Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stuffed Pork Sandwiches

The pork chops I made Monday for supper came from a large package so I only cooked a few of them and saved the rest for a couple more meals. One of those meals was stuffed pork sandwiches that I made tonight. The recipe comes from the February 09 issue of Eating Well:

Stuffed Pork Sandwiches
Per serving: 353 calories, 15 g fat, 25 g carbs

4 4 oz. boneless pork chops, 1/2 inch thick, trimmed
2 thin slices Swiss cheese, cut in half
4 dill pickle sandwich slices
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 TBS canola oil
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted (I used ciabatta buns)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (we used a little mayo instead)
4 slices tomato
2 Romaine lettuce leaves, halved
Cut each pork chop in half horizontally, stopping short of the opposite side. (I sliced mine when they were still partially frozen.)
Open each chop and place between pieces of plastic wrap. (I put them inside a zipper bag.) Pound with a meat mallet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/4 - 1/8". Place a slice of cheese and a pickle on one half of each chop.

Fold the other side of the chop over, like a book, and press closed. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat. Add the stuffed chops, reduce heat to medium, and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 -5 minutes on each side.

To assemble sandwiches, spread the toasted buns with mustard and top each with a pork chop, tomato slice, and lettuce.

Greg doesn't "do" fresh tomatoes, so I just left the lettuce and tomato off. Instead, he added a bit of the coleslaw to his sandwich and said it was very good.

I also served whole grain Sun Chips on the side.
This was a very tasty and quick supper since I had the chops sliced ahead of time, and used a bag of shredded cabbage. I also had the dressing for the coleslaw made ahead.
This sandwich is a lighter version of a Cuban sandwich. If you've not had one of those, go find one and prepare to fall a little bit in love.
There is one large pork chop left from that package that I'll cook up this weekend and combine with the rest of the cabbage and some eggroll wrappers. Yum.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pork Chops au Poivre

This was a new recipe for pork chops - simple cooking process, tasty sauce. I'll make this again.

Pork Chops au Poivre
(Eating Well magazine, Feb 09)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt, divided
4 4-oz boneless pork chops, 1/2" thick, trimmed
3 TBS all-purpose flour
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 C brandy
1/4 C sour cream
1.) Combine pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Pat the mixture onto both sides of each pork chop.
Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge the chops, shaking off any excess.

2.) Heat oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat. Add the chops, reduce heat to medium and cook until browned and just cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side.

Transfer to a plate and tent w/ foil to keep warm.
Here is the minced shallot - a small, mild onion. The one I used was about the size of a golf ball.

3.) Reduce heat to med-low. Add shallot to the pan and cook, stirring until softened, about 1 minute.

Add brandy and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1-2 minutes.
Here it is just after adding the liquid:

After reducing by about half:Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and remaining 1/4 tsp of salt.
Serve the pork chops with the sauce.
Per serving: 299 calories, 15 g fat, 3 g carbs
These were served with roasted sweet potato slices and steamed broccoli.
I simply washed the sweet potato and sliced about 1/2" thick, put them in a zipper bag with a TBS or so of olive oil, a little salt, and a little pepper. Seal the bag and smoosh them all around so every slice gets oil and seasoning. Then I put them in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes. This is about the only way I like sweet potatoes. They went great with the chops!
For the broccoli, I used a zip 'n steam bag in the microwave.
To make this a "cook ahead" or "freezer" dish, here's what I'd do: cook the pork chops as directed, cool, and bag. Make the sauce as directed, but do not add the sour cream. Bag the sauce mixture with the chops. When you're ready to serve the meal, thaw everything and warm the chops in the oven (only enough to heat them through). Heat the sauce mixture, then add the sour cream before serving.
There was one "oops", when I made this. I thought I had a bottle of brandy in the cupboard, but when I went to gather my ingredients this afternoon, there wasn't one. Greg stopped at the liquor store on the way home and got me what I call a "little airplane bottle" of brandy. I was thinking I only needed 2 TBS. so I only had him get one. I should have had two. So the brandy got watered down a little to make 1/2 cup. The sauce will be even better next time when I use the correct amount of booze. :o)
*Tonight's prep for tomorrow's supper: soak beans, thaw roast*

