Balsamic Marinaded Pork Loin

Balsamic Marinaded Pork Loin Served with Pesto Rice and Garlic Cheese Bread

Who is ready for another meat recipe? I know you all need some proteins to go along with the side dishes I have been sharing lately.

This balsamic marinaded pork loin is one of my favorite recipes. It calls for 4 ingredients, and takes hardly and work at all.

This is a marinade, so make sure you do this at least 1 hour in advance from you would like to cook. I will say, the longer it marinades, the better it tastes!


  • 1 pork loin
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Place pork loin in an oven safe baking dish.
  • Cover pork with balsamic vinegar.
  • Make sure pork is well coated in the balsamic and season all sides with salt and pepper.
Pork Loin Marinading
  • Cover and set in fridge for 1-3 hours. (Remember, longer marinading time is better!)
  • When marinade is done or almost done, preheat oven to 400°
  • Cook for about 40 minutes, or until pork temperature is 165°
  • Take out of oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

I served mine with pesto rice (seriously, so good) and garlic cheese bread. Yum! Leftovers that we had were used for sandwiches the next day, and did not go to waste!

If you have any questions, leave a comment or send a message!

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Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Goat Cheese

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Goat Cheese

I can’t lie, I absolutely HATED brussels sprouts growing up, and haven’t eaten them in years. My boyfriend talked me into giving them another try, and let me tell ya…


These were so tasty, and I will definitely be making them again. Which I still can’t believe I’m saying…or typing.

Since I never eat these, and was dreading trying them again, I wanted to cook them with ingredients I like and that I know work with other vegetables I eat. So input my go-to ingredients: balsamic vinegar and goat cheese!

I did know that brussels sprouts are best steamed, so I did a version of that. If you have any questions about the recipe, or any other suggestions for ways to eat brussels sprouts, feel free to reach out!


  • brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp. goat cheese
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. In a large pan, add the butter, water and brussels sprouts. Cover with a lid and steam on medium heat for about 6 minutes. stirring occasionally.
  2. When most of the water is evaporated and brussels sprouts are tender, take cover off of pan.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar all over the brussels sprouts and add goat cheese. Stir together and cook on low for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy!

Dad’s Salsa

Dad’s Salsa

Okay if you’re a salsa lover, this is the recipe for you. It’s full of fresh ingredients, and you can make it as hot or as mild as you’d like. This is the perfect thing to dip your chips in on a hot summer day.

Another great thing about this recipe? Once the prep work is done, you literally just throw it all together and mix it up. Super easy!

My dad started making this when I was little and it’s so dang good. I finally had to get the recipe from him so I could make it for Austin. (Austin loves salsa and spicy foods so he was pretty excited about this). The only ingredient that I did not use was avocado, and that’s because we were having guacamole as well. Other than that, the recipe was exactly as my dad makes it.

And just a heads up, it makes quite a bit!


  • 8 large roma tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. jalapeno juice (from jar)
  • Tapatio
  • salt
  • pepper

How To

Dice the following ingredients: tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, red onion, and jalapeno. Make sure the jalapeno has no seeds. Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mince the garlic and add to the bowl. Chop the cilantro and add as well.

Add the lemon and jalapeno juice to the bowl. Next is where you can make the jump from mild to super hot if you wanted: the Tapatio. For a more mild salsa, just add a few splashes. If you would like more heat, add as much as you would like.

Salt and pepper to taste, and then you are ready to enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. If you do, please give the blog a follow and the post a like! You can also find me @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Blueberry and Avocado Smoothie

Blueberry and Avocado Smoothie

Happy Wednesday and good morning to you all! Why don’t we start the day with a fresh smoothie to help try and shake some of those mid-week blues?

If you’re like me, you go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of fruit thinking you’ll eat it, and then never do. If that’s the case, smoothies are the answer, my friend. They help to ensure you can use everything you buy, since the fruit can be just on the edge of being over-ripened for a smoothie.

One of my favorite things to add to smoothies are avocados. They give the smoothie a nice creamy texture (and also taste amazing!)

This recipe is pretty straightforward, so there should not be any issues that come up. But if there are, feel free to reach out!


  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup ice

Add all the ingredients to a blender, and blend until well combined. You can add more or less of any ingredient if you choose to do so as well. The more the merrier!

Once everything is blended together, enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder

Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder Served with Rice

Okay so this one was a first try on a recipe for me. I sort of threw it all together in my slow cooker and let it do its thing for 8 hours. It turned out great!

