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Empty Pantry, Open Mind

When we’re away at school, we get very used to the ingredients that we always have on hand, plus we have the ability to pick up something new or interesting on a whim while grocery shopping. When we go home for a weekend, it’s always a slightly awkward adjustment, because at home our family doesn’t keep nearly the variety of ingredients we do in their fridge and cupboard. Combine that with the inconvenient long-weekend grocery store hours of last weekend, and you’ve got yourself severely under-stocked pantries. Thankfully, our Dad is a forward-thinker and does his best to pick up some of the veggies and other items that he knows we like to have, however we never quite know what there will be until we get home, and we usually don’t know exactly what we’re going to make, so we can’t always give him the heads up!

This calls for some serious creativity!

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When we arrived on Easter weekend, we found chicken, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and orange juice. Naturally, we decided to put them all together!

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In case you didn’t know, sweet-potato and orange is a fantastic combination! This sweet potato-carrot mash is quite reminiscent of one of our favourite sides  by one of our favourite bloggers, just with a citrus and sweet potato twist! Just as delicious, we assure you!

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It was a beautiful weekend, perfect weather to fire up the grill, so to go along with the citrus theme of the sweet potato-carrot mash, we made a honey-orange glaze and gave it to our Dad to spread on the chicken while barbeque-ing. It turned out fantastic, with that great off-the-grill taste mixed with the fresh sweetness of oranges.

Dinner-time perfection! 🙂

Orange-Glazed Chicken with Sweet Potato and Carrot Mash

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Prep time: 15min
Cook time: 45 min
Serves: 5

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:

5 medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 c. 100% orange juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic salt
ground black pepper

For the Mash:

2 large sweet potatoes
5 medium sized carrots
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 white onion
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp milk of choice
1 tbsp orange juice

Directions:

For the chicken:

In a small frying pan, combine the orange juice and honey. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until it reduces by half, about 10min. Stir in the rosemary, garlic salt and pepper.
Pre-heat the grill to medium-low, brush both sides of the chicken with the glaze and grill for approximately 30min, flipping every 10min, until cooked through.

For the mash: 

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
Chop the sweet potatoes and carrots into 1-inch peices. Toss the sweet potato, carrots and garlic cloves with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1/4 tsp of salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 35-45 min or until soft and mash-able.

Meanwhile, heat 1.5 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Slice onion into thin strips and place in the pan. Cook for 20min, stirring frequently, until caramelized.
Once the vegetables are finished in the oven and the onions are caramelized, transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until there are only a few large pieces left. Add the yogurt, milk and orange juice and whip with electric beaters until somewhat smooth with a few chunks.

Serve along side your favourite vegetables and enjoy.

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when your pantry or fridge is running low?

 

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Pork n’ Beans

Such a classic combination.

Of course, we really like the bean part, better. Actually, we’d prefer the beans sans-pork.  You see, we’re not really pork people.  We don’t like bacon, and we find pork often has just too much blubber, even the lean cuts.

But then, we had a brain-wave! What’s the best way to have meat? In a burger, of course!

A Pork n’ Beans burger. De-ee-licious!

First, let’s talk about the beans. They were sweet, savoury, tangy and rich, while still being entirely healhy, not full of the added salt and sugar of canned baked beans.  They were so buttery tasting, it was heaven! Not to mention they are really easy to make. Toss everything in the slow cooker at noon and you’ve got delicious beans by dinner.

These were so friggin delicious- we wished we had made at least a quadruple batch of them!  We’re pretty certain that we could’ve polished off four times the amount we made between just the two of us.  They were that good.

Slow-Cooker “Baked” Beans

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: ~4hrs

Ingredients:

1 can Romano Beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 c. crushed tomatoes (we used no-salt added)

1/4 c. molasses

2 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp Worchester Sauce

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Put all ingredients into the slow cooker and stir to mix evenly.  Cook for 2 hours on high and then 2 hours on low.

And now to the burgers!

Oh baby! Now this is how pork should be eaten.

Stacked up…

Squished down!

As it is obvious, we enjoyed these burgers pool-side. Is there really any other way to have a burger in the summer?

These burgers are great because they are purely meat and beans, with some extra ingredients for flavour. No eggs, no breadcrumbs. We are able to do this because of the same burger trick that we used when we made the Curry Burgers. With this trick, our burgers never fall apart on the grill! The trick? Blend half of the meat (and beans, in this case) in the food processor, making a paste-like mixture that acts like glue to keep the burgers together.  You then add the rest of the meat and slightly mashed up beans to the paste by hand.

   

We weighed the batter, and figured out that using 2lbs of ground pork and one can of beans, each patty should weigh 5.5 – 5.6 ounces.

This gave us ten big, delicious burgers. Leftovers, anyone?

Topped with our “baked” beans, ladies and gentlemen, this is summer at it’s absolute finest.  It really doesn’t get better than this- unless, of course, the meal ended with something chocolate… which may have happened 😉

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Good to the last bite.

Pork n’ Bean Burgers

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

2 lbs. lean ground pork

1 can Romano Beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp worchester sauce

1 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 clove garlic

Directions:

In the food processor, blend 1 lb of ground pork, 2/3 of the can of beans, the molasses, worchester, maple syrup, and garlic until you have a sticky paste.

In a large bowl, slightly mash up the remaining beans.  Add the other pound of pork, along with the meat and bean mixture and mix together with your hands.

Form into patties (ours weighed 5.5-5.6 oz each)

Grill on low for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Top with slow-cooker baked beans, and any other toppings you desire!

~twosaucysisters

Do you like pork and beans? What’s your favourite  way to eat them?