Monday, November 16, 2009

Tuscan Pork Roast

My sister recently posted this recipe and I knew immediately that it would be one my entire family would love.  Believe it or not, as picky as my little boy is... he is all about eating pork!  Don't tell my classroom of first graders-- they all know how much I love pigs! :)  This was an easy meal to throw together and the house smelled incredible as it roasted!  I honestly couldn't wait until it was done enough to eat!  I do recommend extending the marinating time as my sister suggested.  I left mine in the fridge for a little over an hour and the flavors really were allowed to work into the pork nicely.  My sister's other suggestion was to up the amount of garlic used.  As much as I would have loved it that way, I "took one for the team" and made it as the recipe suggested.  I'm not sure my picky eaters would have tolerated as much garlic as I would have liked to have used.  Even as written, it definitely has a strong garlic flavor and might be my new favorite pork loin 'go to' recipe.

**As a side note, a huge 'thank you' to Donna for the sweet award!  I promise to pass it along very soon! :)

Tuscan Pork Roast

5 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 boneless whole pork loin roast (3 to 4 pounds)

In a food processor, combine garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt; cover and process until mixture becomes a paste. Rub over the roast; cover and let stand for 30 minutes. (At Rachel's suggestion, I let mine stand for over an hour.)  Place roast, fat side up, on a greased baking rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1-1/4 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Source: Rachel vs. The Kitchen   

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicken, Mushrooms and Parmesan with Orzo

I have to admit... I've been feeling like a bit of a blog stalker lately! :)  I find that I get hooked on different sites and end up making recipe after recipe suggested by that blogger.  Don't worry-- I rotate around and will likely come to yours, next!  That's my fair warning!  Lately, I have been making quite a few recipes from Pam's site, For the Love of Cooking.  I was so excited to find this on a new site, Macaroni and Cheesecake, and was thrilled that I would break up my harassment of Pam in the meantime!  I had to laugh when I started  to read the post only to find that it was another of Pam's recipes.  I guess I haven't broken my pattern after all!  I do have to thank Macaroni and Cheesecake for bringing this one to my attention.  I'm not sure how I missed it and it might be one of my new favorites! 

(As a side note... this dish reheats really well making it a perfect choice for the meal sharing plan.)

Chicken, Mushrooms, and Parmesan with Orzo

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 pound of orzo, cooked per instructions (I actually used closer to a 1/2 pound)
2-3 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cook the orzo according to the box directions.  Add the chicken bouillon cubes to the water while cooking.  Drain the orzo thoroughly.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onion, mushrooms, and thyme.  Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the chicken, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Sauté 7-8 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove skillet from the heat then add the cooked orzo, Parmesan and parsley to the chicken mixture and toss.  I served this with a garnish of freshly grated Parmesan and additional parsley.

Source: Macaroni and Cheesecake, originally posted on For the Love of Cooking

Monday, November 9, 2009

Corn and Fingerling Potato Chowder with Bacon

The moment the weather starts to get cooler, I am all about breaking out the soups, stews, and total comfort foods.  This chowder is one that I will likely be making quite often through the winter.  This soup definitely can stand on its own as a meal!  The bacon flavoring nicely complements the richness of the fingerling potatoes and the corn gives it a texture that can't be beat.  I served it with some fresh bread, garnished with additional crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar. 

Corn and Fingerling Potato Chowder with Bacon

3 slices lean bacon
1 3/4 cups diced onion
4 cups fresh corn kernels (due to seasonal availability, I used frozen)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
16 ounces fingerling potatoes, diced
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon in a large dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and crumble. Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add corn, chopped thyme, and garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, milk, half-and-half, and potatoes; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Transfer 2 cups of the potato mixture to a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth; return pureed mixture to pan. Stir in salt and black pepper; sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Source: For the Love of Cooking

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Skillet Chili Mac with Corn and Green Chiles

This dish, from Donna's blog, immediately gained my attention as a great option for our 'meal sharing' plan.  I'm officially dedicating this post to Christy's daughter, Megan, who excitedly named this one "Homemade Hamburger Helper!"  :)  This was a great recipe for busy families for several reasons: it's inexpensive, it's all made in one skillet-- so much less to clean up, and it comes together incredibly quickly!  I will note that if you are making it for kids, you might want to consider decreasing the amount of green chiles you use.  I left mine out completely and it still had a nice kick as a result of the chili powder.  Thanks, Donna, for another great one!

