Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Mustard Herb Pork Rack December 31, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 7:26 pm
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Before we were married, Matt and I started a tradition of celebrating our Christmas a day or two before Christmas Eve. This way it could be the two of us and not combined with our families regularly scheduled festivities. The tradition grew to include preparing a meal, presents and then a special breakfast for the morning after.

This year we decided to change up our Christmas meal. For the last three years we have dished up an herb roasted lamb rack with mustard roasted potatoes and asparagus with a hollandaise sauce. Inspiration fell into my mailbox in early December from my butcher. In their weekly newsletter they listed a bunch of holiday dish ideas and one was a pork rack. I told Matt about the idea and he was on board. Since we like having leftovers, I ordered a rack for six people.

I had Matt pick up the rack after work the Monday before Christmas. When I got home, he asked me if I wanted to see the piece of meat. I was a little curious and said sure. He came out with a huge rack featuring 13 ribs! Definitely more than enough for six people.

Now I just needed to find a recipe…good thing we have the Internet. In one of the top five results for roasted pork rack, I found it. A rack of pork with an herb-mustard crust. The recipe called for only a six rib roast, so I cut the rack in half and freezed what was leftover.

We decided to keep our roasted mustard potatoes because they are delicious and rounded out the meal with honey-glazed baby carrots and broccoli. The recipe called for a gravy, but I opted not to make it and Matt and I both thought the roast was just right without it. We liked the meal so much we agreed to make it again today for New Year’s Eve.

Our NYE dinner

Our NYE dinner


Here’s my recipe adapted from Fine Cooking:

  • One 6-rib bone-in pork loin (about 4 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (about 2 oz.)
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 425°F. Season pork with salt and pepper to your tasting. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. If you have a flameproof roasting pan or a large ovenproof skillet, use that. Unfortunately, I don’t have one yet, so I just got my 12-inch All-Clad saucepan dirty.

With your skillet of choosing, brown the fat-covered surface of the pork until it turns a deep golden brown. This took me only five minutes. Then I moved the rack to my roasting pan and turned it so the roast rib side  was facing down in the oven. I basted with the remaining olive oil every ten minutes, for 30 minutes.

While the meat roasted I started on the bread crumb mixture. In a skillet I melted the butter and add the garlic and shallots until they were soft. Then I add the the cumin and smoked paprika and stirred until they were well mixed. Once ready, I removed the mixture from heat and stirred in the parsley and breadcrumbs. My bread crumb coating was ready!

After the pork had roasted for 30 minutes, I brushed the surface with the mustard and coated the roast with breadcrumb topping, pressing down so it adhered. Then I turned the oven down to 375°F and cooked the roast for another 30 minutes. Once my time was up, I took out our meat thermometer to make sure it registered at 145°F and it did!  We let the meat rest for 5 minutes by covering it with foil before we carved it, mostly so I have time to get the side dishes ready!

It’s a great holiday dish and I think this might be a new holiday tradition for us. Now we just have to pick the holiday!


Too Many Tomatoes September 10, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 7:57 pm
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Lately there has been a growing problem in the Hein household. Too many tomatoes! Our garden is delivering a new tomato every day. In addition to our spectacular crop, my parents’ tomato garden  is producing at least 3 tomatoes every day. Combined, that’s a lot of tomatoes. So many that I’ve started pawning them out to friends, neighbors and co-workers!

Fresh Tomatoes

This weekend I carved out two hours dedicated to using up at least two pounds of tomatoes. How? Homemade marinara sauce. I found a recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook that I was able to modify to use up the majority of my tomatoes.

Here is my modified recipe:

  • 2- 2 ½ lbs of whole fresh tomatoes (instead of 2 14.5 herbed diced tomatoes) 
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoon pre-chopped garlic (instead of 8 gloves chopped garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (instead of 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (new addition since I like parsley)
  • 2 teaspoon pepper (one more teaspoon that the original recipe because we like pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

First dice up your onion, then your tomatoes. This way your chopping board doesn’t get full of tomato juice. I unfortunately, did tomatoes first and had to do a little cleaning before I was able to cut the onion.

