Maple-Orange Glazed Pork Shoulder Roast

porkshoulderJim got a smoker for Christmas, so right now he’s totally into smoked meat. I, on the other hand, am getting tired of it. Still, we’re having a New Year’s Eve dinner gathering of friends, so we decided to break out the smoker. I’m adapting a recipe I enjoy making either in the oven or on the grill to the smoker – Jim will smoke it low and slow for several hours. If you’d like to cook it in the oven, then I recommend roasting at 325 for about an hour per pound. For the brine:

  • 8 quarts of cold water
  • 1 cup sea salt

For the roast:

  • 5-6 pound pork shoulder roast
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

For the glaze

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice from two oranges
  • 1-2 tablespoons sriracha or to taste (red pepper flakes for paleo)
  1. Combine water, brown sugar, and salt in a cooler, mixing well.
  2. Add pork shoulder and allow roast to brine for about 5-6 hours.
  3. Remove roast from brine and rinse. Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Season pork with salt and pepper. Smoke at about 225 degrees, one hour per pound.
  5. While roast smokes, combine syrup, soy sauce, whiskey, orange zest, orange juice, and sriracha in a small saucepan.
  6. Simmer the glaze until syrupy.
  7. Begin brushing glaze onto meat in about hour #3 of cooking, and brush glaze every 15 minutes.
  8. Cook meat to an internal temperature of 190 degrees.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to sit, tented with foil, for 30 minutes, before slicing.

Nut Butter Noodles

PBNoodlesWhether you like peanuts, almonds, or cashews, making noodles with a nut butter sauce makes a fast and delicious week night meal. I’ve made these with peanut, cashew, and almond butter, and they are equally delicious served hot or cold.

  • 1 package spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package directions (or soba noodles or rice noodles for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated ginger root
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Sriracha or chili oil to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. Cook spaghetti or other noodles (such as udon or ramen) according to package directions and drain them.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse garlic, ginger, and 4 scallions until thoroughly chopped (set aside remaining two scallions).
  3. Scrape down vegetables from side of food processor and add nut butter, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, coconut milk, and sriracha. Pulse food processor to blend.
  4. Taste and add salt or more sriracha as necessary.
  5. Toss sauce with hot noodles and add sesame seeds and remaining two sliced scallions.
  6. Serve hot or cold.


  • Add cooked marinated chicken or other meat.
  • Add steamed veggies such as broccoli.
  • Replace soy sauce with teriyaki sauce for a sweeter sauce.
  • Add your favorite curry.
  • Garnish with chopped nuts or bean sprouts to vary textures.

Warm Spinach Salad

baby spinachI have a certain person in my family who despises green food, and it’s not me or one of the kids. Still, I can get him to eat his spinach when I make this warm spinach salad. You can vary it in a number of ways, which I’ll include after the recipe. For the salad, I prefer baby spinach, which is more tender and flavorful; however, you can use other types of spinach, as well. The recipe below serves four.

  • 8 ounces of baby spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons duck fat
  • 5 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or raw apple cider vinegar)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Wash and drain baby spinach. Place dry spinach in a large, heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan and cook chopped bacon until crispy.
  3. Remove bacon from fat with a slotted spoon and put in bowl with spinach.
  4. Add shallots and cook until soft.
  5. Add red wine vinegar, scraping browned bits off bottom of pan.
  6. Pour dressing from pan over the top of spinach and bacon and toss. The bacon will wilt slightly.
  7. Top with fresh pepper and serve immediately.


  • Change vinegar to sherry vinegar or balsamic
  • Add pine nuts
  • Add zest from one orange to dressing when you add sugar

Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs

srWhile people traditionally think of ribs as a summer BBQ food, beer braised beef short ribs are the perfect hearty food for the winter, especially when served over a bed of smashed red jacket potatoes.

  • 2-4 lbs of beef short ribs
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 4-6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 red onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour (sweet rice flour for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups Guinness Stout (gluten-free beer for gluten-free)
  • 2 cups gluten-free chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme)
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Season short ribs liberally with salt and pepper and bring to room temperature.
  3. In a large, oven proof dutch oven, crisp bacon over medium high heat. Remove bacon from oil with slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, brown short ribs on all sides in bacon fat over medium high heat. Put them in the pan and maintain contact with the bottom without moving it, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove short ribs and set aside.
  5. Add red onions to bacon fat. Allow to sit in contact with medium high pan for 2-3 minutes before stirring. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add garlic and cook just until it releases its scent – about 30 seconds.
  7. Add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until flour loses raw flavor, about 3 minutes.
  8. Add vinegar and beer to pan, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add thyme and return short ribs and bacon to pan. Bring to a simmer on the stove top.
  10. Cover tightly with the Dutch oven lid and place in the preheated oven.
  11. Cook for about 3 hours, until meat is tender.
  12. Remove ribs from pot and set aside on a plate, tented with foil.
  13. Put pan back on the stove over medium heat. Simmer liquid in pan until reduced to create desired consistency.
  14. Serve ribs on a bed of smashed potatoes with sauce spooned over the top.