Skillet Chili Mac with Corn and Green Chiles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
16 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups water
8 ounces (2 cups) elbow macaroni
1 cup frozen corn
1 4.5-oz can chopped green chiles
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mexican cheese blend)

Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onion, chili powder, cumin and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink, draining off any grease. Stir in garlic and brown sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, water, and macaroni. Cover and cook, stirring often and keeping the heat at a steady simmer, until the macaroni is tender, about 12–15 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, frozen corn, green chiles and cilantro and sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top. Cover and let sit off the heat until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Source: Donna at My Tasty Treasures

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sour Cream Pork Chops

This is another meal that worked well for our new 'meal sharing' plan!  It was actually the main course that I prepared to go with the rice casserole that I recently posted.  I was able to brown these chops the night before and get everything ready to go so that I could pop them in the slow cooker before leaving for work and could come home to a hot, home-cooked dinner.  They cook all day on low, but like any other meat in a slow cooker, they can easily dry out... so make sure that you don't skimp on the liquid.  This is definitely a dish I will make again.  They were tender and had a nice, rich flavor.  Best of all, they passed the 'kid test'!

Sour Cream Pork Chops
6 pork chops
salt and pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream  

Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then dredge in 1/2 cup flour. In a skillet over medium heat, lightly brown chops in a small amount of oil.  Place chops in slow cooker, and top with onion slices. Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water and pour over chops. Cover, and cook on low 7 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  After the chops have cooked, transfer chops to the oven to keep warm. Be careful, the chops are so tender they will fall apart. In a small bowl, blend 2 tablespoons flour with the sour cream; mix into meat juices. Turn slow cooker to high for 15 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve sauce over pork chops.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rice Casserole and a New Idea!

My mother has raved about this recipe for years, but I didn't actually get a chance to try it until my sister made it for me last year.  Shortly after my daughter was born, my sister made us a wonderful meal of lemon chicken and served it with this rice casserole.  The flavors in this casserole define comfort food.  The best thing about it is that it reheats beautifully-- so you can definitely make a big batch of it and then you'll have plenty to enjoy through the week. 

Recently, my friend Christy and I started a 'meal sharing' plan.  We found that we were both rushing each evening to attempt to prepare a meal for our families, and decided that it made much more sense to share the work-- and the rewards! :)  We each prepare a dinner to share two nights a week-- picking the nights that fit best into our families schedule.  She takes Mondays and Wednesdays and I take Tuesdays and Thursdays, then we each do our own weekend meals.  By creating meals to share in this way, we are saving money and are able to enjoy the precious evening time with our kiddos before they fall asleep.  It's also a great way to try some favorites from each of our recipe collections.  This rice was a perfect side dish for my 'share meal' last night.   I was able to prep and cook it the night before and all Christy had to do was reheat it for her family.  Watch our blogs for other great meal share ideas coming up!  We highly recommend trying a meal swap of your own!  Partner up and enjoy your newly found time!      

Rice Casserole
1 1/2 sticks margarine or butter
1/2 pound very thin egg noodles
2 cans condensed onion soup
2 cans condensed chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups minute rice
1 can water chestnuts, sliced and drained

In a large skillet, brown the raw noodles in butter.  Stir frequently.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bake in a covered 3 quart casserole for 1 1/4 hours at 350 degrees.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hasselback Potatoes

Without knowing it, my sister and I both picked this recipe off of Pam's blog and made it on the exact same night!  Scary, isn't it?  When I saw that she posted hers this morning, I figured I had better post mine as well to keep on the same track! :)  I'm sure this isn't the first, or the last time, that this has happened.  These potatoes had such a wonderful flavor and were really fun to eat.  I find that I am always making potatoes in the same way, and this gave me a great new option to throw in the mix.  A couple of notes for making this one: 1.) Like my sister, I found that these took quite a bit longer than I had planned to get tender.  Make sure you keep an eye on them, but do not remove them from the oven until the slices are tender enough for your taste.  A few of my larger potatoes ended up a bit crunchy.  2.) A lot of times I will use minced garlic as a time saver.  I had just purchased the new Pampered Chef garlic slicer so I decided to use that instead.  I'm so glad I did!  I don't think this is a recipe you can use the minced garlic shortcut with... it's well worth the added time to place fresh garlic in between the slices.  If you are making the recipe for little ones, I would suggest just placing a few pieces of garlic in random slices instead of in between each as the recipe calls for.  I LOVED it with the full amount of garlic, but I'm not sure my son would have eaten it with so much.  3.) Pam suggests placing a large serving spoon under your potato to keep from accidentally slicing all the way through the potato.  This worked really well and saved quite a few potatoes for me!

Hasselback Potatoes

3 Russet potatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Fresh garlic, sliced very thin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash all potatoes thoroughly.  Place each potato on a large serving spoon before slicing.  You don't want your cuts to go all the way through the bottom of the potato and the spoon catches your knife from doing so.  Season each potato with the basil, salt and pepper.  Place a thin slice of garlic in between each of your slices.  Place your potatoes in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are  tender.  (I found that mine needed closer to 1.5 hours.)  As Pam suggested, I served mine with butter and sour cream.