Entertaining family and friends, eating great food, talking and laughing is what I truly enjoy. Believe it or not, I even love impromptu, last minute, get togethers. Now don’t get me wrong, I like planning a delicious menu, preparing for a fun evening and making sure my house and meal are perfect but last minute dinners are just as fun and I don’t have to worry about anything; I cook the first thing that comes to mind and just enjoy the company. Besides, friends and family aren’t going to care if your home isn’t spotless, right? This meal basically cooks itself, it’s full of flavor and is sure to please the palate. 

For a starter, I served a side salad of mixed greens, grape tomatoes, dried cranberries, slivered honey almonds and feta cheese. When making salad, I try to add different textures and colors so that it not only tastes great but looks great too!  This salad pairs wonderfully with a red wine olive oil vinaigrette. For the main course, we enjoyed twice baked potatoes and a savory roasted porkloin. Last, but not least, was an apple puff that was a carameley cinnamon dream. 

For my twice baked potatoes, after washing and drying them, I rubbed them with olive oil and sprinkled seasoning salt on all sides and popped them in a 400 preheated oven, directly on the racks. Bake for 55-60 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool 10 mins so you can handle. Reduce oven to 375. When you can safely handle the potatoes, cut in half, lengthwise and scoop the meat of the potatoes out, place in a bowl. Add a few TB’s of butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon bits and chicken broth or milk to potatoes and mash until creamy. Depending on how many potatoes you are making will determine the amount of those ingredients you use. I baked 3 potatoes and used 3 TB butter, 1/2 C sour cream, 1/2 C shredded cheese, 1/4 C bacon pieces and about 1/4 C chicken broth.  Scoop potato mixture back into potato skin, place on baking sheet and bake for 15 mins, sprinkle tops of potatoes with cheese and bake 5 more mins.

 Roasted pork loin

  • 1.5 lb porkloin
  • 3 TB dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce

Heat 2 TB olive oil in pan. Generously season pork loin with salt and pepper on all sides and sear in hot oil. In small bowl, mix mustard, vinegar and soy sauce. When your meat is browned on all sides, brush it with mustard mixture and place in pan with a roasting rack in it.  Roast for   40-45 minutes, depending on thickness, in a 375 oven. You want your pork to at least have an internal temp of 145. I prefer my porkloin to be slightly pink so that it is juicy and not dried out.

Apple puff

Preheat oven to 385

  • 2 Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar 
  • 1 TB cinnamon 
  • 1/4 C white sugar
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 small lemon 
  • 17 oz Puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

In medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar. Meanwhile pour lemon over apples & mix well.  Toss apple, to coat, in cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour then pour into pan with caramel mixture. Sauté apples until they begin to soften, 7-10 mins. While apples sauté, on a floured surface, roll puff pastry to make a square & cut in 6 even pieces (you’ll have 2 puff pastry sheets cut into 12 pieces). Place a spoonful of apple mixture in center of 6 squares, brush edges with egg wash and top with 2nd puff pastry; pinch edges together. Brush tops of pastry with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake 20-25 mins until puffy and golden brown.