Dicing Up Tomatoes


You want the whole tomato so don’t get rid of the seeds or the “guts”. Place diced tomatoes in a large pot. Add in the diced onion and remaining ingredients. Heat to a boiling and then reduce to low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Let cool before placing in storage containers to refrigerate or freeze.

The Final Product!

The Final Product!

The result? I’m well stocked for pasta sauce. Now I just have to figure what else to make in bulk with the remaining tomatoes! Any recommendations?


Crabmeat Quiche August 4, 2014

Filed under: Kate — Uncharted @ 1:14 pm
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So I don’t have a ton of time to write a long post today, but I did want to share one of my most favorite recipes from one of my favorite people. My Aunt Alie made this crabmeat quiche for a large group of my extended family years ago. Alie is quite the chef and I always love when she cooks because I know it will be delicious (and there will be plenty!) So when I tasted this absolutely unique but absolutely delicious quiche, I begged her to share the recipe. She has graciously shared it with me and I have since made it for as many people that will let me. So I’ve been asked to pass this recipe on… so now I am sharing it with you. It’s certainly become a staple in our household and I hope you enjoy it! (PS – don’t be weirded out that it’s crab meat in a quiche… it’s absolutely delish!)

It doesn’t get much easier than this!!!

1/3 cup chopped scallions (green onions), use white part only.

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup milk

4-5 medium egges

10 oz or 1 package of shredded swiss cheese

1 can crabmeat

1 can sliced mushrooms

1 frozen deep dish pie crust (Pet Ritz or a store brand, but deep dish)

Mix everything altogether and put in pie crust. Bake on 350 for 45 minutes to one hour. It is done when you put a butter knife in the center and it comes out clean.


Light Pasta Dinner July 22, 2014

photo 1This is a light meal, perfect for a hot summer night. I had ½ a pound of shrimp in my fridge and wasn’t sure what to do with it.  Do you ever buy things without a plan for them?  I usually plan all my meals and then go get all the ingredients, but I saw the shrimp in the case and grabbed some without a recipe this time so of course I turned to Pinterest for some help.   This recipe is by Tiffany at Savor Home blog.  The recipe called for 1 pound so I cut the original recipe in half. Here is the list of what you’ll need:




6oz pasta (I used shells)
½ tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic*
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
8oz portabella mushrooms, sliced*
2 medium fresh tomatoes, sliced*
2 cups fresh spinach
½ lb fresh shrimp, clean and peeled
¼ cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
salt and black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil


*Items I did not half because I love them too much


Cook the pasta, drain and set aside.  In a separate skillet, heat the garlic and red pepper flakes in heated oil until you start smelling the garlic.  Next add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms give off their water.  Turn the heat up a bit and add the raw shrimp.  Cook the shrimp until they are only slightly pink.  Once these are cooked, turn down the heat a bit and add the spinach until it is wilted.  Now add the already cooked pasta, marinara sauce, and greek yogurt and stir it all together until it is well mixed.  Scoop into bowls and add Parmesan and basil on top. Enjoy!

photo 2





Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderlion July 2, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:49 pm
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A few weeks ago I wanted to make a special dinner for Matt’s belated birthday. Knowing that he wouldn’t mind grilling, I went straight to the latest edition of Cooking Light. The July edition has a great meal plan for camping and one meal imparticular stood out. It was pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin with cantaloupe-red pepper salsa. Sounds pretty tasty right? Well it totally was!

My first step was the salsa. I wanted to make it ahead of time so the flavors could meld together. About one hour before we started grilling I was dicing up the cantaloupe and red pepper. Once the salsa was done it was time to prep the tenderloin. Our only recommendation was to sear the pancetta on the pork for a minute on each side before fully cooking the tenderloin. The meal was amazing. The pork stayed so tender and the pancetta crunched up nicely for a great mix of textures. The salsa was a fun twist on the normal pico de gallo and I loved the fresh fruit. Plus it looks so pretty.