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower

This was served with a green salad, alongside some yummy salmon. A delicious and nutritious supper!
Roasted Cauliflower

(A Veggie Venture)

Time to table: 50 minutes

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 head cauliflower, cut in small florets

Set oven to 425F. Stir together all ingredients in large bowl until cauliflower is uniformly coated with oil. Transfer to baking sheet in single layer (use a second sheet if needed). Roast 35 – 45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes for last 15 minutes, until cauliflower is dark brown but not burnt.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 112 Cal (56% from Fat); 4 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 9 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; 37 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 329 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 2 points

Black Beans w/ Cilantro

I served these with Southwestern Pot Roast and they were wonderful! Usually we have canned black beans, which are good, but making them fresh was so much better.
I didn't get a photo - we ate late and I was tired and hungry and didn't think about it. Just make them. Then you'll see how yummy they look!

Black Beans with Cilantro

(a Crockpot recipe, about 8 side dish servings)

4 cups dried black beans (must be soaked overnight)

6 cups chicken stock (either homemade or canned)

2 T dried cilantro

1 T garlic powder (or use 2 T chopped fresh garlic)

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (measure after chopping)

The night before you plan to cook this, rinse beans and pick out broken pieces. Place beans in a large pot, cover with cold water by several inches, and soak overnight.

The next morning, drain beans, then place beans, chicken stock, dried cilantro, and garlic powder or fresh chopped garlic in Crockpot slow cooker. Cook all day on low, 8-10 hours. (If you don't have a Crockpot, combine ingredient in a large, heavy pan and simmer on low for about 2 hours.)Wash fresh cilantro and dry well. (I used a salad spinner.) Chop enough cilantro to measure one cup. When beans are well softened, turn off Crockpot and stir in fresh cilantro. Serve immediately, garnished with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Soup Day

I recently started reading a new food blog, Stop and Smell the Chocolates, and this is Soup Week over there. I linked to a couple of my soup posts: Meatball Minestrone and Soup Day part 1 where I posted recipes for White Bean Chicken Chili and Tuscan White Bean.
You can click on the button to on the left-hand sidebar to see lots more recipes!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

When the Man Has Too Much Time...

Greg's been off work since Christmas Eve, and has had some time to play around - in the kitchen.
I came home one day to bread baking. Nice.
And he's made supper a couple of nights, and the other day had tomato soup and grilled cheeses ready for lunch when I worked extra hours and got home later than usual.
The other day when we were exploring the new HyVee in Lincoln, he picked up some French bread and was asking me if I had evaporated milk and condensed milk, and did I have raisins? Um, yes, I had all of those things, but why? Oh, he thought he'd make some bread pudding. Hmmm - okay.
This came a little out of the blue, but he's had time to surf the 'net for random recipes, so I wasn't too surprised. He was a little surprised, though, when I told him I was going to photograph the process and put it on the blog. He cooperated pretty well early on, but it wasn't long before he asked me to leave. I ignored him. :o)
Here he's checking the recipe on his laptop that he brought to the kitchen. He first set it next to the kitchen sink, where he was mixing things. Hello? I advised that he move it to the other counter and he ignored me. Then he tried to work with it in the way. Then he moved it. I smiled. He told me to go away. First he cut up the French bread. This bread was very fresh when we bought it, but it was extremely dry by the next day. He said that was the way it was supposed to be, and I shouldn't worry about it. And didn't I have something else to do?
So the bread is sliced and measured and put to the side in the large bowl, and it's time to make the custard. That started out with heated milk and butter. Notice his sophisticated stirring utensil. Yep, a butter knife. Whatever works, I guess!
Next he mixed up the brown sugar, eggs, and spices.
When the milk had cooled a little - he set it outside on the deck rail, then I stood out there and guarded it from a neighborhood cat - he combined it with the egg/sugar/spice mixture. We had vanilla from Mexico and he grated fresh nutmeg, and the custard smelled wonderful.
Spray your baking dish, then arrange the bread chunks in dish. The recipe calls for a casserole, but we chose to use an 8 x 8" pan. .
He sprinkled raisins ancd chopped pecans over the whole thing, then poured the custard all over.
He was thorough and made sure each piece of bread was covered.
Into the oven while we cleaned up the kitchen.
When it was time to dig in, he first whipped up the quick sauce from the original recipe, and I suspect he added something from one of the little bottles in the high-up kitchen cupboard. I was banned from taking any more photos, in fact, banned from the kitchen, so I don't know for sure. But I think so. Just a touch.
What I do know is that he brought me a dish filled with warm, yummy goodness that was a wonderful way to snuggle up on a cold winter's night.
He found the recipe he used here.
Bread Pudding
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar (white or brown, depending on taste preference) [we used brown]
3 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups bread, torn into small pieces (french bread works best)
1/2 cup raisins (optional) [we also added chopped pecans]
1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.
2. Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture.
3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole.
4. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Pour batter on top of bread.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

