Glorious Pork Roast and Gorgeous Roasted Veggies

Roast Pork & Veggies


Today – Thanksgiving eve – I’m all about preparing to roast the turkey. But I need to share a couple of other fabulous recipes with you, especially if you’re looking for a turkey alternative or an amazing side dish to add to your repertoire.

A good pork roast can warm up any dinner menu, and this one is as fabulous as it is easy. Pork roast can end up dry in the oven, but this one comes out tender and moist and full of flavor. I think the key is the luscious herb rub and starting on really high heat before lowering it for the bulk of the cooking.

The original recipe is easy, and it turns out great every time. This week, the pork loin roast was on sale, so I used this larger cut of meat rather than the tenderloin. (The tenderloin is the skinnier cut of meat that the recipe calls for.) Although most experts say you can’t cook these different cuts of meat the same, I’ve found that I can use this recipe successfully with both types of pork roast. I just adjust the cooking time a little if I have a smaller roast.

Since our garden has been doing well, I took a quick trip out to the backyard for some fresh herbs. Of course, a trip to the grocery store works equally well. Or you can use dried herbs. If you use dried, you just use less.

IMG_3735 IMG_3737 Thyme for the roast rub


Mix up the rub for the roast in a small bowl.

Herb rub for roast

This roast rub smells heavenly (ignore the ghost scissors that you can see through the glass bowl).


Then spoon it over your meat and rub it all over.

IMG_3740 Beautiful roast ready for the oven


I had a 3 pound roast and no roasting rack, so I reduced the cooking time a bit. Stick it in the oven at 475 degrees for 20 minutes. Then lower the temp to 425 and roast for 40-45 minutes more. When the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees, take the roast out of the oven. Then allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes before carving. After it rests, slice it and serve. The 3 pound roast served 4 of us with plenty of leftovers. The meat retains its flavor beautifully, so the leftovers taste great. They’re also fantastic on a sandwich. We made Cuban sandwiches with the leftovers, a little cheese and pickles. So delicious!


Roast Some Veggies to Complete the Meal


The meat is so flavorful, and a big platter of gorgeous roasted vegetables makes the perfect accompaniment. The Pioneer Woman (my foodie crush) offers this amazing recipe with creamy butternut squash, red onions and Brussels sprouts. She makes it as a beautiful side dish for her Thanksgiving feast, but it made a fabulous match for my pork roast. It really brightens up the table, so it would be perfect for a dinner party or special occasion or anytime. Did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious?

I had some butternuts that our son grew in the garden, so I used those, but you could just as easily use a package of precut squash from the store. I cut them up and threw them on a pan with the Brussels sprouts and onion. Then I did a little sprinkling and drizzling and stuck them in the oven with the pork roast for the last 20 minutes. They cook at the same temperature as the pork, so it works out perfectly.

Veggies ready to roast

Gorgeous butternut squash, red onion & Brussels sprouts ready to roast


When they come out of the oven, put them on a platter, drizzle with some balsamic glaze and pomegranate seeds and you have the prettiest dish ever. The glaze and the pomegranate truly do make these veggies magical, and they compliment the pork perfectly, too. The recipe was easy, even if it required some prep work, but the end result was worth it.


Gorgeous roasted veggies

Look how pretty these roasted veggies are!



Now, don’t you want to eat? Go. Make these. You’ll love them!





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Chicken Enchiladas (Plus Bonus Vegetarian Version)

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas with beans and guacamole


On busy weeknights I need go-to recipes I can prepare in a flash. And in my household I also need the recipe to be flexible enough to accommodate our vegetarian teen as well.

These chicken enchiladas make a satisfying and comforting meal. A few weeks ago, my friend had a death in the family and was so busy taking care of family business, she didn’t have time to cook. I took her a pan of chicken enchiladas, along with some Mexican rice and beans to complete the meal. She texted me later to ask for the recipe, so I think they enjoyed it!

Given her request for the recipe and the fact that I made these last night, I thought it was time to put the recipe out there. For once, it’s a recipe of my own creation and not something I found on the internet. I’ve taken bits and pieces of other recipes and come up with something that works really well for my family. And with just a couple of substitutions, I can make a vegetarian version, too. Both the meaty and the veggie versions are delicious, filling and easy to make.

I love how versatile I can be with this recipe. For example, last night I didn’t have much time, so I ran to the store, bought pre-cooked chicken with the rest of my groceries, and threw the whole thing together when I got home. On more leisurely days, I’ll often buy chicken on sale, then cook and shred it myself. You could also use leftover rotisserie chicken. See how many options you have? I also had half a container of sour cream in the fridge, so I put that into the vegetarian version to give it a lovely tangy flavor.