If you’re looking for an easy summer grilling recipe, look no further. Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious dish adapted from the July 2014 issue of Cooking Light Magazine. For the meat:

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin trimmed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6-8 thin slices of pancetta

Steps – Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Make sure pork is dry by patting it with paper towels. season pork tenderloin lightly with salt and generously with pepper (or to your taste). Then wrap the pancetta tightly, overlapping slightly.

Pancetta wrapped pork tenderlion

Ready to Grill!

Sear all sides for about a minute first and then for about 18 minutes total turning occasionally. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing. For the salsa:

  • 1 cup chopped cantaloupe
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion (we just used white onion b/c I forgot to pick up a red one)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper OR ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (I might have forgotten the jalapeno too….)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Steps – chop all fruits and vegetables accordingly and mix in a medium bowl. Be sure to mix well and the cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product


Classing-Up Ramen September 17, 2013

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:31 pm
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One night Dave and I were shopping for a few items at the store and he mentioned he saw something online about making Ramen a more substantial meal. I asked him what he meant and he said eggs. This confused me a bit, but a 6 pack of Ramen went into the cart anyway. We got back to his house and pulled up this article on my phone written by J, Kenji Lopez-Alt. This gentleman has many tips on how to make Ramen (usually thought of as a pretty weak food source) into a substantial meal. A lot of his ideas are pretty intense and I encourage you to check out the link. That night we made two packages of Ramen according to the instructions, but about a minute into the noodles boiling Dave instructed me to crack two eggs into the pot. Once the prescribed three minutes were up, I took the soup off the heat and searched around for the eggs with a slotted spoon. I found them and they had poached in the heat of the soup. Now all of a sudden, our Ramen soup had protein! I placed the eggs into Dave’s bowl because I am not a fan of egg yolks and served myself some soup. Some of the egg whites had separated from the main poached egg and it reminded me of egg drop soup. That got me thinking that perhaps I could just drop egg whites in and then I wouldn’t have to avoid the yolks! So the other day when I was sick and only consuming fluids, I decided to try a few additions to the soup to give the soup a bit more nutrients.

Side Story!

Long ago when I was still in college and living with my good friend Hannah we decided we wanted to make some Ramen (I know we supported the college/Ramen stereotype perfectly). We had an electric hot pot , technically not allowed in the dorms, but we were rebels. We prepared the Ramen according to the instructions and when it was done, Hannah starting pouring the soup part out. I kinda freaked out and asked her just what the heck she thought she was doing, and she explained that you only eat the noodles. I was appalled and informed her that it is ‘soupy soup’ and so of course you consume the broth too. We went back and forth a few times before realizing that we could share the noodles and I could have all the broth. It was a beautiful arrangement, but years later she still reminds me about my little freak out about ‘soupy soup.’

Sorry just had to take a little trip down memory lane! Back to my attempt at classing up Ramen… I decide to make two packages so I could have some soup for later. Below you can see all the ingredients I used. I added an extra cup of water total because I love the broth part so much (as evidenced in the above side story).


Step 1- Bring water to a boil in a pot on the stove

Step 2- While the water is warming up, separate 2 eggs and discard the yolk.


Step 3- Break up the noodles into 4 pieces per package. I’m pretty sure my dad taught me this so that the noodles wouldn’t be so long. If you like your noodles long then don’t break them apart.


Step 4- Take the frozen vegetables and place the amount you want to use into hot water. Drain and set aside.


Step 5- Once the water is boiling, place the dry noodles into the water. Set the timer for 1 minute.

Step 6- After one minute, stir the pot until it is swirling in a circle and at the same time pour in the egg whites. Set the timer for two more minutes.

Step 7- When the timer goes off, stir in the now unfrozen vegetables and turn off the heat.


Step 8- Open the seasoning packets and stir them into the soup.

Step 9- Enjoy your classy Ramen soup!


I must say this recipe is perfect when you are super busy or perhaps you are packing up your apartment and don’t have time to go grocery shopping! If you take a look at the link above you will find that you can make some pretty fancy meals with Ramen as the base, but I think I’ll save that until I’ve moved and am settled in.


