Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cranberry Stuffed Pork Chops with a Maple-Orange Glaze

I had some frozen pork that was coming close to extinction, and I wanted to make something fancy (that didn't include chicken or ground beef) for Sunday dinner. I pulled everything out of the fridge and pantry that I thought paired well with pork, and used just about all of it. I felt like I was on Iron Chef or Chopped. Sometimes (okay, usually) when I do this it is a miss. This time it was a hit.

2 boneless pork chops-about an inch thick
olive oil
salt & pepper

For the stuffing, mix together:
a handful of dried cranberries-chopped into smaller bits
a handful of sliced almonds-chopped (any nut would probably work)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
a dash of allspice
a dash of cinnamon

For the glaze, mix together:
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (one medium-sized orange)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stuff the chops by butterflying them, but leaving one side attached. Fill each chop with half of the stuffing and close. Season both sides of the chops with salt and pepper

Heat the oil in an oven-safe pan on med-high heat. Sear each side of the chops in the hot oil for about 2 minutes or until golden.

Remove from heat and add glaze to pan. Finish cooking in oven for 10-15 minutes.

Place chops aside so they can rest. Use a strainer to remove bits from the glaze. Return the smooth glaze to the same pan, and cook on med-high until reduced. Serve chops with a spoonful of sauce on top.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

BBQ Beef

This is a combo I learned from my mom. It's a nice to way to spice up an old standby. I think she uses store bought bbq sauce. I tried making my own, and it was pretty darn tasty. And produced three meals for Mark and me.

1 beef pot roast
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 onion-diced
4 tsp. garlic-minced
chili powder
cayenne pepper
salt & pepper

Heat some cooking oil in a shallow pan and brown the outside of the pot roast. Place meat in a slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on high for 3 hours. Switch to low for 3 hours. Shred and serve on rolls.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ground Beef Curry (trust me)

I know it sounds weird, considering that Indians don't eat cows and all, but this was delightful and quite easy. I made this based on several recipes I found online at I didn't have everything any one of the recipes called for, so I made up my own. As always, measurements are not exact.

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 onion-chopped
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup carrot-chopped
1/2 can (the little ones) tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 tsp tumeric
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy you like it)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
splash vinegar
3 handfulls frozen peas
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Brown beef with onions. Add garlic & butter. Add flour and stir. Add stock and wait for for the sauce to thicken. Add the rest of the ingredients except the peas and yogurt. Simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots are cooked through. Add more water if it starts to look too thick. Add yogurt and peas and simmer until heated through.

Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and serve with basmatti rice.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BBQed Jerk Chicken

I found a few different recipes for Jerk chicken online, threw what spices and ingredients from those recipes that I had into a plastic bag, added chicken, waited an hour, threw on the grill, basted, and tasted. I didn't measure anything, but here's what the marinade consisted of:

brown sugar
cayenne pepper
chili powder
red pepper flakes
cider vinegar
soy sauce
olive oil

It was delicious, man! (I hope you read that with a Rastafarian inflection.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Better than any wedding luncheon you've ever been to

Got some extra herbs and about an hours time? This dish is so succulent it's ridiculous; definitely worth the extra prep time. Also, it is a feat of catering genius. I must remember it for when I start my catering business.

"Chef" Jessica's Chicken Kiev

2 chicken breasts
3 Tbsp butter-softened
2 Tbsp fresh herbs--chopped and divided (I used a mixture of thyme, parsley, and dill. Tarragon would also work nicely.)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1 egg--beaten with a splash of water
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
olive oil

1. Mix together butter, 1 Tbsp of the herbs, and salt and pepper
2. Prepare a three-container breading system: mix flour with salt and pepper in one shallow container, beat the egg with water in another, and mix bread crumbs with salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. herbs in the third.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet to medium and preheat the oven to 350.
4. pound chicken to about 1/4 inch.
5. Spread herb butter on one side of chicken and roll. (You can use tooth pics to fasten chicken rolls. I didn't have any, so I didn't and it was fine.)
6. Dredge chicken in flour, then dip in egg, and finally bread the chicken by patting the crumbs onto it.
7. Pan fry the chicken in the olive oil on each side for a couple minutes.
8. Transfer to a baking dish.
9. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
10. Serve with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of your choice.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cinco de Mayo 09

The makings of a delicious chicken tortilla soup:

1 small onion
1/2 cup carrot--diced
1/2 cup celery--diced
1/4 cup green pepper--diced
3 cloves garlic--minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 packet taco seasoning
2 breasts chicken, raw
1 1/2 cups corn
1 14 oz can black beans
1/2 lime--squeezed
shredded cheese
sour cream
tortilla strips

Saute veggies in oil. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, seasoning, and chicken breasts. Simmer on med-high for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken. Add corn and black beans. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until heated through. Stir in the fresh lime juice. Serve with steamed rice, shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla strips.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cheesy Baked Ziti with Chicken

Mark gave it 4 stars.

4 cups penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 chicken breast, seasoned, grilled, and sliced

olive oil
1/2 onion-finely chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves-minced
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp basil
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
4 slices provolone cheese

Saute onion in olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for another minute or so. Add tomato sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and basil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add ricotta and parmesan cheese and cook until heated through. Add chicken and pasta. Top with provolone slices and broil for 5 minutes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Party Salsa

I call this recipe "party salsa" because a) it's great for parties b) it literally creates a party of flavor in your mouth. There are certainly variations that can be made, and, as always, my measurements are not exact. But this is the second time I've made it, and both times it has been delightful.
Party Salsa:

1 can black beans--drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
1/3 cup red onion--small dice
1/2 cup sweet red bell pepper--small dice
1 jalapeno pepper-small dice
1 mango--medium dice
juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic--minced
a handful of cilantro-chopped
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 ripe avocado--medium dice


1. Mix everything together in a bowl except the avocado.
2. Let the mixture sit for several hours, or overnight.
3. Add the avocado just before serving.
4. Serve with tortilla chips, fish tacos, and more.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Tribute to Grandma Wanda

My grandmother was known for one epic meal: Chicken and Noodles. It was a chicken noodle soup of sorts with made-from-scratch noodles, dished over mashed potatoes, and served with her homemade rolls. It was an all-out event when grandma made chicken and noodles. It took her 2-whole days, and people would come from far and wide to partake of the delicious fare. My brother has tried to reincarnate the dish a couple of times; but unfortunately we just don't cook the way they used to. Here is my version, which is a far cry from the real thing but actually quite tasty.

Chicken and Noodles (sans noodles and not quite the same as grandma's)

2 Tbsp butter
1 whole onion-diced
1/2 cup celery-diced
1/2 cup carrot-diced
2 chicken breasts (I used frozen; it's a-ok)
salt and pepper-be liberal
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups water
1 bay leaf (which I actually didn't have when I made it but would be a nice addition)

Your favorite mashed potatoes recipe

1. Cook the onion, celery, and carrots in the butter at medium heat until soft
2. Add the chicken, seasonings, and water
3. Boil on high until the chicken is cooked through and tender
4. Meanwhile, make potatoes
5. Shred chicken, add back to soup
6. Serve soup over potatoes
7. Enjoy

Hopefully, grandma isn't rolling in her grave.