Roasted Garlic Red Jacket Smashed Potatoes

  • 2 heads garlic
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Several hours before you make the potatoes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the tops off the heads of garlic and place garlic, root side down, in an oven-proof glass dish.
  3. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Cover the glass dish with foil. Put in the oven for 60 minutes – until the garlic is soft.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. When garlic has cooled, squeeze it out of the bulbs into a dish and set aside.
  7. Clean red potatoes and place them (whole) in a large pan. Cover with water.
  8. Put the lid on the pan and bring potatoes to a boil over medium-high heat.
  9. Boil potatoes until they are soft – for baby potatoes it should take about 20 minutes.
  10. When potatoes are done, drain them and put them back in the pan.
  11. Add garlic, butter, and heavy cream to the potatoes.
  12. Use a masher to roughly mash the mixture to the desired consistency.
  13. Stir in chives.
  14. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamonrollsThese are incredibly moist and freeze well in an airtight container. The rolls are giant, and the batch is large, so sharing is always a great option.


  • 1 cup hot mashed white potatoes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 7 cups (or more) flour
  • 1-2 packages quick rise yeast
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • Cinnamon to taste


  • 1 package softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk (0r more to achieve desired consistency)
  1. Combined potatoes, milk, and one cup of flour in a large glass bowl.
  2. Beat until well combined.
  3. Cool to lukewarm (about 110 degrees) and stir in yeast.
  4. Cover and let rise until light, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and then turn off.
  6. Stir down mixture with a wooden spoon.
  7. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  8. Add salt and eggs and beat until blended.
  9. Stir butter, sugar, salt, eggs mixture into yeast mixture.
  10. Add remaining flour to make a firm dough.
  11. Knead until elastic, about 10-15 minutes.
  12. Grease an ovenproof bowl with butter.
  13. Put dough in bowl.
  14. Cover with a warm damp cloth and place in warmed oven (make sure it has been turned off) to rise – about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  15. Punch down dough.
  16. Turn onto a floured surface.
  17. Spread softened butter onto dough and top with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  18. Roll dough into a large log and cut into cinnamon rolls.
  19. Place in a greased pan.
  20. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  21. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  22. Bake risen rolls for 30 minutes.
  23. Allow rolls to cool.
  24. Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar.
  25. Add milk and vanilla to desired consistency.
  26. Use to ice rolls.

Baked Apples


  • 4 apples, cored with tops cut off
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (coconut oil for dairy-free)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place apples in a square pan with cut core up.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon brown sugar in each core hole.
  4. Top each with 1 tablespoon butter.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  6. Add apple juice to pan.
  7. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for one hour.

Pancetta Sage Stuffing

mirepoixThis can be baked in the oven, inside a bird, or even cooked in a crock pot to save oven space.

  • 2-4 loaves french and dark bread, cubed and dried on counter for 1 day.
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, chopped and sauteed (reserve fat)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons each chopped fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme
  • 1 tablespoon each dried sage, rosemary, and thyme
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1-2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste.
  1. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
  2. Brown pancetta. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and add pancetta to bread cubes.
  3. Saute onion, celery, and carrot in pancetta fat until browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add to bread cubes.
  5. Add fresh and dried herbs, butter, stock, salt and pepper and mix well. Add more moisture if necessary.
  6. Use to stuff a bird, cook for several hours in a low crock pot, stirring occasionally, or bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15.

Orange Vanilla Sweet Potatoes

  • sweettater4 sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (coconut oil for dairy-free and vegetarian)
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lenthwise
  • Zest from one orange
  • Juice from two oranges
  • Fresh grated nutmeg, salt, and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Scrape seeds from vanilla beans into melted butter and add seed pods.
  3. Toss butter/vanilla with potatoes.
  4. Roast until potatoes are soft – about 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove potatoes from butter and set aside, tented with foil.
  6. Carefully pour butter from pan into a small saucepan with orange juice and zest.
  7. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half and syruppy.
  8. Toss with potatoes.
  9. Season with fresh grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.

Roasted Root Veggies

sweetpotatoesThese aren’t your traditional sweet, sticky potatoes. Instead, they are a simple roast of julienned potatoes that bring out the slightly sweet, nutty flavor of the potatoes.

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and julienned.
  • 2-4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and julienned
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh thyme
  • 2-4 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, put through garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted (eliminate for dairy-free)
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large roasting pan, toss potatoes and sweet potatoes with olive oil, shallots, thyme, and onion.
  3. Spread in a thin layer across the bottom of the pan.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes until brown.
  5. Remove from onion and toss with butter, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Braised Belgian Endive

endiveThis recipe comes out sweet and nutty. It’s a great simple vegetable side dish.

  • 2 heads Belgian endive per person, sliced lengthwise into two pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or olive oil for dairy-free)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  1. Heat a small amount of butter in a skillet over medium heat until bubbly.
  2. Sprinkle sugar into butter evenly over surface of skillet.
  3. Place endive in pan, cut side down.
  4. Cook 3-4 minutes until browned and then flip.
  5. Cook 3-4 minutes until brown on other side.
  6. Turn again. Add wine, chicken stock, and lemon juice.
  7. Bring to a simmer.
  8. Reduce heat and cover.
  9. Simmer until fork tender.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.