Lazy Cake Cookies June 11, 2013

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:03 pm
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I’ve noticed this post has become quite popular lately and it looks like most of you are coming from Pinterest.  I’m a little embarrassed because it is literally one of the shortest laziest posts I’ve ever written and I write a post every Tuesday for the past 2-3 years!  A little ironic don’t you think?  Anyway, if you haven’t visited before, this blog actually has four contributors and I’m just one of them.  Please check out our other posts.  We write about travel, DIY projects, our careers,aspirations, share personal stories and of course recipes!  If you have a particular interest, just click on one of the key words located in the green word cloud to the right.  If you are visiting us from a mobile device, the cloud will be near the bottom of the page.  Welcome to all and I hope you enjoy Uncharted.


June is a very busy month, something every weekend and just a lot going on.  So when I found a pin for ‘Lazy Cake Cookies’ on Pinterest it sounded perfect for me.  When I clicked on the pin it brought me to a website called I’m a Lazy Mom, which I’m not {a mom I mean}.  Lazy is another question altogether.  Below is the recipe.  I swear to you, I am the worst baker and it was still easy for me to do!

1 box yellow or white cake mix- I used Funfetti
2 eggs beaten
5 Tbs melted butter
2 Cups M&M’s or mini chocolate chips- I used mini chocolate chips {because that is what was in the pantry}

Mix together:


Put in a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 min!


Then cut them up and enjoy!  I made these on Sunday and already about half the pan is gone.  I had a little help, but I need to be careful.  These are so easy to make it’s dangerous.  Next time I’ll make sure I have somewhere to take them!


Southwestern Chopped Salad April 30, 2013

I checked out my 2013 tracking spreadsheet the other day and was reminded that I still had a few goals to take care of for April.  A major one being that I hadn’t yet tried a new recipe.  So Saturday I pulled up my cousin’s blog, ‘Bake Away Girl’ and started perusing.  As the name suggests, she does a lot of baking, but she also likes cooking and since baking isn’t my strong suit I decided to try out a few of her savory dishes and forgo the baked goods.  I like her blog a lot because she is so passionate about baking and cooking.  And take it from someone who has enjoyed some of her creations…they are all made with love which makes them taste that much better!

The one I decided to try and I’ll share with you now is her Southwestern Chopped Salad.  I must say it turned out to be pretty tasty!  I did make a few tweaks, so if you want to use her recipe you can find it here.

1lb steak cut into strips
1 taco packet

1 can yellow corn, drained and rinsed 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½  green pepper
5-6 chopped green onions
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 fresh avocados, diced
1 head of red lettuce, chopped or shredded

½  cup (6oz container) plain Greek yogurt
¼  cup mayo
½ tablespoon taco seasoning
½ tablespoon ranch seasoning
Spritz lime juice

1.  Take whichever meat you’ve decided to use and cook it along with the taco seasoning according to the directions on the package. {I decided on steak because I am sick of chicken and I planned on trying her Chicken Gyros later in the week.}  Set aside.

2.  Meanwhile you can prepare all the salad items:
Open the corn and beans and rinse these with cold water in a strainer.  Add to a large serving bowl.  Cut up the green pepper, green onions, roma tomatoes, and avocado {I did not use cilantro although her recipe calls for because it makes me feel sick.}  Add all of these to the bowl.

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3.  I spritzed some lime juice in the bowl to stop everything I just cut from browning and stirred it up.  Set aside.

4.  Chop up some lettuce!  { I choose a red leaf lettuce instead of a iceberg head.  It’s just my preference.}  Set aside.

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5.  Measure and add all the dressing ingredients to a separate bowl.  Make sure it is thoroughly mixed and there are no grainy pieces from the two powdered ingredients.

6.  Take the veggie mixture and incorporate the dressing fully.  {After seeing how much dressing was yielded, I decided to only add only half at first.  It ended up being enough dressing for me so I saved the rest for another time.  The ingredients I’ve listed above are halved from my cousin’s recipe because of this change.  By all means do what matches your taste buds!}

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7.  Now you can take the lettuce you set aside and add that to the mixture.

