Friday, August 1, 2008

Smothered Goodness

I am trying to find new ways to make pork chops. These are juicy and yummy. What more is needed?

Smothered Pork Chops

Source: Tyler Florence Food

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup buttermilk

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.

Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings. Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth in. Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Green Beans with Soul

I love green beans, my BF not so much. He loves bacon though so when I saw this recipe over at Adventures in Home Cooking I knew it was for us. We loved them and they will become a staple in my house.

Green Beans, Slow-Cooked with Bacon and Onions
Source: Angie at Adventures in home Cooking

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 pounds fresh green beans
2 quarts chicken stock or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, bacon, and onions and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the green beans and chicken stock; season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and cook the green beans until they are soft but not mushy, about 30 to 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serves 4 to 6.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My First Bread try!

I have never made bread before., but always wanted to. I finally had the time and decided to get over my fear and jump in. I am so glad that I did.

French Bread

Source: Betty Crocker

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 package regular active dry yeast

1 cup very warm water (120-130 degrees)

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 to 1 2/3 cups of bread flour

1. In large bowl mix all purpose flour and yeast. Add warm water. Beat with wire whisk or electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping the bowl frequently, until batter is very smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand about 1 hour or until bubbly.

2. Stir in salt and enough bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time. until a soft dough forms. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 5 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy (dough will be soft). Grease large bowl with shortening. Place dough in bowl , turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

3. Grease uninsulated cookie sheet with shortening or spray with cooking spray. Place dough on lightly floured surface, forming into an oval shaped mound. Sprinkle top of dough with flour. Press straight down with a straight-edged knife lengthwise on dough to divide it into 2 equal parts. Gently shape each part into a narrow loaf about 16 inches long, stretching the top of the loaf slightly to make it smooth. Place loaves smooth sides up, about 4 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

4. Cover loaves loosely, but airtight, with plastic wrap. (Loaves will expand slightly in the refrigerator). Refrigerate at least 4 hours by no longer than 24 hours. (This step can be omitted, if omitted continue with next step).

5. Uncover loaves and spray with cool water; let loaves rise in warm place about 1 hour or until refrigerated loaves have come to room temperature.

5. Place 8 inch or 9 inch square pan on bottom rack of oven add hot water to the pan until about 1/2 inch from the top. Heat oven to 475 degrees.

7. Carefully cut 1/4 inch deep slashes diagonally across loaves a 2 inch intervals with sharp serrated knife. Spray loaves with cool water place loaves in oven and spray again.

8. Reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake 18-20 minutes or until loaves are deep golden with crisp crust and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool.

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

I love Pasta. Spaghetti, Baked Ziti, Lasagna, and Manicotti. Since I made my own sauce I had to make pasta. So here it is. I don't know exactly how much of each ingredients I used sorry.

Beef Manicotti
Adapted from Bettycrocker

1lb ground beef

spaghetti sauce (see my sauce tab)

Manicotti noodles

mozzarella cheese

Bread crumbs

parmesan cheese (Grated)

1.Boil the Manicotti noodles until cooked but still a little firm. While the noodles are cooking cook the ground beef until done.

2. Once the ground beef is cooked add to a big bowl. Add a handful of breadcrumbs and some mozzarella cheese. Mix together. After the noodles are done and drained cool them a little so that you can handle them.

3. Pour a little bit of the sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. After you fill the manicotti noodles with the mixture place them into the saucy dish. Then add the leftover cheese to the top as well as the leftover sauce. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly at 350 degrees.

Strawberry White Sangria

I love Sangria. I have never made it myself because I always thought it was hard until I read a fellow Nestie's blog. This is from TPOX's Blog- Proceed with Caution. My BF doesn't like mint so I left it out for him and it was still really good.

Strawberry Mint Sangria

Adapted from Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes by Mittie Hellmich Serves 4 to 6.~

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, approximately 20 leaves.

1 1/2 ounces brandy (I omitted)

750 ml bottle dry white wine, chilled (I used Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc)

12 ounces club soda, chilled (I used one can of Sprite Zero)

I also added a little bit of strawberry/pineapple juice we had in the house.

About 3 cups ice cubes

In a large (at least 2-quart) glass pitcher, combine the strawberries, mint, and brandy. Slowly pour in the wine, stirring gently. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. (Remove the mint leaves from the sangria after 2 hours.)

When ready to serve, add the club soda and stir gently with a long-handled wooden spoon. Fill highballs, wine glasses, or other decorative glasses with ice cubes and slowly pour the sangria over the ice, allowing strawberry slices to fall into the glasses. Garnish each glass with a mint sprig, if desired.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Oh how I love my pasta with tomato/marinara sauce. I never have time to make sauce so I always use ragu. Well since I am home from work today I decided to make some spaghetti sauce. It is so simple the way I make it and soooo good. It makes a lot so I will freeze some for later. Sorry for the picture, my camera has been acting up and the steam doesn't help.

Ashley's Spaghetti Sauce

1 15 oz can of Tomato Sauce

2 29 oz cans of Tomato Sauce

1 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes w/basil, oregano, & garlic (you can add more, but I don't like chunks of tomatoes)

1 can of the smallest tomato paste



Garlic Salt

Minced garlic

Chopped onions

Saute onions and garlic with a little bit of EVOO. Once the onion and garlic are soft add the remaining ingredients. Then stir and simmer all day.

See easy. It will make your home smell good all day and you will wish you were eating it then.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekly Menu

I usually post this on Mondays, but I made mine early this week as I will be on vacation this week and will have time to cook.

Monday: sirloin steaks, baked potatoes, asparagus
Tuesday: Beef and Cheese Manicotti with homemade marinara sauce, garlic bread (homemade), and salads.
Wednesday: French dip sandwiches, crash hot potatoes, broccoli
Thursday: smothered pork chops, buttermilk mashed potatoes, soul green beans
Friday: Homemade pizzas with homemade dough and sauce, and salads.