As a base for the filling, I use cream of chicken soup and a little milk. On busy days, I use a can. Yes, I admit it. Sometimes the canned stuff is worth the time saved. If I have the time and energy, I make it myself with this super easy recipe from Mindfully Frugal Mom. Just leave out the mushrooms (or broccoli), and you have a lovely, easy cream of chicken in about 10 minutes.

If you like green chiles, like we do, they add a nice flavor to the enchilada filling without too much spice. My husband likes to roast these, himself, when we can get them fresh. But I love the convenience of the little cans of roasted green chiles. Plus, they’re just the right amount. If you don’t like green chiles, just leave them out!

As for the vegetarian version … spinach and mushrooms make a delicious combination. But this would work equally well with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Think zucchini, eggplant, kale, squash or anything else that will hold up in a tortilla. Broccoli and cauliflower would work, too. Just be creative, or use up the veggies in the fridge.

Okay, enough of the commentary. Here are the step by step instructions (with photos). The recipe follows at the end.


Chicken Enchilada Filling


First, shred up a bunch of chicken and put it in a large bowl.

shredded chicken

Shredded chicken for enchilada filling


Then add some cheese – I use a Mexican blend but plain cheddar works, too.



Add the cream of chicken soup (either one can or about 1 cup of homemade) and a little milk to moisten the whole mixture.

IMG_3121 (1)


Throw in some chopped onions and green chiles and stir it all together.

IMG_3122 (1)

Your filling for the chicken enchiladas is done!


Vegetarian Enchilada Filling


If you’re making the vegetarian version, substitute chopped spinach and mushrooms for the chicken, and sour cream for the soup. Add salt, pepper and any other seasonings you like (I like garlic powder). Mix that all up!

Vegetarian Enchilada Filling

Veggie Enchilada Filling


Roll, Bake and Enjoy


Now it’s time to roll. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish (or use a little cooking spray). Then, spread some filling across the bottom half of a tortilla and roll it up. Place it in the baking dish, seam down. I usually use about 1/2 cup of chicken filling per enchilada and about 3/4 cup of the veggie mixture. The vegetables will shrink a little while baking, so roll those up tight!

I squeezed them in pretty tight last night and 10 enchiladas fit in the pan (half chicken and half veggie). If you want to give them a little more room (or make bigger enchiladas), 8 is a comfortable number for most families. Cover them with any extra filling – I do this so I can tell which ones are which. Then sprinkle more cheese over the top and put them in the oven.

chicken and veggie enchiladas

My pan of chicken enchiladas & veggie enchiladas going in the oven!


Bake them at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese on top melts and the edges just start to get crispy. When they’re done, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then serve them up.

I like to serve them with beans (refried or black) heated up with a little cheese – just save some from the enchiladas. And if avocados are on sale, I’ll whip up some simple guacamole – just mashed up avocados, garlic powder and salt. Of course, these would be great with a simple salad or sautéed vegetables as well. Oh, and a little rice wouldn’t hurt either. Add your favorite salsa and you’ll be humming with yummies!

Whatever you serve them with, I hope you enjoy! And let me know what you think!



Print Recipe
Chicken Enchiladas
An easy and versatile recipe to get a wholesome, delicious meal on the table on even the busiest nights. These chicken enchiladas are quick to throw together and can be adapted to satisfy vegetarians with little effort - even in the same pan!
Chicken Enchiladas
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
For Vegetarian Filling
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
For Vegetarian Filling
Chicken Enchiladas
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9x13 baking dish by greasing or spraying lightly.
  2. In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, 3/4 cup cheese, cream of chicken soup, milk, onion and green chiles. Mix well. * Use pre-cooked chicken or take 1 lb chicken, boil for 20 min. until cooked through. Cool then shred. Can be done in advance.
  3. Place approximately 1/2 cup of the filling across the bottom of a tortilla and roll securely. Place in baking dish, seam side down. Repeat until pan is full. Don't worry if there's a little leftover filling.
  4. Spread remaining filling over the top of the rolled enchiladas in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the top. (Reserve a handful of cheese to warm in your beans if desired.)
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese on top is melted and edges begin to brown.
  7. Remove from oven & let rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
For Vegetarian Enchiladas
  1. Substitute spinach & mushrooms for the chicken.
  2. Substitute sour cream, salt & pepper for the cream of chicken soup. Add any additional seasonings as desired (garlic, herbs, etc.).
  3. Mix and roll and bake as for Chicken Enchiladas, but use a little more filling since the vegetables will shrink while cooking.
Recipe Notes

Ingredients as listed will make a full pan of enchiladas - either chicken or vegetarian. If you would like to combine both versions into one pan, just use half the chicken and half the vegetables. Split the rest of the ingredients into two bowls, prepare as usual and bake them together. Spreading the leftover filling on top will help you identify which ones contain chicken and which ones contain the veggie version.

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