If you make the sauce to put on top of your bread pudding, adjust the sugar in the bread pudding recipe, change it to 1/3 cups sugar (the sauce has the other 1/3 cup in it).

Bread Pudding Sauce
1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. flour
dash of salt
Mix everything together and bring to a boil for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.
P.S. BTW, remember he was asking me about evaporated and condensed milk? There's none in this recipe, but there was in another one, and he wasn't sure which one he was going to use, so he wanted to make sure we had all the ingredients for both recipes. Just fyi.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Simple Little Dessert

This is a recipe I read about a few years ago, but wasn't able to find the chocolate wafer cookies until recently. It's a light dessert that goes together quickly. I used the recipe off the back of the cookie package, but threw that away, so I'm typing from memory...
Chocolate Wafer Dessert 1 box thin chocolate wafers
1 container Cool Whip (or you can make whipped cream)
1 tsp. vanilla
chocolate shavings or cocoaMix the vanilla into the Cool Whip. Put about a Tablespoon of Cool Whip on each cookie.
Adhere to the next cookie, making a "log". (I only used about a third of the package of cookies and it made plenty for the two of us.)
Frost the entire thing with more Cool Whip. Pop into the frig for a few hours, let sit on the counter for a little while before serving.
Garnish with chocolate curls or a dusting of cocoa. To serve, slice the "log" on a 45 degree angle. (I must not have taken a photo of it sliced, but it's very pretty!)
I think this would make a nice summertime dessert when you want something easy and light.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chicken Paprikash

Okay, I don't know how to pronounce it, but I know it sure tastes good!
This recipe for chicken paprikash is from my email friend, Joanne. It's an old family recipe that her grandmother used to prepare.
Traditionally this dish uses bone-in chicken pieces. The night I made it, I was using what was on-hand, so it boneless, skinless breasts it was. A few other adaptations were made, and I'll note those, but the final dish was delicious.

Chicken pieces (boneless, skinless breasts)
Sweet Hungarian paprika (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) (Spanish paprika - all I had)
Butter (about 1/4 cup) (olive oil w/ little bit of butter)
Onion (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup minced)
Water (about 1 to 2 cups) (homemade chicken stock - no bouillion cube)
Chicken bouillon cube
Flour (about 2 tablespoons)
Sour cream (about 1 cup)
Melt the butter in a pan and brown the chicken parts on both sides.
Add the onion and paprika and turn the chicken pieces to cover all sides with the paprika.
Add the water and the bouillon cube.
Cover the pan and simmer on a low heat until the chicken is very tender (we usually like it when it almost falls apart when you touch it, but that's how my grandmother's always was so it's what we're used to). I think I usually leave it cooking about 20 to 30 minutes.
Add more paprika and salt to taste, and add more water during cooking if it seems to be getting too dry and sticking to the pan.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add a small amount of water to the flour to form a paste and add this to the liquid in the pan. Heat and stir until thickened. Add the sour cream and stir to heat.
Add the chicken back to the pan, stir all together, and serve over noodles or rice.