I think the pork turned out really well, but it can always be improved. Next time I make this, I’m going to add a lot more liquid. For this, I only used 1/2 a cup of water and 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar during the cooking process. Like I said, the meat was great, but if I had more liquid, the bottom would be a little less cooked and there would be more of the broth to pour over at the end.

I’m going to list the ingredients that I used and the amount used as well. However, I also am going to add my suggestions for improvement next to the ingredient listed. If you try it with the suggestions, please let me know! I would love to hear your thoughts. Even if you try the original recipe, I’d love to hear from you!


  • 1 lb. pork shoulder
  • 1 bunch rainbow carrots, sliced (about 6 carrots total)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup water (suggested – 1 cup water)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (suggested – 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar)
Ingredients in Slow Cooker, Before Cooking

In a large slow cooker, place the pork shoulder in the middle.

Add the carrots and onions around the pork, and add garlic all over pork and vegetables.

Liberally add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to the mixture, and place a bay leaf on top of the pork.

Pour the water into the crock pot, and then the balsamic vinegar.

Cook on low for 8 hours, or until the pork easily falls apart.

Ingredients in Slow Cooker, After Cooking

Once the pork is cooked, it is ready to be enjoyed! Anytime I make a roast or anything like it, I like to serve it pulled and over rice. That way you can pour the broth from the cooking process over the top and have something to help absorb that flavor.

For this pork, I drizzled a little more balsamic vinegar on the top of everything to give it that added sweetness I like. (If you haven’t noticed yet, I LOVE balsamic vinegar!)

Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder Served with Rice

If you like this recipe, please give the blog a follow or you can find me @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

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Brunch Favorites

If there is one thing I won’t ever pass up, it’s brunch. Food, friends, mimosas…what’s not to love about that?

This brunch, we had some delicious huevos rancheros and avocado toast. (My personal fave!) Want to know what’s even better about this brunch? It’s SO EASY to make! It requires a few ingredients and tastes amazing!

Since I’m doing two dishes in this post, I’m going to do the formatting a little different than normal. Or at least give it a shot and see if I like it. Here we go!

Huevos Rancheros and Avocado Toast

Huevos Rancheros

To start the huevos rancheros, you need to gather all your ingredients: eggs, corn tortillas, cheese, salsa, and any other toppings you like. For the huevos rancheros pictured, the extra toppings were cilantro, bell pepper, and tomato.

Dice any of the extra toppings you chose, and set aside. Warm up your tortillas, and prepare an over-easy egg. Place the egg on the tortilla, and then top with the cheese, salsa, and remaining toppings.

How easy was that?! These can be eaten by themselves or you can serve with a side. That is where the next recipe comes in handy.

Avocado Toast

This is literally the easiest recipe, but one of my all time favorites. It requires 4 ingredients. Ready? Avocados, bread, salt, and paprika. That is it.

I used sourdough bread and it gives it a great added crunch and flavor. I also prefer to use pink Himalayan salt or sea salt because it helps to add texture as well.

Toast your bread, and while bread is toasting, mash up your avocado. It doesn’t have to be smooth, it can have some lumps/chunks in it still. Once the bread is done, spread the avocado mash on and sprinkle with the salt and paprika.

When you’ve done all that, you’re ready to eat it and enjoy!

This recipe is quick and easy. You can prepare it in advance, for an on-the-go breakfast, a snack…there are so many options!

Feel free to reach out if you have any comments or questions!

If you like these recipes, please give my blog a follow, or you can find me @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Sautéed Veggies

If one thing makes me happy, it’s cooking with fresh veggies! They’re so bright and colorful, and full of nutrients. Plus, they taste delicious!

Fresh Veggies: Broccoli, Grape Tomatoes, Radishes, Asparagus, and Red Onion

These are the veggies that I used to sauté for dinner. Broccoli, grape tomatoes, radishes, asparagus, and red onion: all so good!

Fun fact: the broccoli and radishes here were grown by Austin’s parents!

Let’s Get Cooking

To start, I cut everything up. Onion and asparagus diced, radishes and tomatoes halved, and broccoli chopped.

I then heated olive oil over medium heat in a large pan and added three cloves of minced garlic. Add the onions first, and then the rest of the veggies except the tomatoes.

Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and paprika over the veggies and mix. Continue to cook.

Once veggies are almost done, add the tomatoes and 2 tbsp of butter to the pan. Cook until all of the veggies are tender.

I served these with my lemon salmon and some pesto rice. If you’d like to learn how to make lemon salmon, here’s a link!

Sautéed Veggies, Lemon Salmon, and Pesto Rice

Super simple, but super yummy!

If you like this recipe, give it a like or a follow! I would love to hear what you think!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!