A great casual dinner menu
  Re: (...)
I made this last night for friends and it turned out to be one of the best, low-stress meals I've ever made! I made the glaze for the pork, the mashed potatoes, the dressing for the green beans, the salad dressing, and did as much food prep as I could the day before. Everything was soooo incredible!

I first brined the pork roast for 6 hours using Jean's method (to every quart of water, 1/4 cup kosher salt, 2T each brown and granulated sugars)

Maple-Mustard-Glazed Pork Roast

2 pound boneless pork loin roast -- (2 to 3)
2/3 cup maple-flavored syrup
3 T. Dijon-style mustard
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Stir together maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Spread evenly over pork roast and place in a shallow pan. Roast in a 350-degree oven until internal temperature of pork, measured with a meat thermometer reaches 150degrees F., and vegetables are tender, about 1 to 1-1/4 hours. If the glaze begins to burn in the pan, add water to prevent. Remove from oven, let rest for 10 minutes; slice roast. Strain pan juices over. 

*I made the glaze a day ahead.

Cheddar Garlic Mashed Potatoes
4 servings


2 pounds russet potatoes (peeledcut into chunks)
1 large head of garlic (broken into cloves, peeled, cut in half)
3T butter
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
3 tablespoons onion, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
smoked paprika


1. Boil water in a large pot, add the potatoes and garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon salt, boil until potatoes are tender; drain and return to pot.
2. Add the butter, Greek yogurt, half and half, 1/3 cup of the cheddar cheese, onion, s&p.
3. Transfer into a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and dust with smoked paprika..
4. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until just heated through, remove foil during last 5 minutes of baking time.*

* Can also be made 24 hours in advance. Cool and cover tightly with foil. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before baking (you may need to increase baking time to 20-25 minutes)

Oven Roasted Green Beans

Preheat oven to 400°

Toss green cleaned green beans with olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet – lined with parchment paper for easy clean up. Roast, stirring once halfway through, until crisp tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Niçoise sauce

2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
1 T. minced shallot
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove -- mashed
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 T. drained capers
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 hard-cooked egg, minced
1/4 cup Niçoise olives – pitted and rough chopped

In a blender, combine the lemon juice with the vinegar, shallot, mustard, garlic and lemon zest and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a thin stream and blend until emulsified. Add the capers and a pinch each of salt and pepper and pulse until the capers are coarsely chopped.

Add the roasted green beans to the serving platter and drizzle with the Niçoise sauce. Top with chopped Niçoise olives (or other Mediterranean olives) and pieces of hard-cooked egg.

MAKE AHEAD The lemon-caper vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in a screw-top jar. Makes enough dressing for 2 to 2-1/2 pounds of green beans.

Spinach salad with orange segments, red onion, almonds, and pomegranite molasses vinaigrette
(no recipe, just done )

And a big thanks to Jean who provided the pork recipe a couple of weeks ago and I finally got around to making it, also for suggesting the Green Beans Nicoise recipe from which I got the dressing (someday I will do the entire recipe w/ the hard-boiled egg, etc.)
  Re: A great casual dinner menu by foodfiend (I made this last nig...)
Sounds wonderful, VICCI. I have 3 or 4 go to menus I use when I don't want to concentrate on the food. They're good to have, aren't they?
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by cjs (Sounds wonderful, VI...)
It does sound delicious, Vicci! Well done!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by Gourmet_Mom (It does sound delici...)
Wow - I would not call any of this a casual dinner!

I am really wanting to make those cheddar potatoes. Maybe the next time I make a pot roast. Mmmm...

Thanks for sharing Vicci.
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by Trixxee (Wow - I would not ca...)
Vicci, that all sounds delicious! I've copied and saved all three recipes. Thanks for sharing!!
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by karyn (Vicci, that all soun...)
Well done, Vicci! It all sounds great.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by Mare749 (Well done, Vicci! It...)
Thanks, everyone. Theresa and hubby (and my own DH) were very appreciative... And it was so easy to put the last-minute stuff together while also drinking beer and talking! I need to work on a few more similar menus.

my cooking adventures
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by Mare749 (Well done, Vicci! It...)
Sounds great. Thanks for the glaze recipe, I have a pork roast in the fridge!
Practice safe lunch. Use a condiment.
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by Lorraine (Sounds great. Thank...)
I don't often find the time to join in here, but had to rave about this dinner! It was amazing and delicious, and Vicci always makes cooking look so effortless. We laughed so much. Thanks again for a wonderful couple of days :-)

Everything tastes better Alfresco!
  Re: Re: A great casual dinner menu by chef_Tab (I don't often find t...)
Green eyes here!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.

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