8.  Serve right away with your prepared meat of choice on top.

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Doesn’t this look delicious?  I was even able to save some left overs for lunch the next day and it kept pretty well.  I don’t think you could eat it after that though, it would be too wilted and brown.  All and all I’d say its a pretty healthy meal.  You have a lot of protein {greek yogurt and steak} and a ton of veggies.  The only questionables are the mayo and season packets, but those are mostly just spices.  You could home make those if you don’t like the idea of processed food.  This recipe is definitely a keeper for my line up.  I’ve already added it to a recipe card!


For Bakers Who Don’t Bake November 27, 2012

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 8:14 pm
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This week is a blur already and its only Tuesday!  It’s my first week at my new job so that is a big contributor.  Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘drinking through a fire hose?’  People usually talk about it when you are learning something new or getting a lot of new information all at one time.  You can’t actually drink from a fire hose because there is too much water coming out at once.  It’s a good analogy for a new job because you can’t possibly learn all the things you’ve been told about all at one time.  I know no one expects me to remember every little detail yet, but I still get mad at myself when I can’t remember it all!  In the spirit of simplicity and not throwing too much your way, let me share this lovely coffee cake recipe that a co-worker shared with me.  I must preface this with a little story {of course}!

The Story:

Right before I left my last job we held a potluck for Thanksgiving at work.  Everyone brought it a dish and as tradition dictates, people start eating the food at 9am.  Everything is eaten at this time, not just the breakfasty things.  This was a shocker to me when I started there and always will be.  Who eats meatballs at 9am?  Anyhow, at this potluck there was a beautiful tray full of coffeecake.  I tried a piece and was in love.  Who was the expert baker who brought this?!  I asked around and found out it was a women in the accounting department.  She proceeded to tell me how much she hates baking and that the cake is one of the easiest recipes she’s ever come across.  She shared the recipe with me the next day and I proceeded to make it myself for the Third Annual Swap (Karla and I held at the apartment this weekend).  It was a hit so here it goes…

The Ingredients:

2 packages seamless dough crescent rolls (you can use the ones with seams but it makes it a bit harder to work with the dough)

2 packages of cream cheese (softened- again just easier to work with)

¾ cup white sugar

1 Tbs vanilla

1 egg yolk

Powdered Sugar- as much as you want!

The Directions:

  1.  Grease a 9×13 pan and preheat your oven to 350°
  2. Open one package of crescent dough, place it on the bottom of the greased pan
  3. Blend- both cream cheese packages, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk in a separate bowl. (I used my immersion blender for this, the original recipe says mix by hand.  I was going for easy.)
  4. Pour the blended mixture over the top of the crescent roll in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Open the second package of crescent dough and put it on top of the mixture you just poured in the pan.
  6. Place the pan in the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove, let cool and cut into coffee cake pieces.
  8. Garnish with powdered sugar if you please.

Spring Rolls! October 9, 2012

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:06 pm
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I grew up on meat and potato dinners.  As I have grown older I have branched out quite a bit and one of my favorite types of food is Thai food.  I’m not into anything that is too spicy though.  My favorite thing is spring rolls.  I just love how fresh and light they are.  Oh and I adore peanut sauce.

I was out at the store and saw ‘Spring Rolls Skin.’  I don’t care for that name, I prefer Clear Wrapper or Spring Roll Pastry.  I decided I would try to make my own spring rolls.  Tonight I looked up a few recipes, but actually decided I didn’t need one to make these.  It’s really more about what kind of filling you prefer.  I knew I wanted shrimp in there so it would be substantial enough for me to eat for dinner.  Then I chose shredded carrots, cabbage, and pea shoots for the rest of the filling.

All the materials for my Spring Rolls

I was a little nervous about how to work with the wraps so I Googled and saw it was as easy as placing them in water before you work with them!  Take a look:

Place the disc into a bowl of warm water

After a minute the disc will look like plastic floating in the water…that’s how you know it’s ready to work with!

I laid out the wrapper on a plate and placed shrimp in the middle

I placed all the veggies on top of the shrimp

Next I wrapped up all the filling as tight as I could without ripping the wrapper


I was too hungry to make my own sauce, but this Peanut sauce from Trader Joes was pretty good!



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