Eating Johanna Disclaimer: I was given coupons to purchase my brats thanks to Johnsonville.

Cookbooks to Drool Over, and a giveaway too!!

This month on My Carolina Today I had the awesome opportunity to chat about some of my favorite cookbooks. Written by local food writers and authors, not to mention friends of mine, these are great holiday gifts for your friends and family.

To watch the  “Great Gifts for the Chef in Your Life” clip, go here

I’d like to thank the authors and UNC Press for sending me copies of their books, it was very kind and I’d like to return the favor.

In return, I am offering a giveaway of each individual cookbook. To enter, just tell me your favorite Southern dish or holiday tradition in the comments section. I’ll be running this promo until  noon on Monday December 15th. I’ll be giving away one copy of each of the cookbooks with a grand prize opportunity to win the entire set of Savor the South series.

Note: only one entry per person. winners will be chosen using the online tool “Random Picker”. The first winner chosen will win the Savor the South series. Each winner there after can chose the book they would like to receive. I am using to chose all winners. I think you can actually go to the site and see the official results or track entries. (Project: Cookbooks to Drool Over (id:134218×50013). If the winner is from the Triangle, I will let you know where you can pick it up. If you are not from the immediate area, I will mail it to you. Good Luck =)

All of these cookbooks celebrate the bounty of the south; from the Outer Banks to the Mountains to BBQ across the state. They help bring the spirit of the Southern table to your home with delicious recipes, stories and tidbits of information you may have not known. What can I say, I love them all!

Below is information about each cookbook with links to where they can be purchased.

The Southern Living Community Cookbook: Celebrating food and fellowship in the American South


 Overview: Southern Living Community Cookbook

Southern food and food stories are bound together. This book will reflect people, regardless of where they come form, who claim Southern food as their own, whether for a lifetime or a mealtime. People feel deep affection for their local community cookbooks, especially those well-worn volumes that serve as a timestamp of a particular place and time. No other type of recipe collection is more generous, gracious, and welcoming. Before we give you a bite, we Southern cooks have to tell you about what we’ve made. Southern food is evocative, so our food and food stories are bound together in our communities. A memorable Southern cookbook holds good food and a good read, the equivalent of a brimming recipe box plus the scribbled notes and whispered secrets that cover the tips, advice, and stories that a generous cook shares with family members, friends, and neighbors. These recipes bring all sorts of cooks, recipes, and stories to a common table to bring readers a cookbook filled with good things to eat that have something to say.

Meet the Author

Sheri Castle is a writer who cooks and a cook who writes. She’s known for her ability to see out the story behind Southern recipes and foodways. She has worked on multiple cookbook projects, as a solo author, collaborator, ghostwriter, and recipe tester. Her solo title, The New Southern Garden Cookbook, was named by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association as the best Southern cookbook of the year. It received a notable mention in the NY Times and was a recommended cookbook in the Washington Post. Sheri resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

For over 40 years, Southern Living magazine has delivered definitive Southern food, decorating, and entertaining ideas to 16 million readers monthly, making it one of the most trusted lifestyle brands in the country. With thousands of Southern Living Test Kitchen-approved recipes in the archive, Southern Living publishes superior cookbooks with recipes guaranteed to yield successful, flavorful results. Information via the Barnes and Noble Website

Savor the South Cookbook Series


Each little cookbook in (the) Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each Savor the South® cookbook will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes–from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all. Information via the UNC Press Website

Farmer & Chef Asheville Cookbook


Meet the farmers who preserve our Appalachian mountain heritage and the chefs who make our city a” Foodtopia” ® destination, as branded by the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

With this book, you can take home a slice of Asheville’s award-winning dining and craft-beverage scene, with recipes from local restaurants, bars, farms, and farmers markets. Recreate dishes handed down generation to generation. Discover new ideas for family suppers and parties.

Filled with stunning photographs, informative sidebars and essays, Farmer and Chef Asheville will offer over 200 easy-to-follow recipes from area chefs, farmers and food artisans.

Food Lovers Guide to the Outer Banks


Outer Banks Cookbook


The New Blue Ridge Cookbook

Blue RIdge  ookbook 

About the Author: Elizabeth Wiegand

Behind every taste, each bite of food, there’s a story.

My mission is to explore the food that’s brought to our Southern tables. . . .to share the passion of the crabbers who scoop up soft shells, “salad bar” ranchers who pasture-raise their beef, bakers who arise at ungodly hours to bake their loaves, and farmers that raise the pumpkins or turkey for my Thanksgiving dinner.  What’s the traditional way of cooking them?  The newest culinary approach?

Come explore the culinary wonders I’ve found from the mountains to the sea, in THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK:  Recipes & Traditions from NC’s Barrier Islands, and THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK:  Authentic Recipes from North Carolina’s Mountains to Virginia’s Highlands.

Check out my BLOG, CAROLINA FOODIE for recipes, seasonal goodies, foodie road trips, and more. Information via Carolina Foodie Website

Tupelo Honey Cafe:  Spirited Recipes from Asheville’s New South Kitchen




Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors From the Blue Ridge Mountains provides a gastronomic tour of the flavors and tastes of the region considered the Mountain South.  From Appalachian Egg Rolls With Smoked Jalapeno Sauce, Pickled Onions and Pulled Pork to Acorn Squash Stuffed with Bacon Bread Pudding and Maple Sweet Potato Bread Pudding, each recipe tells a story about the traditions, inspiration and history of the southern mountains.  The result is an assembly of 125 imaginative, delicious and approachable recipes to be enjoyed by the home cook, the avid reader and book collector, and the hungry appetite alike.  A foreword by Chef Sean Brock and gorgeous photos of the surrounding area and food complete this collection. Information via the Tupelo Honey Café Website

The Great NC BBQ Map


bbq map

With over 400 restaurants, shacks, and eateries, The Great NC BBQ Map is the most comprehensive guide to the original barbecue state. In a printed, road-map format, you can use our guide to hit the road and create your own BBQ tour or find a stop along your route. Our map symbols define each restaurant’s BBQ using an infographic approach. With a glance, you can tell whether each restaurant cooks the whole hog or part of the pig, what cooking method is used, and what style of sauce is served. We also give you a timeline on the history of BBQ in America and information to help you differentiate the BBQ styles of NC, which give perspective to your travels.

Happy Eating